The Emergence of Crypto Art: Auction Giants Sotheby's and Christie's Selling NFTs!

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It certainly seems like NFT's are really hitting the big time these days!

Because I've worked in the business end of art for a long time, I often get newsletters from international auction house Sotheby's with the latest announcements and developments in the art world. The other day I got a glitzy "Invitation" to let me know that the giant auction house was having its first ever ”NFT event,” on April 12-14.

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An NFT from the Sotheby's sale, featuring the work of Pak. Image source

Now you might be thinking ”Yeah and so? Why is that a big deal?”

Well, this is one of the largest and most conservative art auction houses on the planet, the venue that routinely sells $40 million Picassos and old master paintings to the uber-rich, and which has on occasion handled works of art priced upwards of $150 million.

The mere fact that they are actually handling NFT’s lends a huge degree of credibility to this emerging market.

The auction sale event at Sotheby's entitled ”The Fungible Collection” featured a number of works by digital artist Pak, and included both one of a kind items as well as limited editions. Total sales proceeds amounted to somewhat in excess of $16.8 million.

But Sotheby's wasn’t actually the first of the major mainstream art sellers to get on board with the NFT craze. On March 11 auction house Christie's sold an NFT creation by Beeple entitled “The First 5000 Days” for an astonishing $69,346,250, a price that easily rivals the heady amounts achieved by important traditional works of art.

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Beeple's "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" auctioned at Christie's. Image Source

It would seem that we are well on our way to charting a path of legitimacy for this particular niche within the Cryptosphere!

Of course these incredible prices for a completely new art form might leave a person wondering whether this is just a fashionable trend that'll flame out in a couple of years, or something that is here to stay with us for good?

I have no answers to that, alas. The art market is historically very fickle.

Regardless, the emergence of NFT’s is definitely causing people to have a look at how we define art and how we value art. In particular, these developments leave me pondering the question of whether we are considering art here, or a hybrid form of cryptocurrency, or perhaps both? Or is this something completely new that defies conventional classification? Is a $65,000 NFT — at its core — ultimately the same as a $65,000 Bitcoin?

Thanks for stopping by, and do leave me a comment below and share what you think about the NFT trend and art involved!

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