Europe has joined the craze for NFTs, cryptocurrency-inspired virtual works of art that are turning the impermanence of the internet into a prized collector’s item to buy and sell like a Rembrandt.
Drawing a bemused scratch from many, these blockchain-authenticated digital items have attracted millions of dollars at auction, even the world’s first tweet grossing $ 2.9 million.
In New York City, Sotheby’s held its first non-fungible symbolic art sale by artist Pak last month, with the works fetching $ 16.8 million.
Before that, rival Christie’s had put the hammer at $ 69.3 million for a work by digital artist Beeple, purchased by an unpretentious entrepreneur in Singapore working in his apartment.
On Thursday, the Belgian-French auction house Millon will organize its very first sale of 13 NFT works while another auction house organized an auction in France on Sunday.
“Buying an NFT is buying a digital token for which you have the authenticity, the history of the work and the guarantee that it is unalterable on the blockchain… It is truly revolutionary in the market for art, ”said Millon expert Axel Reynes.
“Anyone can access the work, put it on a computer and display it, but they don’t own it. Having a Mona Lisa poster in your living room does not give you ownership of the work, which belongs to the Louvre. The idea is the same, ”explained the 30-year-old.
On walls generally covered with paintings, the works put up for auction are exhibited using overhead projectors. The prices of the limited and unique editions vary from 400 to 20,000 euros.
The auction will feature established NFT artists like Maikeul or Fvckrender from Canada as well as a street artist, Cesar Piette, who is branching out into the virtual world.
One coin, the Bitcoin Angel by artist Trevor Jones, makes the crypto link explicit and is estimated to be between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000.
– ‘Preliminary steps’ –
The auction will take place in Brussels, not Paris, due to legal uncertainty surrounding the sale of the NFT there.
This new and very dynamic market is evolving in the wake of crypto-currencies, the price of works fluctuating according to the vicissitudes of bitcoin, dogecoin or ethereum.
Bitcoin fell 30% on Wednesday after China announced a new cryptocurrency crackdown and tycoon Elon Musk sent mixed signals about his company’s use of the unit.
“We are still in the very early stages of NFTs, I finally think that we are going to decouple from crypto-currencies to have our own momentum”, predicts the young expert.
But for now, the connection is real: Millon will even accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
© 2021 AFP