Sotheby's auction house has launched a dedicated platform for collectors of NFTs and announced a twice-a-year sale of the digital objects, a sign of its commitment to the craze.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital object that can be a drawing, animation, piece of music, photo, or video with a certificate of authenticity created by blockchain technology. This authentication by a network of computers is considered inviolable.
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They have become hugely popular against the backdrop of the pandemic, boosting the contemporary art market.
According to a report published by Artprice this month, NFT sales now represent two percent of the global art market.
Almost unknown a year ago, they have broken records at auctions.
In March, Christie's sold a fully digital artwork by American artist Beeple for $69.3 million in March.
In July, Sotheby's sold the World Wide Web source code for $5.4 million.
On Sotheby's "Metaverse," buyers will be able to create a personal profile, with an avatar designed by the crypto designer Pak.
They will be able to make payments in fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies including Etherum, bitcoin and USDC, Sotheby's said in a press release.
The first sale, called "Natively Digital 1.2: The Collectors," will take place between 18 October and 26 October, with 53 lots.
Among the works available are creations by Pak, Rare Pepe and Larva Labs.
Sotheby's said the sale will become a biannual event.
Meanwhile, a partially shredded canvas of one of Banksy's most celebrated works sold in London recently for £18.6 million ($25.4 million), a record price for the British artist.
Sotheby's said the artwork, now called "Love is in the Bin", sold for nearly £1.1 million at the same location in October 2018 before it dramatically passed through a shredder hidden in its frame moments after bidding ended.
It added the work fitted into an illustrious history of anti-art including Marcel Duchamp's anonymous submission of Fountain, a porcelain urinal remounted on a pedestal in 1917, to Ai Weiwei, who photographed himself intentionally dropping an alleged Han Dynasty urn, according to a Reuters report.
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