Artist Beeple talks about selling NFT collage for a record $ 70 million

LONDON (AP) – When digital artist Beeple put an NFT digital artwork up for auction this month, it was instantly famous when it sold for nearly $ 70 million. The sale of records also sparked great interest in digital certificates of authenticity. based on cryptocurrency technology called “non-fungible tokens”.

These NFTs are experiencing a boom. The Associated Press caught up with Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, to discuss the auction result, the NFTs, and how the rise of crypto art is affecting him and other artists who previously had no form. to guarantee exclusive ownership of digital works. , which by their nature can normally be freely copied.

Beeple spoke to the AP through a call from Zoom. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Q: Why do you think your artwork “Everdays: The First 5,000 Days” fetched such a high price?

A: There are a couple of reasons. One represents 13 years of work. You can see very easily that this is something that took a long, long, long time to do. Another part is a lot of excitement around NFTs. The people in this space, the people who bid for them, I think they personally understand what NFTs will be much more than the rest of the world than the general public.

The technology is simple enough that it can be used for many different things. And many people are comparing it to the beginning of the Internet.

Q: How do you respond to concerns that buyer Metakovan, who purchased 20 of your other NFT artwork in a previous sale and founded an NFT investment fund, was trying to raise property prices?

A: Let’s say someone goes out and buys a painting for $ 5 million. So that person has $ 5 million invested in that artist’s career. If the next painting is worth a lot less, what does that say about the $ 5 million you’ve spent? This is how the art market works.

So I think a lot of people are trying to find some crazy scheme or scam here. I personally don’t see it.

Q: What exactly did Metakovan buy?

A: The most important thing you bought is a relationship with me to promote your purchase. He and I are very aligned. I want this work of art to increase in value. He wants the work of art to increase in value, which benefits me. So the idea that you didn’t buy anything is a bit misleading.

(Beeple noted that it retains the copyright to “Everydays”).

I’m very interested in it (the artwork) taking a lot of different ways to promote it, display it, educate people on how it was made. So I think people are looking at this (and thinking), “There’s nothing there.” It’s rather, think of it as a work of art that can go on living and take different forms over time rather than, like, you’re not buying anything.

Q: For the first time, Christie’s accepted cryptocurrency as payment for a sale. But some people wonder if this transaction really happened. Have you been paid?

A: 100%, friend. That’s the craziest part of it. So literally the thing shut down Thursday morning. On Friday night, at approximately midnight, the transaction was literally 100% complete. (Metakovan) had the NFT, I had $ 55 million worth of Ethereum, which immediately went up and down (in value).

(Beeple said it has converted all cryptocurrencies to cash and showed off its cryptocurrency app showing a balance of roughly $ 56 million, its take after Christie’s took its share.) According to Christie’s, this is something that generally takes about two months.

Q: There are so many NFT projects now. Are we in the middle of an NFT bubble?

A: There is definitely some foam. There is absolutely, absolutely a lot of excitement. And some people are investing money in things that I can almost guarantee are worth nothing.

So it’s one of those things where people will rush like there’s a lot of money. But again, just like the internet (dot-com boom), there was a bubble and the bubble burst, but it didn’t make people stop using the internet.

So people must be careful. It is very speculative. It’s very early.


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O’Brien contributed from Providence, Rhode Island.


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