Digital artwork auctioned for record amount

At an American art auction, a jpeg document was sold for 69.3 million dollars, converted 57.8 million euros. It is the first time that a work of art that exists exclusively digitally has produced so much money.

The work, Everyday, was created by Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist known as Beeple. It consists of a collage of 5000 photographs that the artist posted online since 2007. The digital document generated more money at the auction house Christies than tangible paintings by famous painters such as J.M.W. Turner, Georges Seurat and Francisco Goya.

The sale of the digital document was exciting until the last minute, writes the auction house on Twitter. The work would initially be sold for $30 million, but for unknown reasons, the auction round was extended by 2 minutes. At the end of the day, 33 fanatical bidders raised the price to almost 70 million dollars. Who is the new owner of the jpeg document has not been disclosed.

Although the digital object can be copied or downloaded for everyone, today selling digital products is possible through blockchain technology. This allows one person to get a unique, transferable designation as an owner, a non-fungible token (NFT), a non-redeemable attribute.

โ€œTo compare it to a physical art collection: anyone can buy a Monet poster, but only one person can have the originalโ€, reasoned tech website The Verge.

Earlier this week, the first tweet from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was offered for sale on an auction site in the same way.

Mixed feelings

Within the art world, there has been mixed feelings to sales. โ€œOn the one hand, its exciting to witness a historic turning point,โ€ said Todd Levin, an American art consultant, to The New York Times. โ€œOn the other hand, the amount of money involved can skew and damage an emerging market.โ€

No Storage Charges

For the auction house, it was the first time they organized an auction of an NFT. According to them, the sale of this type of digital art is interesting for auction houses because they do not have to incur costs for storing and insuring such a work of art.

It does not mean that paintings and sculptures at auctions will disappear in the future, according to Christies.