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NFT: Non Fungible Token. In brief, a blockchain-based smart-contract: the former endows the latter with some intrinsic characteristics, one of which is proprietorship of the digitalised asset. A new conception of product. A new conception of property. A new conception of art.

The well-known auction house Christie’s closed at $ 69 million in Ethereum the bids for an NFT created by Beeple, a digital artist whose real name is Mike Winkelmann. For years he has been well appreciated by a (not anymore) small group of supporters of his talent in creating digital art. One of Beeple’s most interesting features, set aside his originality and skills, is the fact that he has been creating a digital artwork every single day of his life in the last 13 years. Hence, Winkelmann is a true example of determination and perseverance. The aforementioned work, entitled Everydays: The First 5000 Days (see the image above), is a collage of all the artworks he’s published in the first 5000 days of his career. The astronomical amount for which it was sold has made Winkelmann one of the most “valuable” artists in the world.

Beeple certainly isn’t the first to experiment with blockchain technology to sell his artwork, but it’s just as sure he won’t be the last: Damien Hirst, a very well-known artist who, among many other works, created The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, has stated his interest in creating his own NFTs.

Banksy, a peculiar artist, to say the least, has recently had an even higher media impact than the astonishing price for which the Beeple NFT sold for. In truth, Banksy himself has little to do with the fact. His work is the protagonist of the news. A collective of young artists purchased Morons for about $ 100,000, only to then burn it in a Brooklyn park, but not before making it into an NFT. The digitalised artwork has then been sold for triple the purchase price. Some ask themselves if it was right to destroy an artwork from such an appreciated and influential artist, but one thing is likely: for what we can understand of Banksy’s, it is unlikely he’ll care too much, as it may demonstrate the shredding Girl With Balloon in 2018, as desired by the artist himself.

But NFTs aren’t digitalising only art, for anything can be tokenised: ownership of a luxury penthouse, of a song… Not long ago Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter Inc., has auctioned and sold “his first tweet”. How? Thanks to blockchain technology he uniquely transposed the first-ever tweeted words dating back to the “distant” 2013: “just setting up my twttr”. Not to mention Elon Musk, who has just released for purchase a song he created which, ironically, talks about NFTs and for which offers have already gone past the $ 1 million mark. Then, how to forget NBA Top Shot, NFTs developed by the homonymous company founded by billionaire Mark Cuban. These tokens give purchasers ownership of highlights from the famous American basketball league’s matches. And then again, the football players tokenised by Sorare, a blockchain-based fantasy football league.

This is just the beginning of a new gold rush, but many people are shifting focus on the potential dangers of such frenzy. How deep is the real, legitimate, passionate interest in this new art form? How much of its popularity is to be attributed to a speculative bubble? Beeple himself stated in an interview that he fears the latter is the prominent reality and he thinks NFTs are now extremely overvalued in economic terms.


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