LONDON (Reuters) – The buyer of a $70 million digital-only artwork was named on Friday by auction house Christie’s as a crypto asset investor who goes by the pseudonym “Metakovan.”
The auction to buy the work by digital artist Beeple, which ended on Thursday, was the first ever sale by a major auction house of a piece of digital art that does not exist in physical form.
The work is in the form of a new kind of digital asset: a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). This means that it is authenticated by blockchain, which certifies its originality and ownership.
Metakovan, whose real name was not disclosed, is the founder of Metapurse, the world’s largest NFT fund, Christie’s said in a statement.
The work, called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is a collage of 5,000 individual images, which were made one-per-day over more than thirteen years.
It sold for $69,346,250 (42,329.453 ETH), which Metakovan paid in the form of cryptocurrency Ether.
The sale put Beeple into the top three most valuable living artists, Christie’s said, trailing only David Hockney and Jeff Koons.
“When you think of high-valued NFTs, this one is going to be pretty hard to beat. And here’s why – it represents 13 years of everyday work,” Metakovan said in a statement released by Christie’s.
“Techniques are replicable and skill is surpassable, but the only thing you can’t hack digitally is time. This is the crown jewel, the most valuable piece of art for this generation. It is worth $1 billion.”
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Toby Chopra)