The Strategist

Sotheby's auctions the 'world's first' NFT token

06/02/2021 - 03:56

Sotheby's has put up for sale a work by an American artist. The work is said to be the world's first known NFT token. The auction will take place on June 3-10. In March, Christie's auctioned a virtual painting, which anyone can download online, for a record $69 million.

Marco Verch via flickr
Marco Verch via flickr
Sotheby's is auctioning Quantum, a digital work by American artist Kevin McCoy, which the auction described as "the first known NFT" and "perhaps the most historically important piece of crypto-art".

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are a form of digital art storage. While any internet user can see and download a virtual work, there is only one "authentic" copy. NFT confirms this authenticity: it stores information in the blockchain about the creation and creator of the token, as well as all subsequent transactions with it.

Quantum is a short geometric animation showing a "pulsating" octagon that changes colour and shape inside. According to Sotheby's website, the token with this work was created on 2 May 2014. In the lot description, Sotheby's compares it to works by Picasso, Malevich and Duchamp, who also discovered new directions in art - for example, cubism or abstraction.

Sotheby's held its first NFT auction in April: virtual works by the artist, known as Pak, sold for a total of $16.8 million. In March, another auction house, Christie's, sold an electronic painting by contemporary artist Beeple for $69.35 million - a record amount. The record before that transaction was $6.6 million, the amount an investor paid at the end of February for another Beepleā€™s work in the form of a token - a 10 seconds long video clip.