In March 2021, the artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, sold a non-fungible token (NFT) of his digital artwork at Christie’s auction for a whopping US$69 million. According to the auction house, the sale of the collage titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days catapulted him to rank among the top three most valuable living artists.
Before the sale of Beeple’s artwork, the earliest and most notable use of NFT was CryptoKitties, a virtual cat that can be purchased, collected, bred and sold. One of the most expensive NFTs ever sold was a CryptoKitty called Dragon, which was sold for 600 Ethereums (ETH), estimated at US$1.8 million today.
Artists in Malaysia have also been quick to catch on to the NFT trend. In August, graffiti artist Katun sold two NFT collections titled Apes Stand Strong and Mystical Fruits for a total of 127.6 ETH, or US$408,000. The combined sale of the pieces makes them the most expensive NFTs sold by a Malaysian artist. Not too long ago, contemporary artist Red Hong Yi sold her piece titled Doge To The Moon in an online auction for 36.3 ETH, which is valued at US$116,000.
Where NFTs Come From
According to Dinis Guarda, a serial entrepreneur who specialises in blockchain, fintech and artificial intelligence: “Originally, NFT was created on the Ethereum blockchain as a way for developers to interact among themselves, but along the way, they discovered NFTs could be used for digital certification.”
Guarda says the sudden explosion in interest around NFTs in late 2020 was unexpected. It’s worth noting that in the first quarter of 2021, NFT sales volume soared to US$2.5 billion.
Matthew Le Merle, co-founder and managing partner of Fifth Era, says an NFT is essentially a modern way of digitising a certificate of ownership. This means you can digitise any type of assets like artworks, collectables, real estate or public shares, and use an NFT to track it and its ownership.
Due to the fact, NFTs are recorded in the blockchain act as a secure, permanent public record of transactions on a digital ledger. The data cannot be altered, and it is totally transparent, unlike ledgers overseen and updated by a bank.