We live in the age of social media and a generation where media and entertainment are readily available on a button-click. There are tens of thousands of amazing artists that have taken their expressions to digital art forms. The eyes start rolling though only when the big D comes into the picture. I am talking about the Dollar. Money is far from the only form of value in this world, but it sure is something that everybody can understand. If you are reading this article, you are almost certainly aware of NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens. They have gained value for several reasons, agreeable or irrational to people for different reasons. The price for the highest-paid NFT so far however is beyond the reasoning and comprehension of many.
Everydays: The First 5000 Days, made history at the beginning of 2021 by being the most expensive NFT ever sold on record which remains to this day. Unless you want to get too technical and debate on it. Its creator, Mike Winkelvann aka Beeple fetched a whopping $69 million for the sale of a single piece of art to a then-unknown user named MetaKovan. It was beyond the wildest expectations of even the auction house Christie’s. The bidding was announced on 16th Feb 2021 and the winner was announced on March 11th, followed by the only appropriate reaction possible by Beeple, the owner:
To give a scale of how unique this transaction was, the second most expensive NFT is worth $11 million, less than one-sixth of the value of it (No that doesn’t have to make sense to us either). For many months after that, the philanthropist crypto wallet behind this purchase remained unknown, until finally one day a reporter Amy Castor uncovered the man behind it. Vignesh Sundaresan aka MetaKovan is one among the possibly hundreds of silent crypto millionaires of this decade. While the big money bag does role eyeballs as expected, there are layers to the sale of this NFT and the minds of these millionaires that are worth understanding, in order to get a broader understanding of what the future might present.
Pricing an NFT
While something can be understood when it comes to pricing an NFT, such as Collections, popularity, famous artist, etc. There are other means by which we can judge. But broadly, its true value is in the eye of the beholder. Pricing an NFT is the modern-day equivalent of pricing a piece of art. Salvador Mundi was sold in 2015 for $300 million, try and make sense of that. End of the day no matter how beautiful the painting is, for a common man, even one-hundredth of the price is life-changing money. It does not have to make sense. Art does not have to make sense. It’s either you get it, or you don’t. It’s a labyrinth where some people choose to get lost by choice. NFTs broadly speaking are digital forms of art that have found their connoisseurs. With the fear of making it sound too poetic, it’s simply love that someone has found. Everything else anyone tells you is a form of fluff in one form or another. Money depreciates with time, but true art appreciates.
Beeple aka Mike Winkelvann
Mike Winkelvann, back in 2007 committed to making one piece of digital art every day. Now that is the kind of commitment that we all wish we could fulfill in one form or another in our lives. Rarely are we able to go ahead with it beyond a point. But Mike did. He’s stuck to his commitment and made one piece of digital art every day since then. Everydays: First 5000 Days is literally that, all the pieces of digital art he has made every day since 2007. The NFT is a stitched collage of all these 5000 pieces put together and needless to say each of these pieces is marvelous all by itself. Just to make sense of how good they are, one of these digital arts is also among the top 10 most expensive NFTS. Crossroads was sold for $5.5 million. This is not to diminish the thousands of amazing digital artists worldwide, but to the price of the NFT is a combination of his hard work, grit, brilliance, and above all consistency. We can call him a visionary you have seen this coming 15 years ago, or plain lucky. But the sheer efforts he has made are unquestionable and applaudable.
MetaKoven aka Vignesh Sundaresan
Beeple owing to his fantastic work was already a famous name in the art space. The world was more intrigued by the unknown crypto wallet that made the purchase and shelled out the actual bills. It remained so for a long time until reporter Amy Castor found the man behind the wallet.
Vignesh Sundaresan, Born in the bustling city of Chennai, India was introduced to krypton in 2013. After seeing the potential, he decided to start a company called Coins-E. He later went on to build another enterprise called BitAccess in Canada. He credits most of this success in the initial stages to his investment in Ethereum during its ICO. He also made successful bets on other coins released over some time and also NFTs in which he has been interested since 2017. While many people have found his purchase of the Beeple art piece as an expensive affair, MetaKovan has stated he is completely satisfied with the purchase and has also told how it is much less than 10% of his wealth. There are several reasons that he has specified for this across his different interviews, most prominently with Bloomberg recently. Some of them are as follows:
- Bringing attention to what he sees as an important and wonderful Technology and step towards the future
- Bringing attention to digital art and encouraging artists throughout the world to adopt this medium
- Buying Beeple was according to him green-lighting of support for individual artists rather than collections such as CryptoPunks or Bored Ape Yacht Club which encourage exclusivity. He says he doesn’t want to be part of exclusive clubs that end up catering to only a few people.
- He also has mentioned how he found it important to bring in countries like India and other third-world countries in the global fold of art-tech space which is so far dominated by the Western world.
- He doesn’t see paywalls in media as an effective means of regulation and NFTs provide a solution for that as the original author is trackable.
There might be other incentives and plans that MetaKovan may have, but at this point the vision and intention seems to be broader than that driven purely by commerce. MetaKovan plans to add the Beeple art piece some day for open display in a metaverse for people to spend time and appreciating this wonderful art-piece.
Despite all the fame and money, both of these men or otherwise rational about the current status of NFTs. MetaKovan has quoted, “I don’t think NFTs will hold the same kind of hype forever around high-value items,” People who want to profit off the tokens are “taking a huge risk,”. While Beeple has expressed how the current state of the NFT market is comparable to the dot-com bubble.
While there is no right and wrong when it comes to art, NFTs must be seen that way more than money-making mediums. People may end up making money without understanding them, but every person making money is doing so at the expense of another who is losing it. The exchange is fair only when both parties are content with the transaction made.
Lastly, here is an interview of MetaKovan by NasDaily and other beautiful art pieces by Beeple:
Nas Daily interview of MetaKovan