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ART & COLLECTABLES

As the NFT Craze Continues, the Single “EtherRock” Sells for Over $1.3 million

The game of rock, paper, scissors is about to get a lot more expensive.

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Yesterday, a pixelated image of a rock from the EtherRock collection sold for more than $1 million. However, it wasn’t a Hollywood star-studded rock success story but a live-action event taking place on the Ethereum blockchain.

The image above sold for almost 400 ETH, or well over $1.3 million in today’s ETH value. It’s a non-fungible token —blockchain-based representations of real-world or virtual unique objects that indicate their holders are the true owners of whatever underlying asset they represent, which can range from crypto collectibles to in-game assets to real estate.

According to their own website, “These virtual rocks have NO PURPOSE beyond being able to be bought and sold, and giving you a tremendous sense of pride in being an owner of 1 of the only 100 rocks in the game :)” EtherRocks have no intrinsic worth or purpose.

That hasn’t stopped people from paying astronomical amounts to buy a piece of the supply. Justin Sun, the founder of Tron, recently purchased one of these JPEGs for nearly $500,000, which he customized with “laser eyes” for use on Twitter.

What is it about EtherRocks that makes it so expensive?

So, what motivates such a high level of value? EtherRock has been around since 2017 on the Ethereum blockchain, and it’s making a comeback alongside other classics like Curio Cards and CryptoPunks.

The revolving supply of the rock adds to the appeal of having it. But, unfortunately, only 100 of these pebbles exist, making them one of the earliest and most valuable Ethereum assets.

But, despite the punks’ or rockers’ childish appearances, the industry isn’t all hilarity. VISA announced its first-ever NFT purchase yesterday, paying $166,000 to a pseudonymous NFT collector for CryptoPunk #7610, claiming the move was appropriate given the company’s entry into leading alternative assets.

The market for NFTs has become quite hot. It had a market capitalization of a few tens of millions of dollars in 2019.

This grew to more than $25 billion at the start of this year, with marketplaces like OpenSea bringing in more than $1 billion in August 2021 alone. Who’d have guessed pixel art would have its day?

ART & COLLECTABLES

Instagram Issues A Warning To A Colombian NFT Artist For Selling Cocaine NFTs

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NFTs have increased in popularity to the point where they are now one of the most well-known selling methods online. Due to the ease with which these NFTs may be minted, people are now selling photos of everything. People have sold everything from terrible rock photographs to NFTs. To a $250k Instagram influencer who is selling her love as an NFT. The NFT craze has even reached children. For example, 12-year-old Benjamin Ahmed made six figures selling an NFT series called Weird Whales that he designed.

There appears to be no limit to what can be marketed as NFTs on the Internet at this time. Camilo Restrepo, a Colombian artist, has now demonstrated no limit to what can be coined and sold as NFTs.

Cocaine NFT For Sale

Medellin-based On June 17th, Restrepo began minting and selling cocaine NFTs. The NFTs were 3D images of white rectangles offered as part of the NFTa series, dubbed “a ToN oF coke” by the artist. The white rectangles represented one-kilogram cocaine bundles, which are commonly used to sell hard drugs. Buyers also get to keep the cocaine packs’ NFTs. About 1,000 of these NFTs were produced by Restrepo and were intended to be sold as part of the same series.

Every “bag” of NFT cocaine that the artist sold was supposed to be documented on social media. Restrepo, on the other hand, quickly discovered that his main issue would be marketing. Specifically, he is using social media sites to advertise his art.

Every time the artist posted a sale of an NFT on platforms like Twitter, Restrepo would find that the post was soon after taken down or his account shut down. This happened after the artist had his account reported after posting the sale of cocaine NFT. Moving to Instagram, the artist ran into pretty much the same problem with the image-dominated social media platform.

Restrepo has already had two of his cocaine NFT posts removed. With a warning that if he made the third post, his account would be removed forever if it was taken down. As a result, the artiste’s social media promotion is practically impossible. “I guess the algorithm doesn’t get the difference between crypto cocaine and the actual thing,” the artist told Input Mag of the Instagram warning.

Money Laundering?

It has long been assumed that the widespread acceptance of NFTs is due to their use as a means of money laundering. In addition, cryptocurrencies have been linked to the illegal drug trade. As a result, Colombian banks have made it challenging to purchase cryptocurrency in the country. Although the artist devised a workaround by having the Ethereum used to pay for his NFTs returned to his buyers, who would then send Colombian pesos to his bank account in exchange for the cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Whale, a well-known crypto expert, brought attention to the usage of NFTs for money laundering last month. According to the analyst, wealthy people were merely utilizing these NFTs to shift their ill-gotten money through a channel that cleaned it up and made it look legal. Mr. Whale likened the approach to how money is laundered through the use of physical art. And it’s easy to see where the analyst is coming from, given the high quality of the art being sold for millions of dollars as NFTs.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

A YouTuber has Exchanged his Tesla Roadster for an NFT

“Looking back in a year, two years, or three years, this could be a monumentally idiotic decision, but it could also be a fantastic decision,” Dan Markham said.

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Dan Markham, the creator of the What’s Inside YouTube channel with seven million subscribers, has swapped his Tesla Roadster for a single nonfungible token.

Markham traded a blue Tesla Roadster — which he claimed may be worth “a quarter-million dollars pretty soon” — for a nonfungible token of a “positive porcupine” in a video posted to his What’s Inside Family channel on Sept. 15. The NFT was created as part of the VeeFriends project and is owned by Eli Burton, the creator of the graphic novel The Adventures of Starman.

“Looking back in a year, two years, three years, it may be a monumentally idiotic decision, but it could also be a fantastic decision. I feel these automobiles will hold their worth for a long time, and I am a firm believer in NFTs.”

YouTuber added:

“It’s a picture for a car — clearly he’s getting the better end of this deal.”

Before learning of Markham’s offer, Burton said he had planned to sell the digital painting for more than $100,000. But, according to the graphic novelist, trading the NFT for the car was “as simple as supply and demand,” as there were 10,000 tokens available at a starting price of $60,000 apiece. VeeFriends has a list of 40 porcupines that seem alike in a range of settings.

“Having it makes practically no difference in terms of money – whether it’s in a collector automobile or a collectible NFT — it’s still collectible,” Markham said.

Even though the two collectors exchanged NFTs on the blockchain, the transaction was primarily conducted in the real world, with Markham physically handing Burton the Tesla’s paper title and key. The porcupine is presently listed on OpenSea with a top bid of 16.339 Wrapped Ether (WETH) — around $56,445 at the time of publication — but Markham stated that he intends to keep the NFT in order to obtain access to a VeeFriends token holders-only conference.

NFTs have also been linked to physical collectibles by certain cryptocurrency users. For example, in July, an entrepreneur held simultaneous auctions for an Apple co-founder Steve Jobs job application and an NFT. The actual paper sold for $343,000, while the NFT received a final bid of 12 Ether (ETH), or $27,460 at the moment.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

NFTs Inspired by Freddie Mercury is Being Released to Benefit an AIDS Charity

On the 75th anniversary of his birth, the renowned musician is honored with a special NFT collection.

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Four digital collectible artworks inspired by the late Freddie Mercury will be auctioned soon. On what would have been the singer’s 75th birthday, the auction will take place.

Blake Kathryn, Chad Knight, Mat Maitland, and MBSJQ contributed artwork to the collectibles. SuperRare, a digital art marketplace, will host the timed auction. It will go live on September 20th and will last 75 hours, according to the organizers.

Furthermore, the auction earnings will benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity. The nonprofit was formed in remembrance of the singer by Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor and band manager Jim Beach.

Three of the NFTs in the collection feature images of the performer himself. The fourth image depicts a white grand piano with a crown on the seat and a goldfish pond in the background.

Both SupreRare and the charity linked the effort to Mercury’s inventiveness in a joint statement. “When Freddie Mercury died, he left the world an obvious artistic brief. ‘You can do whatever you want with my work as long as you don’t bore me.’

NFT Commemorations

The popularity and activity of the NFT market has exploded in the recent year. These digital collectibles took over key mainstream industries, resulting in the emergence of a digital metaverse. Some, such as Tether’s co-founder, predict that in the future, “every consumer product will have an NFT.”

Like the Freddie Mercury NFT, various examples of this technology have been deployed in space for commemorative and charitable objectives.

Beeple, a well-known digital artist, sold an NFT for $6 million and donated the earnings to the OpenEarth Foundation. Pele, a Brazilian footballer, also sold NFTs as digital trading cards and donated the proceeds to his charity.

NFTs also allow for the creation of a digital capsule or a remembrance of something or someone. For example, Russel Simmons and Snoop Dogg just released an NFT anthology honoring hip-hop music pioneers. Never-before-seen artwork and music from industry giants were featured in The Masterminds of Hip Hop.

Commemorative NFTs are popular outside of the music industry as well. Unreleased images of Kobe Bryant were put up for auction as NFTs in August. Bryant was photographed while he was an 18-year-old basketball player.

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