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ART & COLLECTABLES

NFTs are Changing the Collectibles Market by Reimagining Art

The market is expected to mature as more professionals enter the NFT space, making digital art a part of traditional collectibles.

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Throughout history, art has served as the greatest source of inspiration for many people. Trends evolve faster than ever in the age of cryptocurrency and the digitized world. For years, a number of artists have attempted to enter increasingly evolving playgrounds and claim a piece of the pie, but now is their moment.

The NFT craze has swept the industry, transforming visual artists and influential meme makers into millionaires. It’s difficult to predict when this euphoria will fade, but we’ll almost certainly see more market records and exciting experiments in this field before the hype train ends.

From a few pennies to a fortune

The market cap of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, has grown nearly tenfold between 2018 and 2020, indicating rapid growth. From small forums to the oldest auction houses, the transition was lightning quick. Christie’s has foreseen the trend and has launched successful NFT sales after successful NFT sales. Various artworks and collectibles have fetched six-figure sums — and more. The artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, recently set a new world record by paying over $69 million for a JPEG file. Is it possible that this might have been expected a few decades ago?

Nine rare CryptoPunks NTFs will be auctioned off at the world-famous auction house on May 11. The auction house exclaimed, “For the first time, 5,184 pixels worth of a groundbreaking NFT project will go up for auction at a conventional auction house.” The overall selling price is expected to be between $7 million and $9 million, but it may be even higher, given that one of these tokens sold for $7.5 million in March.

The new boom in the NFT market is exemplified by CryptoPunks. Matt Hall and John Watkinson, founders of the New York-based software company Larva Labs, started the project by creating 10,000 24×24 pixel photographs of people. It’s hard to believe that the project’s creators gave these NFTs away for free to members of the crypto group. After half a year, the price has risen to several thousand dollars, and these collectibles are now being sold for millions of dollars. What drives people to spend the equivalent of a garage full of luxury cars on unusual pixel digital art?

The excitement stems from the growing importance of cryptocurrencies around the world, as well as the fact that these limited editions are among the first collectibles on the crypto market.

The motivations were demonstrated by Tatiana Stiskina, an art historian and adviser:

“Even before Christie’s announced their sale on May 11, I wanted to buy a CryptoPunk. As a result, my husband and I purchased it the day Christie’s revealed the sale. Since CryptoPunks are created using an algorithm, they are a deeper symbol not only of cryptoart, but also of the tech industry. The algorithms are idolized by those who brought us everything relevant to hi-tech and home theater.”

Getting to the bottom of NFT’s popularity

What makes NFT merchandise so attractive and unique? Blockchain is a game-changing technology that affects almost every industry. The ownership record cannot be falsified, and NFTs cannot be copied and pasted. These tokens, which are operated by distributed ledger technology, are nonreplicable and cannot be substituted, with only one owner at a time. Despite being labeled “nonfungible,” NFTs are liquid and can be bought or sold on Ethereum-based markets due to their interchangeable features and fungibility.

CryptoPunks were among the first NFTs, launching on the Ethereum blockchain in 2017. These tokens are nonfungible since they follow the ERC-721 protocol standard, which means they are one-of-a-kind and cannot be replaced by another.

Why are some tokens worth pennies, while others gain tens of thousands of dollars in value, and still others are worth millions? The price is determined by analyzing the rarity of unique qualities that are valued in the crypto art and culture. Despite the fact that CryptoPunks have been the forerunners in the field, there are other examples that can rival their success. This sector, like any other lucrative opportunity, has become overcrowded with sharks looking to profit from the situation by defrauding customers and collectors. This pattern is unsurprising when you consider that the overall volume of NFT transactions quadrupled to $250 million last year.

A glimpse into the future

It’s impossible to say how long the anchor of NFTs will continue to entice wealthy investors. Some believe the bubble would burst sooner than the initial coin offering craze did. Right now, a fresh perspective combined with good taste can be able to make a difference and improve things. A new ship would arrive at the NFT’s blockchain harbor, promising such transformations.

The crypto world went nuts last week over a new NFT collectible project — The Bored Ape Yacht Club, a group of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs living on the Ethereum blockchain — of one-of-a-kind digital collectibles that sold out on the primary market. This is an exciting project that tries to incorporate gamification and group elements, and it will be fascinating to see where it goes from here.

After just a few days, the Ksoids project, which debuted on April 22 as an NFT project, rocketed to the top of the OpenSea rankings. Over 900 of the 1,000 tickets were sold, but some are still available at auction. Ksoids are algorithmically unique creatures whose breath of fresh air and best-in-class imagination did not go unnoticed by digital art lovers, collectors, fans, and investors, calling it a true indie project. Ksoids are the first generative art of 3D characters who not only build their own world but also assist in the protection of ours. Orangutan Outreach, a charitable organization dedicated to saving orangutans in their natural habitat, will receive 20% of each sale.

The new Larva Labs NFT range has been the talk of the crypto world in recent days, with the public sale selling out in hours. A custom generative algorithm recorded on the Ethereum blockchain creates the Meebits, which are 20,000 unique 3D voxel characters. Larva Labs made a whopping $72,976,613 from the public offering, according to data from Dune Analytics.

What’s behind the digital collectibles craze?

Any new record in a highly speculative market becomes less remarkable than the previous one. People would still be able to pay exorbitant sums of money for experimental ideas simply to satisfy their curiosity or to stand out from the crowd.

NFTs are seen by some high-profile investors as a way to diversify their crypto portfolios and shape new types of elite clubs, and the majority of new market participants believe that digital art will become extremely expensive in the future. The only logical next step is for the market to mature and progress, as well as for professionals to step in and set quality standards.

ART & COLLECTABLES

The Ethereum Metaverse’s NFT Real Estate Sells for a Record $913K

For Ethereum-based open world crypto metaverse game Decentraland, Republic Realm establishes a new all-time high-value LAND sale.

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In the open-world metaverse game Decentraland, a virtual plot of land sold as an NFT for a record amount: more than $913,000, based on the price of the game’s Ethereum-based MANA money at the time.

For 1,295,000 MANA, the estate NFT, also known as a LAND token in the game, was sold. According to NonFungible’s data, this is the highest-valued LAND sale to date in terms of money. However, sales for greater MANA have occurred in the past when the currency was significantly less valuable. In November 2018, the record was set with 2,772,000 MANA, which was valued little under $211,000 at the time.

Republic Realm, a firm that invests in virtual real estate in crypto games, has claimed the new record purchase. Republic Realm is a division of Republic, an online investment platform that itself has notable investors, including AngelList, Binance, and Galaxy Interactive. Republic Realm has not yet disclosed how it plans to utilize the Decentraland estate, which is located in the game’s Dragon Kingdom district.

The business tweeted, “We can’t wait to disclose our enormous plans for this estate.” “We are more committed than ever to constructing and expanding the metaverse.”

Decentraland is an Ethereum-based online metaverse where players can freely explore the realm, engage with other players, and play games. The 3D game resembles a hybrid of virtual world pioneer Second Life and blocky sensation Minecraft, but with a blockchain-based twist of actual item ownership and a player-driven economy.

Decentraland isn’t the only blockchain-based game that revolves around digital land plots marketed as NFTs. Other Ethereum-based games that have made millions of dollars selling virtual real estate include The Sandbox and Axie Infinity.

In this example, Decentraland shattered an estate sale record set only a few weeks prior. Boson, a blockchain protocol, said earlier this month that it had purchased a Decentraland estate in the game’s valuable Vegas City sector for roughly $704,000, with ambitions to develop a virtual shop to market its decentralized infrastructure products.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Tezos Joins McLaren Racing as a Blockchain and NFT Partner

McLaren Racing has announced a multi-year technical agreement to develop the NFT fan experience platform on Tezos, an energy-efficient blockchain network.

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Tezos has been named as McLaren Racing’s Official Blockchain Partner in a new multi-year technological cooperation spanning Formula 1, INDYCAR, and esports, according to a press release.

McLaren will establish a non-fungible token platform with a focus on the fan experience, using the energy-efficient and upgradeable Tezos network.

Tezos NFTs

Tezos is an open-source asset and application blockchain that is constantly expanding and upgrading itself through efficient on-chain governance.

McLaren will create a specialized platform that will bring together its illustrious racing history and famous driver lineups across all of its teams to provide an unsurpassed NFT fan experience.

Tezos and McLaren believe that innovation is the key to long-term success. By embracing clean NFTs and energy-efficient networks, the impact of this new medium for sharing creative expression will not be diluted by excessive energy usage.

Tezos’ pioneering Proof of Stake mechanism is a substantially more energy-efficient technique to securing its network than typical Proof of Work blockchains, consuming two million times less energy than Proof of Work networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This enables Tezos to run in an environmentally friendly manner, with little energy use and a low carbon impact.

Teams With Tezos Branding

Tezos will be represented across the McLaren Formula 1 and Arrow McLaren SP teams as part of the agreement, including on the race suits of McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Riccardo, as well as AMSP drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

“Tezos and McLaren Racing joining forces to build a unique fan-focused NFT platform is an exciting and quickly evolving industry,” said Lindsey Eckhouse, McLaren Racing’s Director of Licensing, eCommerce, and esports.

She went on to say that the new relationship allows McLaren to enter a market where fans can own essential components of the team, and that the firm is excited to launch the platform with Tezos to create bespoke NFTs with our Formula 1, INDYCAR, and esports teams.

In the meantime, Hubertus Thonhauser, Chair of the Tezos Foundation, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that McLaren Racing has opted to extend their NFT fan interaction platform to the Tezos blockchain, as it has one of the longest and most prestigious legacies in Formula One racing.”

“Blockchain as a concept is changing, getting faster, more secure, and more efficient,” he continued. This necessitates a blockchain capable of keeping up with the current rate of innovation. Tezos, the first and fastest-evolving blockchain, stays at the vanguard of innovation, providing real-world solutions in a robust and fast-growing ecosystem as brands explore for new ways to engage with their fans.”

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ART & COLLECTABLES

The Original Code of the World Wide Web Will Be Auctioned as an NFT by Sotheby’s

The luxury auction house Sotheby’s announced on Tuesday that it will auction off a non-fungible token containing the original source code for the World Wide Web next month.

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Digital files such as music, video, and artifacts are represented by NFTs, which are one-of-a-kind collectibles. On June 23, the NFT for the code, which was created by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, will go on sale, with bids starting at $1,000. Berners-Lee has signed this NFT, which includes his original time-stamped files.

“What is the purpose of an NFT? It’s a natural thing to do when you’re a computer scientist and you’ve been writing code for a long time.” He went on to say, “It feels natural to digitally sign my autograph on a purely digital item.”

The NFT also includes an animated visualization of the code, a letter written by Berners-Lee about the code and his process of creating it, and a digital “poster” of the entire code generated from the original files using Python, which includes a graphic of his physical signature and is all digitally signed.

The NFT files comprise around 9,555 lines of code, which incorporate components of the three languages and one protocol established by Berners-Lee: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) (Uniform Resource Identifiers).

Berners-Lee said in a statement, “Three decades ago, I built something that, with the subsequent cooperation of a great number of partners around the world, has been a significant weapon for humankind. NFTs, whether they are artworks or digital artefacts like this, are the most recent playful creations in this area, as well as the most acceptable method of ownership. They’re the perfect method to package the origins of the internet.”

The entire sale earnings will go to causes that Berners-Lee and his wife support.

The auction is Sotheby’s third featuring NFTs. In April, the auction house sold its first NFT by unknown digital artist Pak, and only last week, it sold its second NFT, a rare CryptoPunk, for nearly $12 million.

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