The first NFT, a digital object with certified ownership, ever created is on sale at Sotheby’s, symbol of an ongoing revolution in the art market and beyond.
“Quantum”, by New York artist Kevin McCoy, is an octagon-shaped animation, which became the first work to be associated with an NFT-type certificate of ownership (the term was not coined until 2017 ), in May 2014.
“Non-fungible tokens” or non-fungible tokens are certificates of ownership associated with a digital object, whether it is an image, video, animation, photo, sound or text.
“In 10 years, when we look back (…) this work could symbolize the start of something quite revolutionary,” said Max Moore, vice-president in charge of contemporary art at Sotheby’s in New York.
No official estimate for “Quantum”, which had already reached $ 140,000 Friday the day after the start of the online sale, which will end on June 10.
“I fell in love with bitcoin in early 2013 and I became interested in the ideas that revolved around it,” says Kevin McCoy, 54-year-old multi-media artist, pioneer of a world that today generates several hundred million dollars in transactions per month.
Cryptocurrency, bitcoin works, like NFTs, on so-called blockchain technology, which authenticates transactions, from virtual currency exchanges to sales of digital objects.
With the help of computer scientists, Kevin McCoy even designed his own platform for the exchange of certified digital objects, called Monograph and no longer present.
The Brooklyn artist’s new project had received a fairly fresh welcome back then.
“There was a lot of misunderstanding,” recalls Kevin McCoy. The traditional art world “struggled to understand the system and what was on offer”, while the cryptocurrency world “was not interested in the issue of digital art”.
The jack-of-all-trades even said he got tired of preaching and gave up on NFTs for a while, before coming back last year.
Today, he is enthusiastic about the explosion of this universe, which is still, for him, at the “beginning”.
After the sale of an NFT work for 69.3 million dollars in March, what price to expect from the very first object created in this format? “It’s terra incognita”, estimates Kevin McCoy, for whom it is “a big test”.
The sale also includes the first intelligent NFT (iNFT), a virtual character, Alice, who can interact with her future owner using artificial intelligence.
Another flagship lot, a rare “Cryptopunk”, from a series of virtual creatures, which could reach several million dollars.