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Just a year ago the only people that knew about NFTs were developers, artists, and a few nerds. Most did not see that much value, compared to ICO, Defi, and MeMe Tokens. Because we have been following a Digital Art Hacker and his collective TMFA we knew about NFTs but did not see it, other than gaming for Crypto Kitties, or fine art.
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When Beeple sold for 69 Million I was there listening to him sharing his journey. When a young man burned a Banksy and transferred it to NFT and it went for double of what they paid for the print we were there. We watched the Apes and the Lions and tried to keep up with Punks and Poets.
In 2020, the entire NFT market was worth a little more than $200 million. This year? More than $12 billion in digital assets traded hands by the end of August, and all the emerging industries are diving in! Hollywood and the music biz! Gucci fashion and big-league sports are investing in NFT projects. NBA Top Shot, — which packages basketball highlights into digital trading cards — has redefined the idea of what a collectible is in the digital age.
CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club are just a few of “Blue-chip” generative NFT collections. Punks are on avatars and in collections of innovators like (Jay-Z, Steve Aoki, Gary Vee, 3Lau, and Logan Paul who are some of the collectors.
Bored Ape Yacht Club (Post Malone, Steph Curry, Marshmallow and The Chainsmokers and of course Logan Paul (who will buy anything once, twice if it hurts), are all collectors.
These collectives have evolved from art projects into signifiers of membership in rarified clubs — complete with access to exclusive spaces and events.
Some of the biggest NFT artists are:
Beeple (Mike Winkelmann), 40
Highest sale: $69 million
First mint date: October, 2020
Where his fans hang: @Beeple Collectors on Discord
Above: Beeple's "Everydays: the First 5000 Days" NFT. Image courtesy the artist.
Before turning to NFTs, Beeple was already a pretty successful artist who had done commercial work for major brands and musicians including Justin Beiber and Wiz Khalifa. He’d also gathered an obsessed fanbase on Instagram with his “Everydays” project, in which he posted a (typically bizarre, satirical, and highly detailed) image every day since 2007. But in the pre-NFT-era, the most money he’d ever made selling prints of his work the traditional way was around $100. Just weeks after he discovered NFTs, he released his first drop, which included the tongue-in-cheek piece “Crypto Is Bull****” — an animation featuring a man in a Guy Fawkes riding a “bitcoin bull” in what appears to be the depths of hell. It sold for $66,666.66. Soon after, a collage of the first 5,000 drawings from his Everydays project was auctioned for $69 million at Christie’s, which remains the record for the most expensive NFT of all-time.
FEWOCiOUS (Victor Langloi), 18
Estimated total sales volume: 601 ETH
First mint date: November, 2020
Where his fans hang: @Fewocious on Discord
Tyler Hobbs, 34
Estimated total Sales Volume: 28,000 ETH
First mint date: June, 2021
Where his fans hang: @ArtBlocks on Discord
Pak, age unknown
Highest sale: $70 million
First mint date: August, 2020
Where his fans hang: @Archillect on Twitter
Above: Pak's collection "The Title" is meant to question whether or not art is a "visible thing." Image courtesy Pak.
The anonymous Pak, whose mysterious AI project Archillect scrapes the internet for “stimulating visual content,” has worked with hundreds of major brands and studios over the last two decades as a designer. In September, Pak’s “Lost Poets” — a collection of more than 65,000 “poets,” each of which doubles as a digital collectible that can be used in a forthcoming strategy game — sold out within two hours, earning around $70 million. Whoever Pak is, the image-maker has a button-pushing sensibility. At Sotheby’s first-ever NFT auction in April, Pak sold a piece called “The Pixel” — literally a single grey pixel — for $1.36 million. For a collection called “The Title,” Pak sold many versions of an identical digital cube with different titles and prices ranging from $1 to $1 million. (The mystery surrounding Pak is a big part of the appeal to fans, many of whom scour the work for hidden messages.)