NEW YORK – Anyone wondering where the art market is headed, or what the “next big thing” might be, witnessed a compelling preview on May 12 as Codex Protocol hosted a 10-lot charity auction of “crypto-art.” The live auction was part of a larger event, the Ethereal Summit, which took place at the Knockdown Center in New York’s Queens borough, with online participation through LiveAuctioneers.
Charity auction for Foundation for Arts & Blockchain sees 80% of winners bidding online, paying in cryptocurrency
Featuring donated pieces of art from organizations in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, the mini auction grossed an astonishing $192,350. Of that amount, $154,750 in winning bids came in via the Internet through Codex Protocol partner LiveAuctioneers, which also offered the option of payment with cryptocurrency via a partnership with Codex Protocol. No buyer’s premium applied.
Works purchased online included the top lot of the evening: a custom-made CryptoKitty (shown at top of page) designed by CryptoKitties Director of Art Guilherme Twardowski. Titled Celestial Cyber Dimension CryptoKitty, the exclusive graphic digital ERC-721 token based on the wildly popular CryptoKitties blockchain game had been estimated at $25,000-$30,000. Fierce competition and 41 bids pushed it to $140,000.
CryptoKitties are one-of-a-kind virtual creatures that cannot be replicated or destroyed. Each is the unique property of its owner. However, two CryptoKitties can be “bred” to create one-of-a-kind digital offspring. The $140,000 CryptoKitty sold in the auction came with a tangible bonus: a three-dimensional statuette with a private key implanted inside.
An Andy Boot black-and-white acrylic and print on canvas artwork titled white paper (IOTA) 2 was inspired by the decentralized organization of blockchains. Boot’s work is found in many private and public collections, primarily in Europe. His entry in the Codex Protocol auction sold to a LiveAuctioneers bidder for $5,500.
Also won online for $5,500, Frank Wilder’s Dead Benji Sculpture, a 3D printing measuring 15 by 11 by 7 inches, was created as part of the artist’s “Cash is Dead” collection. The theme of “money art” is a pop-culture trend that has been embraced by many artists using the hundred-dollar bill and Benjamin Franklin as their main influence. With the rise of digital currencies, Wilder’s “Cash is Dead” collection foretells a time in the not-so-distant future when physical money would be obsolete.
LiveAuctioneers delivered strong underbidders on all 10 lots. An online suitor stayed the course to $7,500 on a Kevin Abosch artist’s proof for Stealing The Contents Of This Wallet Is A Crime before deferring to a bidder in the room who went to $8,500. Similarly, an online underbidder at $7,500 was narrowly edged out by a room bidder who upped the ante to win HODL, Cryptograffiti’s serigraph homage to Robert Indiana printed on a used bank money bag. It sold for $8,000.
The 10 artworks offered in the history-making auction became the first to be added to Codex Protocol’s blockchain, a decentralized title registry for the art and collectibles ecosystem. Each successful bidder also received a Codex title providing them with an accurate and immutable record of the product’s provenance and authenticity.
“Auction houses see the buying power of newly crypto-wealthy collectors,” said Phil Michaelson, president of LiveAuctioneers. “The benefits of accepting cryptocurrency are so overwhelming that auction houses are signing up for this new LiveAuctioneers solution immediately. Auction houses enjoy the extra layer of security that comes with having the seamless cryptocurrency escrow system that we designed with Codex Protocol. At the same time, high-net-worth cryptocurrency holders can bid anonymously without having to reveal personal financial details and can pay in their preferred currency. It’s a win-win.”
Tens of thousands of items are now available for bidding with cryptocurrency on LiveAuctioneers from auction houses like I.M. Chait, Palm Beach Modern Auctions, Millea Brothers, and Seized Assets Auctioneers.
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