PARIS – In October, a collector’s edition of France’s favorite news brand, 20 Minutes, will appear as an NFT (non-fungible token). For the first time in France, a unique digital copy of a newspaper title will be sold during a charity auction organized in October by the PIASA auction house for the benefit of the International Federation of Journalists (Federation internationale des journalistes, or FIJ). It carries an estimate of €2,000-€3,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The six-page supplement, chosen by 20 Minutes users after an online vote, will take the form of a non-fungible token, including all the pages of the supplement in an image format, and certifying its authenticity. Published on January 13, 2020, two months before the arrival of COVID-19 on French soil, this prophetic issue explored the disenchantment of a society tested by end-of-the-world fantasies.
This auction will be the first of its kind organized in France, which requires that the digital representation of a work (such as an NFT), an intangible personal property, cannot be part, by itself, of a voluntary sale at public auction. Thus, 20 Minutes and the auction house PIASA will offer in addition to the complete digital version encapsulated in the NFT its physical counterpart, an offset printing plate featuring four pages of the supplement. They chose this approach as a way of affirming that virtual and physical productions can coexist and continue to exist, each in their own way, just as the Internet is deployed alongside the paper edition, which endures. This sale will also allow for the exploration of a new way of collecting. It will reach a new generation of collectors who are aware of the issues at stake in the world of virtual creation and are especially convinced of the notion of ownership of a digital object.
“Blockchain technology, through NFTs in particular, is revolutionizing the digital world. It seemed important to us to make this very obscure technology understood by the general public in the most didactic way possible. A gonzo journalism logbook was an efficient way to explain NFT without scaring the reader. Here, we don’t try to explain the purely technical aspect, but rather the applications of NFTs, to show what the world of tomorrow could look like,” said Laure Beaudonnet, 20 Minutes journalist, Futur(s) section.
Since its creation, and in particular through its Innovation/Futur(s) section, 20 Minutes has been exploring the near future by analyzing trends, innovations and indications from around the world. “It is very natural for 20 Minutes and its editorial staff to experiment with this type of development, particularly in a participatory mode with its readers. We are typically in a kind of practical exercise allowing readers to apprehend in all objectivity innovations sometimes far from daily life, but perhaps applicable in the near future”, underlines Frederic Daruty, president and director of 20 Minutes.
“PIASA is very proud to have been approached by the newspaper 20 Minutes to orchestrate this event that explores a new specificity of the art market. NFTs, reflecting a new digital generation and already recognized as works of art in their own right, will become an integral part of the history of art in the 21st century,” said Frederic Chambre, auctioneer and managing director of PIASA.
The current rate of exchange is €1 = $1.15.