More Than Just Digital Art
Tatler Malaysia|October 2021
We speak to two NFT experts and a digital artist to understand why NFTs are here to stay and the potential they hold beyond the realm of digital art
Chong Jinn Xiung

In March 2021, the artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, sold a non-fungible token (NFT) of his digital artwork at Christie’s auction for a whopping US$69 million. According to the auction house, the sale of the collage titled Everyday: The First 5000 Days catapulted him to rank among the top three most valuable living artists.

Before the sale of Beeple’s artwork, the earliest and most notable use of NFT was CryptoKitties, a virtual cat that can be purchased, collected, bred, and sold. One of the most expensive NFTs ever sold was a CryptoKitty called Dragon, which was sold for 600 Ethereums (ETH), estimated at US$1.8 million today.

Artists in Malaysia have also been quick to catch on to the NFT trend. In August, graffiti artist Katun sold two NFT collections titled Apes Stand Strong and Mystical Fruits for a total of 127.6 ETH, or US$408,000. The combined sale of the pieces makes them the most expensive NFTs sold by a Malaysian artist. Not too long ago, contemporary artist Red Hong Yi sold her piece titled Doge To The Moon in an online auction for 36.3 ETH, which is valued at US$116,000.

WHERE NFTS CAME FROM

According to Dinis Guarda, a serial entrepreneur who specializes in blockchain, fintech, and artificial intelligence, “Originally, NFT was created on the Ethereum blockchain as a way for developers to interact among themselves, but along the way, they discovered NFTs could be used for digital certification.”

Guarda says the sudden explosion in interest around NFTs in late 2020 was unexpected. It’s worth noting that in the first quarter of 2021, NFT sales volume soared to US$2.5 billion.

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