The artwork by the host of “The Joy of Painting” is one of five inaugural collectibles being sold as non-fungible tokens on Wednesday to mark the launch of Otis House, an auction platform that turns physical collectibles into NFTs.
The Bob Ross NFT is of an Alaskan mountain scene that Ross painted in 1971 during his time in the military before he rose to fame. It was first listed on Tuesday evening, and its current high bid is 1 ETH, or just under $4,000. The physical painting is owned by Otis, which it acquired for the drop.
Otis House is a subsidiary of Otis, a company that sells fractionalized shares of digital and physical collectibles.
A professionally graded LeBron James rookie card, a 1993 Matt Groening “Simpsons” collectible and an original copy of Super Mario Bros 3 are among the other items up for auction, with all five inaugural auctions ending on Dec. 19.
Otis House mints NFTs based on physical items sent in by collectors, which then act as proof of ownership. The collectibles themselves are vaulted and insured by Otis House, which destroys the NFTs when their owners request the physical items be returned.
The NFTs can be traded on public NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, allowing collectors to transfer ownership of their goods without having to deal with the logistics attached to their storage.
The service functions similar to a vault or lockbox at a bank, but its connection to a blockchain is the latest example of NFT technology in a practical use case.
The concept of merging digital ownership with physical items is gaining traction in certain niche collectible markets. Blockbar, an NFT marketplace founded in June, allows users to trade NFTs of valuable whiskey bottles that represent their real-life equivalents.
“When it comes to really expensive collectibles, a lot of owners prefer to keep them in vaults or safes, even if they’re insured,” Michael Karnjanaprakorn, founder of Otis, told CoinDesk in an interview. “The idea that you’d want to have something to represent the item, like an NFT, only makes sense. It may be new now, but I can imagine it becoming the standard for the larger collectibles world.”
UPDATE (Dec. 16, 23:36 UTC): Added ownership information and updated highest bid in third paragraph.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.