Mike Winkelmann, the digital artist known as Beeple, is under no illusions.
“I think it’s a bubble,” he said of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on CoinDesk TV a day after his tokenized collage, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” sold for $69.3 million. “If it’s not a bubble now, I do believe it probably will be a bubble at some point because there’s just so many people rushing into this space.”
That said, he thinks NFTs will have staying power beyond their current moment of “irrational exuberance.”
“It has such a huge potential to be a very transformative technology,” he said, pointing to examples beyond digital art. “I was really all-in since October.”
NFTs have skyrocketed in value in recent months, with “Everydays” now enjoying the company of some of the most expensive pieces of art in the world. The most expensive painting ever sold was a Leonardo da Vinci that went for $450.3 million in 2017.
Beeple told CoinDesk the buyer of his piece will be revealed soon, and that he’s working with the buyer to figure out ways to display the NFT in the real world. He mentioned options such as putting it on large screens in public, making a big print for the buyer’s house or projecting it onto a building at Art Basel.
The buyer was initially reported to be Tron founder Justin Sun, but as CoinDesk first reported Thursday, Sun was actually beaten by a last-minute bid.
Beeple said Friday the sale was made in ether, the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain.
“I probably will keep a percentage of it in ether,” he said. “How much of that, I’m going to be honest, I haven’t really given it that much thought.”
Beeple said he plans to invest his earnings from the record-breaking sale in making bigger and cooler art projects that take more time and resources. “Everydays” was a mosaic of posts he has been making daily since 2007.
“I look at the people collecting this work as investors,” he said. “I want those people to get a return on their investment. It’s good for them and it’s good for me if their artwork goes up in value.”
And despite NFTs being seen as a way to fundamentally change the economics of the art world, Beeple seemed skeptical.
"I was not making this work for the money,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t think it will democratize the art world that much.”
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