Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, dressed like a medieval harlequin leaning against a velvet chair, stares past the viewer into the distance – that is, until he’s rocketed into the sky while ether’s price flashes on the screen. Ethereum is rallying, the image suggests.

A programmable version of the scene just described made records this weekend when a non-fungible representation sold for 260 ETH, or approximately $141,536.20. That’s the most paid, in dollar terms, for a work of crypto art to date, according to one of the painting’s co-creators, Trevor Jones.  

Not your average NFT. A collaboration between crypto artists Jones and Alotta Money, the digital painting “EthBoy,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Ethereum co-founder Buterin, uses new programmable technology called “layering” to remake itself daily.

  • An innovation enabled by the blockchain-based art market and platform Async Art, which EthBoy was released on, allows digital artworks to reflect external data and stimuli. EthBoy will change every day, “in response to external variables out of ours or anyone else's control,” Jones’ website reads.
  • “[A]s the months and years progress EthBoy on Async will become an artistic, visual representation of Ethereum relating to factors including price fluctuations, gas fees, an accessory layer connected to one of Vitalik's wallet address and even annual changes triggered by Vitalik’s birthday and the initial release of the Ethereum system,” the site continues.
  • The painting is the first such programmable art project released on Async, which launched in February and has since seen over $600,000 in artist sales.
  • The artwork is a 1/1, an industry term for a digital artwork that has only one official version. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, derive their value from cryptographically derived scarcity. The same underpinning that ensure each bitcoin is one of a kind and cannot be double spent can be applied to any digital object rendered as an NFT. 

More than ownership. Twitter user Maxstealth is now the owner of the unique painting, following a day-long auction. The sale can be observed here. But it’s more than a collector’s item, as the painting’s unique characteristics continue to yield revenue for its owner and creators. 

  • Twice a year, for the next five years, mini-animations based on the painting will be auctioned off as separate NFTs on the crypto marketplace OpenSea.
  • Each animation will consist of approximately 182 days of changes taking place between July 30, the anniversary of the Ethereum system release and Vitalik's birthday, Jan. 31. 
  • The profit on the sale of each work will be divided three ways between the two artists and the owner of the EthBoy NFT, with a “small amount” of the profit used to fund the further programmable development of the original, if necessary. 

Jones’ year. Jones made headlines earlier this year for his record-setting (at the time) release of “Picasso’s Bull.” Last month, his Batman-themed Genesis drop on MakersPlace sold for 302 ETH. While “EthBoy” only brought in 260 ETH, below Async’s largest sale of 263 to date, it is likely the most paid for a digital painting, in terms of price. 

  • “I think that's the largest NFT art sale to date,” Jones said in direct message. Meanwhile, co-creator Alotta Money tweeted: “I'm stunned and happy but stunned. Happy though. But stunned.”

See also: As Museums Go Dark, Crypto Art Finds Its Frame

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