Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun has contributed $6 million to the Open Earth Foundation in the form of a closely fought auction to buy a piece of carbon-neutral digital art by the current star of the show, Beeple.
CarbonDrop, the three-day auction of non-fungible token (NFT) artworks, raised a total of $6,662,054 from eight artists, kick-starting a monthlong awareness campaign for Open Earth, the climate accounting and technology project spun out of Yale University, and culminating on Earth Day (April 22).
It turned out the CarbonDrop auction would not be a repeat of an NFT sale hosted by Christie’s earlier this month when Justin Sun was outbid at the eleventh hour and failed to clinch Beeple’s “EVERYDAYS” artwork, which sold for a cool $69 million.
“I am so thrilled to have won Beeple’s art work OCEAN FRONT,” Sun, the founder of Tron, told CoinDesk via email. “Not only am I now the owner of an art piece from the most sought-after NFT artist of our time, but I get to support the leading agenda of our time, which is climate change.”
NFT art, which typically uses the Ethereum blockchain to create title deeds to digitally rendered pictures and animation, has exploded in popularity, leading some artists to question the energy consumption of the underlying blockchain – hence the carbon-neutral fundraising auction for Open Earth.
The CarbonDrop sale, an idea originated by the Social Alpha Foundation, and backed by Nifty Gateway and RNDR, saw an array of bidders including DJ Calvin Harris and bullish Tesla investor Cathie Wood taking part. Before the first bid was cast, the auction received the blessing of Christiana Figueres, the former secretary of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and architect of the Paris Agreement.
Although Sun was forced to battle down to the wire to win the Beeple auction, he said it was “not about winning,” adding that “supporting the fight against climate change initiative is priceless.”
Sun said he plans to collect more NFTs.
“Right now I’m interested in bridging traditional artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet into the NFT world,” he said.