In brief

  • A collection of NFT artwork by digital artist Beeple is being auctioned at Christie's.
  • Bidding reached $1 million within 10 minutes of the art going on sale.

Bidding on a collection of NFT artwork by popular digital artist Beeple hit $1 million within just 10 minutes of going on sale. The artworks are being sold at auction house Christie's in its first-ever sale of purely digital artwork.

So far, there have been 110 bids and the current bidding price is $1.1 million. With 14 days remaining until the auction closes, the price could yet climb higher.

Christie's is also embracing digital assets as a form of payment. For this auction, Christie's is accepting bids in Ethereum, although its fee will need to be paid in fiat currency.

The collection of digital art is called “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” and is described as an accumulative piece highlighting the artist’s journey creating artwork for the past 13 years. It features the image below, which is an amalgamation of thousands of images. It also contains 10 pieces of art, each with Beeple's creative mix of fantasy worlds and iconic characters.

Beeple art on sale
The collection is called EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS. Image: Beeple.

The NFT art boom

Beeple is currently the top-earning crypto artist, according to Crypto Art, with $20.2 million of total sales to date, across 824 pieces of digital art.

The digital art on sale takes the form of a non-fungible token (NFT). These are unique digital assets that provide ownership over digital items, such as art or in-game items. They are typically held on the Ethereum blockchain, although other blockchains such as Flow also support NFTs.

Although this is the first purely digital NFT that Christie's has sold, it's not the first NFT to go under the hammer. Last October, Christie's auctioned off a “portrait” of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, made up of large circular canvases inscribed with Bitcoin data. While the artwork itself was physical, it was accompanied by an NFT, with the pair eventually selling for over $130,000.

At the time, it was a record price tag for an NFT, though since then the market has exploded; in February 2021 it was revealed that over $80 million in crypto art had been sold to date, while earlier this week a piece by Beeple was resold for $6.6 million.