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Christie’s artwork specialist Noah Davis

Digital artist Beeple is “a rich man” after his non-fungible token sold for nearly $ 70 million, Noah Davis, a post-war and contemporary art specialist at Christie’s, told CNBC on Thursday.

Davis made the comments in an interview on “Power Lunch” after the bidding window at Christie’s closed on Thursday. Beeples NFT – a collage of images titled “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” – sold for $ 69,346,250, according to Christie’s. Mike Winkelmann is Beeple’s real name.

The buyer of Winkelmann’s creation is given “essentially a long string of numbers and letters,” explained Davis of Christie’s CNBC. “It’s a code that is on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s a block on the chain that is put into your Ethereum wallet.”

“You will also get a gigantic JPEG. A massive, high-resolution JPEG. It’s a hundred megabytes,” Davis added.

In a tweet, the auction house said the selling price had positioned Winkelmann as “among the three most valuable living artists”. Christie’s was the first major auction house to sell an all-digital work of art.

“Mike Winkelmann is a rich man today,” Davis told CNBC. “He’s always been spiritually rich. … I’m really proud of him.”

Sales of NFTs, which are blockchain-based assets, have grown in popularity recently, ranging from basketball highlights to the very first Twitter post to a tens of millions of dollars worth of all-digital artwork.

NFTs are stored in digital wallets and are unique in design. This scarcity, proponents say, is critical to its value. Ownership of each NFT is recorded on a blockchain network, the digital ledgers, which also support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Winkelmann tried to explain the rise of NFTs in a CNBC interview last month.

“There are a couple of different analogies I like to use. One of them is the Mona Lisa. Anyone can take a picture of the Mona Lisa, but that doesn’t mean you own the Mona Lisa,” Winkelmann then said, referring to the icon portrait painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Squawk Alley interview was held on February 25th, the day its NFT opened for listings at Christie’s.

“Another one I like to use is like MP3s. You can have a copy of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, but … you won’t be able to convince people that you have the master recordings of ‘Thriller’. “Winkelmann said. “You can still have copies of digital art online and anyone can view it, but the blockchain, the NFT, is what proves that one person owns it.”

Some people see the NFT craze as temporary and believe that ownership of the digital assets will eventually become less attractive and their values ​​will drop sharply.

At least in terms of the fact that NFTs are viewed as art, Davis said the sale of Winkelmann’s work was a milestone.

“I don’t think it’s a one-off, and I think this is an endorsement of the collectible category,” said Davis. “NFTs are clearly more than just an emerging, emerging collection space.”

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