The non-fungible token (NFT) craze has spread into the worlds of mainstream comedy, Cubist art and literature – and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
The phenomenon has either been embraced or ridiculed by one of Britain’s top comedians, who responded to the boom in digital art by claiming that his “alter-ego” had a “bridge to sell” buyers, auctioning off a line drawing of Brooklyn Bridge not unlike the scribblings of a five-year-old, on the OpenSea platform.
The work, by Monty Python founder John Cleese, aka “Unknown Artist,” has already seen three bids submitted – the largest of which was worth over USD 35,828 – although he claimed that he would close the bidding if an offer of USD 69,346,250.50 was submitted – breaking the digital artist Beeple’s recently set record for an NFT/digital-only art sale.
Hello! It is time you meet my alter ego “Unnamed Artist” I’m delighted to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime.… https://t.co/ShIvabwIqD
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese)
But away from the satire, the serious business of trading NFTs is exploring all sorts of new avenues. In the world of magazine publishing, the seminal American title Time – famous globally for its front covers – is auctioning a number of plain-black NFTs on the SuperRare platform asking “Is ___ Dead?”
One of the series, an original piece asking rather pertinently if fiat has gone the way of the dodo, has received a bid of over USD 19,000. A Friedrich Nietzsche-inspired title, which was actually published in 1966, meanwhile, is yet to attract a single bid.
The word “fiat” is not as commonly used word in American culture as God and Truth, but it certainly affects every global citizen, Time wrote.
“I love the idea that it’s meaning isn’t clear to the casual viewer – much like the crazy, lucrative world of NFTs,” Time Creative Director D.W. Pine, who created the new “Is Fiat Dead?” cover, is quoted as saying in the article.
Elsewhere, the Mintable confirmed it has collaborated with the family of the Russian/Ukrainian-French painter Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine (1888-1944) to “auction off a 96-year-old original painting by the artist, one of the leading lights of the Cubism movement of the interwar years, with an accompanying NFT.
The artist’s works were exhibited alongside Picasso’s in the 1920s, and a Baranoff-Rossine piece is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
“The original 96 year old piece titled ‘Abstract Composition’ will be auctioned off as a digital NFT and the actual original painting will be mailed to the highest bidder.”
We are extremely happy to announce…
— Mintable (@mintable_app)
And the NFT-art tie-in has even led the iconic Guggenheim Museum, also in New York, to begin searching for interns who will explore the link between crypto, blockchain technology, NFTs, and the art world.
In an official posting, the museum said it would launch a project that involves an “evaluation of NFT-based art, a nascent, fast-growing, highly scalable area of the art world,” and answer the questions:
“How will blockchain and cryptocurrency change how a museum defines its collection strategy? In what ways should the Guggenheim extend into a digital experience?”
Famous authors also want in. Anand Giridharadas, a former McKinsey consultant and New York Times columnist, and the author of the book Winners Take All, took to Twitter to announce he would be selling a previously unpublished version of the work, as well as unused cover art, all in NFT form. He called the auction, also on OpenSea “an experiment.” and added:
“I’m excited and nervous to share this.”
And, today, bidding closed on a piece of internet history, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever post on the social media platform. A bid of ETH 1,631 (USD 2.9m) placed by the Bridge Oracle chief Sina Estavi won the competition. He outbid Tron (TRX)’s Justin Sun for the NFT earlier this month.
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(Updated at 17:58 UTC: updates in the last paragraph.)