Beeple, Everydays: The First 5,000 Days, Christie’s.

Christie’s Auction & Private Sales, or simply Christie’s, auctioned Beeple‘s piece, Everydays: The First 5,000 Days, from Feb. 25 to March 11. But it wasn’t until the final hour that the frenzy surrounding the auction truly climaxed. In the final hour of the auction, more than 180 bids flooded in and Beeple’s record-breaking digital work of art sold for $69.3 million or around 42,329.45 Ether (ETH). This sale marks the largest amount ever paid for a non-fungible token (NFT). It is also the third most expensive work by a living artist sold at an auction behind pieces by Jeff Koons and David Hockney.


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Everything about 5,000 Days seems to be ground-breaking. Not only was Christie’s the first house to offer an NFT work of art, but accepting cryptocurrency as a payment option was also a first. Metapurse, the anonymously run Singapore-based crypto fund started by Metakovan, made the ultimate winning bid for 5,000 Days. And the NFT fund isn’t going to stop there. Exceptional artwork requires exceptional measures. Metapurse’s next step? Build a virtual museum to house and display Beeple’s artwork. 

“We hope to work with some of the best architects on the planet to design something truly worthy of this masterpiece,” Metapurse steward Twobadour Paanar said, speaking on behalf of the company and Metakovan.

With a virtual museum, Beeple’s digital collage will be available for audiences to experience wherever they are in the world. The public will have access to the artwork through any internet browser, and the piece will also be available using virtual reality headsets, offering a truly immersive experience. Metakovan and Paanar are pushing the boundaries of what we’ve always known museums to look like. The pair plan to build an expansive virtual museum that will display many of the other NFTs that they have accumulated. But according to Pannar, the first step is to build a fitting monument for 5,000 Days.

This moment feels significant in many ways. In recent years, the value of crypto-traded NFT art has soared, slowly transforming the art market. But other artists are also becoming interesting in NFT as a new medium. In the art world, this sale is bringing together two distinct worlds: the traditional and the digital, Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti said in a statement. “The possibilities for what comes next in this field are inspiring and we look forward to more collaborative innovations in the near future,” he went on to explain.


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And indeed, one can only look at the future with curiosity. The Metapurse investors believe in the metaverse – the idea that we will increasingly live in a realistic digital realm “like the worlds from The Matrix and Ready Player One,” Forbes staff writer Abram Brown explains. Since the beginning of the pandemic, museums have already started going in that direction. Many have increased their digital presence and museums are increasingly using augmented reality to display artworks online and offer a total immersion. Traditional museums are already expanding their reach and dabbling in the virtual world. But could we start seeing virtual museums being build from the ground up – with no longer any physical anchor?

There are benefits to solely existing online. According to Noah Davis, the specialist in charge of the first NFT auction at Christie’s, the sale of 5,000 Days, a completely digital artwork, revealed the opportunity to cut costs for auction houses who would no longer face expenses for storing, handling, cataloging, photographing, and insuring a physical work of art. After the success of the 5,000 Days sale, the auction house will “definitely” offer more NFTs in the future, Davis says. And the same success could be true for museums. 


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Could virtual museums change the special relationship that collectors and audiences hold with artworks? These are questions that come with such technological turning points. But what is certain is that museums need to reinvent themselves to survive the financial hit that the COVID-19 pandemic brought on. As more and more industries are ditching the brick-and-mortar model, we will most likely see museums and art institutions try the same. That being said, many of our favorite artworks will remain hanging on the wall for us to see for many years to come. The Mona Lisa isn’t going anywhere quite yet.

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