Sotheby’s Sells $11.8M ‘Alien’ CryptoPunk NFT

Sotheby’s recently announced, an extremely rare “Alien” CryptoPunk sold for $11.8 million, setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk, one of the most coveted and recognizable works of digital art coming out of the NFT movement. The CryptoPunk was acquired by Shalom Mackenzie, the largest shareholder of DraftKings

On offer from the collection of pseudonymous crypto evangelist and NFT collector Sillytuna, the result for the masked Alien #7523 drove the ‘white-glove sale total for Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale to $17.1 million, with all 28 works selling and setting an additional 14 artist records.

Sotheby's Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale

Created by Larva Labs in 2017, Alien #7523 is 1 of only 9 Alien Cryptopunks – the only one with a mask – and was released as part of the original edition of 10,000 unique CryptoPunks that were initially free to acquire for anyone with an ETH wallet. Since their release, Cryptopunks has become known as the ultimate synthesis of this crypto aesthetic, and reflect not just the philosophies of pseudonymity, community and tradability that the blockchain ecosystem so highly prizes, but also the elegant simplicity of the system.  Sillytuna will also donate a portion of its proceeds to programs that support the CryptoPunk community as well as to organizations involved with COVID relief efforts across the world.

Fact & Figures for Natively Digital:

  • Nearly 70% of buyers and more than 75% of bidders new to Sotheby’s
  • 49% of bidders under 40
  • 1,300+ total bids across the sale
  • Within the first hour of the sale opening for bidding, there were over 600 bids placed from more than 80 bidders on all 28 lots. 
  • Bidders from 28 different countries spanning North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. 
  • 14 artist records

Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Specialist, commented: “The concept for Natively Digital was born out of wanting to take a curatorial approach to the history of NFTs as digital art, as well as to showcase the breadth of artists working in the medium since it was first introduced about seven years ago.

With today’s results, I think the concept proved very successful in featuring many of the artists who are at the forefront of this movement, as well as spotlighting the diverse spectrum of artists contributing to the rich NFT community. Led by the record-breaking result for the masked Alien, Natively Digital showed that there remains strong demand at all levels of the market for NFTs, and we are excited to continue to explore new and interesting ways in presenting these cutting-edge works.”

Natively Digital was also highlighted by one of the most historically significant artworks of the NFT movement, Quantum, by leading new media artist Kevin McCoy, which was acquired by @Sillytuna for $1,472,000. Universally regarded as the first NFT ever created, the animated Quantum is timestamped 05-03-2014 09:27:34 and was created during a Rhizome conference where McCoy created what he and his collaborator, Anil Dash, called at the time ‘monetized graphics’ – or monographs — by codifying provenance into an original digital work using blockchain technology. Generatively built entirely by code, Quantum was the first work minted in this way.

Additional notable results included $927,500 for Don Diablo’s INFINITE FUTURE and the dynamically generated Fade by world-renowned digital artist Pak, which sold for $528,200 to collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile. Natively Digital also featured the world’s first intelligent NFT (iNFT), To the Young Artists of Cyberspace, created by the show’s curator Robert Alice in collaboration with the cutting edge AI company Alethea AI. The first truly intelligent, conversive, self-learning artwork – named Alice – achieved $478,800.

To showcase works from the sale, Sotheby’s mounted a global, multi-city exhibition, presented in partnership with Samsung, spanning galleries in New York, London and Hong Kong, which marked Sotheby’s first physical exhibition of NFT digital art. Alongside the physical exhibition, Sotheby’s also debuted its first-ever virtual galleries in the metaverse via Decentraland, occupying a prime location in the Voltaire Art District (map coordinates 52,83). The virtual presence in the metaverse was housed in a digital replica of Sotheby’s historic New Bond Street galleries in London featuring all five ground-level gallery spaces as well as the figure of Sotheby’s London Commissionaire, Hans Lomulder, on hand to greet visitors.

A portion of Sotheby’s proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Sevens Foundation, a nonprofit focused on evangelizing digital artists and empowering young talent to create with new paradigm-shifting mediums, such as NFTs. Alongside Sotheby’s efforts, the artists of Natively Digital will donate a portion of their profits to charitable organizations benefitting crypto artists, such as the Mint Fund, a resource for crypto artists outside of the US and EU to offset the costs associated with creating NFT art. Sotheby’s will also engage in a carbon offset study with Regen Network, a blockchain-based carbon offset platform, to accurately offset the minting and transaction costs of the sale.

Sothebys

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection, artist, estate & foundation advisory services of its subsidiary, Art Agency, Partners. Sotheby’s also presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby's Global Fine Art Division, and three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.

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