Alethea AI and artist Robert Alice launch Sotheby’s auction of the ‘first intelligent NFT’

Alice is an AI and an iNFT.

Alethea AI has teamed up with artist Robert Alice to bring to life a virtual being. And they’re auctioning it at Sotheby’s as the first iNFT.Read More

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First NFT Ever Created From 2014 Goes Up For Auction At Sotheby’s

Image via Sotheby’s

Universally regarded as the first non-fungible token (NFT) ever created, Quantum will be on sale at Sotheby’s latest NFT auction, Natively Digital.

The auction will showcase some of the earliest, raw NFTs built on pre-Ethereum blockchains, while also including newer, more complex NFTs that reflect how far digital art has come.

Quantum, by leading new media artist Kevin McCoy, was created all the way back in 2014. McCoy and his collaborator, Anil Dash, created what was then called “monetized graphics,” with codifying provenance into an original digital work using blockchain technology. This resulted in the first-ever minted NFT.

It will go on sale with two other works, Larva Labs’ CryptoPunk #7523, and The Shell Record by Anna Ridler. More works will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The collection will feature works from across four continents, from both “old masters” and up-and-coming digital artists. A portion of proceeds will go towards the Mint Fund and Sevens Foundation, to help artists worldwide join this growing movement.

Natively Digital will run from June 3 through June 10. For more information, visit the site here.

Announcing 'Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale'–an online sale that brings together a group survey of the leading NFT artists. Open for bidding from 3-10 June, the auction features the rare Alien CryptoPunk #7523 from the collection of @sillytuna & more— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 6, 2021

[via Sotheby’s, images via various sources]

Banksy Painting Is Now First Physical Art Sold In Crypto By Major Auction House

Image via VanderWolf Images /

A renowned painting by the faceless street artist Banksy went off the market on Wednesday. This time, it was paid for in cryptocurrency—US$12.9 million worth of it.

The sale of the Love is in the Air canvas piece at Sotheby’s crystallized it as the first-ever physical artwork to be sold for cryptocurrency through a major auction house, The Hill reports. By association, the sale marked the debut of crypto payments for physical artwork at prominent auction houses.

The famous oil and spray paint work—which features a protester in a balaclava preparing to throw a bouquet of flowers—was projected to be sold for US$3 million to US$5 million, about 35 to 53 bitcoins, but the highest bid far surpassed the estimate and closed at US$12.9 million.

Per the terms of the sale, bidders could only offer USD, but the buyer would be given the choice to purchase the painting in either Bitcoin or Ether. It is unclear which cryptocurrency was eventually used to pay for the Banksy piece.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sotheby's (@sothebys)

[via The Hill, cover image via VanderWolf Images /]

Basquiat’s Estate Blocks NFT Art That Promises Rights To Destroy Original Work

Image via Scrubhiker (USCdyer) / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As the non-fungible token (NFT) market gets saturated, the internet is beginning to see more one-upping between artists and sellers who want their slice of the pie. Most recently, an NFT edition of graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1986 mixed-media work on paper Free Comb with Pagoda went up on crypto marketplace OpenSea—with the choice for the original physical piece to be destroyed if the buyer so desired.

The listing, backed by an anonymous group called Daystrom, detailed that the highest bidder would acquire reproduction and IP rights to the work in perpetuity. In addition, with the physical version ruined, the NFT would allegedly be “the only remaining form” of the art. Certainly, a stunt like this would raise questions about the moral rights of an artist who is no longer around.

Upon hearing of this, the late artist’s estate warned that the seller of the NFT does not own a license or any rights to the art, and stressed that the original would not be destroyed. As such, the NFT has been removed from the marketplace.

“The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat owns the copyright in the artwork referenced,” David Stark, licensing agent of the Basquiat archive, reaffirmed The Art Newspaper. “No license or rights were conveyed to the seller and the NFT has subsequently been removed from sale,” he added.

Basquiat’s estate did not indicate if it thinks the artwork is a genuine Basquiat or a counterfeit. Nevertheless, Daystrom has insisted it is legitimate, adding that the current owner of the piece possesses the original in a frame, “with the authentication on the reverse… [and the signature] ‘Lenny’ in the lower right corner,” along with “proof of purchase and payment to substantiate exclusive ownership.”

Daystrom continued, “There is absolutely zero doubt about authenticity and ownership of the work.”

Addressing concerns about a lack of consideration in copyright and trademark rights in the NFT world, Daystrom said that even though blockchain transactions have been “a trusted source of authentication and provenance,” it agreed that “best copyright practices have yet to evolve for the digital economy.”

However, the firm claimed that online retailers like Amazon have been consistently allowing “unlicensed, illicit reproductions” of Basquiat art on their platforms, as well, so it’s not a problem exclusive to the NFT market.

[via Observer and The Art Newspaper, images via various sources]


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