"In other words, you buy a certificate of authenticity, but not the work
authenticated by it—just the bragging rights to it. NFTs are a new version of
the “I Am Rich” app from 2008: an early iPhone app that cost $999.99 and did
nothing but show that you could afford to spend a thousand dollars.
Alex Rotter of Christie’s said of the Beeple sale: “We let the market decide
what it’s worth, we didn’t push anyone to bid $60.25 million. People want
Beeple, and the market decided.” But the words “people,” “market,” and “worth”
are all questionable in that sentence.
The buyer, known by the pseudonym Metakovan, is linked to an NFT “index fund”
called Metapurse. This fund offers “B.20” crypto-tokens, which are shares in
Metapurse’s portfolio of NFTs—including existing works of Beeple’s art. Beeple
himself has a 2 percent stake in the B.20. Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Vignesh
Sundaresan admitted to being Metakovan on Thursday, after previous denials.
The ostensibly multimillion-dollar NFT was bought using ether (the currency of
the Ethereum blockchain), not dollars. Cryptocurrency works by creating new
forms of digital magic beans, then convincing suckers that the magic beans
aren’t worthless. You can synthesize a headline-friendly number like $69
million much more easily with magic beans than with actual money, especially
when you own the beans."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics