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Posted March 16, 2021

LONDON (AP) — Christie’s says it has auctioned off a digital collage by an artist named Beeple for nearly $70 million, in an unprecedented sale of a digital artwork that fetched more money than physical works by many better known artists.

The piece, titled “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days,” sold for $69.4 million in an online auction, “positioning him among the top three most valuable living artists,” Christie’s said via Twitter on Thursday.

Christie’s said it also marks the first time a major auction house has offered a digital-only artwork with a non-fungible token as a guarantee of its authenticity, as well as the first time cryptocurrency has been used to pay for an artwork at auction.

Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, responded to the sale result with an expletive on Twitter.

“Artists have been using hardware and software to create artwork and distribute it on the internet for the last 20+ years but there was never a real way to truly own and collect it,” Beeple said in a statement released by Christie’s. “With NFT’s that has now changed. I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the next chapter in art history, digital art.”

Christie’s did not identify the buyer of the artwork, which consists of 5,000 individual digital pictures stitched together that Beeple created – one each day – since May 2007.

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