The buyer of artist Beeple’s $ 69 million NFT said he was willing to place even higher bids as history sees it as the starting point for a new age in digital art.
In his first television interview, Vignesh Sundaresan, aka MetaKovan, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he has no regrets paying $ 69 million for what many say is just a JPEG and a hyperlink. He said the rise of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, heralded a new era in which technology could make it easier and more democratic for artists and collectors around the world to buy and sell technology.
“This NFT is a significant piece of art history,” said Sundaresan. “Sometimes it takes time for everyone to see and realize these things. I agree. I have had the opportunity to be part of this very important shift in the perception of art for centuries.”
NFTs have exploded in the last few months, selling NBA video highlights, memes, digital art, and even a tweet for six or seven digits. While proponents say NFTs assigning ownership to digital assets on the blockchain not only transform the art world, but could also be applied to physical goods like houses and property. According to many estimates, sales of NFTs have now exceeded $ 500 million.
“There will be hundreds of thousands of people from around the world who will adopt this medium, a digitally native medium for monetizing art,” said Sundaresan. “There will be an economy.”
He said that while the art world has been the exclusive jurisdiction of wealthy, mostly white, Western collectors and artists for centuries, NFTs have “allowed artists in the Philippines, Thailand or India to make their first $ 1,000 or $ 500 online.”
Sundaresan declined to say exactly how much he was willing to pay for the work. He said he knew “it would be competitive” if he went to Christie’s auction and had his eye on a maximum price higher than the $ 69.3 million he paid.
“We had a higher limit,” he said. “I was very motivated and ready to go beyond what we paid for it.”
Sundaresan said he has been investing in cryptocurrencies and crypto companies since 2013. He said he started and started working for crypto companies “without money” and was able to invest early in fast-growing companies that grew up in the crypto economy. He declined to say how much it is worth on paper “since it depends on the crypto market”.
He said he invested not only in Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also in the Polka Dot and Flow blockchain network. He said he doesn’t think crypto will face any ban from regulators or central banks.
“If regulators had been stricter over the past few years, it would have hampered innovation. I think we’ve got to a point where they see the positive effects of crypto around the world.”
When asked what his $ 69 million beeple could be worth in a year or even 10 years, Sundaresan said he has no plans to sell it. But he suggested that he could find ways to “monetize” it, either by offering pieces of it or by displaying it in a virtual museum.
“It’s going to take on a life of its own, which is what makes NFTs really interesting,” he said. “It can’t be just a work of art, it can become a thousand other things. But I’m not going to sell it anytime soon.”