Buyer of $69 million crypto art revealed as mysterious founder of NFT fund, who says the artwork is 'worth $1 billion'

  • Digital artist Beeple sold a piece of art for more than $69 million on Thursday through Christie’s. 
  • The piece was bought by the founder of an NFT fund who goes by “Metakovan.”
  • Metakovan said the piece will be “the most valuable piece of art for this generation.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Christie’s caused a stir on Thursday when it auctioned off a piece of digital art — a JPG file — for more than $69 million. Now it has revealed the buyer who shelled out a fortune for digital artist Mike Winkelmann’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.”

The founder of nonfungible token (NFT) fund Metapurse bought the piece, Christie’s announced Friday. The buyer, who goes by the pseudonym Metakovan, said the piece is worth multiples of what they paid for it. 

“When you think of high-valued NFTs, this one is going to be pretty hard to beat. And here’s why — it represents 13 years of everyday work. Techniques are replicable and skill is surpassable, but the only thing you can’t hack digitally is time,” Metakovan said. “This is the crown jewel, the most valuable piece of art for this generation. It is worth $1 billion.”

According to the Metapurse website, Metakovan is an “entrepreneur, coder, and angel investor in blockchain technology since 2013.”

The auction saw a flurry of bids pour in its final stretch, with the price for the piece soaring from $15 million to its selling price in under 30 minutes. Christie’s said 33 participated in the bidding, and that 64% of them were either Millennials or Gen Z. 

The work features 5,000 pieces of digital art that Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, created every day over the last several years. The near-$70 million it raked in at auction was the third-highest price achieved by a living artist, Christie’s said. The auction house also said “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is the most expensive piece of digital art ever sold, and that it attracted the highest bid for any online auction.  

The artwork was created as an NFT — essentially a digital certificate of ownership and authenticity that lives on a secure system called a blockchain. Its record-shattering sale came as excitement around NFTs has hit a fever pitch. 

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

In February, a meme of a cat with a Pop-Tart body sold for $600,000. And over the last 30 days, nearly $300 million has changed hands on NBA Top Shot, a new marketplace for officially licensed basketball highlight clips. 

Before Thursday’s sale, the most expensive piece of NFT art was another example by Winkelmann. That piece raked in $6.6 million on NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway. 

Winkelmann told Insider in an interview that before NFTs began to take off in recent months, he never expected to sell a piece for more than $1,000. 

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