Christie’s on Friday auctioned five art works that were created by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk for his VeeFriends NFT collection.
The price tag? Just over $1.2 million.
“It feels like an out-of-body-experience,” Vaynerchuk told CNBC. “I view myself as a very creative and artistic person, but this is way bigger than me. … It represents a paradigm shift and the consumer is intrigued.”
Whereas most NFTs auctioned by Christie’s are NFT minted, or blockchain verified, these particular works are the original characters that were hand-drawn by Vaynerchuk himself.
The VeeFriends collection is comprised of 10,255 character nonfungible tokens available for purchase via the cryptocurrency ethereum. Each token includes a “smart contract” with metadata that Vaynerchuk can use to interact with its buyer. Token holders also will be given exclusive access to an annual business event called VeeCon for three years after the NFT’s purchase. The first VeeCon will take place in Minneapolis in May.
Since launching the series earlier this year, the lowest listed price for one such token remains $50,000.
Vaynerchuk’s NFT doodle called “Emphatic Elephant” fetched the highest price at Friday’s auction, selling for $412,500. The lowest was called “Diamond Hands,” and went for $162,500.
NFTs are a type of digital asset created to track ownership of a virtual item using blockchain technology. Such unique items could be artwork or sports trading cards — a market that Vaynerchuk became familiar with as a teenager, peddling baseball cards for thousands of dollars every week.
“I grew up with collectibles, antiques and sports cards,” Vaynerchuk said. “My mom and dad were into that stuff too, and they would have been intimidated even walking into Christie’s two decades ago and now their son is selling stuff in it. … It’s the American dream.”
The original VeeFriends artwork was featured along with the full set of Curio Cards and Sets 1-3 of Art Blocks Curated in Christie’s Post-War to Present live auction in New York. The auction furthers Christie’s foray into digital art sales, which have boomed in popularity this year along with a rise in the value of digital currencies like ether and bitcoin. Curio Cards, which is commonly viewed as the first digital art collectible on ethereum blockchain, fetched $1.2 million.
The market is growing rapidly, with some digital collectibles being sold for millions of dollars. In March, Christie’s sold a NFT by the artist Beeple for more than $69.3 million.