The value of fine art has always been up for debate: It is worth what someone is willing to pay to hang it on their wall.

But what if you bought a piece of art which didn’t even exist on canvas?

If it was purely digital?

Until recently, the risk with digital art is that it could be copied like any other file, infinitely, and lose all of the value that comes from scarcity.

However, yesterday at one of the world’s most respected auction houses, Christie’s, a purely digital work of art was sold for $69 million.

The piece is called Everydays: The First 5000 Days and is by artist Beeple (real name Mike Winkelmann) and was made possible by a new blockchain technology called Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Here is a picture of the piece:

Beeple EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS

Beeple EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS

Beeple is an artist who produces a new piece of digital art every day, and this piece was a collection of the first 5000 pieces he produced over 13 years. He then produced the collage above which includes all 5000 pieces, and encoded it with a non-fungible token.

The non-fungible tokens act as an identifier of authenticity, verified by a blockchain network. This system can then confirm that the item is in fact the unique only copy, ensuring its scarcity. While it is possible to take a screenshot of the artwork (like I did here), this will not be the same as the official & unique NFT, just like how you can take a picture of the Mona Lisa, but the only official version is in a museum in Paris.

This sale apparently makes Beeple the third-highest earning artist alive today.

Here is a closeup of what some of the individual artworks in the collage look like:

Closeup of Beeple EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS

All of this begs the question of how technology is going to continue to affect art and creativity.

We have already seen how computers are becoming more and more capable of creating artistic renderings, although the question of whether they are really creative still exists.

What do you think?

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of Ideatovalue.com and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.