This is a first on the art market. The Sotheby’s auction house is auctioning a Picasso linked to a digital version encrypted in an NFT, Tuesday June 29 in London. NFTs, “non-fungible tokens” or “non-fungible tokens”, are digital containers that contain information (texts, images, videos, works of art) of which they guarantee the traceability and the ownership thanks to the technology of the blockchain. This system used by cryptocurrencies makes it possible to keep track of all transactions carried out, in a decentralized and transparent way for all users, in the form of a chain of blocks of encrypted data.
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With this sale, Sotheby’s innovates by offering a “digital twin” of Picasso’s painting. The authenticity of the painting can thus be verified at any time by everyone. Another flagship auction of the auction house this week: that of the program at the origin of the general public Internet, created in 1989 by the British Tim Berners-Lee, also sold in the form of NFT.
“The use of NFT has democratized”
The arrival of this technology, which guarantees the authenticity of a work, has fostered the digital art trade. In 2020, this market has taken off. Works that have no physical existence have established themselves in auction rooms. Some are now selling for several million dollars.
Last March, Everydays, the work of American artist Beeple sold for $ 69 million. Collectors, initially cautious, were quickly convinced by the guarantees provided by this technology. “The use of NFT has become more democratic. The sales of the major auction houses and their media coverage have helped to make them known ”, comments Claire Balva, blockchain and cryptos director at KPMG France.
Digital tokens are also popular with investors. Building on its success, the start-up Sorare, which markets digital football player cards, could achieve the largest fundraising in the history of French “unicorns”, exceeding $ 500 million. The valuation of this company created three years ago and which has 17 employees would reach… 3 billion dollars.
22 million people tuned in for the final moments of @Beeple‘s historic sale this morning, which totaled $ 69.3 million. Relive it from the artist’s POV in this link! #beeple#digitalart#digitalartist#artist#art# thefirst5000days#nfthttps://t.co/XaREV5Fdvu
– Christie’s (@ChristiesInc) March 11, 2021
Sorare, a French success story
“Sorare has been able to modernize the phenomenon of collectible cards, such as Pokémon or Panini, by choosing a very popular sport in France: football. The younger generations are always in front of their computer, it is more practical for them to have dematerialized cards“, explains Claire Balva.
The start-up has just signed a partnership with the French Football Federation to create cards bearing the effigy of the Blues. Their rarity will be their price. With the players they have acquired, collectors can play online like true breeders. “NFTs have a bright future in the video game sector ”, assures the specialist.
Briyan Cessac hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sorare’s pioneers. His company, Screenshot, explores the possibilities “Almost infinite” of NFTs. “For the moment, creating NFT is too expensive for everyone to get hold of it, but I am convinced that their use will become obvious to all of us., he emphasizes. In the future, we can imagine having NFTs for everything we own, in a virtual wallet. This would make it possible, for example, to no longer have a key for our car or our house but to open them thanks to a digital certificate of ownership. “
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And it starts with the world of luxury, the LVMH group and the Prada and Cartier brands have joined forces to develop the “First international luxury blockchain”, called Aura. Each sale will be associated with the buyer’s identifier in the blockchain to trace the products. A guarantee for both the customer and the brand in the fight against counterfeiting.
Blockchain revolutionized transactions
Developed in 2008, blockchain technology has enabled the development of cryptocurrencies and, first of all, of the best known of them, bitcoin. Praised for its security and transparency, it functions as a database made up of a succession of blocks of information which lists, in the case of a cryptocurrency, all the transactions.
The management of the blockchain is decentralized and the creation of a new block must be validated by several users called “minors”. Once a block is validated, in principle it becomes forgery-proof. Users access the information contained in the blocks and can check the validity of the string at any time. Some blockchains are public, all Internet users can, for example, access the history of Bitcoin.