The buyer of artist Beeple’s $ 69 million NFT has said he is ready to bid even more, as it will be seen by history as the starting point of a new era of digital art.
In his first TV interview, Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as MetaKovan, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he had no regrets paying $ 69 million for what many say was simply a JPEG and a hyperlink. He said the rise of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, heralded a new era where technology has made it possible for artists and collectors around the world to buy and sell art more easily and democratically.
“This NFT is an important piece of art history,” said Sundaresan. “Sometimes everyone takes a long time to recognize and realize these things. I agree with that. I had the opportunity to be part of this very important change in the way art has been perceived for centuries.
NFTs have exploded in recent months, as NBA video highlights, memes, digital art, and even a tweet sell for six or seven figures. While supporters say NFTs, which attribute ownership of any digital asset on the blockchain, will not only change the art world, but could be applied to physical goods such as homes and property. NFT’s sales have now exceeded $ 500 million, by many estimates.
“There will be hundreds of thousands of people around the world who will adopt this medium, a digitally native medium to monetize art,” Sundaresan said. “There is going to be an economy around this.”
He said that while the art world has been the exclusive purview of wealthy Western collectors and artists, largely white, for centuries, NFT has enabled “artists from the Philippines, Thailand or India now to earn their first 1000 or 500 dollars on the Internet ”.
Sundaresan declined to say exactly how much he was prepared to pay for the job. He said he knew upon entering the Christie’s auction that “it would be competitive” and that he had in mind a ceiling price above the $ 69.3 million he paid.
“We had a higher limit,” he said. “I was very motivated and ready to go above and beyond even what we paid for.”
Sundaresan said he has been investing in cryptocurrencies and crypto companies since 2013. He said he started out “cashless” and started working for crypto companies and was able to invest in companies early on. fast growing companies that have developed around the crypto-economy. He declined to say how much it is worth on paper “because 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 a ban from regulators or central banks.
“If regulators had been more stringent in previous years, it would have stifled innovation. I think we’re at a point where they are seeing the positive impacts 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 had no plans to sell it. But he hinted that he might find ways to “monetize” it either by donating pieces of it or by displaying them in a virtual museum.
“The coin is going to take on a life of its own, which is what makes NFTs really interesting,” he said. “It might not just be a work of art, it can turn into thousands of other things. But I won’t be selling it anytime soon.”