Note: This is not financial advice, and the views expressed in this blog do not represent the views of my firm Sfermion.
There have been many defining moments throughout the history of crypto art. But in my opinion, two of the most impactful events were:
WhaleShark’s entrance into the crypto art markets around October/November 2019.
The Nifty Gateway Beeple drop.
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To briefly touch upon the first of the two defining moments in crypto art, let’s look at this graph of the primary and secondary sales volume on SuperRare over the last few years.
As you can see, trading activity was minimal until November 2019, when the collector WhaleShark quickly entered the market. I remember that everyone was shocked at the large amount of assets WhaleShark was suddenly bidding on and purchasing. This aggressive bidding and purchasing activity caused a ripple effect, and everyone began bidding higher prices than the previous norm. Although I am sure there were other factors at play, I credit a large portion of the crypto art markets’ rise to WhaleShark’s aggressive bidding.
Now let’s examine the Beeple drop. I was in complete awe watching this play out over the course of the weekend of December 11. I felt both excitement and nervousness, as this event unquestionably marked a turning point for our industry.
For a quick background, Beeple is an artist who has created (and continues to create) a digital art piece every day for the past 13 years. To put it frankly, Beeple is a big deal. He has 1.7 million followers on Instagram and has even helped design clothing for Louis Vuitton.
During this drop, Beeple ended up selling roughly $3.5 million (in primary sales) worth of art. This was an unprecedented number that completely blew through all previous NFT art drop sales records: the previous record stood at less than $1 million.
As the drop progressed and the numbers climbed higher, I realized that these large purchase prices would indubitably make waves and likely cause every artist in the world to hear inklings of crypto art.
But again, I did feel a bit nervous because I realized that our small, fun, weird, crazy, dramatic, and tight-knit community of crypto art was suddenly going to be “revealed” to everyone. If everyone becomes aware of this incredible movement, more people will join it, and it will inevitably change (surprisingly enough, I am a creature of habit). But while I admittedly fear the crypto art ecosystem changing, I know this change is absolutely necessary for it to truly become the worldwide movement it’s destined to be.
I want to affirm that we should keep this community weird and wonderful. We can simultaneously accept big artists entering the space and getting substantial attention while making a concerted effort to support new crypto artists with less than 100 Twitter followers. This entire cultural movement is the result of everyone in the community, from the person just starting out to the person with millions of followers. We can keep this culture of creativity, weirdness, and fun alive by supporting everyone in the community.
Overall, the Nifty Gateway Beeple Drop is a massive win for the crypto art and NFT space. This single drop will attract additional attention, artists, collectors, and more to the ecosystem. In other words, this event signifies that the space has entered the big leagues. We were always destined to get here, and we should be proud. Let’s remember to celebrate our future and keep the crypto art culture alive.