The New York Times made a crypto art piece as a joke. It sold for R8.4 million, in 24 hours.
- The New York Times minted a column as an NFT.
- The crypto art piece sold for more than $560,000 – the equivalent of R8.4 million – on Foundation's marketplace.
- The columnist who minted the piece said it was part of an experiment by the publication.
- See more stories on Business Insider SA's home page.
The New York Times sold a crypto art piece for the equivalent of R8.4 million in a 24-hour auction on Thursday.
The piece created as a non-fungible token, or NFT, was a part of a project by the publication making light of how people have begun selling art and memes as NFTs for seemingly absurd sums of money.
Over the past few months, crypto art pieces have sold for millions of dollars, accounting for over $1 billion in sales, according to data from CryptoSlam. Public figures including artist Grimes and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have made millions selling their own digital assets.
An anonymous user known online as 3FMusic made the winning bid on The New York Times' NFT at more than $560,000 worth of ether, a popular cryptocurrency for selling NFTs.
The publication made its NFT a copy of a writer's column titled "Buy This Column on the Blockchain!" The NFT was sold on Foundation, an open NFT platform that sold the Nyan Cat meme for nearly $600,000 in February.
The Times' tech columnist Kevin Roose presented the NFT as an experiment.
"As I watched these riches change hands, I thought to myself: Why should celebrities, athletes and artists have all the fun? Why can't a journalist join the NFT party, too," Roose wrote in his column. "So I decided to turn this column into an NFT and sell it on the open market."
Roose tweeted about the sale, after his piece was bought for $563,000.
fully just staring at my monitor laughing uncontrollably— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) March 25, 2021
Roose used the column to explain not only the phenomenon of NFTs in the market, but also how to mint one - overcoming hurdles like finding a crypto wallet and dealing with gas fees.
He put the crypto art piece online at a minimum price of $800 and saw the digital asset triple in value within a matter of hours.
In the column, Roose questioned whether his NFT he could be contributing to the future of art.
"The biggest perk of all, of course, is owning a piece of history," Roose wrote. "This is the first article in the almost 170-year history of The Times to be distributed as an NFT ... if they stick around, NFTs could transform the way digital goods are created, consumed and traded online."
Other news organisations, including Quartz and The Associated Press, have already experimented with selling NFTs.