Digital art sales aren’t done. These Bitcoin artworks are going for thousands.

The landscape of art has invariably shifted over the last few years thanks to NFTs and the onset of digital artworks; for both art collectors and NFT enthusiasts, this boom has been both lucrative and contentious. But though the buzz may have ebbed, blockchain-supported art is still big business.

Take Sotheby’s latest auction. One of the world’s largest auctioneers of art and collectibles, Sotheby’s is kicking off 2024 with a curated sale of Bitcoin Ordinals, or digital works inscribed on the Bitcoin blockchain.

The “Natively Digital” sale includes an array of works that showcase the diversity and creativity of digital art. This includes works from digital artists Shroomtoshi, Des Lucrece, FAR, and Nullish. The collection features the likes of Claudia Hart’s More Life, an animated CGI work that originally appeared at MoMa PS1; Des Lucréce’s Benediction from Between Worlds, a striking GIF created in 2024 that explores the artist’s relationship with Vietnamese Catholicism; and XCPinata’s cartoon-esque graphic entitled Cleansing.

“As Ordinals continue to attract attention from collectors, this new avenue will expand the boundaries of how we conceptualize digital collectibles,” says Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s head of digital art said in a statement, “as well as place a spotlight on the unique convergence of digital art and crypto culture.”

A GIF of a skeleton-form with horns, wearing robes of priesthood, in red and black.

Credit: Sotheby’s / Des Lucréce

The highlight of the auction is said to be Inscription 21, a work by artist Shroomtoshi, prized as one of the more significant works in Bitcoin culture, representing in millions the total supply of Bitcoins that will ever be available for mining.

A graphic of the words

Credit: Sotheby’s / Shroomtoshi.

The works hold estimated value between $10,000 all the way to $70,000. The sale began on Jan. 12 and will continue until Jan. 22.

Sotheby’s dive into digital art continues after whopping sales in 2023, totalling more than $35 million. This was a 100 percent increase from the previous year, according to the auction house.


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