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Two Years since the Historic Beeple Sale, What’s Happened to the NFT Market?


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Art Market

Arun Kakar

Beeple, EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS, 2021. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Limited.

On March 11, 2021, Christie’s sold Everydays: The First 5,000 Days (2021) by Mike Winkelmann, a.k.a. Beeple, for $69.3 million, making him the third-most expensive living artist at the time. But rather than acquiring a painting or a sculpture, the winning bidder for Beeple’s work received a non-fungible token (NFT)—a unique digital identifier that used blockchain technology to certify and verify ownership of this digital artwork.

Crypto-enabled sales had been gaining traction before the Christie’s auction. According to NFT analyst NonFungible.com, the market for NFTs had already quadrupled in 2020, with the total value of transactions increasing by 299% year over year to more than $250 million.

There were a number of eye-catching sales in the run-up to the Beeple sale: An NFT of popular GIF “Nyan Cat” sold for $600,000; the YouTuber Logan Paul sold around $5 million worth of tokens in a single day; and mainstream brands were also getting involved, with the NBA, in…

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