A Joint Photographic Experts Group, or JPG, file created by South Carolina graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple, became the first to sell a purely digital art piece to the tune of nearly $70 million at Christie's auction house.
Everydays: the First 5,000 Days set a new record for the increasingly popular market for digital art and makes Beeple's creation the third most-expensive artwork sold by a living artist at auction, according to Christie's.
Until last year, the most Beeple had ever sold a print for was a measly $100.
The artwork is a stunning mosaic of 5,000 drawings, one made and posted every day since 2013. Christie's called the artwork a "watershed moment in the development of digital art". A JPG, pronnounced "Jay Peg," is for small-file photo images that can be compressed for web sites and email.
Everydays, the digital artwork that's less than a month old, is attached to a non-fungible token (NFT), a unique cryptographic certificate of originality and ownership that runs on blockchain technology.
"He showed us this collage, and that was my eureka moment when I knew this was going to be extremely important," Noah Davis, who specializes in post-war and contemporary art at Christie's, told The Verge.
The record-shattering NFT sale comes after months of increasingly precious auctions. In October, Beeple sold his first series of digital art, with a pair fetching for $66,666.66 apiece.
In December, the self-taught artist sold a series of works for $3.5 million total. And last month, his Crossroad artwork sold for $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway, another online marketplace, according to The Verge.
A Christie's spokesperson declined to disclose the buyer's name. Initially it had appeared that Justin Sun, founder of cryptocurrency platform Tron, gave the winning bid of $60.25 million based on information provided by a Tron representative.
Non-fungible tokens are also being used by tech CEOs like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who recently turned his very first Twitter comment into an NFT.
A trading-card like video NFT of NBA's LeBron James dunking a basketball recently sold for more than $200,000, The Wall Street Journal said.