Beeple told CNBC on Friday that he believes NFTs are permanent.
The digital artist, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, became widely known this year when he sold a non-replaceable symbolic photo collage, “Every day: the first 5,000 days,” for more than $69 million at a Christie’s auction in March.
“I believe so strongly in this technology because it’s so easy to prove ownership and it can be applied to so many different things that I think in the long run it has such a huge opportunity and tremendous opportunity to really act as a real alternative.” to be considered an asset class,” Beeple said in a “TechCheck” interview.
“I think where we are over the course of these two months or whatever, I think this is an industry that will be around for many, many decades to come,” he added.
NFTs are unique digital assets — often in the form of JPEGs or video clips — that can be bought and sold. The transactions are recorded in a blockchain registry, similar to that of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
While the average person may not yet know much about NFTs, which have become extremely popular in recent months, Beeple said he believes this trend will grow as consumers look for more quality and long-term value in their assets. Critics of the NFT craze view it as temporary, suggesting that NFT values will eventually plummet once it becomes less desirable to own the digital assets.
Less than two weeks after Beeple sold “5,000 Days,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, listed for sale as a non-fungible token, sold for 1,630.58 ether. That equated to about $2.9 million based on the price of ether at the time of sale.
NBA Top Shots, NFTs of NBA highlights videos, have brought in over $200 million in sales, with a LeBron James video selling for $208,000. Grimes, the musician and recording artist, also sold NFTs of videos and music for more than $6 million.
“It’s still very much something that I see a huge room for growth, but I think you see people here looking for a little bit more quality in their releases and something that they think will hold value in the long run.” said Beeple. “I think that’s super healthy for the entire ecosystem.”
Beeple also teased a bit about his future digital artworks and how he plans to expand his digital pieces to physical platforms that people can use and connect to, something he thinks would be beneficial for future innovations for NFTs.
“Digital art will eventually show up somewhere in the real world, whether that’s your phone or your computer screen. So what I want to do is make some really cool screens for people to view on and something that feels like it’s very cohesive and kind of packaged with the artwork itself and something that feels like a physical extension of that digital artwork,” he told CNBC.
“People are going to look for something related to them or useful, and that’s what they’re going to put their money into,” he added, without revealing anything more about what he’s up to, other than saying he will be ready to announce something very soon.
— CNBCs Jessica Bursztynsky contributed to this report.