A simple 10 second video can net you very, very big. Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile thus bought an NFT (Non-Fugible Token) for 67,000 dollars, before reselling it for 6.6 million dollars. The rise of cryptocurrencies, along with the growing popularity of this new art form, makes it an investment ground to watch closely.
October 2020: Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile, art collector living in Miami, acquires a coin for $ 67,000. This is a 10-second video, directed by artist Bveeple, of a giant Donald Trump lying on the ground, covered in slogans of all kinds. Last week, Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile has resold the video for $ 6.6 million. Best of all, the work is in fact freely available online, by anyone. How did he do it?
The room is what is called a “Non-fungible token” (NFT). A “non-fungible” object is a unique good that cannot be traded, as opposed to “fungible” goods, such as money. To be sure of their nature, these objects are authenticated via a blockchain, which therefore serves as a signature attesting to the originality of the work. These have grown in popularity significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many investors see great value in these items which they can only find online.
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Why are NFTs so popular?
Some agree that the NFTs came into being with the launch of the Top Shot site by the NBA. This allows its users to buy and sell videos of the best moments of basketball games. After only five months of existence, the platform already had 100,000 members, which traded the equivalent of approximately $ 250 million worth of videos. And the numbers continue to rise: in February 2021 alone, the site recorded a total of $ 198 million paid, as well as a transaction record of $ 208,000.
Top Shot isn’t the only one taking advantage of this flourishing market. OpenSea, another platform dedicated to NFTs, has gone from 1.5 million monthly sales a year ago, to 86.3 million this year. “If you spend 10 hours a day on your computer […], then art in a digital world is something that makes sense, because it is your world “, explains Alex Atallah, co-creator of OpenSea. For Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile, there is another reason that could explain this success. “You can go to the Louvre and take a picture of Mona Lisa. You will have it with you, but it will have no value, because it will not have the provenance or the history of the work behind it.
“The truth is [les NFT] have value thanks to their creators“, he adds. However, we can cite a final explanation. Since a few months, the cryptocurrency market is booming. The value of Bitcoin recently surpassed $ 50,000, and solutions for mining Ethereum are on the rise. Also based on a blockchain system and payable in cryptocurrency, NFTs are taking advantage of this investor craze to get people talking.
Investors fear the bursting of the economic bubble
One of them, calling himself “Pranksy”, indicates that he invested only $ 600 in 2017, only to end up today with a wallet. “7 digits”. By spending over $ 1 million on Top Shot, he made $ 4.7 million just by selling his belongings. “I see [mes possessions] like investments, like any collector’s item or NFT. I never watched a basketball game before Top Shot was launched ”.
It sounds almost too good, and it just might be, according to some investors. The NFT market is certainly the subject of a very strong craze, but it can just as easily disappear suddenly, causing burst the bubble in its path. The losses would then be enormous for all those who have spent fortunes. “The market has grown enormously”says Nate Hart, also an investor in NFTs. “It’s definitely an economic bubble. It’s hard to predict when we’ll reach the top ”.
Others remain confident about the future. Andrew Steinfold is one of them. The latter launched at the start of the year a $ 6 million investment campaign dedicated to NFTs. While he recognizes that some works of art could lose their value, he is confident that most will converse even if the bubble bursts. “We spend a lot of time in the digital world, we are constantly connected. It makes sense to add property notions to the mix ”. Andrew Steinfold says the NFT market could one day “Reach trillions of dollars”.