While there’s no one perfect way to describe the market for digital content and NFTs, there is a term sums up both the growth it’s experienced this year, as well as what it continues to accomplish, and that word is "evolving."
Case in point: in what is being called the “largest ever art sale by a living creator,” NFT artist and mogul Pak has become the highest-selling digital artist of all-time thanks to a monster sale this past weekend. Pak sold 266,445 NFTs for a total of $91.8 million, surpassing Beeple's previous record-breaking sale of $69 million for his piece "5000 days" via Christie's auction.
The sale, held through the digital sphere of Nifty Gallery, marked several milestones for the artist, including 26,000 participating collectors and the release of a new technology that may change the market as investors know it: tokens “merging together” in collectors’ digital wallets.
Confused? Well, here’s a general rundown. If collectors bought enough NFTs from the collection, the digital files begin to interact and combine in the user’s digital wallet. This process then creates a new and totally-unique NFT from the previously existing units. The more collectors bought, the more the pieces “merged," creating completely new files that wouldn’t be found anywhere else.
It was an interesting gamble for the sale, especially considering the context. Collectors were unable to see what they were actually purchasing until the auction’s conclusion. When the auction ended, the files would all combine and mint into a new function, something completely unseen by the market before.
The digital nature of these pieces also give them an auto-completing quirk, possibly marking the next step NFT artists will take. This involves a little more code than other processes, creating a large digital wallet filled with “mass,” as Pak calls it.
Of course, a few interesting questions were raised about the project, as well as an individual title. The person who acquired the most “mass” received an additional NFT titled Alpha Mass, along with a warning that they should not get used to owning it, as more and more collectors trade the pieces to acquire even more influence on this hyperconnected blockchain.
Not only will new, individual and unique NFTs come about, but a new hypercompetitive market may start up among the few, creating a new dialogue about what can actually be accomplished with these chains; something Pak himself calls, “a game of extinction.”
We're kicking off minting of mass tonight, anyone who purchased mass should see their NFT within the next few hours. We will also be putting a hold on moving mass out of your accounts momentarily to make the secondary market fair for everyone @muratpak pic.twitter.com/bkdXu4uFFU— Nifty Gateway (@niftygateway) December 7, 2021
It seems to be an idea Pak has been working on for quite a while, too. One retweet from October reads “Why produce a dull release when you can generate so much value by creating a new mechanism?” while another mentions “building for social media requires understanding the medium.” Other mysterious mentions seem to imply this project has been in the works for more than a year, with the first mention of acquiring mass coming all the way back from July 2020; way before NFTs even exploded in social media.
The valuable one is almost never the one that grabs your attention.— Pak (@muratpak) July 17, 2020
It is the one that is silent and invisible.
Once you try to lift it, you can't.
It's much heavier than you think. pic.twitter.com/RAtchwF3RL
This being said, Pak knows that the success of the individual sale is also nothing to sneeze at.
“I would quote something Pak said to us immediately after the sale," Duncan Cock Foster, a cofounder of Nifty Gateway, said in an interview with Artnet. "He said, ‘This is the largest single artwork sale ever sold publicly. And it didn’t happen at a traditional auction house, it happened on a web3 platform.'”
While there has been a lot of online chatter about NFTs and how they may be rendered a little difficult to authenticate with copies and screenshots, this new method of acquiring “mass” may prove to be the next step in regarding this difficulty. Let’s see what next trick Pak has up his sleeve. Read more about the landmark sale via Artnet.
Photography by: Pak