• A Bowditch and M Bacina

Sotheby's to auction the first NFT

Updated: May 11

Sotheby's has jumped aboard the NFT auction trend and in its second auction will offer Quantum, universally regarded as the first NFT ever created (timestamped 05-03-2014 09:27:34).


This comes of the back of Christie's recent success as the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with a unique NFT (Non-fungible token).

NFTs are considered one of the groundbreaking artistic breakthroughs of the century.


Sotheby's recently announced second NFT auction, Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale, will be held in June. This co-curated sale is set to present some of the most historically important NFTs to date and a diverse selection of ground breaking artists in the space.


In addition to Quantum, by Kevin McCoy, two other historically significantly works have been announced, CryptoPunk #7523, by Larva Labs and The Shell Record, by Anna Ridler.


CryptoPunks is a collection of 10,000 unique collectible characters considered to be some of the most iconic NFTs ever created and The Shell Record is a continuation of the artist's exploration of NFT technology, while focusing its attention on the history of barter and exchange through shells (one of the earliest mediums of exchange).


The remaining works, by ground breaking artists in the space, are set to be announced in coming weeks. We only expect success in this space to continue as NFTs continue to redefine the nature of art and the artist's place in the world.


With all the excitement around NFTs - and without wishing to be a wet blanket, buyers need to consider exactly what they are getting when they buy a NFT as the rights attributed to them can vary wildly.


Generally when creating or purchasing digital art, the NFT acts as a "print" with copyright remaining in the original. Smart contracts are also often used, where each time the ‘work’ or NFT is sold, royalties are sent to the artist, or only certain rights are sent to the purchaser. As a precaution, these are terms worthwhile being aware of. On the flip side, smart contracts present significant promise to safeguard artists' copyright in the digital versions of their works and provide ongoing income for a traditionally underpaid sector.