Digital art buyer shines light on NFT boom

THE blockchain entrepreneur who paid a record US$69.3mil (RM286mil) for a digital artwork looks, at first glance, nothing like a wealthy collector.

Vignesh Sundaresan (pic), 32, is casually dressed in a T-shirt and chinos, lives in a regular Singapore apartment, and does not own any property or a car – with most of his investments in the virtual world.

“My prize possession would be my computer. And maybe my watch, ” the Indian-born programmer, also known by his pseudonym MetaKovan, told media from his sparsely decorated flat.

His unpretentious demeanour offers no clue that he is a multimillionaire investor financing a fund focused on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which use blockchain technology to turn anything from art to internet memes into virtual collectors’ items.

Last month, Sundaresan purchased the world’s most expensive NFT – American artist Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days”, highlighting how virtual work is establishing itself as a new creative genre.

With NFTs, many see an opportunity to monetise digital art of all kinds, offering collectors bragging rights to ultimate ownership, even if the work can be endlessly copied.

Sundaresan defended the price he paid for the collage of 5,000 pieces of art created on consecutive days, which has transformed its creator, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, into the third-most valuable living artist.

“I thought this piece was that important, ” Sundaresan said. — AFP

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