Vienna museum selling NFTs of Klimt's 'Kiss' for Valentine's Day

An Austrian museum is selling off 10,000 NFTs of Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss", coinciding with Valentines day. — Belvedere/dpa

One of the world's most famous romantic artworks is the latest to be sold as unique digital versions, as Vienna's Belvedere museum prepares to sell NFTs of Gustav Klimt's legendary Art Nouveau painting "The Kiss".

Ahead of Valentine's Day, the museum has announced that it will begin selling digital romance in the form of 10,000 NFTs of Klimt's "The Kiss", each costing around €1,850 (RM8,642).

Hyped by some and dismissed as a money-making scheme by others after NFT artworks fetched millions at auction, these so-called non-fungible tokens are digital certificates of authenticity meant to prove this is the original, even if countless other digital copies of Klimt's artwork still exist.

With this project, Belverede is tapping into a new source of income, a spokeswoman said of the campaign, which could bring in a total of up to €18.5mil (RM86.42mil).

The museum says buyers can register for a chance to pay and "own a fraction of the digitalised image" and use these registrations as "a digital declaration of love" on Valentine's Day (Feb 14).

The Belvedere's project is only the latest in a string of high-profile NFT sales following a boom in this new technology. Proponents say that even though there can be any number of identical copies of a work of art or object, only one NFT can be considered the original.

The authenticity of the files in most current NFTs is secured with the tamper-proof blockchain data chain of the cryptocurrency Ethereum.

"The conversion of digital reproductions into virtual originals opens up new forms of participation that, in financial terms, should be taken seriously, yet can also be viewed playfully," said Belvedere Director General Stella Rollig. – dpa

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