US$69m for this digital image - what's behind the NFT boom

Cryto art and digital trading cards are fetching eye-popping prices as investment manias abound

Last week, an artist known as Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, sold his “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” digital artwork for US$69.3 million (S$93.1 million) in a sale at Christie’s. The artwork is a collage of all the images that the artist has been posting online each day since 2007. PHOTO: NYTIMES

SAN FRANCISCO (NYTIMES) - This past week, a trading card featuring quarterback Tom Brady sold for a record US$1.3 million (S$1.75 million). The total value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin hit US$1 trillion. And Christie's sold a digital artwork by an artist known as Beeple for US$69.3 million after bids started at just US$100. These seemingly singular events were all connected, part of a series of manias that have gripped the financial world.

For months, professional and everyday investors have pushed up the prices of stocks and real estate. Now the frenzy has spilled over into the riskiest - and in some cases, wackiest - assets, including digital ephemera and media and collectibles like trading cards and even sneakers.

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