Fresh off our recent interview with the creator of Nyan Cat, Chris Torres put up a unique, remastered edition of his original animated GIF yesterday on the crypto art platform Foundation as a special tribute to the meme’s upcoming 10-year anniversary.
Running for 24 hours, the auction ended earlier today at 1 p.m. EST, and the ultimate conclusion of the sale will undoubtedly lead to some significant developments in both the meme world and crypto art world alike.
In a basic explanation, crypto art is sold through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that serve as unique digital tokens within a blockchain to verify ownership. Much like traditional, physical artwork, these digital pieces can be sold and resold by creators or those who purchase them. Additionally, certain marketplaces also continue to dish out cuts of any future sales to the original artist, which is how Foundation operates.
Yesterday afternoon, the custom Nyan Cat animation, which was remastered by Torres for the first time in a decade since he originally created it, was already reaching upwards of $23,000. During our discussion with him, Chris told us that he hoped “by doing this it will open the floodgates to a whole new economy for meme creators and artists to validate their work.”
Today, the auction began continually heating up as the artwork climbed to over 51 Ethereum (ETH), or about $100,000, but showed no signs of slowing down as it soared past $200,000, $300,000 and then $400,000 in the final minutes, which were pushed further and further back as bidders continued driving up the price.
Eventually, the final bid was secured and the first Nyan Cat crypto art piece went to an anonymous bidder for a grand total of 300 ETH, or a whopping $587,658. The final moments of the sale were watched by hundreds of viewers on Foundation’s Twitch channel, where Torres was present and giving his reaction during the livestream.
About the sale, Torres said he was a bit in shock over the whole thing, but added, “This has been a life-changing experience.” We caught up with him afterward to hear more about his reaction.
“I was not expecting it to go that high at all,” Torres said. “People kept telling me it’d be upwards to maybe $200,000 or so, but I was like ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ That just shows how powerful memes are in the world. Nyan Cat has earned its spot in the pop culture hall of fame, and there are people out there that saw the monetary value to my work!”
About the money, Torres told us he plans to help out his family, work on home renovations and reinvest some in ETH.
“I plan on distributing some with my family to start. I also just recently bought a new house last year which is in need of renovations, that comes next. Then I’m honestly going to hold onto the rest of the ETH. I really do believe in the value and power of Etherium and think holding onto what I have will be the best decision going on out for my future.”
We also discussed the topic with him earlier this week on our call, and Torres said he felt that this sale would open the floodgates to a whole new economy for meme creators and artists to validate their work. As it turns out, he appears to be right.
“Artists and meme creators can now empower their creations in a more direct way with their audiences,” Torres said. “Artists there create unique works, then ‘mint’ or validate them as NFTs on the blockchain and offer them to collectors around the world. This gives full power to the creator, and I feel like it’ll become a great hub for meme-makers to monetize their work in the near future. Memes hold a great deal of value, and we’re starting to see a large shift where meme creators from the past and present will be able to participate in this new revolution of art.”
Although still relatively new, crypto art has been a growing market for the past several years with many digital marketplaces popping up around the web. Perhaps the most well-known sale was last year’s $3.5 million auction for a series of pieces by digital artist Beeple.
As a newer phenomenon, as well as one that leaves most people simply confused, crypto art is largely unknown by most, but with sales like these, it’s probably a safe bet that the industry will become a big deal in the near future.
“I think me and many other talented artists just broke the seal to the Cryptoart universe this week,” Torres told us. “I feel like things are just going to get bigger and better from here on out. We are still in the infancy stages into this, and things are just going to get better from here.”