‘This Is Going to Be a Billion-Dollar Piece Someday’: The Buyer of the $69 Million Beeple NFT on Why It’s the Greatest Artwork in a Generation

Singapore-based NFT collectors Metakovan and Twobadour want to build "a massive monument" to their new work.

Beeple, Everydays – The First 5000 Days. Courtesy of the artist and Christie's.

A day after the first NFT (or non-fungible token) artwork sold at Christie’s for an astonishing $69.3 million, the buyer of the record-setting, purely digital work by Beeple has stepped forward.

The Singapore-based NFT production studio and crypto fund Metapurse, which is financed by its pseudonymous founder Metakovan and operated with someone named Twobadour, bought the work by Beeple (aka Mike Winkelmann), titled Everydays—The First 5,000 Days. (The collectors do not share their real names.)

Metapurse is a collection of NFTs that has operated since late 2016. Metakovan started to collect “virtual real estate at a large scale because that really appealed to him, the fact that you could own land and that ownership is immutable,” Twobadour told Artnet News.

They then branched out into “a variety of asset classes within the NFT space,” he said, such as the Delta Time Triple One, the first digital car from Formula One, which was the highest-selling NFT in 2019, at $111,000. Last year, they began to focus heavily on art.

Artnet News spoke to Twobadour today about their interest in NFT art, what they plan to do with their $69 million prize, and what they see as its particular significance for a new generation of creators.

Did you buy this work using cryptocurrency?

This is the first time Christie’s has enabled purchases in Ethereum. We bought it with ether, all of it. Initially they wanted payment in fiat or traditional currency, but then they said they would accept the entire thing in crypto, which is really nice of them.

Tell me about your interest in Beeple and this particular work.

To us, Beeple represents the most iconic artist of this digital generation and this piece in particular, we believe, is the most valuable piece of this generation. Not because it’s digital and not because it’s an NFT, but because it represents compressed time and the only thing you can’t hack in this digital world is time. Skill is transferable and technology becomes obsolete. The only thing you can’t hack is time, and this piece represents 13 years of time. We believe that makes this an iconic, once-in-a-lifetime kind of piece, and that’s why we went after it.

Do you know Beeple or have a relationship with him?

Yeah, we do. We met him, not in the real world, for the first time after we bought all 20 of his single edition pieces on Nifty Gateway for about $2.2 million. We spoke to him for the first time then.

How was the artwork presented to you by Christie’s? How did you preview it?

We didn’t need a preview. To be fair, Beeple is pretty good about talking about his work, and this upcoming work in particular, so Christie’s didn’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting.

What are your plans? Can or will you display this somehow?

I’m so glad you asked that. That’s one of the things we want to change about how the world engages with art. Typically, there’s only a few things that you do. You might flip it, sell it for a higher price at a later date. Second is to park it somewhere in a large warehouse, which is what happens with a lot of iconic art that gets scooped up. And third is to open up the experience to the community, which has been historically how art was dealt with, you know, the temples in ancient Rome or Egypt or India. But that is not financially sustainable.

So what we want is to build a massive monument for this particular work of art which exists only in the virtual world. We have a wish list—a dream, so to speak, of some of the most prominent architects on the planet. We’d like to collaborate with them to design something that can exist only in this virtual space and then install this art in it and open it up to the world. The dream is to build the monument and, in two months’ time or so, share a link with you so that you—wherever you are in the world—at the click of a button, can experience the grandeur of this work.

Tell us about the bidding action. Did you have a cutoff or maximum price limit?

It was not fun and the fact that I start to stutter when I speak about it should tell you what happened. It was tough. Even though each platform is unique, Christie’s is an unfamiliar platform. For instance, when you have a higher bid, the typical time extension ranges from five minutes to 24 hours on most crypto platforms. The time extension on Christie’s was 60 seconds, and 22 million people were apparently trying to watch the auction live on the website. It didn’t crash, but it did everything else but crash.

The time lag would tell you that your bid hasn’t gone through, stuff like that. In the last 40 seconds, you had no idea what was happening. I must commend Metakoven, because he held his nerve and we never were in doubt that we wanted to acquire this piece. We had a certain limit and worked with Christie’s and they were all hands on deck. Anything we asked for, they were happy to accommodate with respect to information and questions, so we knew what we were getting into. We were really prepared for the auction, but it still sort of surprised and shocked us—we lost some weight in the last five minutes.

How are you feeling now that it’s over?

This is going to be a billion-dollar piece someday. This has the potential to be the work of art of this generation. We are very happy to be part of history and we’re still digesting the fact that we are part of history.

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