NFTs and real-world institutions

Non-Fungible Tokens became popular in 2018 on Ethereum but it is only in 2021 when institutions appear on the stage. Auction house Christie’s was the first one to act and had been followed by Sotheby’s. Institutionalization of NFT’s convinced enterprises such as Visa and Budweiser to invest!

Non-Fungible Tokens became popular in 2018 on Ethereum but it is only in 2021 when institutions appear on the stage. How many are them today?

Auction house Christie’s shows the example

In march 2021 the sale of NFT of the artist Beeple at Christie’s for 69,3 million dollars became known worldwide. The sale allowed the artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, to be among 3 artists who are “the most expensive during their life”.

Baptized « Every day: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS », this piece of art is the square of 21 069 pixel size and represents the result of combining 5 000 artist’s works.

In may 2021 the auction house has been united with Foundation Andy Warhol in order to sell 5 pieces of art of the artist of ’80s in form of NFTs. The lot was sold for 3,37 million dollars in total. In the same month, Christie’s has sold 9 CryptoPunks for 16,9 million dollars during the auction in New York.

NFT institutions christies warhol

Today Christie’s is organizing the auction sales on the Asian market which will accentuate CryptoPunks, Meebits, and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). As well as 3 Meebits, 4 BAYCs and 6 CryptoPunks which are already available for sale!

Christie’s has planned another auction sale as well with 31 NFTs united by Art Blocks Curated: Sets 1-3. Numerical pieces of art will be put on sale 1st October during action sales named « Post-War to Present ». Interestingly, it is the first time when Ether (ETH) will be the only accepted payment. 

Sotheby’s is trying to follow its homolog

NFT institutions christies sothebys

Sotheby’s seems to be shyer than its homolog. However, the auction house has sold a collection named « Natively Digital » which consisted of 28 pieces. The most outstanding one was CryptoPunk Alien #7523 sold for 11,8 million dollars. The purchaser of that NFT is Shalom Mackenzie, the majority shareholder of the DraftKings society, specializing in sports betting.

The collection Natively Digital is composed of works of artists PakXCOPYFVCKRENDER, and  Autoglyphs (another creation of LarvaLabs).

More recently, Sotheby’s has offered for sale a lot of 101 BAYCs. The sale reached a value of around 24 million dollars.  It is the startup Yuga Labs, the creator of Bored Ape, which is the origin of that operation.

Visa is entering the scene 

Apart from auction houses, enterprises such as Visa have started to invest. At the end of august payment giant Visa made a purchase of CryptoPunk #7610 for around 50 Ethers (ETH), equivalent of 150 000 dollars at the moment of purchase. Buy Sheffield, the Head of Crypto at Visa, has declared: 

“We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT.”

The company has published a Whitepaper dedicated entirely to NFTs, this document was created in order to help Visa’s partners to understand how to integrate tokens in their ecosystem and how Visa can accompany them in that way. 

Budweiser has bought the domain name Beer.eth

Visa’s initiative seems to inspire other companies. The famous beer brand Budweiser bought some days after an NFT representing a rocket with the brand’s logo for 8 Ether (ETH) which is around 25 000 dollars. That NFT is used as a photo of the Twitter profile of Budweiser US.

At the beginning of August, the brewer has bought the domain name Beer.eth through Ethereum Name Service (ENS) for 30 ETH, which is more than 95 000 dollars at the time of purchase. 


The examples above are not the only ones, we might have mentioned as well the acquisition of BAYC by Arizona Iced Tea.

The acquisition of Visa shows that the company which is prudent about its image is ready to get involved financially into NFTs. Visa may become what MicroStrategy was for Bitcoin by motivating other companies to deep dive into NFT’s issues.

Without any doubt, the involvement of Sotheby’s and Christie’s will facilitate entry for other institutions to that universe.

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