Some rudimentary pixel art just sold for 605 ETH, or $761,889 at purchase.
FlamingoDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) for investing in digital collectibles, is behind Saturday’s eye-popping CryptoPunk sale. Only nine such “Aliens” exist in the CryptoPunk universe, which pioneered non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in 2017 and are the “Holy Grail” for an emerging class of Ethereum-based art collectors.
FlamingoDAO community representative Priyanka Desai told CoinDesk it was by far the collective’s most expensive piece to date.
“I showed my mom and she was like, ‘What???’” Desai said in a phone interview.
Flamingo is a fund with roughly 40 members and 4,800 ETH in pooled capital, Desai said. It has “hundreds” of NFTs in its growing collection including rare Autoglyphs, NBA Top Shot cards and land plots in various metaverses.
Flamingo’s decision to act on this rare opportunity “was whipped together within 25 minutes,” mostly via Discord, Desai said.
“It’s understandable for folks to be skeptical about NFTs, but in our view, NFTs are the future of not just digital art, but all digital property,” FlamingoDAO said in a statement. “It’s the tip of a very large spear.”
A prominent decentralized finance (DeFi) personality, @0x_b1, was one of the counterbidders who lost out on CryptoPunk 2890. In a tweet, @0x_b1 said they had valued the CryptoPunk at roughly $1 million.
The CryptoPunk in question last sold in July 2017 for 8 ETH, or $2,127 at the time. That represents a 75x return on investment in ETH terms (and even greater in USD).
“People see it as a collectible that is pretty significant in the history of NFTs,” said Desai.
Options for realizing a return on the investment are still to be determined by DAO members, Desai said. Aside from future appreciation or its possible financialization, “There’s also this notion of Flamingo wanting to build galleries in different metaverses for putting this and other pieces on display,” she said.
In yet another sign of the upward ascendancy of both the sports card and digital collectibles markets, three limited-edition NBA highlight video cards have sold for more than $30,000 over the past 10 days on NBA Top Shot, a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy, sell and trade numbered versions of specific video highlights.
NBA Top Shot is a joint venture, started in July 2019, between the National Basketball Association, the NBA Players Association and Dapper Labs, which is best known as the creator of CryptoKitties, long considered the world’s most popular blockchain-based game.
According to Dapper Labs Chief Executive Officer Roham Gharegozlou, NBA Top Shots, which are the video versions of highlight moments, are sold in limited edition packs (for between $9 and $230, depending on the quality of the highlight and the player) and only sold for a limited time.
Once purchased, those highlights go into a buyer’s encrypted, secure highlight wallet.
Each individual NBA Top Shot video card has value due to its authenticity and scarcity being secured by a blockchain called Flow.
Since its launch, the company has reportedly registered nearly $20 million in sales ($6 million from packs and $14 million on its secondary marketplace) with upwards of $1.5 million in trading volume in January alone.
The skyrocketing value of NBA Top Shots recently has been remarkable. On January 15, a Ja Morant highlight (No. 1 out of 49) was purchased off the platform’s secondary marketplace for a then-record $35,000. According to The Action Network, the Morant highlight’s original owner got it out of a pack and sold it in November for just under $2,000. That new owner then sold it last week for $35k, making an exceptional return on investment in less than 50 days. Four days after the Morant sale, a group of investors bought a LeBron James dunk highlight (No. 23 out of 59) for $47,500, capping off a 24-hour stretch in which the site saw more than $1 million in sales. Then, on Friday, a collector purchased a No. 1 LeBron James moment from Top Shots’ From The Top Series 1 set for a whopping $71,455, shattering the record. According to a recent Bloomberg report, the sports card and memorabilia boom has “come on the coattails” of surging cryptocurrency markets that “are near all-time highs with investors looking for hard assets to hedge against future inflation.” However, unlike forms of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, which are readily exchangeable, each NBA Top Shot moment is a non-fungible token (NFTs), which means it can only have one owner and cannot be copied. NFTs are used “to create verifiable digital scarcity” and digital ownership. “The trading card business is worth $5-$6 billion annually,” said Gharegozlou, adding, “I don’t see why we can’t get to a place where this business is grossing $1 billion alone.”
Last week, a new all-time record was established when an extremely rare, PSA-9 graded, 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card sold for $5.2 million. The previous record for the highest-selling sports card of all time was set last August when a signed rookie by Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout sold for $3.93 million at auction.
“There are guys buying trading cards and they’re never taking the custody of the cards before putting them into vaults,” Gharegozlou told the Action Network. “There are people buying shares of cards on sites like Starstock, without ever seeing the card. This is the same concept. We have a lot of believers in what we offer, and we have people who don’t get it. That’s OK. We can’t please everybody.”
What To Watch For:
The Action Network reported earlier this week that three sellers were offering their version of the Ja Morant dunk (from a more rare series, limited to just 25) on the secondary market for $100,000.
Mickey Mantle Rookie Card Sells For $5.2 Million, Setting Record For Largest Card Transaction (Forbes)
What Is NBA Top Shot? Blockchain NBA Highlight Market Explodes With 5-Figure Sales (Action Network)
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