Monty Python’s John Cleese Mints Brooklyn Bridge NFT

In brief

  • John Cleese is auctioning a digital iPad drawing.
  • You can buy it now for the price of $69.3 million. Yes, that price does ring a bell.
  • Cleese’s foray into crypto appears to be tongue-in-cheek, for now.

British thespian and comedy writing legend John Cleese is the latest celebrity to mint an NFT. The auction for his ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ NFT, a landscape sketch which he drew on his iPad, is now live on NFT marketplace OpenSea, where a bid of $50,000 dollars has already been made by an eager collector named Cerwyn.

In a tweet yesterday afternoon UTC, the eighty-one-year-old Monty Python member announced that “though bidding starts at 100.00, you can ‘BUY IT NOW’ for 69,346,250.50!”

The buy-it-now price is a not-so-subtle nod to Beeple’s magnum opus ‘EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS’. Beeple made an image every day for 5000 days and turned the whole collection into an NFT, which sold at auction via Christie’sfor an unprecedented $69.3 million to NFT whale Metakovan.

Other high-profile NFT creators have come out of the woodwork recently to collect huge sums for their digital art. 

On March 1st, auctions concluded for electro-pop singer/songwriter and producer Grimes’s first foray into NFTs. Her debut collection of digital images netted her a sweet $6 million

Similarly, Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland netted 1,300 ETH, worth about $1.65 million back in January, when his debut art collection sold through the online NFT auction house Nifty Gateway. 

What’s the buzz about NFTs?

Since the advent of Ethereum, artists have been drawn to the NFT world as a way of selling their artwork digitally. How does it work? Thanks to Ethereum’s blockchain technology, which allows for the creation of smart contracts, artists can mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from their creative works.

Because of the fancy cryptographic nature of Ethereum’s distributed ledger, these NFTs are a form of verifiable digital scarcity. This means that if an artist creates a totally unique one-of-a-kind digital image, they can specify its uniqueness on the blockchain’s indelible distributed ledger. The sale of the unique NFT is then recorded on the ledger, transferring ownership of the one-of-a-kind NFT to its purchaser.

Although traditional art acolytes may bemoan visual art’s increasing march into intangibility, there are certain material benefits that come with blockchain technology. Thanks to smart contracts, artists can even get an automatic commission on the future resale of their art, ensuring income long after the initial sale has been concluded.

How does Basil Fawlty fit into this?

John Cleese’s decision to mint an NFT comes as bewildering news to crypto fans and classic British sitcom fans alike. In fact, his first foray into crypto art is also his first foray into art full stop. 

In the tweet announcing the work, Cleese shared a promotional video where he makes several disingenuous and tongue-in-cheek remarks about crypto.

“Hello, I’m not gonna tell you my name because all you need to know about me is that I’m a young unknown digital artist or a collective of artists,” he said, poking fun at the anonymity and pseudonymity that pervades the crypto community. He then turned the satire onto the language of crypto itself:

“You and me we get it. Our parents laugh at non-refundable tokens and cryptic currencies. ‘It can’t go on the wall!’ they say. ‘Is the world ending?!’ No, hardly.”

Cleese also spoke with Vanity Fair about the auction, saying that “the world has gone terminally insane. This all reminds me of Henry David Thoreau, when he said, ‘Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.”

So Cleese is trolling the cryptoverse. 

What’s definitely not a joke, however, is that $50k offer.


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This Low Cap Crypto Asset Could Be the Most Undervalued Altcoin on the Market, According to Coin Bureau

Popular crypto analyst Coin Bureau is revealing which altcoin he believes could be the most undervalued asset in the crypto sector.

In a new video, the pseudonymous host who works under the moniker Guy tells his 539,000 subscribers that he’s got his eye on sharding protocol ONE, the native asset of Harmony.


Harmony is a sharded, smart contract-compatible blockchain fully interoperable with the Ethereum ecosystem.  It was founded in 2018 by big tech heavyweight Dr. Stephen Tse and a team of Silicon Valley veterans. Binance Labs, the venture arm of crypto exchange Binacne, has invested $5.5 million in the project.

Harmony is inspired by other smart contract-based blockchains like Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA) and uses the same economic incentive structures similar to Cardano’s staking pool saturation, but Guy notes that the project has relied upon its own tech to address scalability issues plaguing smart contract networks.

“Unlike most cryptocurrencies, the Harmony blockchain is not a fork of another popular cryptocurrency’s blockchain, nor was it built using a generic blockchain developer toolkit like the Cosmo SDK. Harmony was built from the ground up to properly address the issues of scalability, security, decentralization and also privacy, which Stephen once referred to as ‘the fourth trilemma.’”

Coin Bureau adds that in order to launch as many validators as possible, Harmony has created a low barrier to entry for anyone who wants to stake ONE. Harmony only requires that you have 10,000 ONE coins to start staking, which, at the time of writing, will cost you about $1,100.

Though Harmony’s ONE token has massively surged since the beginning of the year, the Coin Bureau analyst believes that it still has plenty of room left to grow.

“Harmony has gone up 20x since January, making it one of the best performing cryptocurrencies I’ve covered so far this year. The best part is that there still seems to be a lot of room for growth given that ONE’s market cap is currently sitting around $1 billion with 74% of its supply in circulation. It also helps that as a newer cryptocurrency ONE has no real zones of previous resistances from the 2017 to 2018 bull market…

Harmony has its best days ahead of it. And the ONE coin is just starting to make its mark in the crypto market. Adoption, interoperability, decentralization, and governance are Harmony’s focus points in 2021 and I have a feeling they’re going to deliver on all four.”

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Painting by avant-garde master Baranoff-Rossine to be auctioned as a NFT

An early 20th century master who boasts a permanent installation at the Museum of Modern Art is about to get new life on the blockchain. 

In collaboration with NFT marketplace Mintable, the family of Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine will be releasing a collection of the esteemed Cubo-Futurist’s work. There will be a number of paintings digitized as 1000-print drops, three digitized NFT piece auctions, and one hybrid NFT/physical painting auction set to send the highest bidder both a physical Baranoff-Rossine original painting as well as an NFT image of the work.

On crypto market data provider Brave New Coin’s podcast, NFT marketplace Mintable CEO Zack Burks noted that the forthcoming auction may be the highest-profile example of tokenizing a physical, fine art painting.

“This is historic, we’ve never had something like this in the NFT ecosystem before,” said Burks. “NFTs have been around for three years now, at least on Ethereum, and there’s never been a piece of fine art tokenized. It’s always been something we’ve discussed in the NFT ecosystem, but it’s never actually been accomplished, and especially not from someone who holds such a legacy as Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine.”

Baranoff-Rossine’s grandson, also named Wladimir, said that the physical art/blockchain mashup fits well with the Russian’s legacy. Baranoff-Rossine was an inventor as well as a sculptor and painter, and was known for avant-garde experiments and pieces that fused sound, color, and technology, such as the “octophonic piano”.

Burks and Baranoff-Rossine’s grandson noted that Mintable is expecting interest from fine art collectors, newly-rich Ethereum whales, and casual collectors all. However, given the absurd $69 million price Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” recently fetched at Christie’s auction house, Burks believes the bidding will come down to a war between a NFT collector and a fine art collector, given how the mashup can appeal to both worlds:

“For me, obviously, I run a NFT marketplace, I like NFTs I collect NFTs, and when I see this, I wanna buy it. I want to hang this on my wall, I want to have a piece of historic art in my house, AND have the NFT. That’s the beauty behind this drop.”

Critics turned collectors

Many in the art world have been fussy about crypto’s recent incursion, grumbling that the work digital and NFT artists have put forth is childish or otherwise beneath their attention. It’s a response that has significant historical parallels, including with Baranoff-Rossine: while critics and the press were dubious about his work at the time, one of his sculptures is now part of the permanent collection at the MoMA. 

When asked if Baranoff-Rossine would be participating in the current NFT art revolution were he alive today, his grandson responded enthusiastically in the affirmative.

“Absolutely. It’s something which he did his whole career, so yes absolutely, I think that’s what’s exciting about blockchain,” he said. “The other thing as well is, as an artist, the most important thing you want people to see you work, whether you’re dead or alive, so the whole art scene in blockchain technology and the NFT space is just bringing a lot more eyes to the collection.”

The drop will feature a variety of pieces with different price ranges. The primary auction will be the physical painting tied to the NFT (the winner will have the painting mailed to them), as well as three other auctions for digitalized works, and six “open editions” — 1,000 fixed-price digitized pieces.

Other experiments, such as a burnt Banksy artwork that was reanimated on-chain as a NFT, have involved destroying the physical piece or finding ways to tie the physical and digital works together, such as with a microchip. However, Burks believes that simply creating the NFT loosely associated with the physical piece yields benefits in terms of reduction in paperwork and provenance bookkeeping.

Hybrid physical work and NFT releases also seem to be on the rise: last week, Cointelegraph was first to report that legendary British artist Damien Hirst would be releasing a NFT project titled “The Currency.”

It appears that the people criticizing the new technology will be the ones collecting it soon enough.