Thousands of collectors are gazing at their digital wallets today, unsure how their investments in Pak’s pseudonymous artist (or artist group) Pak’s NFT (non-fungible token) The Merge would fare.
More than 28,000 buyers spent an eye-watering total of $91.8 million in an open edition on the NFT platform Nifty Gateway from Thursday to Saturday to acquire 266,445 total units of mass (for those who didn’t join in on the sale, “mass” is analogous to “digital token” and allows for some interesting wordplay with the terms of the sale). According to Nifty Gateway, this might make this the most expensive sale of a live artist’s work ever.
That’s a difficult assertion to make, but there’s little question that the overall amount paid on The Merge much outstripped the last spectacular NFT sale, Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days, which sold for $69.3 million in March at Christie’s. The 48-hour Pak sale demonstrated the art market’s heightened gamification and demonstrated that, if the need for NFTs persists, producers would undoubtedly discover new ways to attract consumers.
Each edition or unit of mass priced $575 at the commencement of the sale on December 2nd at 6:30pm ET (those who already possessed Pak NFTs could start buying early and at a discount, 6pm at $299 per unit). The price increased by $25 every six hours, with a bonus for those who bought in volume. You would receive one free mass for every 10 you purchased. If you buy 1,000, you will receive an additional 300.
Buyers will receive one NFT with their accumulated mass on Monday. Isn’t it enough fun? During the sale, a leaderboard was displayed that anonymously displayed the quantity of mass purchased, with the top 100 and top five receiving an unique “style class.”
The game isn’t over yet, thanks to an intriguing wrinkle for secondary market purchasers. Rather of obtaining an NFT when a collector buys The Merge NFTs from other collectors, the buyer’s NFT’s cumulative mass grows while the seller’s NFT is destroyed. The more secondary sales there are, the more rare the bulk becomes. “Alpha, the system’s greatest mass,” according to the Nifty Gateway website, “is a dynamic class that will be granted to the Top collector, which may also be attained by gaining additional mass via secondary market conflicts.” Allow the games to go on!
Whether or whether this is the highest public sale by a living artist depends on how the terms in that phrase are defined. Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, a 1986 sculpture, sold for $91 million in 2019, making him the most valuable living artist. Compared to the 266,445 units of mass sold from The Merge, that was just one object (from a limited edition of three). On the other hand, Damien Hirst’s Sotheby’s auction in 2008 netted over $200 million, but it was for 287 objects, whereas The Merge might eventually become a single digital work.