16 Minutes News by a16z

When Christie's Meets Crypto — The NFT Moment

Episode Summary

In this week’s episode of 16 Minutes — where we talk about tech trends in the news, what’s hype/ what’s real, and where we are on the long arc of innovation — the topic is NFTs ("non-fungible tokens"); specifically, the news that Christie’s has become the first major auction house to offer a purely digital artwork tied to an NFT or “non-fungible token." We’ll go more into NFTs (as well as whether this is really a big deal or not) in this episode, but here’s the news context: The work of art being auctioned is a digital collage by the digital artist Beeple; it’s called Everydays: The First 5,000 Days. The Christie’s auction begins today and runs through March 11. It's news because Christie's, a 250-year-old auction house, is an established presence in the traditional art marketplace, and it’s the first time NFTs (which have been much-buzzed-about in the crypto world for several months) are being formally embraced by the traditional art world. For quick context, NFTs are digital tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, which allow art and other digital assets and collectibles to be verified as unique, hence the term non-fungible (as compared to other, more fungible tokens). They reflect the properties of crypto and blockchains more broadly, such as the ability to track provenance and attribute funds to creators via smart contracts. (For more discussion of NFTs and related themes, check out our previous podcasts Crypto for Creators: From Art Galleries to 'Tokenized' Collectibles and The New Fan Club: Creators, Fans, and the Power of Markets (& Crypto). Zoran Basich of a16z talked to NFT expert Kayvon Tehranian, CEO and founder of Foundation Labs, a marketplace for digital art and collectibles, to help us dig into the Christie's news and broader trend — all in less than 16 Minutes! *** The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.