The Story Of First NFT Art Creation And Auction
What, then, and who invented the first NFT art? Contrary to popular belief, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was not the birthplace of NFT art. Additionally, it didn’t begin with CryptoPunks. Ultimately, Quantum, a generative work of art made by digital artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, receives this one honour. Following its inception, Kevin converted Quantum into an NFT in 2014.
✨DID YOU KNOW✨
Did you know that the first NFT actually emerged in 2014? That’s right, Kevin McCoy minted the first NFT known as, “Quantum”.
•#lsdigitalart #digitalart #digital #art #nft #nfts #nftart #artforsale pic.twitter.com/i5kwzOeJYZ
— LS Digital Art (@ls_digitalart) March 30, 2022
And why did he create this specific work of art? It’s actually quite easy. His motivation was ownership.
The emergence of NFTs
McCoy wanted to figure out a method to market Quantum in its digital version when he and his wife had finished creating it. The issue? He lacked a method for tracing the origin of a work of digital art.
For those who are unaware, “provenance” is the documentation that verifies the identity of the artist, the ownership history, and the market value of a certain work of art. Unfortunately, there were no provenance records for digital work at the time. In other words, it was impossible to confirm the identity of the author and the ownership history of digital works. McCoy considered his alternatives and decided to work with software entrepreneur Anil Dash to find a solution. The two eventually began investigating blockchain technology to determine whether it may offer a workable solution.
Blockchain technology was still a relatively specialized field in the early 2010s. Ethereum had just been released, Bitcoin was only about $630 (it is currently worth little over $16,500), and currency developers frequently overpromised, underdelivered, and were sued into bankruptcy. But McCoy and Dash weren’t deterred, and, to put it mildly, the choice paid off.
As is now commonly known, blockchain technology has several features that are advantageous for purchasing and selling digital art. With it, users have an unreliable means to discover who created any given item on a blockchain and trace its ownership history. This was the ideal solution for McCoy and Dash, and McCoy registered Quantum on the blockchain. “I got the notion to leverage blockchain technology to give digital photos of this type irrefutable provenance and ownership. According to McCoy, Quantum was the first recording to be made in this manner.
McCoy and Dash showed how “monetized graphics” like these may be used to establish provenance and sell digital art not long after that initial minting. They performed their demonstration during a live presentation for the Seven on Seven conferences. Using blockchain, McCoy sold a digital photograph to Dash for $4 during the lecture. And with that, McCoy and Dash unintentionally laid the groundwork for a market that would later become worth billions of dollars.
Also, read – The rise of CryptoPunks NFT to a billion dollar
Debate and quantum rediscovery
After its 2014 mint, Quantum was regrettably forgotten. This was large because of its initial home on Namecoin, a Bitcoin offshoot that existed before Ethereum. Before the 2021 NFT bull market, Quantum specifically resided on Namecoin Block 174923, where it remained for years.
McCoy concluded that he might be sitting on a golden egg when NFTs began to attract public interest and sell for millions of dollars in 2021. He then began to advertise Quantum, speaking with publications like Axios about his work and its significance to the history of NFT. This advertising campaign played a significant role in Quantum’s eventual Sotheby’s auction debut. And in June 2021, it was auctioned off for more than $1 million. An unidentified NFT collector named sillytuna placed the highest offer.
However, there were issues.
Ledger Insights explains that Namecoin requires users to renew any digital assets created on the Namecoin blockchain every 250 days to maintain ownership of those assets. Shortly after Quantum’s $1 million sale, analysts pointed out that Namecoin’s peculiarities raised the question of who exactly owned Quantum at the time of the sale. Notably, Quantum was never renewed by McCoy. As a result, seasoned collector EarlyNFT was able to acquire Quantum’s ownership rights before the Sotheby’s sale.
Ironically, EarlyNFT acquired these rights the day after the Axios article about Quantum was published. In the end, EarlyNFT filed a lawsuit to challenge the legality of Sotheby’s auction.
Who won? As of this writing, sillytuna still owns the item, and the Sotheby’s transaction is still valid. However, given that the entire legal process is still ongoing, things might change.
It’s sad that this recently discovered piece of NFT history has also stirred up some controversy. The NFT community would benefit more from being aware of Quantum’s history, including both its highs and lows. First responders frequently set the standard for others who follow. And it appears that Quantum did just that, based on the tremendous highs and nauseating lows we’ve already witnessed in the NFT area.