Nyan Cat is being bought as a one-of-a-kind piece of crypto artwork

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Nyan Cat will be 10 years old this year. On this occasion, a unique edition of the legendary GIF will be auctioned. Chris Torres, the artist behind Nyan Cat, has remastered the original animation and will sell it through the Crypto Art Platform Foundation. The auction starts today at 1:00 p.m. CET and lasts approximately 24 hours.

“I look at [the GIF] Right now I’m saying, “Yeah, it looks good,” Torres said on a phone call with The Verge. “I think it went really well this time.”

Crypto art has grown in popularity in recent years, and there are now a number of digital marketplaces – including Zora, SuperRare, and Nifty Gateway – where collectors can buy and sell digital works. Last year, digital artist Beeple sold a number of works for a total of more than $ 3.5 million, and musician Deadmau5 sold thousands of digital pins, stickers, and other collectibles in December.

“You can also support an artist directly, and I think that’s really exciting for people.”

Buyers of these works have the privilege of “owning” a digital work of art – to a limited extent, one can really own an endlessly reproducible image file. Artwork usually comes with a license that allows the buyer to display it, for example, for personal use on a social media page, other digital marketplace, in a game world, or in a virtual museum. The artists generally retain all intellectual and creative rights to the works.

This means that, in a sense, buyers are only acquiring boastful rights. “To be able to say that I’m the collector who actually owns this artist and is a sponsor of this artist, he carries a certain kind of prestige that really appeals to people,” said Lindsay Howard, director of the foundation’s community The Verge. “You can also support an artist directly, and I think that’s really exciting for people.”

Crypto tricks are generally sold through “non-fungible tokens” or NFTs. These are unique digital tokens that live on a blockchain and verify ownership of a piece. Digital artwork can be resold, and in some cases – like Foundation – artists will continue to receive a portion of future sales. That means, as with so much else when it comes to blockchain, there is an element of investment and speculation when buying crypto art as you may be able to resell a work for a profit later on.

“I think it’s cool to know that you own the only piece there is.”

Crypto art has some disadvantages – especially when it comes to energy consumption. Like Bitcoin, NFTs are powered by inefficient computer processes for validating data. Ethereum, on which most Crypto Art platforms rely, is much more efficient than Bitcoin, but even its developer has described the system as an “enormous waste of resources”. Ethereum is still in the process of reducing its energy consumption to a far smaller footprint.

Foundation is one of the newest providers in the field of crypto art. It was launched just two weeks ago and has already generated more than $ 410,000 in sales. (However, as with many crypto art platforms, sales are actually made using the cryptocurrency ether.) “There is an explosion where artists are finally being compensated for the work they create and share online,” Howard said.

According to Torres, Crypto Art Meme Creators like him offers the opportunity to benefit directly from work that has otherwise spread freely on the internet. “It gives power to the Creator,” said Torres. “The creator owns it originally, and then they can sell it and monetize it directly and get credit for what they do.” (Torres has also built a licensing business around Nyan Cat so the character can appear in games or be made into toys.)

To remaster Nyan Cat, who will turn 10 on April 2nd, Torres reverted to the original GIF to enlarge it and fix minor bugs that have bothered him over the years. A star in the original 12-frame animation would appear out of nowhere, Torres said, and took it out for the revised edition. “That always bothered me,” he said.

Once this remaster is sold, Torres has no plans to offer another original painting by Nyan Cat. This means that only one buyer can claim Nyan Cat.

“I think it’s cool to know that you own the only piece there is,” said Torres. “And I think Nyan Cat will be a very special owner.”