Image above: The original ‘Spike’ artwork, pictured here in a Valuart video. Valuart / YouTube

1. Damien Hirst Says NFTs May Outlast Physical Galleries

Famed contemporary artist Damien Hirst told CNBC on Wednesday he believes in the staying power of NFTs. “You look at what’s happening in NFTs, and you can kind of see the galleries disappearing before you see the NFTs disappearing,” Hirst said on “Squawk Box,” where the British artist discussed his NFT collection called “The Currency.” The project features 10,000 NFTs, with each corresponding to their own distinct works of physical art. The NFTs cost $2,000 apiece. Their eventual owners have one year to choose between holding onto the NFT or exchanging it for its physical creation. The piece that owners don’t pick will be destroyed.

2. Banksy’s Infamous ‘Spike’ Artwork Becomes an NFT

‘Spike’ is a unique piece of artwork that was created by the enigmatic street artist Banksy in 2005. Today, a “Digital Original” of the physical artwork is going to be auctioned off as a licensed NFT. 50% of the revenue from the auction will be donated to charities to support people suffering from conflicts around the globe. The original piece of artwork, which was created in Palestine during Banksy’s travels in the West Bank, is owned by Vittorio Grigolo. Grigolo is a famous Italian operatic tenor who is also the co-founder of Valuart, the platform on which the NFT will be sold. The famous piece of artwork can be seen floating across the earth before emerging on Earth as an NFT in Valuart’s story, which has been published on YouTube.

3. With $2.4 Billion in Transactions, NFT Market Defies Expectations in Second Quarter of 2021

According to a new Dapp Industry Report, NFT sales increased in Q2 of 2021, providing further evidence that the blockchain-adjacent tokens are going nowhere in terms of multi-industry relevance. In May, reports emerged that indicated NFT sales were trending downwards, but the market clearly appears to have recovered; according to the Dapp Industry research, sales of NFTs leapt 111.46% in comparison to Q1, and overall, NFT sales topped out at $2.4 billion in Q2 (the report indicates that Q1 saw $2.3 billion in sales). While art sales of NFTs have been found to be significant, research also shows that the digital tokens have been harnessed for a variety of other uses that are contributing to their market success.
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4. Tiny Leonardo da Vinci Drawing Fetches Record $12.2 Million USD at Auction

Leonardo da Vinci‘s Head of a Bear, which is approximately the size of a postage stamp, sold for a record £8.9 million GBP ($12.2 million USD) at Christie’s London. According to Artnet, the silver point drawing measures at only two-and-three-quarters inches square and is believed to be part of a series of animal studies da Vinci created in the early 1480s. The piece, drawn on pink-beige prepared paper, was privately acquired in 2008 via London dealer Johnny van Haeften, who called it “a very charming drawing.” The Leiden Collection director of exhibitions added, “It’s a huge rarity in itself.”

Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

5. NFT Marketplace OpenSea Hits $1.5 Billion USD Valuation After Latest Funding Round

NFT marketplace OpenSea has raised $100 million USD and hit a valuation of $1.5 billion USD in its latest funding round. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led the Series B funding, alongside other crypto investors like Walt Disney president Michael Ovitz, NBA star Kevin Hart and Ashton Kutcher, among others. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that blockchains represent one of the most exciting paradigm shifts in the history of technology,” the company said in a blog post. The company also announced its expanded blockchain support and a “gas-free” marketplace.