Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun was the runner up in the record-breaking Christie’s auction for a $69 million piece of digital art on Thursday.
Sun – who once paid $4.6 million for a charity dinner with Warren Buffett – bid $60 million for the digital work, called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.” Including the buyer’s premium, he would have paid $69 million for the piece.
However, he was outbid by a mystery buyer offering $250,000 more with 20 seconds to go, he said in a Twitter thread. He tried to raise his bid to $70 million but the offer wasn’t accepted by Christie’s system, he added. He shared an email, ostensibly from a Christie’s representative, that confirmed his higher bid wasn’t received in time.
Sun called for Christie’s to use blockchain technology to make the auction process more transparent and avoid similar problems in the future. He tweeted, ” If you need my assistance in incorporating blockchain technology to your system, let me know! Happy to help :)”
“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was created by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.
The work is a mosaic of the 5,000 daily pieces of digital art that Winkelmann has produced since he began the project in 2007. It’s connected to a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) which acts a digital certificate of authenticity that runs on the blockchain.
Sun, the boss of two cryptocurrency companies, Tron and Rainberry (formerly known as BitTorrent), first garnered attention from the media after he paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffet and then postponed the meetup for more than six months.
Sun also drew the media’s gaze after he pledged $1 million to support Greta Thunberg’s campaign against climate change and said he would give away $1.2 million to 100 people during 2020.
The 30-year-old crypto boss also invested $10 million in GameStop near the peak of the Reddit-fueled rally.
Now, Sun is in the spotlight again as the unlucky runner up for the largest Non-Fungible Token purchase in history. Only two works of physical art surpassed the piece’s sticker price in 2020.
Wu Bin’s “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock” sold for $76.6 million and Francis Bacon’s “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus” sold for $84.6 million, according to ArtNet.
The NFT sale was also larger than any sale at Christie’s auction house in all of last year. The closest contender to the NFT was Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude With Joyous Painting” that sold for$46.2 million.
The sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is the latest in an explosion in the market for NFTs. In fact, according to a study from NonFungible.com, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, the NFT market grew 299% year-over-year in 2020 to more than $250 million.