Photo: YouTube video screengrab
Photo: YouTube video screengrab

In recent days NFTs or non-fungible tokens have repeatedly made news headlines. From Beeple selling a digital image for $69 million through a Christie's auction to an original Banksy being set ablaze - the news is both fascinating and somewhat concerning.

Simply put, an NFT is a type of cryptographic token that represents something unique. Not to be confused with cryptocurrencies, NFTs are one-of-a-kind and cannot be used interchangeably. And presently, they are all the rage among digital collectors.

They don't necessarily have to be images. NFTs can be videos, video game items or even tweets. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appears to have pioneered the latter with his recent auction of his first tweet.

Now, a livestreamed video of an original artwork by the mysteriously named Banksy being burnt to a crisp has gone viral. Perhaps ironically, the picture itself had been a critique of the art market, depicting an auction. As per a Sotheby's listing, the lot to which this particular painting had belonged had been sold for approximately Rs. 16,42 lakh.

Now, it is is a digital token that was just sold for more than Rs. 2.76 crore. In a move that many are calling a "money-making stunt", the video shows an individual gradually burning the artwork with the aid of a lighter. In a short clip that is likely to make many cringe in anticipatory horror, the painting is eventually reduced to a blank charred and smoking frame.

And while we cannot really presume to know what Banksy would think of this (what with his identity being a mystery and all), we have to say that his initial assessment was correct. To quote the text on his now burnt painting that displayed an auction scene, "I can’t believe you morons actually buy this s**t".

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal