A digital art image called “Genesis Cat” has been sold for a staggering $254,000 in an auction held by Sotheby’s. The artwork was minted on the Bitcoin blockchain’s Ordinals protocol by the Taproot Wizards team. This special edition 1-of-1 piece was created by the Taproot Wizards artist Francisco “FAR” Alarcon and was part of a broader sale of Ordinals inscriptions by Sotheby’s.
The auction for Genesis Cat began on January 12 and concluded on Monday, with the final sale price exceeding expectations. The estimated value for the artwork was between $15,000 to $20,000, making the final sale price more than 12 times higher. This impressive result follows Sotheby’s previous sale of three pixelated images from the “BitcoinShrooms” collection for a combined total of $450,000.
Genesis Cat was sold as part of the “Ordinals Curated Sale,” which featured 19 lots from 11 different artists. In total, the sale generated approximately $1.1 million, according to Derek Parsons, a spokesman for Sotheby’s.
Lot 17 from the auction, titled “Black Rare Sat 20,159,999,999,999,” fetched $165,100, setting a record for a so-called “Rare Satoshi.” These artworks are highly sought-after due to their unique features.
The popularity and high prices of these Ordinals inscriptions, sometimes referred to as “NFTs on Bitcoin,” have drawn comparisons to the NFT frenzy that occurred on the Ethereum blockchain a few years ago. However, the increased transactions related to Ordinals have caused congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain, leading to criticism from some purists who believe the blockchain’s bandwidth should be reserved for financial payments.
According to Sotheby’s description of the auction lot for the Genesis Cat image, Francisco Alarcon is an artist and engineer who explores the intersection of visual arts and technology. His work delves into the material history of computer-generated graphics and examines digital imaging from historical and conceptual perspectives. Alarcon’s research focuses on computer simulations, visualizations, and their impact on our understanding of the physical world through mediums such as film, video games, and virtual worlds.
The Genesis Cat piece served as the anchor for a series of 3,333 “Quantum Cats” minted by Taproot Wizards. This sale marked the first since the Ordinals “NFTs on Bitcoin” project raised $7.5 million from investors last year. The Quantum Cats collection aims to honor a Bitcoin improvement proposal known as OP_CAT, according to a press release from Taproot Wizards.
Dan Held, the chief marketing officer for Taproot Wizards, stated that the price for Genesis Cat includes the amount that will be paid back to the project, including the artist who was a co-founder. Additionally, the Sotheby’s fee is charged on top of the winning bid price.
The sale of Genesis Cat for such a significant amount highlights the growing interest and value of digital art on the blockchain. As more artists and collectors embrace this medium, it will be interesting to see how the market continues to evolve and whether it will reach the same level of frenzy as the NFT boom on Ethereum.