NFTs and how Sotheby's is courting a new generation: Business Extra

Co-head of digital art sales Michael Bouhanna talks to 'The National' about a new market for auction houses

The future of ownership or a passing fad?

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, a digital object underpinned by the blockchain, have taken the digital art world by storm — and Sotheby's is taking note.

The storied auction house credited an “influx of younger, tech-savvy collectors” interested in luxury goods and NFTs for its success in 2021, when it reported its highest sales figure since it opened in 1744.

But the digital space is not without its grifters, spammers and scammers.

OpenSea, the world's biggest NFT marketplace by volume, said last month that 80 per cent of the NFTs minted on its platform are “plagiarised works, fake collections and spam".

To better understand the world of NFTs and art — and what still needs to be done to make the market less fraudulent — host Kelsey Warner is joined this week by Michael Bouhanna, the co-head of digital art sales at Sotheby's.

From February 25-27, Sotheby’s and the Visual Arts Commission of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture are teaming up to launch a digital arts forum in the kingdom — a first of its kind in the Middle East.

The forum will chart the history of NFTs, from their inception seven years ago until today and bring together artists, collectors and curators in digital art. Sotheby’s will also showcase a selection of cutting-edge NFTs and host daily workshops as part of the Diriyah Biennale’s public programme.

In this episode

What are NFTs again? (0m 50s)

The digital art scene, NFTs and why Sotheby's wants to get involved (2m 24s)

Collector trends and tastes in the NFT space (7m 30s)

Security and investment in the NFT world (9m 19s)

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Updated: February 25, 2022, 2:21 PM