June 5, 2023

$ 98,000.

$ 143,000.

$ 277,000.

After more than 30 bids, the auction ended at 12:32 p.m. Eastern Time with a bid of 350 ethers, or approximately $ 560,000. A few minutes later, after the auction platform was cut, nearly $ 500,000 in cryptocurrency landed in my digital wallet. I was shocked. Congratulatory texts and media inquiries came in. My colleagues joked about freezing the charity and sliding off to the Cayman Islands. My editor said I shouldn’t expect an increase.

The whole ordeal was surreal and begged the question: why would anyone spend the price of a high-end Lamborghini on a picture of my words? After all, the NFT was just a cryptographic signature tied to an image of a column that anyone on the Times website could read, albeit with some bonus perks. (I also decided that I would like to publish the winner’s name and photo in a subsequent column, and Michael Barbaro, the host of The Daily, playfully agreed to submit a voice message for the winner.)

The winner, whose handle was on the auction site @ 3fmusic, appeared to be a well-known NFT collector. The profile on the website has been linked to a Twitter profile for a Dubai-based music production company and an Instagram account identified as that of Farzin Fardin Fard, the company’s managing director. The user’s NFT collection contained a variety of other expensive digital works, including an “Emoji Portrait” of musician Billie Eilish valued at $ 14,000 and an item valued at $ 8,000 titled “Enjoying the Jumping Spider in the Morning.” Coffee”.

I reached out to @ 3fmusic to offer my congratulations on the purchase and to discuss the offer. They (it’s not clear if the winner is Mr. Fard or someone else or multiple people) declined to be named – and due to the pseudonymous nature of blockchain-based transactions, there is no easy way for me to get them through the information They volunteered – but they sent me a statement on the Twitter direct message that read:

“We have been dealing with art and media for a long time,” the message says. “Our management team always works with some seasoned and seasoned art consultants who believe we need to grow with technological movements that help us not only grow our business but also support artists and the art market. Therefore, we pride ourselves on providing enough funds and resources to invest in NFT as pioneers in this industry. “

They also gave me permission to include an image of their music studio’s logo in this column.

Jiannan Ouyang, an NFT collector who was eliminated from the auction after a maximum bid of 290 ethers (approx. 469,000 USD), announced that he had decided to bid on my NFT for personal and professional reasons. He is a former Facebook researcher who is now a blockchain entrepreneur, and he is married to a journalist.