TRON founder Justin Sun bought 3 Digital Zones NFTs for $2 Million and donated them to APENFT Foundation
Just when you think the non-fungible token (NFT) market will fizzle out, the market continues to grow with no signs of slowing down. In March, Mike Winkelmann, the digital artist known as Beeple, made history after a single piece of his non-fungible token (NFT) art print was sold at Christie’s Auction for a record-setting $69.3 million, making it the most expensive digital art ever sold.
Unknown to many at the time, Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency startup TRON, was the runner-up in the record-breaking Christie’s $69 million NFT auction. Sun tried to bid $70 million for the digital artwork after he was outbid with 20 seconds to go, but his offer wasn’t received by Christie’s systems.
Fast forward six months later, Sun announced he had purchased three Digital Zones editions, a series of NFT artworks created by artist Mitchell F. Chan, for 569 ETH (or $2 million) and donated them to APENFT, a foundation with the mission to register world-class artworks as NFTs on the blockchain. APENFT Foundation’s mission is to build a bridge between top-notch artists and blockchain and to support the growth of native crypto NFT artists.
APENFT is backed by the underlying technology of top-notch blockchains Ethereum and TRON with support from the world’s largest distributed storage system BitTorrent to deliver the mission of registering world-class artworks as NFTs on the blockchain. We wrote about TRON back in 2018 when the cryptocurrency startup acquired BitTorrent for $140 million to realize the goal of establishing itself as a truly decentralized Internet.
Digital Zones, short for Digital Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility, is a limited edition NFT issued by artist Mitchell F. Chan in August 2017. It was inspired by Zone de sensibilite picturale immaterielle, an artwork created by the famous French artist Yves Klein. Chan produced eight series of Digital Zones, containing 101 NFTs in total, with ten for each series from Series 1 to Series 7 and 31 for Series 0.
In a post on Twitter, Sun wrote: “I just spent 569 #ETH ($2M USD) on three Digital Zones Edition 83,8&92 from @mitchellfchan and donated it to @apenftorg as a collection. You can check on my OpenSea collection https://opensea.io/Justinsun #NFT”
Along with the NFT, Mitchell F. Chan also wrote a detailed bluebook for his Digital Zones, and its limited hard copies will also be available. The blue book details the history of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital assets, and their relationship with Yves Klein’s artworks.
The art series Zone de Sensibilite Picturale Immaterielle (Zone of immaterial pictorial sensibility) by Yves Klein takes the form of receipts. Considered one of the earliest representations of conceptual and performance art, it gives its own interpretation on materiality, ownership, and the ritual of exchange.
The work involved the sale of ownership of “virtual” space, taking the form of a receipt, in exchange for gold; buyers who paid the gold as agreed on would obtain the receipt in return. Nevertheless, Klein claimed that in order to truly own this art piece, the buyer had to perform an elaborate ritual by burning the physical “receipt”, while the artist would throw half of the gold into the Seine. As Klein put it, tangible works derive from intangible concepts. In other words, intangible concepts are themselves artworks that may even outweigh tangible ones.
When Chan first learned about Ethereum back in 2017, he realized that he could convert Yves Klein’s project into an NFT through blockchain technology and carry out creative experiments, thus taking a step further to non-visual and immaterial conceptual art. He then wrote a detailed bluebook for Digital Zones. The timing of the work’s contract minting makes it one of the earliest NFT works on Ethereum, second only to Cryptopunk, and three months earlier than CryptoKitties. More importantly, it made its debut at InterAccess in Toronto, which establishes itself as one of the first NFT artworks to be exhibited in a conventional art gallery. It is now widely received as the first “high art” in the crypto art field.
With NFT coming to the limelight and crypto practitioners vigorously pursuing “vintage” NFT projects, the general public started to see the huge value of NFT of this kind, plucking Chan and his works out of obscurity a few months back.
Now, except for certain editions in Series 0 owned by the artist, all editions in other series have been sold out. The price in the secondary market has exceeded 200 ETH and is still soaring. It is reported that Digital Zones Edition 10 of Series 0 will be put up for auction between October 14 and 21 at NativelyDigital, Sotheby’s.
Sun graduated from Peking University, China’s second-best university, with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.