‘The Fungible Collection’ event, featuring an assortment of artworks created by pseudonymous artist Pak was hosted by Sotheby’s between April 12-14 on the Nifty Gateway platform. Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart said Pak’s ‘The Fungible Collection’ would “challenge us to rethink what we know about digital art and ownership,” and “scrutinizes our understanding of value,”. Stewart has also stated his belief in the past that NFTs have “staying power”, and the prestige auction house selected Pak as their first NFT artist because they wanted to work with “one of the most established artists in the space”.
Pak is an especially well known, long time, highly experienced digital artist who has a massive social media following. The mysterious artist is perhaps best known as the creator of Archillect, an AI bot built with the purpose of discovering and sharing visual media art. The AI combs the internet for content that it ‘thinks’ is most likely to trend on the platforms it posts on, Twitter and Instagram. Pretty cool! In this most recent event, for better or worse, the multiple new Pak releases took on an assortment of forms.
Digging deeper, ‘The Fungible Open Edition’ consists of digital cubes. They were available for purchase at between $500 and $1500 each. The number of cube units purchased determine the tier of ‘Fungible’, and in turn, the number of tiny cubes found within the resulting wireframe cube NFT rendered for the purchaser of the units.
Over the course of three days, NiftyGateway and Sotheby’s allowed the purchasing of ‘The Fungible Open Edition’ at set prices for periods of 15 minutes. On day 1: $500 per cube unit, day 2: $1,000 per unit, day 3: $1,500 per unit. Overall the three day open edition sale resulted in 3,080 unique buyers purchasing 23,598 cube units worth approximately $14 million. Wow!
Personally, I most enjoy the variety found in high-supply non-fungibles. Digital generative art series lend to variety so readily it might seem implied the most exceptional and interesting projects composed of thousands of pieces of art, distributed to thousands of purchasers would include it. With that in mind, it seems to me the primary purpose in participating in this open edition auction was to take part in a somewhat novel digital performance. A chance to be part of a Pak auction. Certainly not a cheap experience, but you were there! Ticket stubs can make great keepsakes. Lets see what else you could have taken home.
- The Cube is a unique, “one-of-one” NFT that will be given to the individual who purchases the most Open Edition cubes by the end of day 3.
- Complexity is a collection of 100 NFTs that will be given to the following 100 individuals who purchase the most Open Edition cubes by the end of day 3.
- Equilibrium is a "four-of-four” where each edition will be sent to the winner of specific criteria:
- The Cryptographer (#1 of 4): The person who solves the puzzle will be rewarded one of the four Equilibrium NFTs. See (here) for Pak's puzzle.
- The Hunter (#2 of 4): The collector who acquires any piece of art by Pak from its initial marketplace for the highest amount on the secondary market will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
- The Influencer (#3 of 4): The individual that posts #PakWasHere to the biggest social media audience will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
- The Oracle (#4 of 4): The person who most closely estimates the total sale of the entire collection prior to the auction beginning on April 12 will receive one of the four Equilibrium NFTs.
- The Builder is a set of 30 NFTs that will be given to artists, builders, and creators who have paved the way for Pak and other NFT artists. The recipients, to be determined by Pak, are those without whom extraordinary leaps in the evolution of media and art would not have happened.
- The Switch is a unique, “one of one” NFT that demonstrates the evolution of artwork in the digital realm. The Switch is developed to change form at a specific point of time in the future, known by Pak. The evolution is determined and rendered immutable by smart contracts, or self-executing code on the Ethereum blockchain.
- The Pixel is a single pixel statement. It is created to validate. The Pixel is a digitally native artwork visually represented by a single pixel (1x1). It is a token that signs the most basic unit of a digital image in a traditional global auction house. It is a tiny mark to carry digitally native art to a potential future history.
As you can see ‘The Switch’ and ‘The Pixel’ auctions went quite well for Pak! I’m intrigued by just what secret change ‘The Switch’ might undergo upon changing hands once more. I’m even more intrigued by ‘The Pixel’. A piece some might say I shoulda / woulda / coulda minted and auctioned off myself. Makes you wonder, would anyone be interested in the very same ‘The Pixel’ if it was a piece created by Dr. Terminus? Also worth noting, technically it was not the artist Pak who minted these artworks, but rather the Nifty Gateway address.
There were a few other surprises left unspoken by many regarding the recent Pak auction. One of which in particular stood out to crypto enthusiasts, especially considering just how much the artist embraces personal anonymity...
Hey @Sothebys, @niftygateway, @muratpak,— Ξnjoi 💰👻💰 (@enjoicrypto) April 15, 2021
It would have been nice to know KYC was required for this drop prior... to the drop...
It would also be nice to know what this is for. I'm not a fan of doxing myself with reason, as most crypto natives would agree...
Please do better. pic.twitter.com/wXTOXqG4Kz
Though this Sotheby’s NFT auction can certainly be considered a boon to the overall NFT space, we’re left with a few questions worth asking. What was most particularly special, new, or enduring about this Pak drop? Who was this auction really for? What is the intended purpose of the KYC information collected? Was this Sotheby's Pak drop so impressive that attendees happily paid a pseudonymous artist to dox themselves?