In a 24-hour auction on Thursday, the New York Times sold a crypto art piece for the equivalent of R8.4 million.
The piece, which was created as a non-fungible token, or NFT, was part of a project by the publication that made fun of how people have started selling art and memes as NFTs for seemingly absurd sums of money.
According to CryptoSlam data, crypto art pieces have sold for millions of dollars over the last few months, accounting for over $1 billion in sales. Artist Grimes and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for example, have made millions by selling their own digital assets.
Beeple, a digital artist, made history earlier this month when he sold a piece for nearly $70 million.
An anonymous user known online as 3FMusic won The New York Times' NFT with a bid of more than $560,000 in ether, a popular cryptocurrency for selling NFTs.
The publication created an NFT that was a replica of a writer's column titled "Buy This Column on the Blockchain!" The NFT was sold on Foundation, an open NFT platform that in February sold the Nyan Cat meme for nearly $600,000 in NFT.
The NFT was presented as an experiment by The New York Times' tech columnist Kevin Roose.
"As I watched these riches change hands, I thought to myself: Why should celebrities, athletes and artists have all the fun? Why can't a journalist join the NFT party, too," Roose wrote in his column. "So I decided to turn this column into an NFT and sell it on the open market."
After his piece was purchased for $563,000, Roose tweeted about the sale.
He listed the crypto art piece online for a minimum price of $800, and the digital asset tripled in value within hours.
Roose questioned whether his NFT could contribute to the future of art in his column.
"The biggest perk of all, of course, is owning a piece of history," Roose wrote. "This is the first article in the almost 170-year history of The Times to be distributed as an NFT ... if they stick around, NFTs could transform the way digital goods are created, consumed and traded online."
Other news organizations, such as Quartz and The Associated Press, have already dabbled in selling NFTs.
Photo: New York Times