The buyer of a landmark artwork by the digital artist Beeple, which sold for almost $70 million, may just be a ‘brown munde.’
Christie’s, the auction house for the artwork on Friday revealed that the buyer is a leading collector of new technologies who operates under the pseudonym Metakovan.
The sale of “Everydays: the First 5,000 Days”, a virtual mosaic created by Beepe (Mike Winkelmann — the US artist’s real name) — caused upheaval on the art market, where digital art was still a niche just six months ago. The purchaser of the digital collage, Metakovan, is one of the oldest investors in “NFT,” or “Non-Fungible Tokens,” which are virtual objects like “Everydays,” whose authenticity and traceability are deemed to be inviolable.
In 2017, together with his partner, who goes by the pseudonym Twobadour and whose identity is also a closely guarded secret, Metakovan created Metapurse, the main investment fund in “NFT” virtual objects, of which he is the main financier.
On March 13, MetaKovan and his Twobadour joined a ClubHouse chat with Sriram Krishnan, where he didn’t reveal anything about himself except that he currently is based in Singapore and the meaning of his pseudo name’s as King of Meta in the Tamil language. At a certain mark in the video, MetaKovan can be heard speaking in Tamil for a few seconds.
A clip of MetaKovan sharing a quote from Tirukkuṟaḷ on virtue was posted on Twitter, speaking in Tamil.
— Sriram Krishnan (@sriramk) March 13, 2021
The quote roughly translates to “A lotus, when it is in a pond, and there is no water, it’s just down there. But when there is a flood, it rises up to the same height as the water. In the same way, people who have good virtues will rise up the same way.”
The Tirukkural (திருக்குறள், literally Sacred Verses), or shortly the Kural, is a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1,330 short couplets of seven words each, or kurals. The text is divided into three books with aphoristic teachings on virtue (aram), wealth (porul) and love (inbam), respectively.
Desi Twitter was all hyped up hearing the Tamil on the Clubhouse podcast.
— Vinay Jonnakuti (@jvinaymohan) March 13, 2021
A conversation in Tamil about why pseudonymous buyer @MetaKovan dropped $70M on the @beeple NFT is what I’m here for. Amazingly articulate & I’m pumped for Indians this next decade… a generational shift where we stop working for others. pic.twitter.com/G9zBOhRvTu
— Akshay BD (@akshaybd) March 13, 2021
— Ashok (@adrasakka) March 13, 2021
At the beginning of January, Metapurse announced it had acquired 20 virtual paintings from Beeple for a total of approximately $2.2 million.
“When you think of high-valued NFTs, this one is going to be pretty hard to beat,” said Metakovan, in a statement released by Christie’s. “And here’s why — it represents 13 years of everyday work.”
“Techniques are replicable and skill is surpassable, but the only thing you can’t hack digitally is time,” said Metakovan. “This is the crown jewel, the most valuable piece of art for this generation. It is worth $1 billion.”
In mid-January, Metapurse announced the launch of three virtual museums in which it will exhibit acquisitions from the fund, enhanced by the use of virtual reality.
(With inputs from AFP)