Sotheby’s auction establishes a new global record with a $11.8 million CryptoPunk sale.

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After the auction, the prior owner of the COVID Alien artwork declared, “NFTs are dead.”

Sotheby’s, a luxury auction company, created ripples on social media on Thursday by selling a rare CryptoPunk.

In a tweet from Sotheby’s, the auction said CryptoPunk #7523 — also known as “COVID Alien” — sold in its London salesroom for roughly $11.8 million. According to the auction house, this sale represents a new world record for a single CryptoPunk artwork.

CryptoPunks are frequently little, pixelated images of people, apes, zombies, and aliens that precede the majority of the nonfungible token (NFT) mania in 2021. In late May, Sotheby’s announced the sale of the COVID Alien as a “special, standalone” auction. The artwork depicts an extraterrestrial with a facial mask.

According to on-chain statistics, the CryptoPunk was acquired for 8 Ether (ETH) in a public sale in 2017 – a fraction of the price now. However, the New York-based auction house Christie’s sold nine CryptoPunks for over $17 million last month, indicating that there is still tremendous interest from numerous purchasers in these artworks.

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“Punks were designed as pseudonymous portraits, masks for those crypto pioneers that value the idea of privacy in the modern age,” said Sotheby’s in an overview of the auction. “Avatars, portraits or masks, they stand as semiotic reference points to a specific internet crypto native identity that now spreads itself across social networks — particularly Twitter. More is said by a Punk as a profile picture than a portrait of the individual behind the account.”

The NFT collector “Sillytuna,” who owned the COVID Alien prior to the sale, previously told Cointelegraph that he acquired the digital collectible in an over-the-counter deal. He took to Twitter immediately after the sale to announce that “NFTs are DEAD” and hinted he may have already used some of the funds to make another artwork purchase.

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