The estate of the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has forbidden the sale of an NFT drawing that would have allowed the buyer to destroy the original artwork.
Firstly, what is an NFT? In short, it’s a sort of non-tradable unique data token that nobody can understand anything about, but the gist of it is perhaps best summed up by StadiumTalk which refers to it as some sort of online “Mona Lisa of baseball cards.”
It was announced earlier this week that Basquiat’s mixed media artwork, Free Comb with Pagoda, which he crafted in 1986 on OpenSea, would be sold at auction for one Ethereum (which currently trades at around $2700 USD).
However, if it was sold as an NFT, it would allow the buyer to deconstructive all of the other data for the artwork ensuring that they hold the one and only copy.
Following this revelation, the Basquiat estate has since intervened. A statement from licensing agent David Stark read, “The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat owns the copyright in the artwork referenced.”
Later adding, “No license or rights were conveyed to the seller and the NFT has subsequently been removed from sale.”
Daystrom, the company who were backing the auction listing, announced, “While blockchain transactions are widely considered a trusted source of authentication and provenance, best copyright practices have yet to evolve for the digital economy.”
Whether or not there is any future in NFT remains to be seen. However, this debacle is indicative of the problems that the medium will face moving forward with the surrounds of uncertainty.