Crypto Art History

NFTs are estimated to have grown the digital art market from $41 million in 2018 to $338 million in 2020.



  • Kevin Abosch publishes his conceptual book titled "Bank" in which the artist collects 500 paired public and private Bitcoin keys in a book distributed in a limited edition of 50 and declares it a bank.


  • Monegraph launches the first marketplace to register art on the Bitcoin blockchain.


  • Artist Sarah Meyohas launches BitchCoin in February, "a cryptocurrency to buy art and invest in the artist".
  • Ascribe is launched in June, using Bitcoin's blockchain to help artists claim ownership of their work.
  • Verisart is launched in July to "Use the Blockchain to verify the authenticity of artworks" by building a worldwide registry of authenticated artworks.


  • Rare Pepe trading cards are launched in October on the Bitcoin blockchain using Counterparty.
Rare Pepe Trading Cards.
Rare Pepe Trading Cards.


  • In May, Curio Cards, a digital trading card game, is launched on Ethereum.
  • In 2017, the Larva Labs collective launched CryptoPunks, a series of 10,000 computer-drawn faces, each of which could be resold as NFTs. One of them was bought back for $7.5 million. In June, CryptoPunks is launched. As the first implementations of NFT contracts on Ethereum's blockchain, CryptoPunks represent a limited set of 10,000 algorithmically generated, low-resolution, vertical-style digital figures. CryptoPunks was launched in June, paving the way for rare digital art. "This Ethereum-based project could change the way we think about digital art." There are ten thousand computer-generated CryptoPunks linked to a token on Ethereum. These NFT (non-fungible tokens) are the basis of the standard ERC721.
  • In October, launches its first limited edition "Creeps and Weirdos" collection on the Ethereum Blockchain.
  • In November, Cryptokitties is launched. The online game of collecting, breeding and selling virtual cats in the form of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain recorded a transaction volume of over $1 million in one week. The Cryptokitties Game to collect, create and sell virtual cats is launched in November. Within a week, people "spent over $1 million buying virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain." Using the NFT (non-fungible token) CryptoPunks as a base and proposed token standard ERC-721 which is used for crypto art.
  • Artnome publishes an influential article titled "The Blockchain art market is here" in December, which helped understand the experimentation and innovation that happened with art and blockchain in 2017.


  • The Rare Art Fest, the first festival dedicated to crypto art / rare digital art, takes place in New York in January. Born from a tweet by Joe Looney, creator of the Rare Pepe wallet, it was a community-organised event, led by Tommy Nicholas of Rare Art Labs, with the help of DADA. It brought together the art and blockchain community for the first time, in a room holding approximately 400 people. Speakers included Dan Viau, Kitty Hats, Shaban Shaame from Spell of Genesis, Vladimir Vukicevic from Meural, Kieran Farr from Decentraland, Jess Houlgrave and Jessical Angel. Keynote presentations included Joe Looney from Rare Pepe's, Matt Hall from Cryptopunks and Beatriz Helena Ramos from DADA. Jason Rosenstein and Louis Parker held a Rare Pepe's auction in which Homer Pepe sold for $39,200, generating headlines in The New York Times and The Paris Review.
  • Following these events, Anne Bracegirdle organised Christies' first Art + Tech Summit in London dedicated to blockchain. Many projects were launched in 2018, including Codex Protocol, SuperRare, KnowOrigin, BAE (blockchain art exchange, OpenSea, Portion, Artory, RareArt Labs and Museum of Crypto Art (MoCA) at Cryptovoxels in December 2018.
  • "IAMA COIN" In January 2018, artist Kevin Abosch created 10,000,000 virtual artworks consisting of crypto-tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain. The artist also had his blood drawn with which he created 100 physical artworks imprinted with an alphanumeric 42 blockchain address corresponding to the creation of his virtual artworks. The crypto-tokens are called IAMA Coins and are referenced by the "IAMA" symbol on the blockchain.
  • On 14 February 2018, artist Kevin Abosch's virtual artwork "Forever Rose", consisting of a single ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, was sold to a group of ten art collectors for a record $1 million.
  • "Yellow Lambo" by artist Kevin Abosch: The artwork consists of 42 inline alphanumeric characters in neon yellow representing the blockchain contract address for a unique, non-fungible token, an NFT called YLAMBO, also created by Abosch. Abosch named the artwork after the hashtag #lambo, which cryptocurrency enthusiasts often use in online forums. On 26 April 2018, at the San Francisco art fair "If so, What?" Abosch's sculpture titled "Yellow Lambo" was sold to former Skype chief operating officer Michael Jackson for $400,000, more than the base price of a 2018 Lamborghini Aventador car.
  • "PRICELESS": a collaboration between artists Kevin Abosch and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei consisting primarily of two ERC-20 tokens standard on Ethereum's blockchain, called PRICELESS (PRCLS is its symbol). One of these tokens is forever unavailable to anyone, but the other is designed for distribution and is divisible to 18 decimal places, meaning it can be given away one quintillionth at a time. A nominal amount of the distributable token was 'burned' (inserted into digital wallets with the keys thrown away), and these addresses were printed on paper and sold to art buyers in a series of 12 physical works. Each alphanumeric address in the wallet is a proxy for a moment shared between Abosch and Ai.
  • In January, Kittyhats is launched, selling digital accessories for Cryptokitties, demonstrating the permissionless nature of NFTs.
  • On 13 January, the first Rare Art Fest (RareAF), an annual festival dedicated to crypto art, is held in New York. Louis Parker held a Rare Pepe auction during the event, in which the "Homer Pepe" card, an NFT collectible with an image of a Pepe-style version of Homer Simpson, sold for $39,200.
  • In July, Christies's presented the first Art + Tech Summit in London dedicated to Blockchain. The event was organised by Elliot Safra and Anne Bracegirdle. It featured a panel discussion on digital art with Matt Hall of CryptoPunks, John Zettler, The RARE Network and Judy Mam of, moderated by Jason Bailey of


  • Ethereum-based virtual museum tokenises censored Bitcoin artwork.


  • Former Tampa Bay Rays player Micah Johnson, crushes an interactive artwork on NFT to transform the lives of two black boys in the US.
  • The NFT art market tripled in 2020, accounting for over $9 million.
  • May 2020. Osinachi, a self-taught Nigerian digital and crypto artist, sold his latest Crypto Artwork titled "I Can't Breathe" on May 31 for 7 Etherum (ETH), about $1,703 at the time on a blockchain art social network site SuperRare. Osinachi's piece reflects on the violence that unravelled in an American city of Mediapolis, and was sold in less than six hours at an auction.
I Can't Breathe by Osinachi.
I Can't Breathe by Osinachi.


  • In January, CryptoPunk's NFT ''Alien'' sold for 605 ETH (~$750,000). A few days later, another NFT from the Cryptopunk series sold for 550 ETH, (~US$1 million at the time of sale).
  • The first tweet by the founder of Twitter, from March 2006, was sold for $2.5 million in March 2021. In the same month, an original work by the artist Banksy was burned to make a digital original. Finally, on 12 March 2021, a digital work by the American artist Mike Winkelmann was sold at Christie's for $69.3 million, making him the third most expensive living artist after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
  • Popular auction house Christie's announces its first purely digital artwork, by the artist "Beeple". According to CryptoArt data Beeple is the highest paid NFT artist in the world. His work Crossroad is currently listed at $6,600,000.00 (4,502,906 ETH). A fake profile of the artist Banksy raised over $1 million in Ethereum (ETH) by selling fake NFTs.


Visit our media section for a complete overview.


Blockchain Art
Crypto Art
Cryptographic Art
Decentralized Art
Fractional Art
Fractional Finance
Fractionalized Art
Non Fungible Tokens


DeepDove: Crypto Network (2021-09-21). Fractional Art | Crypto Art History. Retrieved , from




This page was last changed on 2021-09-21.