Dubai creator claims to be first in region to sell digital art NFTs for cryptocurreny

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A Dubai artist claims to be the first in the region to have sold digital artwork non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for cryptocurrency, bringing in a total of $7274 for two pieces.

The tokens are used to verify the authenticity and uniqueness of a digital item shared or sold online.

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Lebanon-born Kristel Bechara’s first sale was a piece titled Satochi Nakamoto, the pseudonym of the mysterious inventor of the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It went for $1,950, while her second: Byzantine General’s Shield, sold for $5,324.

Kristel Bechara's Satochi Nakamoto. (Supplied)
Kristel Bechara's Satochi Nakamoto. (Supplied)

She sold her piece Byzantine General’s Shield to a renowned Dubai-based NFT collector who recently bought a New York Times NFT article for $563,000, presumed to be 3FMusic’s Farzin Fardin Fard (NFT purchases can be anonymous).

The sales were made through the NFT auction site, where Bechara also has a third piece listed: FOMO. They were paid for with the cryptocurrency ethereum.

NFTs work by assigning a unique piece of data on the public ledger blockchain to a digital item, ensuring it can not be replicated.

The tokens have value as they are considered by collectors to signify the uniqueness of a digital item, and are therefore seen as assets that could appreciate.

Byzantine General's Shield by Kristel Bechara. (Supplied)
Byzantine General's Shield by Kristel Bechara. (Supplied)

Bechara is offering physical copies of her work to anyone who makes a digital purchase as well as the NFT marking the digital piece’s authenticity.

“As someone who has been creating digital art for a number of years, I wanted to participate in this movement as soon as I learned about it,” Bechara said in a statement.

“I am delighted to see the recognition that digital art is finally receiving. For years I have had to explain to people that art produced digitally is not any way inferior to artisanal traditional art and both should be appreciated in their own way.”

NFTs will elevate the status of digital art, according to Bechara, by bringing more financial value to the pieces and allowing for the payment of royalties to the artist every time a piece changes hands.

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