Why did someone pay $ 560,000 for a picture of my column?

$ 98,000.

$ 143,000.

$ 277,000.

After more than 30 bids, the auction ended at 12:32 pm Eastern Time, with A. Winning bid 350 ether, or about $ 560,000. After a few minutes, after the auction platform made its cut, about $ 500,000 in cryptocurrency landed in my digital wallet. I was stunned. Congratulations started pouring in texts and media requests. My colleagues joked about hardening donations and slipping on the Cayman Islands. My editor said that I should not expect to get up.

The whole sequence was real, and this raised the question: Why would someone spend the price of a high-end Lamborghini on a picture of my words? After all, NXT was just a cryptographic signature associated with an image of a column that anyone could read on the Times website, with some bonus perks. (I also determined that I would feature the winner’s name and photo in a follow-up column, and “The Daily” host Michael Barbaro agreed to throw in a voice message for the winner.)

The winner, whose Handle on the auction site was @ 3fmusic, Appears to be a major NXT collector. The profile on the site was linked to a Twitter profile belonging to the Dubai-based music production company, and the Instagram account was identified as the company’s chief executive officer, Farzin Fardin Fard. The user’s NXT collection included composer Billy Eilisch’s $ 14,000 “Emoji Portrait” and several other expensive digital works, including “Jumping Spider in the Coffee,” titled “$ 8,000.”

I reached out to @ 3fmusic to convey my congratulations on the purchase and to discuss the bid. They (it is not clear if the winner is Mr. Fard or some other person or many people) refused to be named – and, due to the pseudonym of the blockchain-based transaction, there is no way for me to identify them beyond the information There is no easy way. He volunteered – but he sent me a message on Twitter which said:

“We have already been involved in the arts and media for a long time,” the message read. “Our management team always collaborates with some highly knowledgeable and experienced art consultants, who believe that we should grow with technological movements that not only help promote our business but also support artists and the art market. Thus, we have proudly decided to dedicate sufficient funds and resources to invest in NXT as a pioneer of this industry. “

They also allowed me to include an image of their music studio logo in this column.

Jianan Ouyang, an NXT collector who exited the auction after a high bid of 290 Ether (about $ 469,000), told me that he had decided to bid on my NXT for both personal and commercial reasons. She is a former Facebook research scientist who is now a blockchain entrepreneur, and is married to a journalist.

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