Beeple’s record-breaking $69 million NFT makes its public debut at NYC’s Dreamverse event

Last night, DJ Alesso headlined the first NFT festival Dreamverse and announced that he’ll be sending two collectors of his first NFT collection “Cosmic Genesis” to space. Yep, you read that right.

Dreamverse kicked off this week with a gallery and packed party in New York City that used augmented and virtual reality to showcase digital art of 150 artists in a real-world event space. Among the artists were Hackatao, Sparrow, Drue Kataoka, and 17 year-old Diana Sinclair.

But the real star of the festival was Beeple—otherwise known as Mike Winkelmann—who was No. 1 on Fortune‘s recent NFTy 50 list and the artist behind the top-selling NFT of all time, Everydays – The First 5000 Days, which sold for $69 million in March. The NFT, which was on display at the event, was purchased by DreamVerse creators MetaKovan (whose real name is Vignesh Sundaresan) and Twobadour (also known as Anand Venkateswaran).

The Dreamverse gallery of NFT art.
Courtesy of Dreamverse

MetaKovan and Twobadour, who are also the founders of Metapurse, an NFT production studio and crypto fund, say Dreamverse was designed to be a reunion of the metaverse and the physical world. “The NFT cultural explosion happened,” Twobadour told Fortune, “because we were all driven inwards because of COVID.

NFTs are an art form that can break down cultural barriers, the founders said. “When the native Spanish speaking person in the hinterlands of Latin America creates a work of art, he doesn’t have to translate it, he doesn’t have to do anything else, and it is still valid. It is still relevant to the rest of the world. That’s the model of the NFT space,” Twobadour said, describing the world of NFTs as “pro-culture.” Dreamverse was intended to foster and strengthen the bonds between this international community that’s been built online through interests rather than proximity, the founders said.

NFT art on display at Dreamverse in New York City.
NFT art on display at Dreamverse in New York City.
Courtesy of Dreamverse

NFTs have been criticized for their environmental impact as well as their air of exclusivity. Exclusivity is “not the ethos” of this community, countered MetaKovan, stating that he’s “particularly against anything that makes something exclusive…and all these communities were meant to be inclusive.” Tickets to the gallery portion of the Dreamverse festival were $30, while the party used a three-tiered ticketing system with tickets that went for $175 to $2,500 for a VIP NFT ticket.

Although more and more corporations have been dabbling in NFTs, MetaKovan predicts that “more space is going to be taken up by artists than companies and crypto protocols.” Added Twobadour: “Art is precious, not in the sense that a precious or rare metal is, but in a sense that air or water is, like, something that you can’t do without.”

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