Now, even COVID-19 has an NFT

December 13, 2021, 4:16 PM UTC

NFTs have gone viral in a lot of ways, but one of the latest is taking that description in an entirely new direction.

Data project Viromusic has launched an NFT collection of songs that are created using the genetic sequence of COVID-19. And the buyer of the first in the collection is already seeking 100 Ether, or about $379,000, on the resale market.

All totaled, there are 10,000 coronavirus songs that were minted as NFTs. The music is best described as new age, with piano-driven orchestrations that are mixed with strings, drums, guitar and ambient synthetic sounds. Project organizers say they explored the RNA of COVID-19 to find data strands that could be turned into music via a proprietary algorithm that translates that data into notes. They’ve dubbed the process “DNA Sonification”.

Bids can be made on the music on Rarible, and the asking price for numbers 2-10,000 is significantly cheaper (around $265). Buyer beware, though: Even the organizers warn that viruses don’t always make melodious tunes.

“Some NFTs will sound more musical than others,” they say in the site FAQs.  “As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

NFTs are available in seemingly every possible form at this point. Beyond RNA strands set to music, they’re being used for everything from film scenes to human eggs. The biggest draws, though, have been in the digital art world.

In addition to getting a high-resolution audio file of the song, people who choose to buy the NFTs will also learn which particular gene corresponds to the code in the song and what that gene is used for in the virus.  

“The idea for this collection was born from an awe of the beauty in the code of life,” say organizers. “ We hope this project helps to raise awareness that even a virus capable of inflicting such misery is fundamentally based on the same code as every living thing on earth.”

Clarification: This piece has been updated to reflect the asking price of the first NFT is a resale price.

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