Nyan Cat turns 10 this year, and to mark the occasion, a one-of-a-kind edition of the iconic GIF is going up for auction. Chris Torres, the artist behind Nyan Cat, has remastered the original animation and will be selling it through the crypto art platform Foundation. The auction begins at 1PM ET today and will run for around 24 hours.
“I’m looking at [the GIF] right now, and I’m like, ‘Yes, it looks good,’” Torres said in a phone call with The Verge. “I think it turned out really well this time around.”
Crypto art has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and there are now a number of digital marketplaces — including Zora, SuperRare, and Nifty Gateway — where collectors can buy and sell digital works. Last year, the digital artist Beeple sold a series of works for more than $3.5 million in total, and the musician Deadmau5 sold thousands of digital pins, stickers, and other collectibles in December.
Buyers of these works get the privilege of “owning” a piece of digital art — to the limited extent one can really own an endlessly reproducible image file. Artwork typically comes with a license that allows the buyer to display them for personal use on, say, a social media page, another digital marketplace, in a game world, or in a virtual museum. The artists generally maintain all intellectual and creative rights to the works.
That means, in some ways, buyers are really just