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Buy moments as NFT collectibles: Beeple, the artist behind $69M NFT auction, unveils new website

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6/28/2021 Brett Molina, USA TODAY

Earlier this year, digital artist Mike Winkelmann, commonly known as Beeple, made headlines after Christie's auctioned his artwork as an NFT for $69 million.

His next venture? A website called WENEW capturing iconic moments in history and auctioning them as NFT collectibles.

WENEW is described as a "memory palace of the metaverse," pulling together moments across politics, music, fashion and sports.

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In an interview with USA TODAY, Beeple said he conceived the idea of WENEW before the Christie's auction, after talking with musicians about a potential collaboration.

a close up of a box: A physical artifact representing the highlight of Andy Murray winning the Wimbledon men's singles title in 2013. © WENEW A physical artifact representing the highlight of Andy Murray winning the Wimbledon men's singles title in 2013.

It was during these chats Beeple realized he didn't need to create something new because musicians already had moments that have resonated with their fans.

"Those are moments that have already proven their value," said Beeple. "We're still talking about them five, 10, 50 years out now. We believe that is something that is a new approach to NFTs and will have long term value because it's already shown its society and cultural relevance."

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Time, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group are among the partners working with WENEW to create these moments via NFT, or non-fungible token. The NFT serves as a digital certificate verifying ownership of a specific moment.

The site will leverage the Ethereum blockchain, which will work as a ledger to track transactions, to offer single and multiple edition NFTs for auction and direct sale.

Bidders and buyers will also receive a physical artifact featuring a looping video on a museum-quality screen of the highlight for display.

For its first auction, WENEW is partnering with Wimbledon to offer the moment Andy Murray won the Grand Slam tennis tournament in 2013, ending Britain’s 77-year streak without a male single's winner. The auction will take place July 2-5.

Andy Murray standing in front of a crowd: Andy Murray plays against Novak Djokovic on Centre Court during men's singles final at Wimbledon in 2013. © AELTC / Matthias Hangst Andy Murray plays against Novak Djokovic on Centre Court during men's singles final at Wimbledon in 2013.

It's not just moments up for auction. Some of these NFTs will include unique experiences. For the Wimbledon auction, the winning bidder also gets to play tennis with Murray on a court at Wimbledon, along with a VIP behind-the-scenes tour, two tickets tfor the 2022 men’s Wimbledon finals, and signed souvenirs.  

WENEW will also partner with Time magazine to identify iconic cultural moments to offer on the platform.

"NFTs represent a new paradigm, not just in how people can invest their money but in how we conceive of our shared experience and how we celebrate remarkable achievements," said Beeple in a press release announcing the venture.

NFT attracted mainstream attention thanks in part to Beeple's historic auction and the emergence of other endeavors such as NBA Top Shot, which allows collectors to purchase highlights from NBA games as NFTs.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Buy moments as NFT collectibles: Beeple, the artist behind $69M NFT auction, unveils new website

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