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A three-week-old NFT just sold for $69 million – Financial Post

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The sale isn’t just an unprecedented price for an NFT, it’s an unprecedented price for a new artist, period

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On Thursday, a digital artwork less than a month old hammered for US$60.25 million at Christie’s in New York, shattering every previous record set for the medium and pushing the NFT market into the price range of blue-chip masterworks. With buyer’s premium the total comes to US$69 million.

Everydays: the First 5,000 Days is a mosaic of every image that artist Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple, has made since 2013. The artwork is attached to a non-fungible token (NFT), a digital certificate of authenticity that runs on blockchain technology. Unlike some of his other artworks, Everydays doesn’t come with anything physical (a box, a plaque) attached. Bidding opened at $100 on Feb. 25.

“The first day of bidding was one of the most magical events in my auction career,” says Noah Davis, a specialist at Christie’s who organized the sale. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Everydays: the First 5,000 Days is a mosaic of every image that artist Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple, has made since 2013.
Everydays: the First 5,000 Days is a mosaic of every image that artist Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple, has made since 2013. Photo by Christie’s Images LTD. 2021/BEEPLE/Handout via REUTERS

In the first eight minutes of bidding, Davis says, about 20 bidders pushed the work to US$1 million. “Only three [of the bidders] were known to us previously.”

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The buyer of the work was not immediately known, but Davis says that “there have been a handful of really dogged, really serious clients pursuing it, and they are mostly people who are very steeped in crypto.

“Whether that means they’re early investors in crypto, or they run and operate businesses that have significant investment in crypto technology,” he continues, “they’re all very savvy, ‘#online’ people.”

Paying with cryptocurrency 

When Christie’s announced the sale last month, it made waves when it revealed that it would accept cryptocurrency as payment; the caveat was that the buyer’s premium had to be in a traditional currency.

But as the days went on and people continued to push the price even higher, that policy changed.

“We are accepting [a buyer’s premium of] Ethereum for this purchase,” Davis says. “I feel like that’s actually the biggest deal of this whole thing, secretly.”

Speaking a day before the sale closed, Davis said he was “90 per cent sure” that the final buyer would be paying in cryptocurrency. Christie’s didn’t immediately confirm if that was the case once the sale concluded.

Given the wild volatility of cryptocurrencies, Christie’s may be taking a risk accepting its premium in Ethereum. The second-biggest digital coin lost 50 per cent of its value on Feb. 22, sinking as low as US$700. As of 10:11 a.m. EST on Mar. 11, Ether was trading at US$1,815 to the dollar, a roughly 160 per cent growth over the prior week.

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This sale is the latest in a whirlwind boom in the market for NFTs. Beeple’s previous record was set in late February, when a work that someone had purchased just months earlier in October for US$66,000 sold for US$6.6 million — a 9,900 per cent growth. Before that, his record stood at US$777,777.777, which was set in January. A year before that, he hadn’t sold a single artwork.

The US$60.25 million sale isn’t just an unprecedented price for an NFT, it’s an unprecedented price for a new artist, period. It puts Beeple’s Everydays in the same range as major works by giants of art history. A still life by Vincent Van Gogh sold for US$16 million at Sotheby’s last October; the year before Christie’s London sold a striking late oil painting by Picasso, Homme et Femme Nu for US$15.6 million.

Davis says this is just the beginning. “It’s a huge shot in the arm for the business generally, when you have a sale result like that,” he says. “I think we will have really compelling and exciting NFT-based art opportunities at Christie’s in the near future.”

Bloomberg.com

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Business

Canadian Business During the Pandemic

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In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.

The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.

More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.

An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.

We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”

He said in a statement.

The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.

In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.

The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.

 

The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.

She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.

There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”

Jones said.

Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”

The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.

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Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures

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By Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.

Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.

“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.

Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”

Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.

“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.

Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.

“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.

($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)

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Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO

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By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”

“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.

The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.

It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.

Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.

Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.

Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.

($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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