News & Politics

DC Institutions Get in on the NFT Craze

You can bid on artwork from the Atlantic as well as art that comes with a VIP 9:30 Club experience

The 9:30 Club. Photograph by Flickr user Ted Eytan.

The Atlantic and the 9:30 Club both announced auctions of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on Friday, making them among the first DC institutions to embrace a new cryptocurrency-adjacent craze.

The Atlantic’s offerings are two pieces of digital artwork called Illustrations From a Pandemic Year (#1) and Illustrations From a Pandemic Year (#2), both of which are up for auction at the site OpenSea. Each piece “consists of 10 images and headlines, and readers will recognize images that appeared in both the magazine’s print pages and on its website,” The Atlantic says. The auction ends on Tuesday, April 6.

The 9:30 Club is joining famous venues in New Orleans (Tipitina’s,), Minneapolis (First Avenue), New York City (Bowery Ballroom), and other cities to auction ten pieces of digital art by the artists Young & Sick and Goldflyer, each dedicated to a different nightspot. The person who wins the 9:30 auction will also receive a “golden ticket” for VIP access and two tickets to a show at the club or other I.M.P. venues, including the Anthem, the Lincoln Theatre, or Merriweather Post Pavilion. The fundraiser begins Wednesday on the website MakersPlace.

If you’re not clear on what NFTs are, here’s a very brief explainer: Ownership of digital artifacts can be transferred via blockchain technology to the winners of such auctions, which means that they can hold the rights or sell them if the value goes up. Some NFTs have sold for jaw-dropping amounts of money recently: Christie’s sold a piece by the artist known as Beeple last month for $69 million. (Here are a few good explainers that helped me type the previous sentences, from the Verge, Time, and Vox.)

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.