Why the animated Nyan Cat PFP fetched more than $590K
by Tom Nyarunda
Christ Torres posted a GIF of an animated flying cat featuring a Pop Tart body with a rainbow trail on its tail online. The Nyan Cat PFP meme hit the headlines two years ago when it sold for $590,000 and went viral online.
This article explores the significance of the marriage between the taste for artistic collectibles and the fast-growing digital art market.
What is Nyan Cat PFP?
Nyan Cat PFP is a YouTube GIF/meme showing an animated cartoon cat adorned with a Pop-Tart torso and merged with a Japanese pop song. It was uploaded in April 2021.
The video ranked 5th on the list of most popular videos in 2021, showing the meme cat flying through space while leaving a rainbow trail behind. The GIF's original creator, 25-year-old Chris Torres, created the updated one-of-a-kind digital rendition of the meme and sold its updated version to an unidentified buyer as a non-fungible token (NFT) for 300 ETH, which was equivalent to $590,000 in 2021.
The opening of NFT floodgates
While things slowed down in the entire crypto space in 2022, the Nyan Cat PFP sale quickly became the new turning point in the fast-growing ephemera, digital art, and NFT ownership rights movement.
Buyers started competing to purchase ownership rights for authentic digital art pieces, and millions of dollars followed artists who converted their unique pieces into NFTs, breathing a fresh lease of life into the otherwise docile art world.
Soon after that, there was an avalanche of similar sales like a clip showing LeBron James blocking a shot during a Lakers basketball game that fetched $100,000, a tweet by investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sold at $952, or actress Lindsay Lohan’s face image that for $17,000.
While people long attached aesthetic and emotional value to physical collectables and were willing to pay a premium, digital art like the Nyan Cat is now the buzz.
Significance of marrying art and technology
Art has long been a mirror to culture, reflecting society, and artists used different media to express themselves. From sculptures carved from stone or oil on canvas, the physical nature of art has its defining characteristics. What blockchain offers is a significant shift for art.
The six-figure sale of Nyan Cat shows that the digital medium enables artists to create intricate works that wouldn't have been achieved otherwise. Through technology, artists push creative and financial boundaries revealing art forms that challenge perception.
The marriage between art and technology on the altar of blockchain has introduced a new form of artistic expression. Virtual reality experiences, interactive installations, and augmented reality shows mean art is no longer limited to exclusive art galleries with select access.
The eye-popping Nyan Cat sale, and others, attracted confusion and derision. However, it also opened a new frontier of possibilities for the future of art within the blockchain sphere.
Tom is a freelance writer with over 15-years’ experience in content creation, blog writing, and SEO specializing in the blockchain and cryptocurrency niche. He is a philosophical figurehead who believes that to make our world a better place, we must invest in incorruptible products and procedures, of which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are leading examples.