Left to right: A Single Number That Has 10,000,086 Digits by Ryoji Ikeda, NGMI by XCopy, Self Transcending by Sarah Zucker, Autoglyph #177 by Larva Labs

Sotheby’s Reveals the Artists of Natively Digital, Featuring the World’s First Intelligent NFT (iNFT) by Robert Alice & More

NEW YORK, 18 May 2021 – Sotheby’s is pleased to reveal the 27 digital artists included in Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale, whose work is now available to preview. The online auction represents the first time a major auction house will bring a collection of the leading NFT artists to auction and will provide an opportunity for collectors, curators, and enthusiasts to experience the unique aesthetics contained within these works, and provide a deeper understanding of the complex, groundbreaking technology from which NFTs are derived and its vast influence.

In a Sotheby’s first, Natively Digital will feature the work of one artist nominated by the crypto and digital art community in recognition of its strong support in building the NFT space to where it is today. Sotheby’s will accept nominations and personal submissions for NFT artists whose work the community believes should be featured on the global stage in this historic collection. Starting today on Twitter, Sotheby’s will accept nominations with the hashtag #NativelyDigital and submissions will close at 12:00PM ET on Thursday, 20 May. For information on the submission process and how to nominate, please see Sotheby’s Twitter.

Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Specialist, commented: “Natively Digital will be the greatest occasion to educate our ‘’traditional’’ audience about the great artists and diverse talents that compose this new space. The multi-venue virtual and physical exhibitions are an ode to this new medium and demonstrate our strong support for this art expression.”

The sale exhibition will be hosted in collaboration with Samsung and viewable on their state-of-the-art TVs and projectors including QLED, The Frame, and The Premiere, from 4 – 10 June at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries in New York. Natively Digital will also be exhibited at Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong and across the metaverse, making it a multi-venue, multi-dimensional NFT exhibition with more details to come soon. 

Bidding for all works in the sale will begin at $100 and buyers will have the option to pay with fiat or cryptocurrency (Bitcoin or Ethereum).


Please visit the sale page for a preview of all works included in the sale


Co-curated by Sotheby’s and leading crypto artist Robert Alice, Natively Digital presents a historical retrospective of early works through a group auction of the most cutting-edge artistic practices in the space. The auction creates a space for the wider global art audience to learn about the unique history and context of NFTs, as well as the aesthetics and themes that have driven NFTs to global prominence.

Natively Digital features artworks that draw inspiration from various subsects of the NFT movement and includes multiple first-time works such as the world’s first iNFT (intelligent NFT) and the first NFT from renowned artist Ryoji Ikeda. The Flamingo DAO will become the first crypto native organization of its kind to auction an NFT at Sotheby’s (a DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization made up of multiple parties who pool resources and whose decisions are executed via smart contracts based on the votes of its members). Anchoring the sale is Kevin McCoy’s Quantum, the first known NFT and perhaps the most historically important work in crypto art, and an Alien Cryptopunk (CryptoPunk #7523), represents one of the most iconic NFTs in the collection. The auction has selected influential artists from across the world and draws attention to lesser known artists such as Rhea Myers and Terra0. Continuing a relationship with Sotheby’s following their $17 million NFT auction, Pak will release a new NFT exclusively for the sale as part of a category of artists focusing on the conceptual development of the space, which will also include works by Simon Denny, Casey Reas and Mario Klingemann. The importance of the pop-futurist aesthetic to crypto art is highlighted by works from X-Copy, Fvkrender, Serwah Attafuah and Mad Dog Jones. Audio Visual artist Don Diablo offers a unique physical piece, combining hologram art with music and forward-thinking technology, highlighting how NFTs can cross over into other artistic disciplines and cultural verticals. The collection is focused on showcasing the latest developments of NFT technology such as on-chain generative art led by the Art Blocks Portfolio, with funds raised from the sale to benefit creative coding charities.


In a groundbreaking moment for the NFT space, Natively Digital will introduce a new category of NFTs: the intelligent NFT or iNFT. The first truly intelligent, conversive, self-learning artwork, To the Young Artists of Cyberspace by the show’s curator Robert Alice is a collaboration with cutting edge AI company Alethea AI. This iNFT will mark one of the first moments the public will be able to hold a conversation with the world’s most powerful AIs, such as GPT-3, on a one-to-one basis; until now, they have been available only to journalists and academics. This iNFT represents one of the most technologically advanced NFTs ever made and a preview will be available on request on 24 May, ahead of its full debut on the sale page on 28 May.

Centered around the idea of bringing an art manifesto to life, Robert Alice and Alethea AI present a character that can discuss with the audience the nature of itself alongside any subject the viewer wishes to discuss. With each question asked, the iNFT will continue refining itself, reflecting the audience’s input. The work poses many questions: What do intelligent relationships between artwork and its viewer mean for the trajectory of art history? How does this change our definition of art? How is ownership defined in an age of intelligent artforms? Where does creativity lie? With the artist or the AI – or even perhaps the audience as a decentralized cultural collective?


In addition to the community nominated artist and to further explore the spirit of curatorial decentralization, the Mint Fund has selected a work for the auction – Perennial Links by Brazilian artist Ikaro Cavalcante. The artist selection by the Mint Fund gives curatorial power to a non-profit that supports creators outside the US and EU with a focus on BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists.


Sotheby’s will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale to the Sevens Foundation, a nonprofit focused on evangelizing digital artists and empowering young talent to create with new paradigm shifting mediums, such as NFTs. Alongside Sotheby’s efforts, the artists of Natively Digital will donate a portion of their profits to charitable organizations benefitting crypto artists, such as the Mint Fund, a resource for crypto artists outside of the US and EU to offset the costs associated with creating NFT art. Sotheby’s will also engage in a carbon offset study with Regen Network, a blockchain based carbon offset platform, to accurately offset the minting and transaction costs of the sale. 

Sillytuna, the current owner of CryptoPunk #7523, will also donate a portion of their proceeds to programs that support the CryptoPunk community as well as to organizations involved with COVID relief efforts across the world.

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