Quantum: The First Piece of NFT Art Ever Created

Quantum was the first work to be minted on Blockchain on 2nd May 2014. The octagon-shaped animation was created by New York artist Kevin McCoy.

Quantum, that depicts ‘The moment of creation. A spark, a seed, a particle’, was the first NFT ever created. This octagon-shaped animated art was indeed the spark to the wildly spreading flame of NFTs. Kevin McCoy was the first to obtain the NFT-type Certificate of Ownership for his animated artwork – Quantum in 2014, three years before the term NFT was coined.

McCoy’s Quantum minted with ERC-721 specification on Namecoin Blockchain where it was uniquely timestamped. The irreversibility and immutability of Blockchain Technology assure the uniqueness of this art forever and make it verifiably and trustlessly pure.

Quantum went under the hammer at The Sotheby’s in New York in June 2021. It sold for more than one million dollars at auction, and the winning bidder was sillytuna, an anonymous NFT collector. The buyer sold a “CryptoPunk” NFT from his collection in the same auction for $11.8 million.

As said by Max Moore, Vice President of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, “In 10 years looking back, if in fact, these are to grow, this piece can represent the start of something that is quite revolutionary!” It was really quite revolutionary. As more and more specialist sites are coming up for trading NFTs and traditional auction houses are seeking to capitalize on this phenomenon.


                                                      Kevin McCoy, Quantum (2014).

As we know, an NFT is a digital object such as a drawing, animation, piece of music, photo, or video with a certificate of authenticity created by blockchain technology. It cannot be forged or otherwise manipulated. “I fell in love with Bitcoin in early 2013 and just got really interested in that world,” said McCoy, a 54-year-old multimedia artist.

He currently generates several hundred million dollars in transactions every month.
“There was a lot of misunderstanding at the time,” McCoy recalled, saying the mainstream art world struggled to understand the cryptocurrency world, which had itself had little appreciation of art. “The Sotheby’s thing is… a big test to see what happens as far as that goes. Honestly, I don’t have any expectations,” McCoy added.

There was no way to verify the creator and ownership history of digital works at the time. McCoy joined forces with tech entrepreneur Anil Dash to explore blockchain technology to see if it might provide a viable path forward. “I had an idea to use blockchain technology to create indelible provenance and ownership of digital images of this kind. Quantum was the first ever to be recorded in this way,” McCoy later said.

When NFTs started to gain mainstream attention and sell for millions of dollars in 2021, McCoy realized he might be sitting on a golden egg. So he started to promote Quantum, turning to media outlets like Axios to discuss his work and its role in NFT history.

‘I certainly thought it was a big idea at the time,’ McCoy told Ocula Magazine. ‘Seven years later the world has taken notice and that is gratifying. That said, we are still early in realising the full possibilities of this form.’

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