LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – On Jan. 12, an image of a computer-generated pixelated person was sold for about $50.6 million worth of cryptocurrency on a new online marketplace that caters for non-fungible tokens.
It gets stranger.
Five minutes later, the same “Meebit” NFT – a virtual character clad in purple shorts and green sneakers – was sold back from the buyer to the original seller for around $49.6 million.
Confused? Welcome to the weird and wild world of NFTs, a new breed of crypto assets that represent digital items, from images and videos to clothing for avatars. They have exploded in popularity over the past year as part of a fledgling and largely unregulated economy for the much-hyped metaverse.
The Meebit, which can be used as a profile picture, was exchanged between two cryptocurrency wallets – which are anonymous. Although the underlying blockchain technology creates a public record when an NFT is sold, it doesn’t record the names of those involved. A person can own multiple wallets, acting as both buyer and seller in a trade.
The digital character was among dozens of NFTs on the LooksRare marketplace that were sold back and forth between a small number of wallets in quick succession for unusually high prices last month, according to a Reuters review of publicly available blockchain records.