The crazy rise of NFT art collectors

Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile is moving. It’s not that he doesn’t like his current house in Miami. More importantly, he needs a place where he can best enjoy his art collection.

“The new house will be surrounded by 15 or 16 screens and there will be projectors.” said Rodriguez-Fraile, a 33-year-old Spaniard with a financial background.

The reason is that his collection is not sculptures, paintings or prints, but a unique encrypted file composed of NFTs that collectors regard as proof of ownership of digital art works (such as videos, GIFs or computer-designed images).

Everyone can right-click and download the artwork associated with the NFT. But for people like Rodriguez-Fraile who buy NFTs at high cryptocurrency prices in online auctions, they feel that they are the only true owners. This is why Rodriguez-Fraile looks forward to constantly showing off his possessions around the screen.

Rodriguez-Fraile, a cryptocurrency art collector, has purchased works beyond his living room. Therefore, he is currently working on opening several digital art exhibition rooms around the world. He said that the first exhibition room will be launched in Miami in the second half of 2021. His efforts even surpassed the field of physics, because he was also one of the founders of MOCA (Museum of Cryptographic Art), an art museum that uses VR technology to display NFTs.

“The best thing about these digital art works is that we can travel with them, we can take them wherever we want to go, and we can show them to people all over the world.” He said, “If you have Picasso It’s a very beautiful masterpiece, everyone knows you own it, but few people can see it with their own eyes.”

The NFT art world is becoming feverish at an incredible rate: In March 2021, at the Christie auction, the NFT related to the collage of American digital artist Beeple was sold for $69 million in cryptocurrency. Rodriguez-Fraile said that he spent $1 million on NFT twice-the work of visual artists Pak and WhIsBe.

In March, he was on the hot search because he resold one of his works-a 38-second Beeple video for more than $6 million. For many people, this is just a cycle that every trend related to cryptocurrency must go through, that is, almost all collectors are wealthy cryptocurrency entrepreneurs.

As of June 2021, NFT sales have fallen to a less dramatic level. Others believe that no matter how prices and atmosphere fluctuate, NFT art will continue to exist. Vincent Harrison is an art museum curator in Los Angeles. He has been collaborating with NFT artists and platforms. He said, “The collectors of these digital art are the same as the people who spend money on the works of Tintoretto and Jeff Koon.”

“It’s all the same collector mentality. The beauty of digital art is that people don’t have to stop collecting, because their space will never run out,” he said. “It almost forms a digital hoarder-which is good. Because I know that many collectors collect art that they can’t hang on the wall—they keep it in the warehouse. But they still collect it just because they love art.”

Rodriguez-Fraile is indeed a thorough collector: he carefully selects his works according to his aesthetics and the type of artist, and establishes friendly relations with the creators he likes. “It was never a financial idea,” he said.

He even said that although he could hardly call himself an art collector before entering the NFT field, he was very familiar with cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, this experience increased his love for “traditional art”. In May, he took a portrait of Elizabeth Peyton’s David Bowie at the Sotheby auction house for $2 million. For others in this field, collecting NFTs is either a revolutionary paradigm shift or a meaningless financial competition.


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