That’s a small amount for a work of art by Banksy, but then again, this isn’t really a Banksy, is it? Furthermore, Banksy isn’t even involved in the sale and, as far as we can tell, he didn’t sign off on the conversion.
Spike came to be after Banksy got his hands on a piece of Israel’s West Bank Barrier in 2005 and put together a treasure hunt. Whoever would find the piece of rock and email him the secret word on it ("spike," you guessed it) would get the rock as a reward. Considering this is Banksy we’re talking about (earlier in 2021, his Game Changer piece, which he dedicated to the NHS, sold for a record $20 million at auction), this was no small reward.
After changing a few pairs of hands, Spike ended up with Italian opera singer Vittorio Grigolo, and he’s the one responsible for the NFT conversion. Grigolo is also one of the co-founders of Valuart, and he’s lending his own voice to the music in the NFT: a fragment of the Puccini aria “E lucevan le stelle,” which plays as the rock spins in place over a body of water.
ArtNews notes that selling art, digital or not, without approval from the creator is copyright infringement, but Grigolo insists his NFT isn’t a digital copy of the original, of the physical piece, but a piece of art in and of itself. It is an NFT installation that only draws inspiration from the original artwork.
All possible legal complications aside, if you have some crypto lying around that you’re willing to part with, know that the Spike NFT also comes with extra perks, like the chance to see the actual Spike in Switzerland and a dinner date with Grigolo and the other founders of Valuart.