How The Straits Times’ first NFT auction went

SINGAPORE – The Straits Times has raised $21,564 in its first-ever non-fungible token (NFT) auction held from last Wednesday to Tuesday (Dec 22 to 28) on the digital platform Blockchain For Good, a corporate social responsibility initiative of the Blockchain Association Singapore, in partnership with Drew & Napier.

The amount, before deducting any transaction costs, will be donated to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

Each year, the fund supports 10,000 children and young people in their school-related expenses, such as buying meals during recess and paying for transport. Since it was started in 2000, it has disbursed more than $85 million and supported over 180,000 children and young people.

The auction was announced in the Dec 13 Opinion column “Own a piece of the metaverse”, which dived into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchains. We asked what this means for how art is defined and valued, and whether the virtual world, with a digital economy powered by blockchain technology, will become as real as the physical world.

Bidders were given from Dec 13 to last Wednesday to set up their wallets, complete the know-your-customer (KYC) process, and receive their digital tokens. Fifty-nine potential bidders registered.

The process

The auction got off to a quiet start last Wednesday and stayed that way for the next few days. As those of us who organised the auction watched the bids inch upwards, we wondered: Was everyone away on staycation? Busy with Christmas preparations?

Would there be a late surge in activity, just like how Singaporeans like to do last-minute shopping?

Indeed, more bids were placed towards the end. Close to half of the total number of 28 bids, which were made by nine serious bidders, were placed on Tuesday, the last day of the auction.

There was a nail-biting flurry of bids in the closing hour before midnight. We ended up with four different winning bidders, one for each of the three art illustrations and one column.

Here are the final bid amounts and the time the winning bids were placed on Tuesday:

– The column “Own a piece of the metaverse”: $10,000 at 11.09pm

– The illustration “Bullish Bitcoin”: $4,088 at 11.58pm. Active bidding started in the last 1½ hours, which saw a total of four bids

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