krista kim toronto

Someone in Toronto just sold a digital house for more than $600K

Toronto-based artist Krista Kim's zeitgeisty new "Mars House" mansion has floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning mountain views, chic Italian glass furniture and plenty of space for entertaining both inside and outdoors... but nobody can actually live there.

First and foremost, the house isn't on the market: An internet art collector just purchased the property as a non-fungible token (NFT) for roughly $616,132 Canadian.

Secondly, it doesn't physically exist.

Described as "the first NFT digital house in the world," Mars House is actually a 3D file that is meant to be explored in VR or, eventually, through augmented reality.

"Conceptually, MARS HOUSE is NFT 2.0 for our future AR and Metaverse lifestyle. This is where we are headed, curating our AR environments with digital 3D NFTs that we love," writes Kim, who worked with Jeff Schroeder of The Smashing Pumpkins to create music for the environment.

"I want to sit in MH with friends in AR and drink Champagne. I want to have my zoom meetings in Mars House. I will eventually be able to transpose MH over my physical environment whenever I fancy. I created Mars House because it is my dream house. I hope the new owner will love it like I do. This is the future of ART."

The new owner must indeed like Mars House very much to have purchased it for 288 Ether (a cryptocurrency that, as of March 23, is worth about $2,138 CAD per unit).

That, or they're crazy for NFTs like the rest of the art world right now.

Without getting too technical, an NFT is essentially a digital certificate of ownership recorded on Ethereum blockchain, a decentralized public ledger that's impossible to retroactively modify.

These blockchain-protected certificates are unique and cannot be duplicated, making each NFT incredibly rare — a true 1-of-1 piece that people have been recently willing to pay millions of actual dollars for.

"NFTs can really be anything digital (such as drawings, music, your brain downloaded and turned into an AI), but a lot of the current excitement is around using the tech to sell digital art," explains The Verge.

"You can copy a digital file as many times as you want, including the art that's included with an NFT. But NFTs are designed to give you something that can't be copied: ownership of the work.... To put it in terms of physical art collecting: anyone can buy a Monet print. But only one person can own the original."

The most famous sale of this sort took place in early March when artist Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple) sold an NFT at auction through Christie's for a staggering $69,346,250 USD (just under $90 million Canadian.)

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey just sold the first tweet ever sent (from himself, in March of 2006) for more than $2.9 million US and Gucci is reportedly now selling digital shoes for $17.99 a pair.

Kim's Mars House set a new precedent for the medium when it was listed on the marketplace SuperRare as "the first NFT digital house in the world."

The Toronto-based contemporary artist is no stranger to pushing the envelope when it comes to virtual design. She maintains that "light is the new ink" and describes herself as "founder of the techism movement."

In an interview with Dezeen, Kim said that she designed the Mars House in 2020 with help from an architect using Unreal Engine. The space is meant to embody her philosophy of meditative design.

"As a Techism artist, I am challenging the power of NFT as an art medium. Mars House will live forever as an NFT, so let it represent an art movement for humanity through the power of digital technology," wrote Kim on Instagram after the piece had sold.

"Let this remind future generations that we are here to create a new and better world at a pivotal time in history. The NFT can become an agent of positive social change through the empowerment of artist led initiatives."

Kim says that she is putting the majority of her proceeds from the sale to her Continuum Foundation, "which will support a world tour of healing sound and light art installations for mental health and healing."

Lead photo by

Krista Kim

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