Andy Murray's NFT sells for US$178,000 as market surges to record level

The sale comes as the market for NFTs surged to US$2.5 billion in value in the first half of 2021.
The sale comes as the market for NFTs surged to US$2.5 billion in value in the first half of 2021 Photo credit: Getty Images

Former Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray's non-fungible token (NFT) celebrating the moment he won the title has sold for US$178,000 .

NFTs are assets held on the blockchain and record ownership of a digital item such as an image, video or text. This means anyone can view or download the asset but only the buyer can say they are the official owner.

NFT enthusiast Pranksy, who told Reuters he was the buyer, will receive a small digital screen to view his crypto asset video on.

He also gets two tickets to Centre Court for the 2022 men's Wimbledon finals, a chance to play tennis with the 34-year-old and signed souvenirs.

Reigning Olympic tennis champion Murray said he found out about NFTs after Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, sold a collage at Christie's for US$69.3 million.

Beeple is one of the founders of WENEW, the new NFT marketplace, which hosted the Murray sale.

As well as Wimbledon, the platform will work with Time magazine to identify more iconic moments that should be offered for sale on the platform.

Music giants Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group are also among the partners working with WENEW.

The sale comes as the market for NFTs hit a record of US$2.5 billion in sales for the year, up from just US$13.7 million in the first half of last year, reports Reuters.

WENEW is similar to the NBA Top Shot site which offers virtual trading cards created from game highlights. 

In just six months it's taken in more than US$600 million in sales, but from highs of US$232 million and US$230 million in February and March, sales fell to just US$53.1 million in June.

The average price fell from US$182 at its peak to just US$27 last month.

But other digital assets have proved popular recently.

Early in July, World Wide Web founder Tim Berners Lee sold an NFT of his original source code - including an error - for US$5.4 million.

Weeks earlier a rare CryptoPunk, a pixel-art character, sold for US$11.8 million at Sotheby's in June.

Disgraced former zoo owner Joe Exotic, the subject of Netflix documentary Tiger King currently serving 22 years in prison for hiring someone to murder a rival, has announced he will be selling NFTs to fund his defence and charity initiatives.