Takashi Murakami is one of the few artists who managed to make a successful crossover in the NFT space.
He was first inspired to launch a collection in the spring of 2021, after seeing Christie’s auction of a Beeple NFT for $69 million in crypto. The event kicked off a global NFT mania, and the following months were the perfect time to launch an NFT collection, for those who jumped in at the right time.
Unfortunately, Murakami’s timing was terrible and he completely missed the NFT boom. After spending a year honing the technical details of the project, he launched it just before the crypto crash of 2022.
On June 8, a seemingly discouraged Murakami posted an apology on Twitter: “Dear Holders of http://Murakami.Flowers, I appreciate your continued patronage, although the project price floor and transaction prices remain stagnant. I am really sorry,” he said.
The cheapest Murakami.Flower NFT is now 2 ETH ($2,200, at current value) on OpenSea. In a false start over a year ago, he was receiving offers of over $260,000. It was then that he decided to withdraw the project and think a little more.
Rather than chastising him for the long delay in launching the project, his fans supported him. A Twitter user wrote: “don’t apologize for the way the market is acting, not under your control.”
“It’s not your art or anything you’ve done. It’s the market. Nothing to regret! Keep doing you! another one said.
A cheeky fan wrote“Please give it another 30 years. I will be gone from this world and the true value of my NFT project will become absolutely clear.
Murakami did not respond to a request for comment from Artnet News.
The Japanese artist launched his pixelated flower NFTs to a patiently awaiting fan base last month. But by then, the NFT market was cooling down and the crypto skies were already darkening.
At the beginning of May, the the wall street journal reported the NFT market had stabilized and by early June Bitcoin had lost over 60% of its value from its November high, dragging the rest of the crypto and NFT markets with it.
Murakami’s slow pace was a big part of the problem. A few weeks after announcing his NFT project, he abandoned 108 NFT— from a collection of 11,664 pixel flowers, represented by tokens on the Ethereum blockchain — on OpenSea.
“I fumble around in the dark so I’m sure I’m going to make a lot of mistakes, but please bear with me,” he said. prophetically wrote on Instagram.
Things were looking good. The first “Murakami.Flowers” NFT, titled #0000 Murakami.Flower immediately attracted an offer of 144 ethers, or about $260,395.
But rather than stay the course, Murakami got cold feet. Less than two weeks later, the artist removed the listing and announced that he would postpone the highly anticipated NFT project.
He wanted better understand technology. Rather than relying on OpenSea to catalog his work, he wanted to create his own smart contract to maintain the independence of the project in the future.
He also wanted to immerse himself in Web 3.0. “It took me a long time to settle that part in my mind,” he told Artnet News last month.
The delay cost him at a time when he could not live without it: the NFT project presented a financial opportunity for Murakami, who was come out of a bad year. Covid had blocked him in Japan until 2020. In July of that year, he declared his company, Kaikai Kiki, to be on the verge of bankruptcy. A long-planned gallery has been postponed, along with museum exhibits. His film, Medusa Eyes Part 2: Mahashankhhas been cancelled.
Following a NFT Collaboration with RTFKT, Murakami finally announced the release of Murakami.Flowers in May 2022.
If he learned any valuable lessons from it, the entire crypto space may be a Jenga stack of interconnected time bombs. Enter at your own risk.
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