A portrait of Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin, taken by acclaimed Canadian photographer Andrew Miller in 2014, is now set to be auctioned as a unique NFT (Non-Fungible Token). This marks the first time the professional portrait is being sold, offering an exclusive opportunity to own a piece of Ethereum’s origins.
Ethereum origins: Celebrating 10-year anniversary of the concept
The auction will take place on Manifold.xyz, from July 1st through July 30th, allowing collectors to secure this historic NFT. It’s set to open with a starting bid of a whopping 333 ETH.
The NFT aligns with the 10th anniversary of the Ethereum concept and the subsequent introduction of smart contracts, which enabled the creation of NFTs, DeFi (Decentralized Finance), and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations).
The backstory behind the photo
The photographer Andrew Miller detailed the backstory of the portrait, explaining that the auction serves as an opportunity to acknowledge his contributions to Ethereum’s early visual history. The portraits, he said, were initially given as a gift to Vitalik Buterin, then a cash-strapped teenager drafting the Ethereum white paper.
Miller added that, after the portrait session, he lost touch with Buterin and Ethereum and was only marginally aware of their significant growth.
According to Miller, these portraits were initially intended for Vitalik’s non-commercial blog, but he anticipated they might be used by the Ethereum team for commercial purposes. He clarified this expectation to Buterin and co-founder Anthony Di Iorio, even discussing payment in the form of ETH. However, as ETH only came into existence months later, the discussion never materialized into payment.
Buterin, only 19 at the time, drew Miller’s attention with his revolutionary ideas for a decentralized future. These portraits were not merely visual snapshots of the young programmer; they captured a pivotal turning point. Miller stated:
“He presented as a shy and socially naive teen, but there was an intriguing spark about him… as he spoke about a future that included his idea of Ethereum, his stooped posture straightened while his chin tilted upwards.”
Miller stressed that the auction’s significance extends beyond acquiring an NFT. The portrait was widely circulated in media, memes, and derivative art, symbolizing Ethereum’s incredible journey and the collective effort that has driven its success.
Historic NFT may be overpriced
Given Ethereum’s status as the leading smart contract platform, this historic NFT auction is expected to spark intense interest among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, traders, and institutions.
Miller’s portrait encapsulates a significant moment in the history of cryptocurrency. However, with a price tag of 333 ETH, roughly $635,000, and a struggling NFT market, it’s hard to say if Miller’s portrait will have any bidders.