An image of a Colnago bike has fetched almost $8,600 at auction, with the Italian bike maker becoming the first – as far as we know – company within the cycling industry to have cashed in on the growing non-fungible token (NFT) trend in which digital assets are stored on a blockchain.
It attracted just two bids, with the higher coming from user MTD-01, who will now have exclusive rights in perpetuity over the image of the bicycle – but won’t, of course, be able to ride it.
What the buyer does get, however, is a digital image of a one-off design which brings together elements of:
– The Bititan bike that Abraham Olano won the World Championships on in 1995
– Anthony Charteau's Polka Dot jersey-winning C59 from the 2010 Tour de France
– The C35 TTT that won the Team Time Trial World Championship 100km in 1994
– Giuseppe Saronni's Super Profil
– Tony Rominger's Hour Record bike
– Tadej Pogačar's Tour de France-winning V3Rs
– The C40 icon of Team Mapei.
The purchase price was calculated in cryptocurrency – 3.2 WETH (wrapped Ethereum) tokens, which equates to $8,592 (as Bicycle Retailer & Industry News points out, you could save more than two grand and get a real-life C64 with a custom paintjob).
Other digital assets to have been sold as NFTs include Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet on the platform, Mike Winkelmann's digital artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, which went for $69 million at a Christie's auction and, just this past weekend, the YouTube viral video Charlie Bit My Finger, which sold for $760,999.
Colnago received some backlash when it announced that it was putting the digital asset up for sale, with criticism centred on the environmental impact of the computing power necessary to maintain blockchain technology (rather than the NFT itself).
This article from The Verge explains just why blockchain technology and its use to determine ownership of NFTs has such a big environmental impact, mentioning among other things that Ethereum, the cryptocurrency that the Colnago was purchased in, “uses about as much electricity as the entire country of Libya.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.