On Valentine’s Day, a small group of art collectors pooled $1 million worth of cryptocurrency to buy a photograph of a rose. But the picture won’t be unwrapped over a candlelit dinner or hung on a bedroom wall.

The photograph doesn’t exist physically; it’s a simple digital image. Its apparent value lies in its associated “token”: a one-of-a-kind digital asset that exists on an enduring, cryptographic digital ledger called the blockchain.

The token, unlike the image, can’t be duplicated. But its success could be.

Earlier this week, I wrote about people trying to turn a cartoon frog called Pepe into the vanguard of art’s future on the blockchain. Reporting on that story immersed me in memes, but also in the ways that new technology might change the art world.

A small triumvirate of artists, technologists and financiers are using the blockchain to render art rare and then selling it. In the process, they’ve figured out a way to make digital art valuable. Read more from fivethirtyeight.com…

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