Three-and-a-half years since Indian wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik scripted one of India’s more thrilling cricketing triumphs, his winning moment has been immortalised into NFT art.

The artwork is a non-fungible token or NFT, and is an animation of that fateful last ball, Karthik’s six, and the celebration in its aftermath. It features a voice-over by Karthik narrating his thoughts and emotions while facing up to the last ball and hitting the winning runs.

In March 2018, India faced Bangladesh in the finals of the Nidahas Trophy; the match turned into a classic nail-biter with the team needing 5 runs to win off the last ball, and Karthik at the crease.

Not to be outdone by the immense pressure of a final that had come down to the wire, Karthik went on to hit the bowler, Soumya Sarkar, over the deep extra cover boundary for a six, sealing the match in emphatic style.

Hands aloft in the air, the veteran keeper soaked in the rapturous applause just moments before he was mobbed by teammates. India had registered a thrilling victory; Karthik was the man of the match for his 29 runs off just 8 balls.

“This is one of the best moments of my life. To get it out there graphically and have people look at it, not to mention the fact that I was an integral part of the whole process was something I thoroughly enjoyed,” said Karthik, speaking to CNBC-TV18.

The NFT art project was undertaken by Karthik in collaboration with his brother-in-law and top-ranked squash player, Saurav Ghoshal. The duo chanced upon the idea during the lockdown last year and spent a considerable period of time fine-tuning the details.

“I was keen on getting my emotion out there in the artwork. I wanted to encapsulate the moment and take the fan through what it must feel like for a cricketer, as the bowler stands at the top of his mark,” said Karthik, “I wanted everybody who has the opportunity to look at this NFT, to feel those moments.”

The NFT will go on auction from October 12 and will be awarded to the highest bidder. Given the rise in popularity of cryptocurrency and the blockchain, launching an NFT couldn’t come at a better time for Karthik. “I did a bit of a market research and was interested in exploring this space,” he said, “NFTs are the future, they are niche and unique products, are going to be part of the new way art is looked at.

What are NFTs?

NFTs or non-fungible tokens have become the new digital route when it comes to selling art. ‘Non-fungible’ by definition means ‘irreplaceable’ and refers to the uniqueness of a product, which is commonly a work of art.

Such artworks have their creators mark out a digital signature on them, which is an indicator of their uniqueness. This uniqueness then becomes a USP that commands a premium in the art buying space, where transactions happen over the blockchain.

In March, digital artwork by the creator, Beeple, sold for $ 69.3 million at the auction house Christie’s, through the NFT route. It remains the most expensive artwork sold through NFTs.

In sports, an NFT video clip of basketball star Lebron James slam-dunking was sold for $ 208,000. These NFTs, once sold, can be traded over the blockchain depending on the value assigned to them.

In fact, it was an NFT transaction by Elon Musk’s ex-partner Grimes that caught Karthik’s eye and inspired him to turn his last-ball six into NFT art. Grimes rode the NFT rush in March, to sell $ 6 million worth of her art in less than 20 minutes through the NFT route.

“That was my first introduction to NFTs — when Grimes’ paintings had sold for a substantial amount of money,” Karthik said, “I was interested to know more, began reading up on it, and that’s when my interest in NFTs started catching up.”

Karthik now wants to do what the United States’ National Basketball Association (NBA) does to their videos by turning them into NFTs. “In America, the NBA has used NFTs as a platform to get fans closer to players,” he says, “There is a similar opportunity for Indians who are sports lovers and cricket lovers, and I’m excited about creating a relationship with them.”

Dinesh Karthik’s NFT will be up for auction on the NFT marketplace, Rarible. The NFT art will go on auction from October 12 till October 22 and will require bidders to have the Ethereum Cryptocurrency, to place bids.

(Edited by : Yashi Gupta)

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