Minutes before midnight March 22, two art collectors got into a heated bidding war at a charity auction for a climate organization. The auction was happening online, but it was eliciting the same staggering dollar amounts and tense drama of an in-person auction house.

The item in contention was a single picture of a futuristic scene. The bidding had already exceeded $5 million, but Justin Sun, a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur, kept getting outbid by just $50. Ultimately, Sun offered an even $6 million and the auction was over. Sold, to the cryptocurrency millionaire.

His prize was a digital drawing by the artist beeple, who just a couple weeks earlier had sold a series of pieces for $69 million, the highest price paid for digital art. The auction was benefitting digital advocacy organization Open Earth Foundation, which ended up raising a total of $6.6 million. Beyond raising funds, the foundation aimed to raise awareness about the…

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