Wout van Aert has sold three of his biggest victories as non-fungible tokens (NFT) for a total of €47,000 following an online auction that concluded on Tuesday.
The three NFTs feature animated images of the Belgian's wins up Mont Ventoux and on the Champs-Élysées at this year's Tour de France, as well as his 2020 Strade Bianche victory. An NFT is a digital certificate of ownership via blockchain, the same technology used in Bitcoin.
People bid on the three digital artworks for five days, with van Aert's victory in Strade Bianche costing the most out of the three NFTs at €16,603.10. His victory up Mont Ventoux cost €15,598.88, while the Champs-Élysées image was bought for €14,822.80.
The three highest bidders of the digital images now own them and can sell them in the future if they wish. However, van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma team will receive a percentage of future sales, plus a further ten per cent if any of them are sold on.
While the images now have owners, anybody is free to view or download them for themselves.
The Belgian created the NFTs in order to immortalise three of his career highlights, and Mark Cavendish has since announced he will celebrate his sprint victories at the Tour de France with a series of his own NFTs.
"As an avid NFT and cycling fan, I couldn't resist bringing this NFT of my favorite cyclist home," said Twitter user @skaanbarry, who won the auction for the Champs-Élysees NFT.
Wout van Aert said of the auction: “It is really cool that I can use this emerging technology to share my highlights with my fans. Hopefully, the new owners will enjoy it as much as I do.”
The 27-year-old enjoyed a successful season in 2021, winning three Tour de France stages, Gent-Wevelgem, the Amstel Gold Race, the Belgium National Road Championships and the Tour of Britain. He was also awarded the title of Flandrien of the year for the third time in a row.
The Jumbo-Visma man is expected to meet up with his teammates in mid-December in Girona, Spain, for their first training camp ahead of the 2022 season.
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Hi, I'm a Trainee News Writer at Cycling Weekly.
I have worked for Future across its various sports titles since December 2020, writing news for Cycling Weekly, FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture. I am currently studying for a NCTJ qualification alongside my role as Trainee News Writer at the company.
Prior to joining Future I attended Cardiff University, earning a degree in Journalism & Communications.