Visa became one of the first major companies to step into the digital art world Monday, buying a popular CryptoPunk NFT and sending the art world into a frenzy.

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, which means that it’s a digital asset that exists on the blockchain (cryptocurrency space) and has its own verifiable source code to ensure that it is unique and traceable. NFT’s have become very popular in 2021, with some of the pieces going for millions of dollars.

“We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce,” says Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at Visa. “Enabling buyers and sellers is what we do — whether it’s helping small and micro business owners get online, or making it easier for companies to pay their partners across borders. We’re excited to work with this growing community to make NFTs useable and accessible in a variety of contexts.”

The company bought CryptoPunk #7610. There are a total of 10,000 CryptoPunks in existence. They paid 49.5 Ethereum for the artwork, which totals to just under $150,000. After announcing the purchase, collectors rushed to buy up the lowest-priced CryptoPunks, totaling over $100 million in sales on Monday alone. The cheapest CryptoPunk is now available for 75 Ethereum, just under $250,000.

The record-high sale for an NFT came in March this year when artist Beeple sold a collage for $69.4 million. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold an NFT of his first tweet for $2.9 million in March as well.

“The ability to track and leverage a digital asset in multiple environments could mean exciting new opportunities in ticketing, gaming music, art, and beyond,” Sheffield said.

To read the entire publication that Visa created about their NFT ventures, click here.