Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are taking the global art market by storm, winning the hearts of collectors. On 2 December, DESA Unicum will make a breakthrough on the collector's market, being the first auction house in Central and Eastern Europe that offers collectors a digital work - Paweł Kowalewski's painting - "Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing".



Pawel Kowalewski (b. 1958)
'Why there is something rather than nothing'
non-fungible token, wymiary: 2820 x 2292 pixeli (4 105 228 bytes)
token ID: 18785
adres portfela: 0x96efb0d79bbf98ee2d1c6f77d18eac7459d5441d
adres smart contract: 0x495f947276749Ce646f68AC8c248420045cb7b5e
non-fungible token (jpg)
wymiary: 2820 x 2292 pixeli (4 105 228 bytes)
minting: 17.11.2021
unikat 1/1

Hammer price: 460,000 PLN


The first NFT work that will be sold at the Desa Unicum's December auction is "Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing" by Paweł Kowalski, an icon of Polish art of the 1980s. To this day, Kowalewski's works constitute an important and full of irony commentary on the repressions of the totalitarian regime, bearing witness not only to the traumatic experiences of Polish people but also to their pathway to freedom. The digital object presented by the artist and DESA Unicum is a sentimental return to the original work from 1986, destroyed in flooding of Kowalewski's studio during the tragic flood in 1997. Thanks to the new blockchain protocol technology, Paweł Kowalewski's lost work is immortalized in a digital form.

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The applied ERC-721 (Ethereum Request for Comments 721) standard is a standard for non-fungible tokens which is implemented by the Application Programming Interface (API) for tokens under smart contracts. NFT is stored just like digital currencies, that is in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency wallets, e.g. Metamask, Trust Wallet. They will be assigned separate management addresses. The NFT cannot be copied or transferred without the consent of the owner. The artwork will be stored in the Metamask wallet in the account: Tuliplabz. After the purchase, the NFT token will be transferred from the Metamask wallet to the address of the cryptocurrency wallet provided by the buyer, while maintaining the highest security standards. * The Tuliplabz OÜ team shall assist in the entire process of creating a wallet in the case of additional customer needs.




The December NFT auction at DESA Unicum enhances the world of classic art with the possibilities available thanks to the modern technology. 


"Modern technologies are changing the art market, enabling a dynamic development of digital creative work. Auction houses may play a significant role in their popularization among collectors. That is why, as the first auction house not only in Poland but also across Central and Eastern Europe, we decided to expand our offer with works created in the NFT technology. We perceive it as a separate, very prospective artistic field, which is going to develop in parallel to the traditional auction market. The advantage of NFT, which was not available before, is the possibility of confirming digital artwork ownership. It provides not only greater innovation in the sales offer, but also its highest quality and transparency in an increasingly digitized world. We are going to present you unique digital works, using the full potential of the blockchain protocol and digital certificates of authenticity, responding to the new aesthetic needs of contemporary art recipients, and providing another medium of expression for Polish and foreign artists", 


said Juliusz Windorbski, the President of the Management Board of DESA S.A. 


Our next step is going to be an auction devoted exclusively to the NFT art, scheduled by DESA Unicum for the first half of 2022. In the following months, auctions of digital works are to become a cyclical event at the auction house.




The introduction of digital works by the Polish auction house is an event that can completely change the current understanding of high art.


Thanks to the blockchain architecture behind the NFT (non-fungible token) phenomenon, digital works gain verifiable uniqueness, as each object contains an individual set of data that distinguishes it from other tokens. The buyer becomes the owner of the digital equivalent of the work of art, with the guarantee of its uniqueness and authenticity, as well as unprecedented durability.

Connecting art with the world of distributed databases has created a new field of development for artists, providing them with new, unprecedented forms of expression. Thanks to the innovative blockchain protocol and tokenization, digital art may constitute an important area of the auction market, increasing its prestige and market value. 
Focusing on close cooperation with artists, DESA Unicum provides the highest quality of experiencing art and meets the expectations of the most demanding collectors. 



Rapid Growth of the NFT Market


In the first three quarters of 2021, global NFT sales hit a staggering $ 3.5 billion as stated in the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2021. According to, in 2020 the global value of digital works was estimated at $ 250 million, four times higher than the previous year's figure.


Record prices achieved by the NFT works of art, included in the offer of the most prestigious auction houses in the world, Sotheby's, Christie's, and Phillips, as well as the largest digital art platforms, contributed to such a rapid market growth. The groundbreaking works include the $ 69 million digital collage by Mike Winkelmann (known as Beeple), "Everydays - the First 5000 Days", and the "CryptoPunk" project, valued at $ 1.5 billion, created by LarvaLabs studio.


Find out more about NFTs


What is an NFT?

NFT stands for "non-fungible token". It refers to indivisible units whose worth is inextricably linked to their uniqueness. Non-fungibility means 'inconvertibility' or something not interchangeable. It is a unique digital certificate stored on a blockchain that provides certain ownership rights to the asset – usually a digital asset – for example, a digital work of art. 

NFTs are an effective tool in establishing and showing property rights in the field of digital assets, where it is usually difficult to prove such rights. This is due to how quickly digital works of art can be replicated. 

NFTs are described as non-convertible, as each one is unique and is of a different value. This is unlike any other exchangeable asset, such as dollars or Bitcoin, which are identical and replaceable. 

An NFT is generated (or 'minted') using a smart contract or a computer code stored on a blockchain. An NFT contains within itself several pieces of information, including a unique NFT identifier (often referred to as 'TokenID'), the current owner's wallet address on the blockchain and the identifier of the place where you can find the artwork linked to a given NFT. 

To buy an NFT, you must have a digital wallet to obtain, access, and transfer ownership of the NFT. Just like any other type of property, you can buy and sell an NFT. NFT purchases and sales are carried out by transferring ownership rights from the seller to the buyer of the blockchain transaction.

What are the advantages of an NFT?

Uniqueness: Because NFTs are non-convertible and are stored on a blockchain, an owner of an NFT linked to a given asset, for example, a digital artwork, can be confident that no one else has that same NFT token. 

In some cases, the artist, or the rights owner, can decide to create a limited number of NFTs linked to one work. This is analogous to an artist deciding to create a limited number of physical copies of the work. By looking at the NFT code, its purchaser can see the allowed number of NFTs generated in that limited edition. 

Transparency: After the 'minting' of an NFT on the blockchain, each user can see it, access it, and confirm its metadata – the provenance, TokenID, blockchain address, and other token-related information. Moreover, because the transactions take place over the blockchain technology, they can be accessed by the public, buyers can check the addresses using which the NFT was initially created. 

Transparent provenance: As stated above, each transfer of rights to the NFT or its purchase is noted on the blockchain, along with the address of each digital wallet in which the token had been stored. As a result, a publicly available record documenting the ownership history of each NFT exists. This electronic record cannot be changed or erased. It means that the token's origin is automatically and precisely documented, thanks to which you can verify it. 

Innovation: A barrier for digital art was that you could not unequivocally assign property; for example, there was the possibility to copy and freely rotate files. 

The innovation of the NFT technology is that each file can have an owner assigned in the Internet domain, which results in giving value to the digital object. The NFT technology makes a digital artwork unique by linking it to the blockchain. 

Shaping the technological change together:
Entering the NFT world, collectors create a new, innovative branch of the Polish art market – by supporting artists working in the NFT field and participating in new technological processes. It also means the opening of the Polish market towards new technologies.  

When was the NFT technology created?

The first NFT was created in 2010, but the technology gained popularity in late 2017 when the CryptoKitties game took off. NFTs became commonplace among the blockchain community in 2018 when a common digital standard (ERC-721) was issued to regulate their creation in the Ethereum blockchain. 

Currently, many digital artists sell NFTs through specialised platforms. To this day, 'EVERYDAY'S – THE FIRST 5000 DAYS' remains the most expensive NFT sold. It was auctioned off for 70,000,000 million dollars at Christie's. Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, is the work's author.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a distributed transaction register (or database) that is not controlled by a central management unit. Blockchain registers transactions based on a distributed peer-to-peer computer network. This register contains the current content of each of the addresses in the blockchain. It also holds all transactions from the moment the chain starts functioning. It is visible to every person. After adding transactions to the register, it is impossible to change them by modifying or erasing.

Unlike the Internet, which is only one, many blockchains exist today, and there may be more to come. The chains of blocks are not always able to work together. It means that an NFT created in a given blockchain cannot necessarily be transferred to another chain of blocks.
It is worth mentioning that blockchain technology is the base for cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

What does 'minting' an NFT mean?

To 'mint' an NFT means to create and save it for the first time on the blockchain. 'A minter', in other words, the subject-creator may be the creator of a work associated with the given NFT, for example, the artist or another person having the appropriate permissions to 'mint' the NFT into a digital asset. 

Does the DESA UNICUM auction house issue NFT certificates of authenticity?

DESA UNICUM does not issue additional authenticity certificates at the time of the NFT sale. Buyers can see for themselves the NFT and its address in the blockchain in which it was created. They can also see the token's provenance and the data identifying the work on the token. The data proves its authenticity. 

Where is the NFT stored?

Each NFT is stored on the blockchain – usually, the blockchain on which the token was created. 

Where is the digital artwork stored?

A digital artwork linked with the NFT is usually kept not on the blockchain but 'outside the chain'. The data in the NFT code includes a reference to where the work is stored. The digital work can be, for example, stored on a server controlled by a single entity or by the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) or a decentralised storage network. 

Can NFTs only be purchased with cryptocurrency?

No. Some auction houses decide only to accept cryptocurrency payments, such as ether. However, this is not the case at DESA Unicum. At our auction the payments will be made using currencies such as PLN, EUR, or USD.




Smart contract
A smart contract is a computer protocol designed to digitally facilitate, verify, execute negotiations or contract performance. Smart contracts allow you to make reliable transactions without third parties.


TokenID is a unique NFT identity tag-number, smart contract's code used to create an NFT, usually assigned as a number to each unique NFT.


Metadata is information about the digital work of art related to NFT, which may include the title of the work and a reference to where it is stored.


Digital wallet address
A digital wallet address is a unique alphanumeric string associated with and representing the wallet address in the blockchain. This information is often shared to identify the address of the wallet currently associated with the NFT.




How can I access my NFT?

You need a wallet to get, access, and send your NFT. A digital wallet can be based on software or be a hardware device. It enables you to complete blockchain transactions and see the balances associated with the given wallet. A token is not stored in the wallet. It does, however, contain specific 'keys' that enable the wallet's owner to enter blockchain interactions with other users.

Can I use the digital wallet to store the bought NFT?

Some digital wallets have limitations on the type of digital assets that you can store in them. Before submitting an offer to purchase an NFT, you should check and make sure whether you can store NFTs in a given digital wallet. 

Shortly, you will be able to learn more about wallets offered by DESA Unicum in a special information section dedicated to them. 

What can I do with a digital artwork linked to the purchased NFT?

Depending on the buyers, some have their very own digital spaces with works of art stored there. Others decide to use external suppliers or platforms. 

How can I show my digital artwork?

Various third-party vendors offer different ways of displaying digital artwork. As everything related to NFT art takes place in the digital space, showing it is also facilitated.

Are there other NFTs related to my digital artwork? Does it mean that my digital artwork is a part of 'an edition' or 'series'?

Digital artwork can be part of an edition or series. In that case, there may be other NFTs that are similar or identical versions of digital artwork. The relevant information is provided during the sale on the website dedicated to a given NFT. 

How can I transfer the NFT ownership title to another person?

You can sell your token or transfer the rights to it through your wallet provider or through the platform operating within the blockchain on which a given token is stored.

Can a digital artwork linked to an NFT be downloaded or copied by anyone other than its purchaser? How does it work in relation to ownership rights?

Anyone can download and share a copy of your digital artwork to which a non-exchangeable token is attached. However, the NFT is proof of ownership of a digital work of art. Just like the existence of a copy of a physical artwork does not affect the possession of that work – the existence of copies of digital works does not influence the right of possession of digital artwork. 

Note: We publish those FAQs for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute a legally binding commitment, representation, or warranty of the Desa Unicum Auction House. They also do not replace any contract or terms and conditions of sale between the reader and the auction house. In case of any inconsistencies between such documents and the FAQs, the content of the documents shall prevail.