FTX billionaire chief doesn’t ‘get paintings,’ says Mona Lisa looks ‘dumb’

“Visual aesthetics are not something I understand,” said FTX chief Bankman-Fried to Axios. “Paintings in general, artwork, I don’t get it.”

FTX chief exec Sam Bankman-Fried turned art critic this weekend, offering up an in-depth comparison of the Mona Lisa, the works of Rembrandt, and a childish JPEG sold via his new NFT marketplace for $270,000.

His verdict? “They all look dumb.”

The 29-year-old crypto billionaire was speaking to Axios about the burgeoning appeal of NFTs. 

Specifically, he addressed why Testing Testing 123 #1, a simple image of the word “Test” created by SBF himself, was not “total bullshit.”

“Visual aesthetics are not something I understand,” he said. “Paintings in general, artwork, I don’t get it.”

He also said that he was surprised about the sale of the JPEG which, in the words of the interviewer (our emphasis), “looks like it was written by an eight-year-old on an Etch-A-Sketch.”

Bankman-Fried then went on to sum up his thoughts about visual art as a whole.

“Visual aesthetics are not something I understand,” he said. “Paintings in general, artwork, I don’t get it.”

His opinions on some of the most revered artists and works of all time were even more insightful.

“I personally don’t understand the appeal of a Rembrandt painting,” he explained. “When I see NFTs, part of me is like, I don’t get the appeal of some of these, but part of me is like, I also don’t understand the appeal of the Mona Lisa.”

“How about those paintings that six lines that cross with each other? How much would that be worth? They all look dumb to me but they all look beautiful to other people,” added Bankman-Fried.

FTX chief is chasing NFT revenue

Despite Bankman-Fried’s seeming indifference to all forms of visual art, FTX is still keen for a share of the NFT market.

FTX NFTs officially launched earlier this month and said it would allow FTX US users to mint and transfer Solana-based NFTs to the platform while giving artists full control over their work’s lifecycle.

Bankman-Fried and his crypto firm Alameda Research are prominent and vocal Solana investors. The marketplace also promised low fees and Ethereum-based NFTs in the near future.

FTX NFTs saw a number of high-value listings just hours after launch, including clips of NFL players.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing.

FTX chief Bankman-Fried adoption of NFTs wasn’t problem-free.

[Read more: FTX brands LoL league for 7 years, another infinity gem for Bankman-Fried]

Shortly after the marketplace’s debut, it set a $500 fee to mint tokens when spammers overwhelmed the platform with pictures of fish.

However, this was reduced to $10 after complaints from the NFT community.

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