An early “conceptual NFT” has sold for US$1.2 million in Ethereum, a record for the collection, just before a similar one is set to be auctioned by Sotheby’s.

The “Digital Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” were launched by artist Mitchell F. Chan in August 2017, who drew inspiration from the 1960s French artist Yves Klein, who once sold “fresh air” to Americans for gold ingots.

Chan instead sold an NFT linked to a pure white blank screen. That link was lost during a fork of the blockchain Swarm, but wrapped versions of the token are available on Opensea.

Chan wrote on Medium in August that he made the conceptual art deliberately hard to mint, with no front-end to ease contract interactions.

“The Digital Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility are, broadly, artworks about buying artworks. They’re about which aspects of an artwork you can and can’t buy. So it’s important to me that when you buy it, you really f***** buy it. You don’t click a button, because that’s so easy that it’s barely an experience at all.

“Instead, you go through these steps so that the act of buying is deliberate and slow: There is at least the possibility of a moment of contemplation and reflection about what you’re doing.”

An art collector known as 0xb1 bought the artwork for 313 Ether on Opensea, where “wrapped” versions of the token are changing hands. The image metadata currently points to a certificate of authenticity, but the “unwrapped” version of the image has no display value.