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Wout van Aert is selling his three biggest wins – as NFT digital assets

Want to win Strade Bianche or on Mont Ventoux or the Champs-Elysees while helping destroy the planet through global warming? Now’s your chance

Wout ​van Aert is selling his three biggest wins as non-fungible tokens – better known as NFTs, the digital media linked to a cryptocurrency’s blockchain – although given the criticism such digital assets have come under due to their environmental impact, the launch of the auctions coinciding with the conclusion of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow is perhaps not the best look.

It’s a pretty impressive trio of victories, however – last year’s Strade Bianche, which kickstarted the 2020 season when it resumed in August, plus his triumphs on Mont Ventoux and on the Champs-Elysees in this year’s Tour de France, the latter denying Mark Cavendish (who launched his own NFT collection during the race) a record-breaking 35th stage win.

As the Team Jumbo-Visma rider’s tweet shows, what the successful bidder on each of the three items will receive is a unique digital representation of the victory in question … basically, a cartoon Wout van Aert on an animated background that is vaguely reminiscent of where those races were held.

Or, as, which has created the artworks puts it:

I own this moment as an NFT

Is probably something you might want to tell your friends when catching up on old memories of those moments. That legendary and important goal at the World Cup, the concert where you first met your partner, or even a moment that made history. This is your chance to buy those moments.

Buy one of our collectibles and get an official signed artwork from the hero that made this moment happen. It is yours forever … until you sell it to someone else.

Unsurprisingly, a fair few people on Twitter replying to van Aert’s tweet don’t quite see it that way.

The auctions opened this morning at 1000 hrs GMT and run until 2000 hrs GMT on Tuesday 16 November.

Van Aert himself said: “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.” 

Earlier this year, an NFT image of a Colnago bicycle sold for $8,600, the first such digital asset related to cycling.

> NFT digital image of Colnago bike sells for $8,600

However, Colnago came under criticism when the auction opened, due to the environmental impact of the computing power necessary to maintain blockchain technology (rather than the NFT itself).

This article from the Verge explains  why blockchain technology and its use to determine ownership of NFTs has such a big environmental impact, mentioning among other things that Ethereum, the cryptocurrency that the Colnago was purchased in, “uses about as much electricity as the entire country of Libya.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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