Croatian tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova has fetched the equivalent of more than $5,000 after selling off part of her right arm as an NFT digital collectible – claiming the new owner could make their money back 100 times over.
Oliynykova, 20, auctioned off a 6in x 3in (15cm x 7.5cm) section of skin between her elbow and shoulder on the inside of her right arm, using a marketplace for NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
NFTs are becoming all the rage in sporting circles and allow buyers to claim “unique” ownership of tangible or intangible assets, the record for which is stored in perpetuity on a blockchain ledger.
Some assets are tokens which confer real-world benefits, while others exist entirely in the digital realm.
In Oliynykova’s case, she sold the rights to a section of her body on popular NFT platform OpenSea, with the winning bidder pledging three Ether, or the equivalent of $5,415 at the time of sale, according to Sportico writer Emily Caron.
The buyer – said to be an OpenSea user by the name of JumpHigh – will be able to ink any message they choose onto the available area (with the exception of messages of extremism or gambling adverts, which would fall foul of tennis regulations), or simply keep the space blank and sell it at a later date.
“I will bring your art object or message to every tennis court I play,” Oliynykova wrote, Sportico reported. “As I am 20 years old only and my sports career is on the rise, I believe it’s [going to] be the biggest tennis locations in the world.”
The budding ace – who is an avid bitcoin enthusiast and already has several prominent tattoos – currently plies her trade on the lower-tier ITF women’s tour and is ranked 658th by the WTA.
However, she claimed that the patch of skin could provide the owner with “at least a 100X return” on the investment, should she make the big time.
“This is the first NFT of its kind ever created [and] sold,” said the tennis hopeful.
“It is actually a part of sports history, not as a tattoo, but as a successful attempt of an individual athlete to directly interact with their fan base.
“In several years, independent athletes will extensively use NFTs [and] career tokens, but I will always be the first who did it.”
The popularity of NFTs is gaining momentum in the sporting world, with Russian UFC megastar Khabib Nurmagomedov this week announcing the release of a limited series of digital tokens which fans can snap up.
While the offerings are digital, they are also accompanied by real-life benefits such as memorabilia and even the chance for one lucky buyer to meet the star in person.
Outside of the world of sport, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold his first-ever tweet for a whopping $2.9 million when he auctioned it off as an NFT.