In the world of NFTs, one name stands out as the anonymous “grand patron” of the digital renaissance – Cozomo de’ Medici. This pseudonym draws inspiration from the Florentine banker and patron of Renaissance art, and just like his namesake, Cozomo is a strong supporter of artistic projects, specifically those related to blockchain.
Although his true identity remains a mystery, for a while it was speculated that Cozomo de’ Medici could be the rapper Snoop Dogg, a big NFT enthusiast. In fact, after a tweet that was later denied, he claimed, “I’m Cozomo de’ Medici.”
Cozomo de’ Medici began his collection by purchasing two CryptoPunk Zombies in July 2021 for 1550 ETH, worth $2.63 million at the time. These works were created by developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson and are among the most coveted NFT series by collectors. His collection includes other big names in crypto art such as Sam Spratt, Deejay Motion, and XCOPY. In addition to established artists, Cozomo also has works by emerging artists, and he stated in an interview with Christie’s, “I believe that the definition of patronage is to buy the art you love. Patrons have a responsibility to promote emerging artists.”
The relationship between artists and buyers in the NFT market is crucial. If artists are the first to buy works, it is easier to break down the barrier of mistrust that accompanies many crypto art projects, which suffer from a prejudice of devaluation compared to more traditional art, galleries, and fairs. In this sense, a collector like Cozomo de’ Medici is no longer just a speculative figure but reflects a new trend in art, a new patronage of digital art.
In February of this year, Cozomo de’ Medici’s collection was in the spotlight due to a substantial donation of NFT works that he made to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Among the twenty-two donated works were the female-themed works by Yam Karkai, a photograph by Justin Aversano, one of Dmitri Cherniak’s Ringers, and CryptoPunk #3831. The “on-chain art influencer” (as he is also called for his social following) thus bridges the gap between digital and physical art in the museum, which now owns 37 NFT works, while also stimulating the creation of new ways to preserve and exhibit digital works.
Cozomo de’ Medici is just one of the many passionate and influential collectors in the world of NFTs. As more and more artists and collectors enter this market, it is likely that we will see even more record-breaking sales and groundbreaking initiatives that will continue to push the boundaries of traditional art.