1. Beeple’s NFT bubble
A digital-only artwork by artist Beeple was sold at Christie’s for a record $69m — but the winning bidder will not receive anything tangible like a sculpture or painting. Instead, they get a unique digital token known as a nonfungible token (NFT). These are seen as the digital answer to collectables, like bitcoin is to currency. Unlike traditional works of art, digital files can be endlessly duplicated. NFTs "tokenise" an artwork to create a digital ownership certificate, stored on the blockchain, that can be bought and sold. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey promoted an NFT of the first-ever tweet, his, with bids hitting $2.5m. Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, tells the BBC the NFT craze will be a bubble: "And I think we could be in that bubble right now."
2. EU backs jab
The European Medicines Agency has reiterated that there is no indication that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine causes blood clots, after France, Germany and Italy became the latest countries to pause their rollouts of the jab because of that fear. The World Health Organisation advised countries to continue administering the vaccine. Australia and Mexico plan to do so.
3. Spirit molecule on trial
A powerful hallucinogenic drug is being trialled as a potential cure for depression for the first time. Participants will be given the drug DMT, followed by talking therapy. This could offer an alternative for the significant number of people who don’t respond to conventional pills for depression. Psychedelic-assisted therapy might offer longer-term relief from symptoms, some researchers believe. The drug is known as the "spirit molecule" because of the way it alters human consciousness. It is also the active ingredient in ayahuasca, a traditional Amazonian plant medicine used to bring spiritual enlightenment. Some might think they can give it a go with some recreational drugs, but that’s really not how it works, says an expert.
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