"Mike Winkelmann, AKA Beeple, is a legit digital artist."
What is a "legitimate" artist or an "illegitimate" artist?
"Digital gold rush"? IMHO, a much better analogy would be "digital tulip mania"!

Also, bitcoin & all other cryptocurrencies use blockchain tech, but, do a little research to realize, it is actually quite common for cryptocurrencies getting stolen! So, it would be very naive to think anything protected using blockchain tech cannot be stolen!

Also realize bitcoin/cryptocurrency is completely useless for using as currency & absolutely not needed for any legitimate purposes but extremely useful for money laundering, illegal (drug) trade, collecting ransomware payments, all kinds of financial scams!

Not to mention, realize, as soon as "Satoshi" sells his 1 million bitcoins, everybody would rush to sell all their bitcoin/cryptocurrency & all prices would quickly hit zero & suddenly millions of people would lose all their money!
Thru the eyes of the beholder, legitimacy exists in the mind. It can become real by an association that is created by an artist and perpetuated by the enthusiast.
The people are buying a copyright to an image not one will ever want and themselves won't use. Brilliant.
FB36 beat me in responding that it's just tulips again. Humans never seem to learn from history. Yes, some people will get richer by this form of gambling, but that requires a bunch of stupid people to lose _their_ money.
Nelson Hyde Chick
There is so much better things to spend money on. This is another example of some people have more money than common sense.
My pet rock has provided years of companionship with little demands on me. Is it fungible or non fungible?
Spud Murphy
Just when you thought you had seen every obscene way that the rich can behave in selfish, stupid manners, along comes this...
@Rustgecko Well, my take would be that an example of an 'illegitimate artist' would be a forger.
I rather conclude from this story that humankind is rapidly disappearing up its own fundament and that we are all royally scr*&ed.