Artist Damien Hirst to burn 4851 paintings in NFT project
The millionaire artist will burn thousands of paintings for a unique NFT project
By Shashank Bhardwaj
Damien Hirst was declared the UK’s richest artist in 2020, with a net worth of more than $380 million. He is now starting a project called ‘The Currency’, which would involve burning thousands of his paintings, not as a protest or to make a statement.
In 2016, Hirst created 10,000 dot paintings with individual names that were later linked to their own NFTs in 2021 and sold for $2000 each. In order to protect his work, all the paintings have anti-counterfeiting techniques such as watermarks and holographic images of the artist. The buyers of these unique paintings were given until Wednesday this week to make an important choice of whether they wanted to keep the NFTs or trade it in for the physical painting. There was no option of keeping both. “This exchange is a one-way process, so choose carefully,” buyers were told. For those buyers who choose to give up the physical painting, the original artwork would be burned during the run of the event, starting from September 9 to mid-October in the London Frieze Week event.
The numbers revealed that the decision amongst buyers was split in half, with 4,851 collectors wanting their paintings burned for digital NFT copies while 5,149 chose to opt for the physical artwork.
The initial sale, and now the resale process of Hirst’s artwork, was managed by NFT marketplace Heni, which reported that sales had surged in August and September 2021 when the project was first launched. However, given the broader crypto market downturn in the last few months, sales have subsequently slumped. The maximum price for an art piece was $176,779, with the average buyer spending $21,078. The most recent sale was on 28 July for $8,708 USD Coin (USDC), which brings the total figure of revenue from sales up to an impressive $89.3 million.
The artist commented on his unique project, “I still don’t know what I’m doing, and I have no idea what the future holds, whether the NFTs or physicals are going to be more valuable or less,” adding that even after one year, he felt that “the journey was just beginning.”
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash
Crypto wallet users are warned as scammers might get active during the potential Ethereum hard fork