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Damien Hirst does a societal experiment with his rare collection of NFTs

Hirst's NFT project, which compares the value of digital and physical art, is known as 'The Currency.'

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Oct 12, 2022 05:43:56 PM IST

Damien Hirst does a societal experiment with his rare collection of NFTsDamien Hirst; Image: Hannah McKay/ Reuters

Thousands of Damien Hirst's original paintings, valued at almost £10 million altogether, are being burned after the artist promised to destroy them as part of a digital art stunt.

10,000 dot paintings with unique identities were made by Hirst in 2016 and sold for $2,000 each after being linked to their own NFTs in 2021. All of the artist's paintings incorporate anti-counterfeiting features like watermarks and holographic representations of him in order to safeguard his creations.

The Currency, an exhibition by the "wealthiest" artist in the UK, is a collection of 10,000 NFTs, one-of-a-kind digital tokens that may be sold online and represent 10,000 works of original art.

Hirst's idea was to give collectors the option of keeping their NFT or exchanging it for the actual piece of art while promising to destroy any paintings that were not exchanged. The project is a component of Hirst's societal experiment, which compares the value of digital and physical art.

One year was provided to collectors who had purchased one of the $2,000 floor-priced NFTs to determine whether they wanted to keep the NFT or exchange it for the actual painting.

At the Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall, south London, he started burning 4,891 artworks and will continue until the exhibition closes on October 30.

An amazing live broadcast demonstrated the artist systematically igniting each of his creations. This year, collectors had until July 27 to exchange their NFT before the relevant piece of art was destroyed.

Damien, in an Instagram post, said, "A lot of people think I'm burning millions of dollars of art, but I'm not. I'm completing the transformation of these physical artworks into NFTs by burning the physical versions. The value of art, digital or physical, which is hard to define at the best of times, will not be lost. It will be transferred to the nft as soon as they are burnt, and I will be live-streaming the full burn here on Instagram."

For the uninitiated, An NFT, a digital certificate of ownership and authenticity, is a special encrypted computer file with the artist's signature. Each NFT is distinctive, unlike technologies like Bitcoin, and can only have one owner at a time.

The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash

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