Damien Hirst's NFT Experiment Explores Burning Question
The recent run-up in NFT prices has turned many heads, mine included. Yet opinions on NFTs are still very polarizing, people still can't seem to agree whether NFTs represent the next frontier of ownership or a massive speculative bubble.
Those who are still on the fence on NFTs could spend a bit of time thinking about Damien Hirst's NFT project - The Currency.
Who is Damien Hirst?
- Damien Hirst is one of the most successful contemporary artists of our generation
- He is famous for creating provocative conceptual art that addresses death and rebirth, medicine, technology, and mortality
- He once sold a 3-metre wide steel cabinet with 6,136 pills for 19.2 million dollars
The Currency 🎨
- Earlier this summer, Hirst announced his latest project, an NFT project called "The Currency", to sell 10,000 unique hand-painted dot-covered works on paper, each one corresponding to an NFT
- Hirst auctioned off the NFTs while the real paintings are kept in a secure vault somewhere in the United Kingdom
- But here's the catch: After a year, the owners must choose to either keep the NFT or exchange it for one of the physical paintings whichever they choose, the other gets destroyed
Why Is This Interesting?
- By forcing people to choose the NFT or the physical painting, Hirst forces people to confront the real "value" of art
- Which will be more valuable? An A4 size painting of dots that you can hang on the wall or an NFT that is redefining the meaning of ownership
- The answer might not be that obvious. People from outside the crypto world would definitely choose the physical while NFT natives would probably embrace the NFT ecosystem. One thing is for sure, both the NFT and physical art will have their value, especially since its Hirst's first NFT project
But I think the whole purpose of the social experiment is to raise the question: Why do we value art? Is it because of its physical appearance? Is it because art tells a story and makes us think? Is it because of social signalling? Or is it just another investment asset?
Are we in a bubble right now? Maybe. But unlike other NFT projects, The Currency fulfils two important factors that bring value to NFTs: scarcity and tiering.