Thousands of works of art will be burnt for the Damien Hirst The Currency NFT project
It’s the beginning of the end for the Damien Hirst The Currency NFT, a year-long project that has come to a close. Last summer, Hirst sold thousands of one-of-a-kind dot paintings along with corresponding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for $2,000 apiece. By the summer of 2022, the owners had to decide whether to keep the NFTs or exchange it for the physical canvas variant. The version that’s not selected would then be obliterated.
The enamel dot paintings were created on handmade paper and titled based on lyrics of Hirst’s favorite songs; Totally Gonna Sell You, Laugh in our faces, This old art: You’re always so interesting and Where the money was yesterday—just to name a few. Each of the works had a unique palette. No two identical colors were used and each work was stamped with a microdot and a hologram of Hirst’s face.
Collectors of the Damien Hirst The Currency NFT chose the fate of the artworks, which resulted in a split decision. Hirst had to destroy almost 5,000 physical works of art, including 1,000 of the ones he owned. Hirst then made the decision to destroy all of his physical works and save all of his NFTs.
Although it is relatively uncommon in the digital realm for NFTs to be burned in exchange for tangible goods or other benefits, Hirst pioneered the idea of burning a highly valued physical object in order to maintain the NFT.
“I have been in the physical art world a long time and I expect people to have agendas, and I’ve seen a lot of bollox and I’m amazed at how this community breeds support and seems to care about s**t so in the end, I decided I have to keep all my 1000 currency as NFTs,” wrote Hirst in a tweet.
The hundreds of comparable artworks from the Damien Hirst The Currency NFT project were categorized and assessed using machine learning. In an effort to pinpoint what makes each canvas distinctive, an algorithm analyzes each work and turns its colors, paint density, and textures, into data.
“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,” Hirst added. “But that is art! The fun, part of the journey and maybe the point of the whole project. Even after one year, I feel the journey is just beginning.”