In a statement from Hirst, “The Currency tests the boundaries of the digital and physical world and our role in both," adding that the time-based exchange period “ensures that even doing nothing is doing something.” This bold concept is a way for Hirst to challenge the establishment of the old art world and open minds to the value of NFTs. Hirst invites conversation and debate by posing the question, "is it better to keep the physical or NFT art?" You can check out this excellent interview with Hirst and Stephen Fry to learn more.
NFTs have struck the world by storm as a new frontier of “artwork” that is as captivating as it is controversial. Of course, much of this is due to the fact that NFTs inherently are more tradable than other pieces of art, with a financial layer baked in. Given NFTs are entirely digital, one can enjoy ownership in a digital wallet with less friction and additional computationally verified uniqueness (e.g., authentication and scarcity) compared to owning traditional artwork that they must insure, frame, and safely custody on the walls in their home.
With that said, there’s one distinct missing element NFTs traditionally lack: physical components. Sure, you can post your JPEG on a fancy screen, but how can you wear it? Would you even want to wear it?
The beauty of “The Currency” is how Hirst brought the real world into his own creative decision making process around how the art should be best used and displayed. He used the crypto-native NFT layer as a way to complement the manifestation of their artwork.
“The Currency” is Damien Hirst’s first NFT project. The project touts a fixed supply of NFTs available, which are currently backed by Damien’s physical artwork. Currently, a limited redemption period is open where owners of the NFTs must decide whether or not to keep their artwork in NFT digital form or redeem it for the physical copy that is currently stored in a vault in London.
Now, we’re inviting all of Hirst’s fans around the world to redeem their original NFTs, store the physical print fully-insured using 4K’s vault, and have our expert production and minting team issue a 4K NFT backed by the actual artwork. Of course, unlike the original project, we’ll never set fire to the actual print. Effectively, this will create a new, third decision for “The Currency” owners.
Holders can now consider redeeming their NFTs and storing the physical prints with 4K. 4K brings interoperability and composability to an asset that was designed to challenge the assumptions of crypto and money. We free original NFT holders from narrow redemption windows and add a very web 3 meta layer of choice so that owners can indefinitely own the physical print while still leveraging NFT benefits of digital ownership and not worrying about the physical custody.
At 4K, NFTs are simply a digital representation authenticating ownership of a unique, physical item. This enables collectors to leverage the assets they have in the real world, typically unproductive capital, and experience decentralized, digital ownership. While the space we’re building is nascent, we see a future world where an increasing amount of rare and valuable assets are brought on-chain to facilitate frictionless trading, lending, and verified ownership via blockchain provenance.
As 4K builds our proof-of-concept for a physical-digital bridge, this innovative NFT project enables us to illustrate how interoperable these worlds will become. Each unique “The Currency” print has its own legacy in the Web 3 world, and we’re thrilled to add an additional layer of digital optionality to those who love physical art as much as we do.
If you’re interested in getting your “The Currency” print back to blockchain, reach out to email@example.com to explore if we’re the right partner.
Special thanks to @RyanPalmieri for help with this post.
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