Damien Hirst’s NFT series: “The Currency”

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Damien Hirst's NFT series: "The Currency".

Would you choose the physical artwork that you can frame on your wall, or take the identical Damien Hirst NFT?

This is the choice being posed by English artist, Damien Hirst.

In a unique project titled “The Currency”, buyers receive the rights to their artwork in both a physical and digital form.

But alas, there’s a catch.

Buyers are only allowed to keep one or the other.

The physical painting on real paper that they can hang on their wall.

Or the digital NFT version of the painting that was produced as part of the collection.

To kick us off, check out the following YouTube video from FT that features Hirst and our old friend David Carney:

The Currency - A series of 10K paintings and NFTs

For full disclosure, I’m certainly not an art guy but for some reason, I just love the idea of this.

I can’t stop thinking about the concept and what I’d choose to spend my $2000 USD on.

The physical paintings

First of all, the physical collection is made up of 10,000 unique (but similar), A4 sized paintings.

As you would have seen in the video above, they’re all similar-looking artworks featuring a page of colourful dots.

Hirst borrowed the idea of putting a holographic image on the back from what we see on physical banknotes across the world.

Each piece also features a unique signature, microdot and a small message to quickly differentiate each individual artwork within the series.

The corresponding NFTs

Complementing every piece within the physical collection, is a corresponding NFT.

Hirst pitches the concept as a digital version of the patinting, but what an NFT really does is proves then tracks ownership of the asset on a blockchain.

What happens here is that buyers will essentially buy the rights to both the physical artwork and corresponding NFT, before being forced to choose one or the other.

After a year, a choice must be made to burn the physical painting (yes, with real fire), or metaphorically burn the NFT from circulation.

Should buyers choose the NFT or physical artwork?

This is the $64,000 question, isn’t it?

If you’re taking the plunge and parting with $2,000 for a piece of the collection, in my opinion, it’s an easy choice.

You should choose the physical artwork over the NFT.


Well, the most important aspect of an NFT is the asset’s history, printed on an immutable blockchain.

Nope, contrary to popular belief, it’s not the digital asset itself that’s important.

In this case, you’re literally receiving a .jpg file of a painting…

The same JPG file that you could get by screen grabbing a print off the gallery page of Hirst’s website.

If that’s what you want, then here I’ve done the hard work for you:

The front of piece 1 in the Damien Hirst NFT series, titled: Totally gonna sell you.

The back of piece 1 in the Damien Hirst NFT series, titled: Totally gonna sell you.

But on their own, these screen grabs are worthless.

All that matters here is the history of the asset to authenticate that your piece of art is in fact an original from Damien Hirst’s collection.

The value is in your ability to prove that the artwork is in fact an original and that you were the buyer.

If you burn the NFT in favour of the physical asset, you don’t actually lose that digital history that proves the authenticity of your particular piece.

While the NFT asset may have been burned, all history of the asset remains printed on the immutable blockchain.

So if you choose to burn the NFT asset in favour of the physical print, you can still prove that your physical asset is the original by consulting the blockchain.

You may burn the tradable NFT asset, but you don’t actually lose anything of real value because that’s all locked up in the history of the blockchain.

The choice seems pretty clear to me.

Best of probabilities to you.

Direct from the desk of Dane Williams.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts on Damien Hirst’s NFT series: “The Currency”, within the comments section below? Am I thinking about this the right way, or do you completely disagree?

This Damien Hirst NFT blog is exclusive to leofinance.io.

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