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  • L Misthos and M Bacina

A burning deadline passes for Hirst NFT collectors

In 2016, famous UK artist Damien Hirst started created 10,000 unique dot paintings in a collaborative project with HENI known as 'The Currency'. Each has its own title, number, unique message, a microdot of Hirst and an embossed stamp.

In 2021, at the height of the NFT boom, the works were sold as part of an NFT project for USD$2,000 each and purchasers were presented with a choice: redeem the NFT for the physical artwork by a deadline and burn the NFT, or keep the NFT and let the physical artwork burn. That deadline is now here.

The physical oil-on-paper paintings, which sell at up to AUD$45,000 at the time of writing, will be burned starting 9 September as part of an exhibition at the Newport Street Gallery, London.

For those who chose to keep the physical paintings, their corresponding NFTs, which at the time of writing have a floor price of 5.69 ether (currently around AUD$15,000) will be digitally burnt on the same date following a year-long redemption window which closed on July 27, 2022.

The final numbers fall slightly in favour of the phyiscal, with 5,149 NFTs being redeemed for the physical art while 4,851 NFTs remain and the corresponding number of physical paintings will be burned. One month before the deadline, HENI posted on Instagram an update of the numbers which favored the NFTs heavily (only 1,575 physical redemptions and 8,425 choosing to keep the NFTs) but quite a few purchasers moved to obtain the physical art before the deadline.

Operating on the energy-efficient Palm Blockchain, the artworks have made headlines around the world as a fascinating experiment, and in holding their value they show how NFTs are a new product which is more than just "overpriced jpegs", particularly when associated with an artist of the caliber of Hirst.


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