Artist Damien Hirst compares NFTs to ‘the invention of paper’

    20 Jul 2021

    Damien Hirst says NFTs are changing the world. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, the British contemporary artist noted that they are like “the invention of paper.”

    Speaking in London with Andrew Thurman of Cointelegraph, Hirst presented his “The Currency” artwork collection, the pile of boxes containing 10,000 sheets with unique paintings created in 2016, and voiced his thoughts on money and art.

    “The Currency” is the name for his drop of 10,000 NFTs, each tied to a physical painting featuring a pattern of colored dots. Collectors, which purchase one of the $2,000 “Tender,” as the artist calls them, will have to choose whether to keep the NFT, which includes a high-resolution photo of the painting,  or exchange the NFT for the physical painting.

    In the interview, Hirst said he would “love it” if someday someone were able to use his “The Currency” artwork as actual currency given its value as a nonfungible token (NFT), but believes most people will choose to keep the physical painting.

    “I just saw [NFTs] as a really amazing thing. I saw it like the invention of paper,” the British artist said.

    “We already live in a world where you can have artworks, prints, and editions, and then it seems like you can have artworks, prints, editions, and NFTs […] with NFTs I think it’s changing the world, and it will change the world,” he added.

    With his view, the technology is eventually revolutionizing the art world.

    The British artist said he was annoyed by apps like iTunes, which seemingly taking ownership from musicians. But NFTs, by his words, allowed creators to maintain control of their work:

    “You can own something digital, and it can be yours,” Hirst said.

    “The Currency” collection opened for users from July 14 to July 21, allowing people to apply for a chance to purchase one of the 10,000 NFTs.

    Damien Hirst is one of the world’s most estimated artists and art collectors. The best-known of his works was “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” a 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a clear display case.

    In September 2008, he sold a series of his artworks, “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever,” at Sotheby’s for £111 million ($198 million), breaking the record for a one-artist auction. As well, Hirst’s own record with £10.3 million for The Golden Calf, an animal with 18-carat gold horns and hooves, preserved in formaldehyde.

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