Britain’s richest living artist, Damien Hirst, has begun setting millions of dollars worth of his own works of art on fire as part of his Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Currency project.
During a live broadcast of his gallery in London on October 11 at 12:30 pm local time, Hirst burned hundreds of his pieces to The Currency, ensuring they would only exist in NFT form in the future.
Currency is the name given to Hirst’s first NFT collection, released last year, consisting of 10,000 NFTs, each associated with a physical oil painting.
The project was part of Hirst’s social experiment to test the value of pure digital art versus physical art.
Collectors who purchased one of the $2,000 NFTs were given one year to decide whether to keep the NFT or exchange it for a physical painting.
By July, the deadline for a decision had been reached: 5,149 paintings were to be delivered as physical works of art, while 4,851 paintings only existed in digital form.
Asked what he thought of the burning of the artwork, Hirst said: “It’s good, better than I expected,” according to the BBC.
The remaining oil paintings will continue to be on display at the Newport Street Gallery until the Currency exhibition closes on 30 September.
“Many people think that I burn millions of dollars worth of art, but this is not true. I am completing the conversion of these physical artworks into NFTs by burning their physical versions,” Hirst said the day before the burning.
“The value of artworks, whether digital or physical, which is difficult to determine at best, will not be lost, it will be transferred to the NFT as soon as they are burned.”