If you bought a digital copy of a painting, would you trade it in for the real thing? That’s what Damien Hirst asked his NFT collectors
Damien Hirst released 10,000 NFT’s to the market last year, each one corresponding to a physical work of art. Hirst gave these collectors a one-year window to enjoy their digital NFTs, then they had to make a choice: Keep the digital token, or exchange it for the physical work.
The twist? Whichever object the owner did not choose would get burned.
The physical art won.
51.5 percent, or 5,149 “currency holders” chose to trade in their NFTs for physical works. That left 4,851 holders of NFTs, and thus 4,851 physical works to be consumed by the flames. (Hirst owns 1,000 of the NFT’s that he kept in digital form).
“It’s kind of nuts to be burning art, but I think it’s more like transformation really, because it’s the completion of making the proper artwork into an NFT,” Hirst said to a room of select press and 200 invited guests.
The performance received mixed reviews, as has much of Hirsts work.
In 2022, NFT trading volume has dropped 97%. The resale value of the Hirst’s NFT’s are last reported at $2k while the similar physical work sold at auction for $13k.
Art as an asset class remains strong, investment contributes to a healthy diversification outside of conventional stocks and commodities as it does not closely mirror the fluctuations of the financial markets.