Damien Hirst sells virtual work based on 10,000 pieces of art on paper with a digital certificate of authenticity (but will he make as much as Beeple who netted £50m with same technology?)

  • The artist, 55, said his art project challenged ‘concept of value through money’
  • Called ‘The Currency’, it will be based on 10,000 different works of art on paper
  • The works will exist as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are digital files authenticated by blockchain technology

British artist Damien Hirst is to sell an artwork using the same technology that bagged American creator Beeple almost £50million ($69.3million) this week.

The 55-year-old, who will sell his work with a digital certificate of authenticity to verify it, said his new ‘secret art project’ challenged ‘the concept of value through money and art’.

Called ‘The Currency’, it will be based on 10,000 different works of art on paper that were made five years ago and subsequently stored in a vault.

The 55-year-old, who will sell his work with a digital certificate of authenticity to verify it, said his new ‘secret art project’ challenged ‘the concept of value through money and art’

The works will exist as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are digital files authenticated by blockchain technology, a digital ledger also used in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

They are known by some as the future of digital art, as they allow collectors to purchase works that lack a physical component.

Mr Hirst said: ‘For the past three years the project has been expanding into blockchain and NFTs.

‘I made them all 5 years ago, and they are in a vault but about to come to life through their launch on the blockchain. They also exist as NFTs and a related crypto currency.

Mr Hirst (pictured) said: ‘For the past three years the project has been expanding into blockchain and NFTs’

‘The whole project is an artwork, and anyone who buys ‘The Currency’ will participate in this work. It’s not just about owning it.’

It mirrors a move from Beeple – also known as Mike Winkelmann – who sold a collage this week for $69.3million after bidding opened on February 25 at just $100.

Entitled ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’, the single jpeg file of digital images, sketched every day over more than 13 years, became the third-highest valued purchase ever from a living artist.

The buyer, known as MetaKovan, said: ‘When you think of high-valued NFTs, this one is going to be pretty hard to beat.’

Hirst has also recently announced he had completed a digital sale worth more than £16million ($22.4million) for limited edition Japanese cherry blossom prints. Hirst was one of the first artists to accept cryptocurrency – either Bitcoin or Ether – for the works.

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