Damien Hirst, one of the most high-profile contemporary artists to enter the NFT space, decided to destroy 1,000 physical artworks he had created for The Currency collection and did not sell. The items will live solely as NFTs.
With all 10,000 artworks initially existing in both their original, physical form and as NFTs, Hirst required all holders to make the same decision. They could either keep their NFTs, which would result in the destruction of the material versions, or burn the NFTs in exchange for the physical artworks.
On Wednesday, Hirst announced the verdict: 5,149 physical artworks would survive, with their corresponding NFTs getting burned, and 4,851 would be destroyed. Ironically, Hirst intends to burn these, too.
The artist took the opportunity to share his own experience deciding what to do with the 1,000 pieces he kept for himself.
In the end, Hirst said his decision was prompted by his excitement about the NFT space. “Otherwise it wouldn’t carry on being a proper adventure for me and so I decided I need to show my 100 percent support and confidence in the NFT world,” he proclaimed.
Tackling duality by way of reduction corresponds with the collection’s overarching theme. “The Currency challenges the concept of value through money and art,” the description reads. Ultimately, every Currency NFT holder had to decide what would carry more value in the long term.
“I have no idea what the future holds, whether the NFTs or physicals are going to be more valuable,” Hirst said. But he has laid his bet.