Are NFTs the Future? Results From Artist Damien Hirst’s Experiment Are in

Damian Hirst NFT collection

A year ago, British artist Damien Hirst announced a new collection called ‘The Currency’, consisting of 10,000 NFTs corresponding to 10,000 unique physical artworks he’d created.

Collectors had a choice with a one-year deadline: they could keep the NFT or exchange it for the physical artwork, effectively having to pick which they thought had better lasting value. The experiment finished on July 27 this year, and now, the results are in, with Hirst sharing the final tallies on Twitter.

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Turns out, most participants were, for whatever reason, skeptical of NFTs, with a clear majority opting to trade in their digital artwork for the physical piece. The final numbers are 5,149 preferring to own the physical pieces, while 4,851 were fans of the NFTs.

Back in July this year, Hirst tweeted that he had already learned so much.

“I am so proud to have created something alive, something mad and provocative and been a passenger (along with all the other participants in the currency) and to help build a fantastic community on,” he wrote.

Leading up to the decision deadline, on a server associated with the project, piece holders debated the merits of the two mediums. One post from a holder said two of the pros with holding NFTs are that they are “much faster and easier to sell” and “you keep the excitement of the project going”. Arguments against keeping NFTs included “nobody knows if NFTs are a fad” and the “NFT and crypto market is hugely volatile”.

Pros for the physical print were that “they look even better in person” and they are a “safe store of wealth that will go up in value”. Cons for the physical piece? “You will have to insure it” and “you lose your seat on the wild ride if you give up your NFT, and you could get massive FOMO”.

Also part of Hirst’s project structure is that he would burn the physical prints not exchanged for NFTs in the experiment. Corresponding NFTs would also be destroyed.

The exhibition Damien Hirst in Collaboration with Heni will be on at Newport Street Gallery in London from September 23 to October 30. The burning spectacle will take place on October 11, and will see Hirst himself burning the artworks. Artworks will continue to be burned until the exhibition closes.

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