In the sometimes unfathomable evolution of language we lose the true meaning of words, or we give them a different character according to their usefulness and context.
Two words widely used in ancient times, and that retain their meaning today, seem quite accurate to me to define what CriptoNoticias saw last weekend at the Bitcoin Conference 2021: ars (art, in Latin) and poiesis (creation and production, in Greek).
Both words collect the notions of creation, method, technique, trade, work, and even border concepts such as skill, ability, even discipline and dedication. It seems then that many things can arise from creativity, many things can be art. I like to think that Bitcoin is too.
Upon entering the Wynwood neighborhood, located in Miami, United States, where the Bitcoin Conference 2021 took place , you can see dozens of murals and artistic interventions that make this sector one of the most colorful corners of the city. Of course, the conference, which brought together an estimated 15,000 people, could not leave this factor out.
Bitcoin 2021, was above all, a display of first-rate works of art , by the hands of established and highly professional artists.
The art gallery installed in the MANA Wynwood convention center was one of the main attractions of the bitcoiner event, as much or more than the talks and conferences offered in the main auditorium.
The exhibition hall had a constant influx of the public who, encouraged by curiosity, had the opportunity to share with the artists and see the works inspired by Bitcoin up close .
Among the exhibitors were artists recognized by the bitcoiner community such as Brekki Von Bitcoin, Fractal Encrypt, Marcus Connor, Pascal Boyart, Cryptograffiti and Lucho Poletti.
Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated works to see live was the Bitcoin Full Node Sculpture 7.0 which, with its reflective surface, allowed its viewers to see themselves on this sculpture made of super resistant acrylic material.
The piece was sold overnight on June 5, 2021, before kicking off the main event of this year’s Bitcoin Conference. The buyer and winner of the auction was MimesisCapital, who disputed the ownership of this work against other bidders.
The Bitcoin 7.0 Full Node Sculpture was eventually sold to this bidder for 15.1 BTC, equivalent to about $ 559,000 , according to the CryptoNews price calculator . Only 10 full node sculptures will be created; this being the seventh of them.
As we can read on the website of Scarce City , the auction house that sold this and other works at the conference, this piece turns out to be quite significant for Bitcoin. This is because it takes as its main reason the most recent halving or reduction of the reward , which occurred in 2020 at the height of block 630,000, as CriptoNoticias reported .
This era, where each block generates 6.25 BTC when mined, is the first era where this reward is 1 digit, only. Thus the reminder about the characteristic scarcity of Bitcoin is maintained and the importance of the historical moment in which we find ourselves is transmitted.
The Bitcoin Mandala
Another piece that attracted attention, both for its format, similar to the one mentioned above, and for its dimensions, beauty and symbolism, was the Bitcoin Mandala or Mandala Bitcoin .
This wooden work by artist Matt Habel was sold for 0.1 BTC, equivalent to about 3,700 USD, paid through the Lightning network .
When we look at the work in detail, we can see that it is configured as a board with the signs of the Bitcoin zodiac : the bull (Bull), which represents the bull markets, the honey badger (honeybadger), always behind the sweet taste of money orange, a Guy Fawkes mask as used by the Anonymous organization, to keep the cypherpunk spirit alive, among other symbols and representative elements of the bitcoiner worldview.
It was not the most expensive work, nor the most impressive, but its simplicity and symbolic charge kept the public, including the author of this chronicle, interested in observing it.
One of the art installations that I could not miss, besides being one of the few Latin artists present at the Bitcoin Conference, was that of Lucho Poletti.
Lucho announced on his social networks that he had acquired 1 BTC with the USD he raised from the sales of his posters, stickers and illustrations inspired by Bitcoin. In his case, he did not auction any unique piece, but instead sold reproductions of his work to dozens of people who passed by his booth and did not stop asking him questions, proposals or showing his genuine admiration.
We were able to share little given the artist’s busy schedule, however at CriptoNoticias we did not miss the opportunity to greet him and show our empathy for his work.
Skate , Art, and Bitcoin: Tony Hawk Approved
In another area of the convention center, a gallery of skateboards intervened by all the participating artists was arranged . Of course, they were all inspired by Bitcoin.
During the two days it was a meeting point for the attendees, who approached the skateboards to see them in detail. But the second day something really special happened, and that is that, after giving a talk about Bitcoin and the counterculture, Tony Hawk appeared signing each of the tables arranged there .
Possibly, Tony Hawk’s autograph contributed to revalue its price at the auction , but it is above all remarkable that part of the profits generated were donated to The Skatepark Project foundation . This foundation was created by Hawk himself with the goal of reclaiming abandoned skate parks and improving public spaces across the United States.
“The skateboards did not raise as much BTC as I personally expected, but it is an excellent project and I have a good feeling that they will be worth much more in the future,” said Tommy Marcheschi , Art Director of Bitcoin Magazine, to CryptoNews.
Bitcoin: good money… superior art?
Bitcoin as a protocol, technology and market is balanced and proportionate, but also imposing, superlative and universal . As I pointed out at the beginning of this note, it seems that Bitcoin is in itself a work of art, since it is not only a creation of high complexity and technical skill, but it is made to question and shake the foundations of old ways of thinking. For or against, it makes us reflect, it does not leave us indifferent, like good art.
Clearly, witnessing such a successful art exhibition, doubts arose among attendees about the impact of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) , which are more common to see on other blockchains such as Ethereum.
However, the Bitcoin blockchain can also be used to mint NFT for artistic motifs . Meanwhile, palpable works of art in the real world continue to have many admirers who prefer them to those displayed in digital format. Bitcoin, with its technological and philosophical attributes, appears to be a catalyst for this preference for physical art among the community, although digital formats are not excluded.
The art of Bitcoin is unique. I think artists going down the “rabbit hole” find Bitcoin for themselves, and that begins to influence their art in a way that is unique to them. Since Bitcoin is for everyone, the art of Bitcoin can be anything.
I think using the Bitcoin blockchain in art is a wonderful trend that will become more and more accentuated over time. But the art of Bitcoin doesn’t need to be an NFT, necessarily. The two concepts should not always be fused.
The art of Bitcoin is a unique reflection of the understanding of this technology by artists and their relationship with it at some point. How they manifest it, through an NFT or not, is the artist’s own decision, such as choosing which paint to use. If I don’t use an NFT to make Bitcoin art, it doesn’t stop being art, or vice versa, if I use it, it doesn’t stop being Bitcoin art!
Tommy Marcheschi, Art Director of Bitcoin Magazine .
Although the amount raised in full has not yet been revealed, sources indicate that more than 20 BTC was raised from the sale of physical and digital artworks at the Bitcoin Conference. It is expected that at the end of the calculation, it will amount to almost 30 BTC, an amount that currently exceeds 1 million US dollars.