Peters & Peters

How fraudsters exploit the NFT craze

Damien Hirst unveiled The Currency earlier this month — a dual collection of 10,000 A4 paper “spot paintings” with 10,000 corresponding non-fungible tokens (NFTs), each worth $2,000. The catch? Hirst’s patrons have until 3pm on July 21, 2022 to choose whether to keep the NFTs or trade them for the physical work — whichever they choose, the other group gets burnt. Whether viewed as a publicity stunt or a “social experiment”, Hirst’s actions have ignited a debate over money, ownership and trust: the clash is between trust in the physical, or faith in the church of crypto. NFTs have recently taken both the design and the cryptosphere by storm. However, they are nothing like their cryptographic cousins, such as bitcoin, as they cannot be exchanged like-for-like. Instead, they operate as digital certificates of ownership attached to digital works of art, stored on the Ethereum blockchain.

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