Christie’s to Auction Bitcoin Code Painting and NFT

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  • Christie’s is preparing to sell a collection of 40 pieces of art which contains the Bitcoin launch code
  • The 12.3 million digits have been hand-painted across the collection called ‘Portrait of a Mind’
  • An NFT will also be offered with the paintings

Christie’s, one of the world’s most famous auction houses, is preparing to take its first step onto the blockchain as it auctions off an artistic representation of the codebase behind Bitcoin’s creation. A painting, one of a collection by artist Robert Alice, features a portion of the code that launched Bitcoin back in 2009, and will be auctioned off alongside a non-fungible token (NFT) on October 7.

Portrait of a Mind

Alice’s painting is one of a collection of 40 that make up Portrait of a Mind, which stretches over 50 meters in length and features the 12.3 million digits of Bitcoin’s launch code hand-painted across them. The piece to be auctioned, called Block 21, is the first such auction by Christie’s in its 253-year history, and marks a historic moment in Bitcoin’s short life.

Alice told Cointelegraph that he chose to spread the code over the 40 paintings because he didn’t want one person owning the entire code and that each painting was unique in its own right:

In each work, an algorithm has found a set of hex digits that together are highlighted in gold. These read a set of coordinates that are unique to each painting. 40 locations across 40 paintings – each location is of particular significance to the history of Bitcoin.

Not only will Christie’s sell the physical art pieces, in another first a non-fungible token (NFT) will also be handed over to the auction winners in order to prove their authenticity and ownership rights.

Christie’s Bets on Blockchain

The development is the first foray the famed auction house has taken in the blockchain world, but is not the brand’s first exposure to it – In July 2018 Christie’s held the ‘Art + Tech Summit – Exploring Blockchain’, a sold-out discussion on the potential benefits that blockchain technology could bring to the art world.

The summit clearly had an impact as two years later Christie’s is putting the theory into practice, selling an NFT alongside a more traditional piece of art, with a valuation of $12,000-$18,000 placed on the piece.

The auction will also be good PR for Bitcoin as it seeks to ‘normalize’ itself in society.