Von Wong Describes Bitcoin Sculpture “Rollercoaster”

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • Artist Von Wong has described the emotional “rollercoaster” he experienced after his Skull of Satoshi statue was released to the world
  • Wong was seemingly not expecting to the the touchstone for anger over Greenpeace’s message by the Bitcoin community
  • Greenpeace’s aims seem to have backfired after the piece was adopted by the Bitcoin community

Canadian artist Von Wong, who was commissioned by Greenpeace to make a physical representation of Bitcoin’s impact on the environment, has described the “rollercoaster” of emotions he has experienced over the reaction to the piece. Bitcoiners have adopted the image as a “badass” Bitcoin skull made of electronic waste, with the glowing-eyes Skull of Satoshi replacing long devalued NFTs as social media profile pictures. This has utterly undermined Greenpeace’s efforts, and it seems that Wong has been caught in the middle of the argument.

Wong Aims to “Inspire and Create Change” on Environmental Matters

Wong took to Twitter to say that it took him six months to formulate and create the Skull of Satoshi, saying that he “spent 6 months pouring my heart and soul into building an amazing installation”, but that the reaction last Thursday left him”sad”. Wong said that he has been “doing environmental art projects for yrs”, using his talents to call out big corporations in the hope that his installations “inspire and create change”.

Wong says he was “stoked” when Greenpeace contacted him and asked him to create something that represented Bitcoin’s impact on the environment, although Wong says that piece was “never meant to be anti-Bitcoin”. He didn’t help himself, however, by releasing a video of the build in which he used spurious statistics to back up Greenpeace’s claims over the environmental damage caused by Bitcoin mining. His intent, he said in the tweet thread, was as an “an optimistic hope that Bitcoin could shift away from the needless burning of fossil fuels without losing all the other features that make Bitcoin safe, secure, and decentralized.”

Wong Unprepared for Backlash

It seems that Wong wasn’t prepared for the backlash he would receive, with the Canadian artist acting as the landing point for the tornado over the faceless organization of Greenpeace. He said that he spend the following days in discussions with interested parties on both sides and realized that there are initiatives in play to make Bitcoin mining more environmentally friendly, and ended the tweet thread with a challenge:

Wong added that he loved the fact that the Bitcoin crowd had taken on the Skull of Satoshi as a mascot rather than a visual criticism, and the fact that it was now “completely out of my control.” He added that he wasn’t accepting tips from the Bitcoin community due to the message it would send out, which, for an artist, must have been a hard thing to do indeed, so fair play to Wong for standing by his principles.