Cryptocurrency enters the art world giving space
19 August 2021 at 4:01 pm
“We are seeing the art world embrace the crypto world… It was only a matter of time before art philanthropy followed suit”
A Northern Territory art institution has received what is believed to be the world’s first cryptocurrency donation to a public art gallery, in the form of carbon-neutral Bitcoins.
While the price of Bitcoin varies from year to year, the gift to the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) is worth at least $140,000.
The man behind the donation is Dr Prashanth Puspanathan – also known as Dr Prash P – who is founder of leading Australian cryptocurrency brokerage firm Caleb & Brown.
This isn’t the first time cryptocurrency has infiltrated the art world, with NFTs – unique digital assets that exist on the blockchain, a decentralised method of storing data where transactions are recorded in a transparent and secure way – becoming increasingly popular.
As a passionate art collector, Dr Prash P sees cryptocurrency donations as the future of art philanthropy.
“We are seeing the art world embrace the crypto world with the emergence of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, where digital art is selling strongly,” Prash P said.
“It was only a matter of time before art philanthropy followed suit.”
There has been much debate over Bitcoin’s environmental impact, with critics arguing its energy usage outweighs any inherent value of the cryptocurrency.
With this in mind, the donated Bitcoins have had their carbon footprint offset using the Crypto Climate Accord, a private sector-led initiative to decarbonise the industry.
The donation has already been used to support the opening of an exhibition showcasing First Nations art.
This exhibition – Murrŋiny: a story of metal from the east – was developed in partnership with the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka art centre and Salon Art Projects.
NCCA director Petrit Abazi has welcomed the donation and Dr Prash P’s commitment to developing and showcasing important art in Australia.
“The NCCA is a contemporary art centre. And there is nothing more contemporary in global socio-economics than blockchain technology,” Abazi said.
“This remarkable gift will ensure that the NCCA continues to foster new creative partnerships locally, interstate and internationally, including a bilateral Singaporean artist residency program.”
You can find out more about the Murrŋiny exhibition here.