Damien Hirst has broken almost every rule in the art world. Now he’s taking things further, fusing money and art together through his latest work: The Currency. A project that marries physical and NFT versions of the art, it will be distributed using Palm, a new scalable and sustainable Ethereum protocol and token optimized for creators.
Five years in the making, The Currency consists of 10,000 works of hand drawn art, complete with a correlated NFT. Each physical piece will resemble a bank note and come with hand-painted art, an original song lyric, a water mark, and Hirst’s signature. Simultaneously unique and part of a larger whole, the individual artworks in turn reflect the decentralized yet connected nature of their mediums: the blockchain and the physical world.
The Currency is now on sale via the international art services business HENI. Each work is available for $2,000; radically opening up the opportunity to buy an original Damien Hirst to new audiences. Anyone interested is able to apply. Winners will be drawn at random; if drawn, they will need to complete the purchase process before receiving their physical piece and corresponding NFT.
“The whole project is an artwork, and anyone who buys The Currency will participate in this work. It’s not just about owning it,” said Hirst. “It is the most exciting project I have ever worked on by far.”
In many ways, The Currency is a natural continuation of Hirst’s career-long exploration of the relationship between art and commerce. From his first show—a stack of cardboard boxes colored with house paint—to his record breaking jewel-encrusted skulls, to his more recent The Virtues prints which could be purchased through both Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH): Hirst has often pushed audiences to confront their preconceived notions of art’s physiological, emotional, and monetary value.
“This project explores the boundaries of art and currency—when art changes and becomes a currency, and when currency becomes art. It’s not a coincidence that governments use art on coins and notes. They do this to help us believe in money. Without art, it’s hard for us to believe in anything.”
While long-interested in the intersection between cryptocurrency and art, Hirst was concerned about the potential environmental impact of dropping a NFT and, because of the layered nature of The Currency, needed a partner he could more deeply collaborate with.
Hirst elected to drop The Currency through Palm, a new scalable and sustainable Ethereum protocol and token optimised for creators, because of its commitment to collaborating with artists, its emphasis on sustainability, and its low gas fees.
“Palm is by far the best platform for me,” said Hirst. “It’s new and art focused, it’s the most environmentally friendly, and it is quicker and cheaper to use. With Palm, artists can invent the future.”
“The Currency drop is a landmark moment in the NFT space, and it’s just the beginning. My hope is that what Damien Hirst has done here inspires other artists and creators to bring their imagination to the blockchain, with Palm helping creators achieve their artistic visions in a way that’s scalable and sustainable,” said Dan Heyman.
For more on The Currency, including the allocation process, visit HENI.