One part of a 40-piece artwork tribute to Bitcoin’s 12.3 million-digit code is going under the hammer at auction house Christie's in New York on October 7th, allowing enthusiasts to purchase and save a symbolic physical piece of the pioneer cryptocurrency forever.
Up for sale at the auction will be the 21st piece (aptly called Block 21), which carries a pre-auction estimated price tag of between $12,000 and $18,000 (or about 1.1 to 1.5 bitcoin at current exchange rates).
Envisioned by internationally acclaimed artist Ben Gentilli, the art is part of a 40-piece painting called “Portraits of a Mind,” which features the entirety of Bitcoin’s founding code - the exact representation of Bitcoin that founder Satoshi Nakamoto built and left it at. Explaining the motivation behind the art project, Gentilli explained:
The core idea of the project was, 'How do you make something of real cultural value within the Bitcoin sphere?' And for me, the thing I kept coming back to was this code base, because it's really the very basis of Bitcoin culture.
Gentilli worked on the project under the title of “Robert Alice.”
Apart from the code, each painting features a constellation of thirty-two digits encrusted in gold. Forming a longitude and latitude, each set of coordinates refers to a location of historic importance to the creation of Bitcoin, explains the site:
From the codebreakers of Bletchley Park to the exact location of Hal Finney at the time of the first Bitcoin transaction, these 40 locations together form their own network, covering 5,000 years of human history and act as proxies for the ideas, movements, and people that fed into Satoshi Nakamoto’s revolutionary creation.
The 40 pieces are no gross miscalculation of canvas either: Gentilli said it represents the decentralized nature of Bitcoin and its issuance without the oversight of central authorities.
Each of the 40 pieces, which took Gentilli over three years to finish, holds exactly 322,048 digits of Nakamoto’s original code. Once distributed globally, no single collector will be in control the entirety of the artwork - symbolizing the Bitcoin network's decentralized nature.
"The work is a symbolic expression of Satoshi’s vision, forged out of the very code that lies at the genesis of it all,” noted Gentilli on his site.
Twenty pieces of the artwork have already been sold privately to collectors from the art and technology sectors. They are now located around the world, from Switzerland to Saudi Arabia.