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Banksy art burned and sold through NFT technology

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a cryptographic token that represents something unique, and has an individual characteristic that sets it apart. Owning an NFT is like owning a one-of-a-kind work of art or a collectible antique. NFTs are unique tokens or digital assets that generate value because of their uniqueness.

On the blockchain, when you send a bitcoin to someone, a ledger entry gets made. In the case of NFT also, a ledger entry is also made, but in that entry, there is also an address to the file, which establishes the ownership of that NFT.

An original Banksy, which was burnt and destroyed in a livestreamed video, has been sold via a digital token representing the work for $380,000 (£274,000). Burning the piece was a statement that the physical piece no longer had value because all the value remained in the digital world as NFT.

Banksy’s own work has toyed with this idea that it is non-permanent. He has previously shredded one of his own artworks at an auction, which is why they likely found it fitting to burn one of his pieces.

Initially, NFT has been a popular format for selling internet memes, with the Nyan Cat – depicting a cartoon cat with a Pop-tart body flying with a trail of rainbows – selling for $600,000.

The use of works by famous artists, such as Banksy, suggests NFTs are entering the mainstream.

It can be a somewhat upsetting to see a work of art being destroyed for whatever reason. What are your thoughts on this avant-garde display and NFT’s place and value in the arts?

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Samuel Panda