A group of cryptocurrency fans have purchased an original Banksy artwork, only to burn the piece and sell a digitalised version for four times its original value.
The group of blockchain investors, known as Injective Protocol, set fire to Banksy’s ‘morons’, which has previously been valued at $95,000 (£69,000) and first sold in £16,250 in 2006.
The painting offers an alternative spin on the $40m (£29m) sale of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in 1987 and features the caption “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t.”
But in a relative first for the art world, the group digitised the painting before the audacious burning – which allowed them to sell it as a non fungible token (NFT) for $382,336 (£275,000).
Non-Fungible Tokens, as NME‘s Mark Beaumont recently noted, are essentially digital gold bars with a changing value of their own.
The sale was made via crypto-marketplace Open Sea to a buyer called GALAXY, while the transaction itself was made in the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
“We view this burning event as an expression of art itself,” said Mirza Uddin, a spokesman for Injective Protocol, told the BBC.
“We specifically chose a Banksy piece since he has previously shredded one of his own artworks at an auction.”
The sale comes after Kings of Leon previously announced plans to sell their eighth album, ‘When You See Yourself’, via NFTs.
The mural, which emerged last Monday (March 1), shows a prisoner – resembling famous inmate Oscar Wilde – escaping from the prison using a rope fashioned from bedsheets tied to a typewriter.