Banksy Work Physically Burned and Digitized as NFT in Art-World First

A group of crypto artists bought the Banksy piece "Morons" and burned it before issuing an NFT. It's an artistic statement, or something.

Mar 4, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:21 p.m. UTC

A piece by famous street artist Banksy is to be sold as a non-fungible token (NFT) – after the original was physically burned in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Wednesday.

It's a first for the art industry as NFTs jump into the mainstream consciousness.

The piece, "Morons," which pokes fun at art collectors, has been burned by a team of crypto enthusiasts at a discreet Brooklyn location.

To be clear, Banksy was not involved. The piece was bought for roughly $100,000, an unnamed source told CoinDesk.

The burning was live-streamed through the Twitter account @BurntBanksy, after which the team created an NFT to represent the artwork on the Ethereum-based OpenSea marketplace.

An auction for the NFT will commence on OpenSea on March 4 with proceeds from the sale going to charity. The winning bidder will receive the official proof of authenticity from Banksy's authentication agency, Pest Control.

Banksy has destroyed his own artwork in the past, shredding his painting "Girl With Balloon" immediately after its $1.4 million sale at Sotheby’s.

"I think [Banksy] would appreciate what we are doing since he also promotes creativity and iconoclastic ideas," the team behind the burn told CoinDesk in a statement.

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