NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Sells NFT for $5.4M

Proceeds from the auction are going to the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Apr 16, 2021 at 8:51 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:42 p.m. UTC

A non-fungible token (NFT) depicting National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden just sold at auction for $5.44 million, or 2,224 ETH, after a flurry of bids in the sale’s final minutes. 

It was not immediately clear who won the prize but the person went by the username @PleasrDAO on OpenSea and on the Foundation platform, where the auction was held.

The sale makes “Stay Free” one of the single-most expensive NFTs to go at auction, behind Beeple’s $69 million magnum opus and a pair of CryptoPunks. Though many artists and athletes have emerged from the NFT craze with millions in total dollars, few have achieved such hauls with a single piece. 

Snowden has said he will donate all of the funds to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. (He sits on the non-profit's board of directors.)

The former CIA contractor, who has been in self-imposed exile in Russia since exposing the NSA’s sweeping domestic surveillance program in 2013, alluded to that leak in the NFT. 

The piece, based on a photo by visual artist Platon, depicts a shaded motif of his face set against court documents linked to the exposé. He “signed” the visual portrait with his pen-to-paper John Hancock. The work was billed as his only NFT though future plans are unclear.

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