The Giant Bitcoin Rat Is Back And This Time It’s After Alan Greenspan

Alyssa Hertig
Nov 16, 2018 at 10:00 UTC
Updated Nov 17, 2018 at 10:40 UTC
newsInBrief

The artist behind a giant, inflatable piece of protest art dedicated to bitcoin is at it again.

After grabbing attention last month for his public critique of the New York Federal Reserve, artist and ex-hedge fund manager Nelson Saiers will now make a new home for his art on the streets of Washington, DC.

Like last time, Saiers has put a lot of thought into the design and location of the piece. He told CoinDesk that in the next few days, the rat would be positioned just blocks away from the Eccles Building, where the U.S. Federal Reserve system is headquartered. But that isn’t the only reason for the placement.

According to Saiers, the rat will be let loose near Capitol Hill where Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman from 1987 to 2006, testified in 2008 that during his time at the central bank he had made a “mistake.”

Saiers said he interprets this statement to be Greenspan conceding that he may have accidentally led the U.S. right into the 2008 financial crisis.

Pointing again to Greenspan, the rat will now be wearing a Halloween mask of Greenspan with a speech balloon coming out of its mouth, saying “I made a mistake.”

“Given … we were in the midst of the biggest financial crisis in 70 years it was a bit late for the guy who led the Fed … to come to this realization,” Saiers argued, adding: “Hence why I’m late to ‘trick or treat’ the Fed.”

Whereas last time Saiers told CoinDesk the art is up to the interpretation of the viewer, this particular look is pretty on the nose. During the rat’s time in NYC, Saiers offered that the rat signified bitcoin taking on the existing financial system as an alternative currency option.

The bitcoin white paper was released on October 31, 2008, in the midst of the crisis.

Going forward, it’s not just the U.S. Federal Reserve system Saiers wants to install the rat in front of. After DC – coinciding with the 10th anniversary of bitcoin’s code release on January 9 – Saiers has tentative plans to fly to London to install the rat in front of The Bank of England.

This bank is particularly special in Saiers’ eyes because it’s the one pseudonymous bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto “called out” in the message in the cryptocurrency’s genesis block – embedding a newspaper clip one of the bank bailouts.

Speaking broadly about his art, Saiers concluded:

“Again one of the reasons why a person may choose to invest in bitcoin is they are deeply scared of the Federal Reserve making a gigantic mistake.”

Bitcoin rat image courtesy of Nelson Saiers

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.