Bitcoin and art; that's an odd combination, isn't it? For artist Jenna Lash and FlorinCoin developer Joeseph Fiscella, it's a very beneficial combination. Together, on Thursday night, they presented an introduction to cryptocurrencies to members of the artistic community at the close of her art exhibition, titled "What is Gained and What is Lost" at the Bitcoin Center NYC. The presentation involved Lash asking common questions artists and people in general may have about cryptocurrencies to Fiscella; To a room of artists and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, they answered questions like 'What is Bitcoin?' and "How does it work?" to more specific questions like "What does Bitcoin offer artists?"
Art and Bitcoin
Jenna Lash: How can Bitcoin and virtual currency be used by artists?
Joseph Fiscella: Bitcoin can be used by artists in many ways and I think the topic of bitcoin used by artists is very interesting because when I've been doing consulting for bitcoin companies and financial institutions the answer is very different. They use it to reduce friction and costs and reduce exchange rate costs and to not have to worry about exchanging dollars for Euros, but for artists you can really take use of the security aspects of Bitcoin.
Using Bitcoin, you can be completely anonymous. You don't have to tie your identity with any of your payments online. For example if Targe tis hacked and their credit card system is breached, and all of your credit card information, your address, your DOB and your name, people can use that nefariously to cause identity theft. [...]
So artists that are security minded can use Bitcoin to remove the risk of having to associate their name with their artwork which is really a big deal when you;re in a country or you're part of a movement that is really counter culture or against the government. [...] With Bitcoin, you can receive payment for your artwork without having to be knowingly associated with those things, even if it is for a good cause - so the anonymity aspect is really strong as well as the privacy aspect.
Lash: How can Bitcoin help artists express the uniqueness of their work? We've talked a little about anonymity and things like that, but artists want to express who they are through their work, so how can Bitcoin help with that?
Fiscella: One big selling point about Bitcoin is how you can't counterfeit Bitcoin. So artists [who] are interested in selling unique pieces of work, maybe one-of-a-kind artworks or something that's one out of fifty, [...] you can actually use the Bitcoin network to prove authenticity of a physical object or a digital item[.]
For more on using Bitcoin to authenticate art, read more here about The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa by Paul Gauguin.
The exhibition is a fantastic collection of neo-pointillist artwork depicting the recognizable symbols and icons of currencies around the world, past, present and future, including the Chinese Yuan, the British Pound, and the icon of the Bitcoin itself. Titled "What is Gained and What is Lost," her work invokes a question on nationalism, globalization, and the future moving forward.
The association between art and Bitcoin is a fascinating world that is continuing to develop. Among the many proposed ideas is the use of micropayments to connect artists to their audience more directly and internationally through the internet. Other ideas are cryptocurrencies built for artists either as separate altcoins or built upon the Bitcoin network in sidechains.
While Jenna Lash's collection has now left the Bitcoin Center NYC, her experience with Bitcoin has left an indelible impression on her and her art.
"I think that artists should consider learning about Bitcoin because it's a way to help get our work out there, expose us to the whole global universe that's virtual and also help us do it in new ways: ways that can help express our uniqueness, but also provide us with security."