After years spent ignoring it and hoping it will pass, it might now be time for everyone to belatedly start paying more attention to Bitcoin.
But there’s an access issue which has put off some regular folk when it comes to investing in the currency, and no amount of success stories will be enough for some people.
What we need is a route in for people without mathematic or computing backgrounds, and one artist is making strides to do just that.
Ahead of a recent exhibit entitled ‘New Money’, California-based artist Andy Bauch embedded secret keys to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency wallets within a series of Lego artworks.
“I am attempting to help those without computer science backgrounds visualize and understand the rather abstract concept of cryptocurrencies and simultaneous democratizing the potential and volatility that comes along with them,” Bauch explains, noting that the piece is intended as a comment on the value of art and the value of money.
The initial value of the Bitcoin hidden in the series of artworks ranges from $20-$90 (£14-£64), though the recent cryptocurrency boom means the keys could now be worth considerably more.
Other cryptocurrencies (including Litecoin and Dogecoin) embedded in the other works have initial values from $10-$250. The artworks themselves have been put on sale for $1,400-$14,000.
Of course, the Lego works have value as art beyond the value of the cryptocurrency involved, and Bauch intends the pieces as a comment on the transience of this value.
“In ‘New Money’, the Bitcoins embedded in each piece provide poignant commentary on the ethereal and fragile value of both, with their prices fluctuating in tandem with the constantly shifting cryptocurrency market,” a release accompanying the exhibit reads.
He does also recognise that anyone could theoretically “steal the cryptocurrency from the art by decoding the patterns” without actually buying any of the pieces.
You can read more about the ‘New Money’ series here.