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Nothing Says Digital Future Like Launching Crypto and NFTs With a $12M Gold Cube

Cash under the mattress, in your wallet or bank account, or even online banking are so yesterday. These days, we’re all about cryptocurrency and, by extension, NFTs, which can be anything from art to houses, superyachts, designer clothes, and entertainment programming.
The Castello Cube is a 410-pound cube made of 24-karat gold to promote upcoming cryptocurrency and NFTsThe Castello Cube is a 410-pound cube made of 24-karat gold to promote upcoming cryptocurrency and NFTsThe Castello Cube is a 410-pound cube made of 24-karat gold to promote upcoming cryptocurrency and NFTsThe Castello Cube is a 410-pound cube made of 24-karat gold to promote upcoming cryptocurrency and NFTsThe Castello Cube is a 410-pound cube made of 24-karat gold to promote upcoming cryptocurrency and NFTsThe Castello Cube is a 410-pound cube made of 24-karat gold to promote upcoming cryptocurrency and NFTs
Technically, we’re not “all” about crypto and NFTs, but proponents of what is commonly described as the digital future are. They include brokers and investors, creators and, of course, celebrities and public figures. It’s easy to dismiss both crypto and NFTs as pyramid schemes that need the less rich to make the rich richer, but when you have someone as influential as the Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk throwing all his weight behind a cryptocurrency that is inspired by a meme, you know things are getting serious.

Since we’re on the topic of serious, on a serious note, cryptocurrency is having a bubble right now, and so are NFTs (non-fungible tokens, unique digital pieces on the blockchain). Anyone who’s anyone or has money to burn is throwing said money (of the real kind) into cryptocurrency, which they then invest in NFTs. The market is already saturated, but booming because, we keep hearing from the same proponents, the future is digital, tech-packed and, incidentally, very costly.

With so much emphasis placed on the fact that the man (and woman) of the future will move away from physical possessions because technology will allow to have them all in the digital realm, it comes as somewhat of a paradox for a physical possession being used to bring attention to crypto and NFTs. And it’s of the most egregious kind: a knee-high, 410-pound (186-kg) cube made of real gold, estimated at almost $12 million, and displayed for just one day in front of regular folks, in New York City’s Central Park.

This is not a joke, though many chose to describe it as tomfoolery of the most bitter kind. We’d wager it’s more like queen-stunting for the artsy-pantsy type, but artist Niclas Castello would rather we called it a PR stunt meant to attract attention to his new cryptocurrency and upcoming NFTs.

The cube is actually a gold sculpture called the Castello Cube and, while it’s made of real, 24-karat, 999.9 fine gold, it is not solid gold. It has a hollow center, but still weighs a lot and “ate up” countless gold bars bought by Castello from a UBS Bank in Switzerland. The NY Times notes that he pre-sold many of his upcoming Castello Coins in order to secure the funds for the gold, in what is a very meta and possibly very efficient method of advertising.

The sculpture was made at the Art Foundry H. Rüetschi in Aarau, Switzerland, where they had to hand-build a kiln big enough to fit the large volume of gold that had to be melted. Castello was on had at all times, supervising the project and adding the finishing touches, like an engraving that states the year of the sculpture and includes his initials. The whole thing took 4,500 hours to make.

On February 2, 2022, after a very aggressive and mysterious campaign in both the written and online media, the Castello Cube was placed in the park with armed security, right on the ground in the slush and rainwater, as people gathered to see something that had never been done before: the biggest accumulation of the precious metal in one single piece. The night before, it was unveiled to an A-list audience at Cipriani’s on Wall Street, where Castello said that the artwork was all the more special because he had no intention of selling it and, quite possibly, to display it again.

Reactions to the gold Cube vary, ranging from awe from the art community, to praise and admiration from some, and outrage from the majority. Some people love to watch the world burn, as Alfred told Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight. Castello likes to watch the world burn and rub everyone’s face in because he’s not going down with it, the harshest critics are saying.

At the end of the day, art is meant to be divisive and, from this perspective only, the Castello Cube makes for a good piece of art. But it’s still funny to see how, in order to bring to attention supposedly-invaluable, must-have digital assets like crypto and NFTs, we’re still stuck with the oldest trick in the book. Queen-stunting 101, but with a dash of flashiness.







Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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