The Bitcoin Day Collection
The main reason I came to El Salvador was to witness what happens to a place when Bitcoin is used as currency. That's when, on one of the many podcasts I was listening to, I discovered Bitcoin Beach, the circular monetary system taking place within the sleepy surf town of El Zonte. With excitement I immediately bought a one way flight to El Salvador. It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that the president passed a law making Bitcoin legal tender. That law went into effect yesterday, September 7, Bitcoin Day. The controversy and fanfare of this event is entertaining to watch unfold.
While here I have made the most interesting friends, some American, some European, all with the same fascination with what is happening here. These guys are on an average 10 years younger that me, smarter than me and have insight into the cryptocurrency space. I find myself like a young child listening into a grown ups' conversation, lost, a deer in the headlights. Cryptocurrency is technically and financially complicated! It is overwhelming but I am determined to find my place in what I believe will take over as the future of money and decentralization of networks across many industries.
It was during one of these many overwhelming conversations over local beers that we came upon the topic of NFTs. For those that have never heard of an NFT... please do your own research and don't listen to me, this too is complex! The NFT is a new type of file. An un-copyable digital piece of art. The way I can explain it is - only one person can own the Mona Lisa. Sure, you can buy a postcard of the Mona Lisa for $.50, but you don't own the Mona Lisa. This is the digital version of this idea.
At the moment there seems to be an insatiable demand for these 'digital assets.' Many seem very silly to me. Lots of text lists, black boxes, silly cartoons. I can honestly say this old man doesn't 'get it.' What I do 'get' is people's desires to collect, to have something no one else has, to have 'clout.' While I have no interest in Pokemon cards as digital assets, I am interested in the possibilities of NFTs as the future of art.
Like many of my friends and family know, I have never taken much interest in social media. It didn't interest me personally to post and read others' posts. And when I was told I really should use this Instagram thing for my photography business, I dismissed it quickly. How wrong I was letting this new technology pass me by. When I discovered Bitcoin and the crypto world I vowed not be left behind again as the future marches on. I will not be that dinosaur getting pushed into the tarpits. But there's one big problem for me here. As of now there's just no market for market for photography in the NFT world, yet.
I believe as the space grows and more people adopt the NFT as a legitimate piece of art, photography too will occupy it. The advantage a digital file has over something physical is metadata, the information that lies within a file. A photo has its location and time stamp embedded within it, hidden away. That information is part of a story. And the story of an image is what gives it meaning and value. So, with the help of my new and brilliant friends, I decided to create a project, a new collection of images. Celebrating Bitcoin day I photographed from morning to night, collecting landscapes and moments throughout the day at Bitcoin Beach at the inception of the new Bitcoin Law. Of the many images taken I have narrowed the collection to 21 images in recognition of the only 21 million Bitcoins that will ever be in existence. These images are up on my new account at Opensea.io
These may be digital images but the old guy in me still believes in a physical piece of art to adorn the home. Once someone wins an auction by staking their ETH (Ethereum's coins), they receive not just the image that is a one of a kind to own, but also a 48" museum quality print. I think there's a ton of value here and the beginning of a trend in the art photography world. Either I'm onto something brilliant, or I have been drinking way to much Kool-Aid on the beach.
Yesterday was a fun and exhausting day that culminated in the 'Revolution Party' at Esencia Nativa where the boys and I congregate regularly. My camera or head was nearly busted in when my friend Warren was blindfolded and attacked a dollar sign piñata. It was close but no harm done, it's an occupational hazard.
Since then there is the titling, writing of stories and 'minting' of these images. They are now unique, one of a kind images. Regardless of what you think about this concept of NFTs I hope you'll go to the new gallery and check out my new profile - Opensea.io/michaelphillipsphotography. If you're interested in this new form of art, want to get involved and have something beautiful to put up on your wall, I hope you'll throw down on an auction.
Besides being a special time and place, I'm proud of the work. There's great imagery here. I came for Bitcoin but stayed for the El Salvador experience. The camaraderie created with my new friends made it special. My crypto partner Warren carried me through this intimidating 'minting' experience. John reminded me to stick to the heart of the story. Young Ethan's enthusiasm kept me going. Podcaster Arnold taught me how this works. Jeremy is the constant contrarian, challenging me to think. Garth just wants to help however he can. I'm very grateful to have community here.
Thank you to all my friends who have been so supportive over this last year as I try to reinvent myself during a very strange time for the history books. Without you, I have nothing. To everybody, please check out the new pics, see what's happening in a very different part of the world. I have come to believe there are not 1st world and 3rd world countries, just ascending and descending nations. I believe that the Bitcoin influence in El Salvador will create prosperity for the people and spread quickly. I'm glad to be here at the dawn of something good.