dEaD Gallery of Sick Burns

Crypto Art Sep 12, 2020

There are many fun and curious oddities throughout the crypto art space, least of which is the notion of burning art— that is to say, the artist either invokes a crypto art platform's smart contract internal burn function,  or sends their crypto art NFT to an invalid wallet address (a so-called burn address) for which no corresponding private key exists.

Jones, Stina & Cyberpop, Robness. "TEN-K BOOTUP DISKETTE VERSION 11.11," 2020 (HoneyBadger Mint)

This is done for numerous reasons in order to render the art permanently lost with respect to the blockchain the token was minted on. Some of those reasons include:

  • Symbology included in the art's legend; in this case a token (or even a physical effigy) is burned as part of the art's existential story.
  • Inaccuracies or errors in the final minted piece — the blockchain equivalent of Crypto-Art-Potatomachine-ETH-LOGO-Fixed-Last-Final-Edition.psd or the 14th iteration of the original art piece file name. 😂
  • To artificially increase the scarcity of a work or manipulate collections of work in interesting ways. For example, one artist minted several editional works as part of a complete collection. In the case of a specific work in the collection, the artist burned every edition of it except one, essentially forcing the reality that only one person could own a complete collection of all the works.
  • The artwork does not sell within a certain timeframe or other criteria.
  • The artwork is tainted with low-ball bids or has only received low-ball bids.
  • The artwork is tainted with some other bad mojo, and just needs to go away.

A NFT can also usually be burned by anyone who owns it, for any reason that they see fit.

For example, there have been numerous cases of artwork surreptitiously stolen from established artists outside the crypto art space, and then minted as crypto art NFTs by unscrupulous characters.

Some collectors then buy these NFTs, seeing only what appears to be finely crafted work at often lower than expected prices. Once they realize the art is not legit and they've been duped, they burn those (essentially counterfeit art) NFTs. The blockchain trail will remain as a historical artifact presumably for as long as the blockchain exists, however.

Original artist unknown. "Prevention," 2020 (InStyle Magazine ilustration) | This illustration was taken from a Spanish magazine article about Coronavirus and minted as a crypto art NFT by an unknown individual using the ETH address 0x5d8e5b5b2b6cfd06758be771dfb18aff34a15cef. The collector WhaleShark.Pro purchased the NFT and several others in the same style from the same individual, and upon learning of their true origin, transferred them to the burn address.

🎶 It takes diff'rent burns to rule the world...

Depending on the platform and its associated smart contract, as an artist, you have at least two options for killing off your art by burning it when the need arises.

⚙️🔥 Smart contract internal burn function

Some platforms have smart contracts with internal burn functions that are as simple as sending the NFT to the contract address, where it is burned in a thorough manner or just pressing a button and forgetting about it (while a similar process happens behind the scenes).

This method of burning art does have pros and cons artists and collectors should be aware of.

  • Pros
    • The cleanest way to remove your crypto art NFT from circulation since the token is completely removed from the smart contract, and no longer exists as a valid token on the blockchain.
    • Usually has zero cost to the artist or does not cost as much in transaction fees.
  • Cons
    • More difficult audit trail to follow for burn confirmation.
    • Is usually not possible unless you are the original creator/minter of the NFT.

➡🔥 Transfer NFT to a burn address

When an artist burns their work using a burn address, the aim is to transfer the NFT to a provably invalid address, so it is then assured that no one could ever again access or use it.

The most popular burn address on the Ethereum blockchain is 0x000000000000000000000000000000000000dEaD

There is also another popular address— known as the NullAddress:

0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Transferring  your crypto art NFTs to one of these addresses also has some pros and cons worth being aware of.

  • Pros

    • There is a simple public audit trail to prove that the NFT was burned.
    • Anyone who owns the NFT can attempt to burn it with this method, and it will succeed for all but so-called "locked" NFTs.
    • Provides interesting and odd histories around the artworks to explore with something as simple as a series of web browser tabs open to Etherscan and OpenSea.
  • Cons

    • The artwork still publicly exists and its history can be viewed by anyone; some artists might not want this.
    • There is typically a gas transaction fee required transfer the NFT to another address, including the burn address.
    • Contracts can mint so-called "locked" NFTs, which cannot be transferred, and these locked tokens cannot be burned with this method.

A pair of peculiar wallets with massive wealth, and quite the weird little art collections...

These wallets, being sort of "official burn address wallets," (though there are also others) currently hold staggering balances:

  • Over 12,500 ETH (~$4.6MM) and over 400,000 ETH ($186MM) worth of NFTs, which also include crypto art NFTs in the case of 0x000000000000000000000000000000000000dEaD.
  • Over 8,250 ETH (~$3MM) and over 1,600,000 ETH ($622MM) worth of NFTs, which also include crypto art NFTs in the case of 0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000.

At the time of this writing, there are NFTs in these wallet from most all of the major crypto art galleries, and numerous individual artists as well. Here is a breakdown on crypto art by platform that has been burned by sending it to these wallet addresses.

0x000000000000000000000000000000000000dEaD

Platform Art NFTs minted Art NFTs burned
Blockchain Art Exchange 1,308 1
KnownOrigin 14,403 110
MakersPlace 28,430 28
Rarible 13,875 23
SuperRare 12,641 22

With the obvious outliers and execptions being Blockchain Art Exchange (BAE) and KnownOrigin, most other crypto art platforms have relatively modest numbers of their associated NFTs present in the burn wallet.

Individual Artist NFTs Burned

These are some of the individual artist (or artist collaborative) contract tokens which are transferred the most to this address.

Artist Art NFTs burned
NΞLLY 8
CryptoTonya 6
HoneyBadger Mint 5
Pak 4
ConnieDigitalv1 1
Pejman. "Deldar," 2020 (MakersPlace) This wonderful portrait art is gone forever and the artist identity who created it also no longer exists as they are now known as "Plouzzaa".

0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Platform Art NFTs minted Art NFTs burned
Blockchain Art Exchange 1,308 37
KnownOrigin 14,403 5
MakersPlace 28,430 650
Rarible 13,875 1,189
SuperRare 12,641 0

Found more art and collectibles! It appears that over one-thousand Rarible NFTs have been transferred to the NullAddress along with a healthy 650 from MakersPlace, which are exclusively crypto art tokens. The fun outlier for this address is SuperRare with zero tokens present.

Individual Artist NFTs Burned

These are some of the individual artist (or artist collaborative)  contract tokens which are transferred the most to this address.

Artist Art NFTs burned
WizardX Mint 83
luluxXX 32
NΞLLY 23
Jay Delay V3 14
Alotta Voxels 14

It appears that most individual artists prefer to use the NullAddress instead of the dEaD address.

That's all for now.

Have fun exploring the various burn wallets and their NFT contents, which are trapped forever on the blockchain and share these awesome artists with your friends.

Tell them Alpacawhal sent you...

Illa 2020

obxium

Plouzzaa

Robness

Sarah Zucker

SΞCONĐ RΞΛLM

Stina Jones

If you found this article interesting, please share it with a friend and donate to Alpacawhal.

Tell them Alpacawhal sent you...

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