Julian Assange and Crypto-Artist Pak Are Working on a Top Secret NFT Collaboration
The two-part sale will include a single-edition NFT and a "dynamic," open-edition NFT meant to draw in a larger pool of collectors.
The anonymous crypto artist Pak is teaming up with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for a collaborative NFT project titled “Censored,” to be released on February 7.
The date has particular significance for Assange, as it is the deadline for his lawyers to ask the U.K. Supreme High Court to reconsider the extradition case that the U.S. government has filed again him.
The two-part sale at a yet-to-be-determined venue will include a single-edition NFT and a “dynamic” open-edition NFT, reports the Crypto Times.
More hints and details about Pak’s project with Assange are expected in the coming days. Reached by Artnet News, Pak declined to offer further comment.
When Wikileaks announced the team-up on Twitter, it shared the news with the hashtag #FreeAssangeNOW. The project’s title, “Censored,” also suggests the NFTs are being sold in support of Assange’s legal battles.
Pak, one of the first artists to achieve major success in the NFT arena, began minting NFTS way back in February 2020. They made big waves in March 2021 by selling two artworks at prices approaching the $1 million mark: Finite for $809,789.40 on Foundation, and Metarift for $904,413.47 on MarkersPlace.
Sotheby’s later tapped Pak as its answer to Christie’s blockbuster $69 million Beeple sale, collaborating with the artist and Nifty Gateway on a $17 million sale that included The Pixel and The Switch, both of which sold for $1.4 million. (The former was a one-by-one gray pixel; the latter gave the buyer the option to “switch” the image to an unknown alternative artwork.)
Pak returned to the auction house in its “Natively Digital” sale in October, selling a work titled Fade for $528,000, and Rubik’s Lure, an animation meant to invoke a futuristic Rubik’s Cube, for $1.1 million.
The artist later sold 266,445 shares of his NFT Merge for $91.8 million on Nifty Gateway, suggesting that if one collector were to eventually own every share, they would own a work more valuable than the priciest Jeff Koons or David Hockney—the two most expensive living artists.
Assange has been held in a maximum-security prison in London since April 2019, when the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had taken refuge in June 2012, stopped offering him asylum.
In December, London’s High Court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the U.S., where he faces charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 for his role in leaks of confidential documents provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Editors from the New York Times and the Washington Post are among those who argue that prosecuting Assange for his Wikileaks activities violates his First Amendment rights, which guarantee freedom of the press.
Among those who have been outspoken in their support of Assange is Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who in December launched a social media campaign protesting the extradition decision.
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