‘Real Bitcoin Address’ Artwork Installed in Front of Former Bank in Amsterdam

Siamak Masnavi

For the seventh edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival (29 November 2018 until 20 January 2019), Dutch artist Frederike Top has, rather ironically, installed her "light art" sculpture, which is in the form an actual 34-character Bitcoin wallet address, in front of a former bank building.

From the festival's website:

"With the realisation of more than 200 artworks since 2012, Amsterdam Light Festival has developed into one of the largest light art festivals in Europe. In a short time we were able to make light art known to a wider audience."

Here is a photo of Frederike's artwork ("CODE"), which she created for Edition #7 of the Amsterdam Light Festival:

Light Festival Artwork.png

This artwork is hanging between two trees that are in front of a former bank building on one of Amsterdam's most beautiful canalside streets. If you look closely, you will notice that the Bitcoin address used for this project, 1MA8Wopde19HbANkJHnuu76LGbooQHLnuP, contains the word "bANk". Any bitcoin sent to this wallet will be donated to "Huis van de Tijd, a foundation for elderly people with dementia."

As of our press time, since 30 October 2018, according to BitRef, 17 bitcoin donations have been made, for a total of 0.04419532 BTC (around $150):

Code Donations.png

The festival's website goes on to explain the inspiration behind this artwork and why this particular location was used for the installation:

"You could regard this address as a recent addition to various codes, the important ‘languages’ of our digital age. For example, the texts, images and sounds on our computers, phones and tablets are converted into specific codes, or bits, that are sent in packages via cables or radio waves...

The technology used for cryptocurrency, such as the well-known bitcoin, the blockchain, is also part of our modern programming languages. Blockchains, or chains of data that have been merged into ‘blocks’, have ensured that digital currency transactions are transparent and cannot be manipulated. Central control is no longer needed for digital transactions as opposed to the traditional financial world. Cryptocurrency is a real threat for governments and banks as Top highlights in her installation by positioning it in front of the enormous, ‘closed’ former bank building."

Both Photos Courtesy of Amsterdam Light Festival