For Bell, cryptocurrency is a visual language that communicates the ideals of cryptocurrency and its potential to cultivate a social and financial revolution. A former investment banker disillusioned with “crony capitalism and the powers that be”, Bell began investing in Ethereum in early 2017. That summer, he became an early collector of MoonCats, one of the first Ethereum-based NFT collectibles.
Currently, Bell’s personal collection is somewhere around 2,000 NFTs, the majority of which he plans to donate to the museum over the next decade. “The reason I collect cryptocurrencies goes back to the reason I’m here to begin with: I think cryptocurrency is a more superior and powerful technology than the current monetary system we have,” he said. Thanks to utility cases such as NFTs, cryptocurrencies that were once associated with illegal activity have already come a long way in terms of public perception. NFTs have effectively shown that the value of crypto is what Bell calls “an exercise in self-sovereignty.”
Most importantly, the opportunities offered by technology to facilitate free expression and autonomy for artists are the primary drivers of Bell’s – and many other early collectors’ – engagement in space. “It’s a way for you to express yourself without censorship,” he said. “It’s a free open access network where you can upload your creativity and prove your ownership of it.”
Miguel Faus, a filmmaker based between Barcelona and London, whose NFT collection includes notable PFP projects (profile pictures), including a CryptoPunk, a Bored Ape and Cool Cats, shares a similar sentiment. As an artist, the concept of NFTs clicked “immediately like a long-awaited revolution that would alleviate many of the problems that all kinds of creators have faced on the Internet since its inception.” He explained, “I think it’s the promise of Web3 in a nutshell: redistribute value to creators and audiences, rather than to middlemen and gatekeepers.”