NCCA accepts world’s first cryptocurrency philanthropy at arts institution

Over three years, art collector Dr Prash Puspanathan, who is also the founder of Australia’s largest cryptocurrency brokerage, Caleb and Brown, will commit three carbon neutral bitcoins to the gallery as part of ” philanthropic funding.

Puspanathan will guarantee a minimum of $ 140,000 to the NCCA, pledging that amount if the value of bitcoins drops. This makes it the largest private donation from the arts center in its 30-year history.

Read: Visual arts sector overlooked in COVID relief support

NCCA Director Petrit Abazi told ArtsHub: “At the end of the day, I think the biggest hurdle [for galleries to accept cryptocurrency] is ideological. When people can separate cryptocurrencies from the stigma that marked the technology in its early days, I think its adoption as a tool for philanthropic giving will become more and more popular.

The NCCA is a center for contemporary art. And there is nothing more contemporary in global sociology-economics than blockchain technology.

Director of the NCCA Petrit Abazi

After joining the NCCA in April of this year, Abazi’s openness and creative fundraising approach have been key in boosting the Centre’s engagement with cryptocurrency.

“One of the main challenges in becoming the director of a small arts organization was to find new funding,” explained Abazi, “I was thinking about the type of collaboration I could forge with people with whom I have worked in the field. pass. I knew [Dr Prash] for almost 10 years, and the first time I heard of the term Bitcoin was through him.

The partnership is also something new for Puspanathan, who was invited by Abazi to be the NCCA’s financial advisor for cryptocurrencies as the gallery soon plans to accept and offer Bitcoin payments.

Puspanathan was proud to share this first step: “We see the art world embracing the crypto world with the emergence of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, where digital art is selling strongly. It was only a matter of time before artistic philanthropy followed suit.

Read: Australian art world buys NFTs

Puspanathan’s involvement is crucial, and Abazi gave a tip to galleries that might want to accept cryptocurrency: “I think it would be wise for galleries to sell [the cryptocurrency] once they receive them because there is obviously a risk involved [in holding on to it]. ‘

Philanthropy Australia’s Acting Policy and Research Director Krystian Seibert also shared with ArtsHub: “This is a very interesting development and something that we will probably see more of over time. Since this is an emerging field, organizations will begin to need to pay more attention to the opportunities associated with cryptocurrencies, but also some of the challenges.

The value of cryptocurrencies can be more volatile, which can pose challenges in terms of managing these donations to ensure that they are best used to promote an organization’s goals.

Philanthropy Australia Acting Director of Policy and Research Krystian Seibert

Abazi concluded: “Dr. Prash sees it from a philosophical point of view; blockchain technology at the core is a system of democratizing money… For a small organization with this type of funding from someone who believes in these utopian ideas, it actually helps us grow. This [the donation] is everything for exhibitions, and the winners in the end are the artists and the visitors. ‘

The first exhibition supported by Puspanathan’s initial crypto-donation is a major exhibition of First Nations art Murrŋiny: A History of Eastern Metal. It’s now at the NCCA, August 7 through September 25.

Celina Lei is an arts writer at ArtsHub. She recently earned her Masters in Art, Law and Business in New York City with a BA in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She previously worked in global art centers in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both commercial art and art criticism. Before joining ArtsHub, she was an editorial assistant at Hong Kong-based magazine ArtAsiaPacific and artistic host on the independent Instagram platform Club Ambroise. Celina is based in Naarm / Melbourne, Victoria. Instagram: lleizy_

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