Arbitrade, an Ontario-based cryptocurrency company confirmed that it has just purchased a collection of four solid-gold casts of Nelson Mandela's hands for $10 million in bitcoin.
Malcolm Duncan, a South African who has been living in Canada for more than a decade recently announced in a press conference that he sold his collection of gold hand castings to Arbitrade. This consisted of two castings of Mandela's fist, a full hand cast, and an impression of his palm. These casts will be transferred to Arbitrade by the end of April.
These casts were made back in 2002 when Mandela had his right hand cast by the Harmony Gold mining group, a South African company. The complete set of hand castings weigh around 9 kilos and is made up of high-purity gold. This is a unique set, with only one of 27 sets being officially completed before the project was stopped because of Mandela's concern about his copyright.
In a statement, Duncan said
His fingerprints on his gold hands are probably more prominent than mine on my own hands. They really succeeded in getting the definition on the hands. They managed to get this gold to flow into the mould and pick up the most detailed fingerprints. He cut his thumb quite badly on Robben Island, his right thumb, and you can see it
Art Buyers Encouraged To Start Accepting Bitcoin
Duncan originally bought the set of gold castings for R1.8 million. Half of the original purchase price was to be then donated by Harmony Gold to Mandela's charities. For the Arbitrade deal, Duncan has received a Bitcoin deposit worth $50,000. The remaining balance is to be paid in quarterly installments, with $2 million being paid on April 30. Duncan plans to leave some of the Bitcoin in its original form as a form of investment, while he lets Arbitrade convert the rest into US dollars. Arbitrade will receive one hand per payment.
This Bitcoin purchase is another step in the right direction to encourage art buyers to use the popular cryptocurrency. Mark Flood was one of the first artists to sell his painting called ‘Select a Victim’ for 12.3 bitcoin in New York which was the equivalent of $100,000 at that point in time.
Arbitrade plans to launch a global tour for these hand casts, using it to educate the next generation about the life of the anti-apartheid giant. Arbitrade will be launching its own initial coin offering soon and has a plan to develop and mine its own cryptocurrency.