Bitcoin’s bards: Sotheby’s sells Ana Maria Caballero’s poem as a BTC ordinal

Last week, a ground-breaking event occurred that blended poetry and blockchain. Award-winning Columbian-born Ana Maria Caballero’s poem “Cords” went under the hammer for 0.28 Bitcoin or 11,430 US dollars at old-world auction house Sotheby’s.

 This marked a significant moment for both the literary and digital art communities, with “Cords” being showcased in Sotheby’s “Natively Digital” online auction. 

This collection explores the burgeoning realm of Bitcoin Ordinals, a concept akin to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and highlighted some of the earliest and notable inscriptions on the world’s most famous blockchain.

Electric rhymes

Bitcoin ordinals introduce the idea of individualizing each satoshi, the smallest unit of bitcoin, allowing them to carry unique data or digital artifacts. 

This is a significant development because traditionally, Bitcoin has been seen primarily as a currency or store of value, with limited functionality for handling unique digital assets compared to platforms like Ethereum, which was designed with smart contracts and digital tokens (NFTs) in mind.

In a move blending traditional art forms with modern technology, the purchaser of “Cords” was also entitled to a signed print of the poem, underscoring the tangible connection between the digital and physical worlds. 

Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s VP and Head of Digital Art, emphasised the historic nature of the sale, marking it as the auction house’s first sale of an individual poem, distinct from manuscripts or books, in its 280-year history.

The sale of “Cords” at such a prestigious auction house as Sotheby’s underscores the intrinsic value of written poetry, as highlighted by Caballero herself. She described the auction as a unique opportunity to assert the standalone worth of poetry, independent of visual or auditory enhancements.

Art democratisation

 This event signifies a broader acceptance and recognition of digital art and literature, demonstrating the potential for blockchain technology to offer a new platform for poets and artists.

Caballero’s participation in the “Natively Digital” auction, along with other artists, represents a pioneering exploration of the blockchain as a medium for artistic expression. 

The inclusion of “Cords” in this collection not only showcases the adaptability of traditional poetic forms in digital spaces but also highlights the ongoing dialogue between technology and the arts. Caballero, who has previously received accolades for her work and co-founded the digital poetry and NFT gallery theVerseverse, is at the forefront of this innovative merger of poetry and technology.

The auction of “Cords” and its inclusion in Caballero’s forthcoming book “Mammal” represent a significant moment in the evolution of poetry within the digital age, challenging conventional perceptions of art and value in the increasingly digital world.Through this sale, Sotheby’s and Caballero have paved the way for future collaborations between the literary world and blockchain technology, illustrating the enduring relevance and adaptability of poetry in the 

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