Jeff Koyen About Money Of The Future: Digital Currency As Works Of Art

One example is the Boggz Project, which was actually launched in 2020 before the NFT craze really took over. It produces unique, collectible digital renderings of currency as works of art. The project was inspired by J.S.G Boggs, the so-called Patron Saint of Cryptocurrency, and his life’s work. Today, we had the pleasure of talking to one of the project’s members, the media and blockchain entrepreneur, journalist, editor, investor, and early crypto bull, Jeff Koyen, who explained how The Boggz Project works, what it is all about, and more.

Blockster: Let’s start with the name. Why the Boggz Project?

Jeff Koyen: So, The Boggz Project is inspired by an artist called J.S.G Boggs. He was an artist who was the most popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and he would draw money — realistic or cartoonish — and would use that money in transactions as if it were real money. He wasn’t fooling anybody, but when he was out for dinner with friends, he would draw a $100 bill and try to convince the waiter to take it as real $100.

When it worked – it worked, and he became famous for this, and galleries started collecting these drawings, and receipts of things that Boggs bought, and putting it all together, and it became a whole transaction.

He ended up getting arrested on forgery charges, but he was never convicted because it was so easy to prove that he was creating artwork. But, philosophically, what he came to represent was the idea of “What does money mean? What does it stand for?” He even talked about creating his own currency, questioning why do we put so much value into a piece of paper that just has a portrait on it

I discovered him a few years ago with a lot of people who were into crypto, and we felt that he really matched what crypto is about.

Blockster: How do you see the relationship with money?

Jeff Koyen: I’m an early crypto guy, I’m one of those who have been in it since 2013, and I get it — I understand that crypto is a weird space, with a lot of bubbles, NFTs, other trends, and for outsiders, it seems like “funny money” and it seems incredible to a lot of people. I know people who are older and younger than me, but still either believers in crypto or skeptical of it. It’s not a generational thing.

I understand why crypto has value — why Bitcoin has value — and I also see the future where we will see more people unhinge themselves from their national currency and put their money into crypto.

So, money is just something you can buy something with. And if you can use something to buy things with, that makes it money. Whether it is Bitcoin, or Ethereum, or a piece of gold, or money that your government gave you — as far as I’m concerned, it is all a currency and it has value.

Blockster: Do you think that traditional currencies and money as we know it are going to disappear?

Jeff Koyen: Yes, absolutely. Just take a look at China, and you can clearly see the rise of the central bank digital currency. The countries that get on it early on will be in stronger economic positions, and many get it. You can see countries like Iran taking their money off the traditional systems and putting it into electronic systems. What happened in El Salvador earlier this year is probably the future. You have a country whose currency was pegged to the dollar, but now they are introducing another currency that will float, to say the least, but I think a lot of people will be jumping ship from national currencies, and within 10 years we could see people living entirely on non-national currencies.

Blockster:Do you think there are altcoins that could replace the USD?

Jeff Koyen: That’s pretty much what China is trying to do right now, and they are trying to get more countries to hold their wealth in the digital yuan rather than the dollar, and I think that is going to succeed in large part. I think China has a strong economic arm and has a lot of willpower and force to force a lot of surrounding nations to adopt its currency as the reserve currency.

I expect we will see a digital dollar in a couple of years too, but whether or not it is too late for the game remains to be seen.

Blockster: Tell us about your NFTs? What are you offering exactly?

Jeff Koyen: The interesting thing about the Boggz Project is that we opened our website just before COVID. And then the world stopped. However, over the last year, the estate of the artist himself contacted us, and at first, we were worried, thinking that the lawyers were coming. But, as it turned out, the Estate wanted to work with us, so we are now the official partners to the Estate of this artist that we admire so much. We are now advising them on creating NFTs based on his work. So, in the next couple of weeks, we will announce the debut of the collection of the actual artist’s work. So, what started as work being inspired by the artist is now becoming the actual artist’s work.

Blockster: Do you only work with digital artists?

Jeff Koyen: No, our goal is to work with everybody. The world has changed a lot in the last 2 years. Back when we started, artists could not just go to OpenSea and mint their own NFTs. I also talked to many who were intimidated by the gas fees. Putting their work on-chain could end up costing them up to $200 if they pick the wrong time of day. Even if you were to wake up at 3 am to try to beat Ethereum’s gas fee, you would still have to pay at least $70.

If you are a young artist with a collection of 10-20-30 art works, that’s a lot of money. So, what we do is that we offer digital and physical artists to take up those costs. We have money put aside for the minting and promotions, and we are tracking them down to help them do it.

Our goal is the democratization of art, and if you are a young artist interested in this idea, we wish to create this opportunity for you.

Blockster: What if someone’s art doesn’t get sold?

Jeff Koyen:In that case, the art just remains there. They can do whatever they want with it — burn it, keep it, it’s entirely their choice. We are not taking any rights to anything, we just want to act as a middleman and a technical partner, but if something doesn’t sell, it’s the artists’ decision what to do with it.

Many choose to burn what doesn’t sell, and I love that idea of scarcity. This is why NFTs have value, even if the physical art hangs on someone else’s wall, there is still the value in owning its digital version — one of a handful of official, proper-endorsed, artist-created NFTs. They are art on their own and have value, even if the real artwork is hanging on some wall somewhere.

Blockster: Can the art be resold?

Jeff Koyen: Yes, there are plenty of secondary markets where NFT owners can take their NFTs and offer them for sale, just like any other piece of art. However, because these are NFTs and they are programmable, you can put in commissions for the original artist. So, whenever the NFT gets resold, the original artist receives a portion of the commission. We encourage that for all our artists too, and we believe that they should benefit if their art gets more popular down the line.

Blockster: What is next for the Boggz Project?

Jeff Koyen: We want to get this first J.S.G. Boggs art out the door, and we are working on it right now. The Estate website is launching this week, we are announcing our official partnership in press releases and Medium, and we are producing NFTs of the artist’s original work. We believe that this is a culturally-important moment in American history, and it also appeals to the crypto aspect, as well.

So, we want to get this first one out the door and see how it goes. There are many other pieces and collections that we are interested in, and we hope to see more other artists come and put out their collections.

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