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‘Censored’: Record-breaking artist Pak joins forces with Assange to make NFT history

‘Censored’ is a digital art collection created by NFT artist Pak in collaboration with imprisoned WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange.

The art collection titled ‘Censored’ will be unveiled shortly in time for the auction on February 7th. ‘Censored’ is shrouded in mystery and is set to make NFT history.

Pak has dropped some hints with tweets about censorship and freedom. On January 5th, Pak’s Twitter account @muratpak tweeted “nine hundred ninety nine”, signifying the number of days that Julian Assange had spent in prison. The following day, @muratpak tweeted “define freedom”, followed by “freedom as a medium” and linked to a WikiLeaks tweet.

Renowned digital artist Pak is one of the highest grossing artists alive, known for pushing conceptual and stylistic boundaries. Pak became a household name in the traditional art world after Sotheby’s auctioned his collection ‘The “Fungible’ in April 2021, selling for US $16.8 million. In December 2021, Pak again made headlines as his collection ‘The Merge’ set a new record for an artwork sold publicly by a living artist at US $91.8 million, surpassing Jeff Koons’s “Rabbit”.

Australian award-winning author and publisher Julian Assange is the world’s most famous living political prisoner and freedom of speech campaigner. The US government is seeking his extradition to put him on trial for publishing documents evidencing war crimes against civilians by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as torture in Guantanamo Bay. Julian Assange faces a 175-year prison sentence if the US government gets its way. Press freedom organizations warn that the legal precedent will cripple free speech protections worldwide. WikiLeaks specializes in publishing censored documents of diplomatic, political, ethical, or historical significance. WikiLeaks is credited for sparking democratic revolutions, exposing corruption, war crimes, big pharma, the banks, and environmental disasters, and of bringing evidence of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings onto the public record. Julian Assange, who has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, has been imprisoned in London’s notorious Belmarsh prison for over one thousand days.

‘Censored’ is a two-part NFT collection:

The first part is a one of a kind (“1/1 edition”) NFT, which Pak describes as “dynamic and generative”. “Dynamic” means that the digital art piece changes over time. “Generative” means that the artwork is generated from the artist’s instructions on the blockchain. The single edition NFT is expected to attract major collectors and NFT-world cooperative funds known as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

The second part of the collection is an “open edition,” which in addition to being “dynamic” will also be participative. The open edition is designed to be more accessible and therefore draw a broader pool of collectors. As a reference point, Pak’s record-breaking collection ‘Merge’ set the record for open editions with 30,000 collectors and grossing US $91.8 million.

The auction for the Single Edition commences on Monday February 7th, 2022 at 09:00 New York, 14:00 London, 17:00 Moscow, 19:30 New Delhi, 22:00 Hong Kong, 01:00 (on 8th) Sydney.

How will it work?

NFTs are typically auctioned over a period of 24 to 48 hours. NFTs are traded using blockchain technology and are usually sold on the Ethereum network. The currency is ETH.

The code for the NFTs will be contained within the Ethereum blockchain itself. This means that the computer code that generates the artwork exists on the blockchain and can therefore not be manipulated, corrupted, removed, or censored. This ensures data permanence and avoids the problems associated with some NFTs that rely on links to external servers.

The auction location will be announced via the Twitter accounts of the artist (@muratpak), Julian Assange’s brother (@gabrielshipton) and his partner (@stellamoris1).

Proceeds of the NFT will go to benefit Julian Assange’s defense fund as he fights against a US extradition request.

Battle of the DAOs

The auction for the single edition is expected to bring about a major bidding war between DAOs.

DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, have proven to be extraordinarily effective fundraising vehicles, especially in short time frames. A DAO is a collective of people who organize online to pool their resources, skills, and time to achieve the stated goals of the DAO. The structure and objectives are determined by its members. The management of a DAO is then automated on the blockchain, allowing people from around the world to come together for a common purpose without having to trust each other.

AssangeDAO launched today to bid on the single edition ‘Censored’ NFT. By 17:15 GMT on February 4th, the contributions to the AssangeDAO had surpassed over US $7 million (over 2,450 ETH). AssangeDAO’s mission statement aims “to inspire a powerful solidarity network and fight for the freedom of Julian Assange” and to “raise funds to help with his legal fees and campaigns to increase public awareness on the systemic failure of our justice systems”.

AssangeDAO was loosely modeled on FreeRossDAO, which raised over US $12 million to bid on the Ross Ulbricht NFT collection.


Curtain Raiser Event:

Join the Twitter Spaces event with the NFT artist Pak (@muratpak), Julian Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton (@gabrielshipton), and Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris (@stellamoris1) and others at 22:00 GMT on February 5th, which is:

  • 17:00 New York time on February 5th (Saturday)
  • 22:00 London time on February 5th (Saturday)
  • 06:00 Hong Kong time on February 6th (Sunday)
  • 09:00 Sydney time on February 6th (Sunday)