Crypto artist “cryptograffiti” has sold a tiny artwork in a “micro auction” in a bid to promote Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network (LN) micropayments, according to a post from the artist’s Reddit handle published Dec. 20.
The artwork — which measures just 1.44 x 1.75” and depicts a black swan collaged from details on the United States dollar bill — was sold, counterintuitively, to the lowest bidder, at a value of 1 millisatoshi ($0.000000037). A “satoshi” is the term used to christen one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin — in honor of the cryptocurrency’s mysterious inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Cryptograffiti’s profile on the Blockchain Art Collective website outlines that his work is “dedicated to spreading the crypto/blockchain movement,” and in particular to exploring how crypto can “benefit artists through alternative revenue channels.”
This latest work is intended to promote use of Lightning Network micropayments, with the vision that their future “omnipresent” use can create “positive monetary reinforcement” for everyday interactions, such as “tipping someone who let you merge into traffic.” In the artistic sector, cryptograffiti contends, crypto micropayments can enable a different economy in the creative industry, with “artists paid by the view…writers by the poem…musicians by the listen.”
In an ironic twist, the artist colored his miniscule artwork using ink from a fiat and counterfeit detector pen; the artwork’s making can be observed in a video here.
Screenshot from the video of the making of cryptograffiti’s artwork, “Black Swan.” Source: "The World’s Least Expensive Artwork?"
As reported, the BTC Lightning Network is a second-layer solution to Bitcoin’s scalability problem, which works by opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain, turning to the underlying blockchain only to record the net results.
The use of general LN-enabled micropayments has long been discussed as a viable alternative business model across a range of industries — including the distribution of content in the entertainment industry, or enabling Bitcoin’s use for small everyday retail purchases, such as coffee, by removing the burden of high transaction fees.