Today, AssangeDAO — an organization whose primary mission is to fight for the freedom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — won the bid for Assange and Pak’s Clock NFT. The piece sold for 16,593 ETH ($52.7 million), making it one of the most expensive artworks to ever exist. Ultimately, it ranks as the second-largest single NFT sale to date, behind Beeple’s EVERYDAYS.
Exactly what is Clock? It’s a single NFT that depicts a timer, which counts the number of days Assange has spent in prison. It was curated as part of Pak & Assange’s Censored collection, which also featured a dynamic open edition.
The sale comes as Assange, the editor and publisher of WikiLeaks, faces extradition to the US and the possibility of 175 years in jail. Pak and Assange partnered on the auction to raise money to help fund Assange’s legal defense.
Assange’s case is highly controversial, and it has led to fierce debates about anonymity, freedom of information, and censorship. As such, it comes as no surprise that Pak, an artist who’s known for masking their identity and using voice distorting mechanisms in interviews, would partner with Assange. It’s also not surprising that members of the NFT community, many of whom are pro-privacy and pro-anonymity, would rally around Assange.
Pak has remained anonymous throughout their entire career, while simultaneously becoming one of the highest-grossing living artists. They took to Twitter shortly after the auction closed, labeling the endeavor “a drop with no creator, developer, platform, middlemen share,” that is “from people, for the people.”
In looking at the details of the sale, Pak’s words seem to be largely true. AssangeDAO ultimately consists of more than 10,000 Assange supporters, all of whom pooled their money in order to purchase the NFT. In fact, the DAO was established in December of 2021 specifically to purchase the piece. Their intent? To free Assange “at all costs.”
Now that AssangeDAO has acquired Clock, it remains to be seen what they plan to do with the remainder of the 17,422 ETH ($56 million) originally raised to purchase the piece. Things do seem to be moving within the DAO itself though, as the organization’s $JUSTICE token has now become claimable to its members.
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Photos courtesy of New Media Days / Peter Erichsen
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated. A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Clock’s selling price as 16,953 ETH.