The opportunity to pay an annual visit to a 14-inch (36cm) cube of tungsten has sold for a quarter of a million dollars, after the intensely dense objects became a meme among crypto traders.
Despite its relatively small size, the block weighs 1 ton (907kg) due to the density of the metal, meaning it is difficult to transport.
Owners of the NFT will be able to pay an annual supervised visit to the physical cube, which is stored at the headquarters of Midwest Tungsten Service in Willowbrook, Illinois.
The NFT’s description on the OpenSea marketplace states: “One visit to see/ photograph/ touch the cube per calendar year will be allowed and scheduled with a Midwest Tungsten Service representative.
“Subsequent owners of the NFT cannot visit the cube in a year in which the cube has already been visited.”
The sudden popularity of solid tungsten cubes saw Midwest Tungsten Service’s sales surge by 300 per cent in October. Until recently, the majority of the Illinois firm’s business came from industrial customers, but the interest prompted them to offer cubes in a variety of sizes, ranging from a 1cm cube for $20, to a $3,000 10cm version.
Cashing in on the craze, the US retailer describes the blocks as “surprisingly heavy” and a “great conversation piece”.
New owners of the cubes have hailed the “intensity of density” and “otherworldly” nature of the tungsten blocks.
Leading crypto news site CoinDesk explained the phenomenon as a response to the intangibility of cryptocurrency, offering a real-world object made of one of the densest elements humans can safely touch.
“The Cube’s weight is a memory and reminder of the rich reality that’s out there for the taking the second we log off,” a recent opinion piece stated.
“The Cube is also a righteous middle finger to the wave of metaverse pitches coming fast and furious from the likes of former Facebook and now Microsoft. The Cube rebuts the absurd idea that virtual reality is going to replace playing ping-pong or fencing in real life.”
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