Tungsten cube craze sees crypto traders pay $250,000 for yearly visit to foot-long block

Bitcoin fans proclaim love for ‘intensity of density’ offered by metal objects

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 04 November 2021 13:55 GMT
Tungsten cubes are ‘surprisingly heavy’ and offer a ‘great conversation piece’, one vendor claims
Tungsten cubes are ‘surprisingly heavy’ and offer a ‘great conversation piece’, one vendor claims (Midwest Tungsten)

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.

As a result, and in keeping with the crypto craze, the tungsten cube was sold as an NFT (non-fungible token) – meaning proof of ownership is stored digitally on the Ethereum blockchain.

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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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