One entrepreneurial street artist has found an innovative way to earn a living from his art. Paris-based artist PBOY has been incorporating QR codes into his murals, allowing appreciative passersby to virtually tip him in Bitcoin when they scan the code. It’s an ingenious way to take advantage of cryptocurrency and leverage it into a crowdfunding model that is uniquely his own.
PBOY started including a QR code alongside his signature in November 2017 as an experiment. And surprisingly, it worked. To date, he’s received about $1,000 (0.11 Bitcoin) which is helping him pay the necessary materials and expenses to keep working in the street. “Instead of funding alternatives like [crowdfunding platform] Ulule, I wanted a solution that offers direct financial relation with the people,” he shared with Hard Fork. “Bitcoin is perfect for this.”
The artist didn’t just dive into cryptocurrency without any knowledge. He first heard of Bitcoin in 2014, but like many people, didn’t have a full grasp of what it was or how it worked. Then, in May 2017 he dedicated six months to researching decentralization and cryptocurrencies in order to have a firm grasp on what he was getting into. The result is a system that is disrupting how the public and artists interact.
Noting that it can free artists from galleries and traditional institutions, PBOY’s bold move is an example others are sure to follow. “The most interesting aspect is decentralization—a peer-to-peer horizontal system,” he shared. “Art and creation need that, I believe.”