It is about the economy, cryptocurrency, art and future projections. to talk about all this, Cointegraff en Español The artist reached out to Alberto Echegre, Director of TrustLink and a former Argentine representative on the Financial Action Task Force.
Coin Telegraph: Let’s start by talking about your artwork, Moneyball.
Alberto Echegre: Moneyball began to develop in 2012. This is a piece that touches on something taboo in art: money. And it is still forbidden, although it is something that is now changing with NXT.
What Moneyball wants to show is that most, or basically all, fiat currencies in the world have no support right now. And how many governments take advantage of issuing these currencies to generate inflation, which is basically a tax – a phantom that snatches people’s purchasing power.
With this concept, I started working on Moneyball with Dollars. I lived in Washington, DC for about 12 years – I did some consulting for the Fed. That’s how I came to the Fed, I was invited to tour the facilities of a division where they print dollars.
At that time, they were replacing the old dollar with the new dollar which is now in vogue. In one part, I found a huge warehouse in which billions of dollars were destroyed. Then I thought, Spectacular. You could not take pictures – there were a lot of security measures. I asked for the destroyed money, but I was told that money is the property of the state, it is not our property. And even though it is destroyed, it is still federal property.
I had to write a series of letters, and after several months, they gave me two million dollars in 100-dollar bills, destroyed. And so I started making artwork.
CT: And how did you get the idea to add bitcoin to your work?
AE: In late 2013, a Venezuelan in San Francisco told me about BTC and gave me something, which I still have. I didn’t pay much attention to it until 2015 or 2016.
I talked to many people in Silicon Valley, and they were telling me that it was going to be a part of the future, especially the blockchain. I started buying bitcoins and really got involved. Then I opened a fund and became a crypto missionary.
“It was super interesting. Bitcoin started to grow. And at that point, I was able to travel to different countries for work. I started finding resistance from all financial sectors. It looked like I was committing crime or money laundering. I am talking about something related to that. It was utter nonsense. “
But in 2016, I was approached by a man who became part of the Argentine government and needed the help of technology to stop money laundering and terrorist financing. It was Mariano Federici, head of the Financial Investigation Unit. FIU had practically nothing to fight against money laundering with bitcoin and crypto. it was a mess. I was asked to help, and it was an interesting challenge. More advanced systems of analysis, data and information were established.
But I was not interested in the prosecution of the crime; I was very much interested in the technical and crypto part. At that time, Europol held a meeting in which security experts met on the subject of crypto and cyber crime. I was new, but I was invited by the Argentine government. Then, I was invited again to the FATF, and there I met some people – most notably from the US, China, Russia, South Africa and Australia – who knew something about crypto. They were a very strong team. And I started to see how the rules are going to develop
CT: Did you want to do more and look behind the curtain on the other side?
AE: That was in 2016/2017. But before joining the FATF on the Argentine chair, I had four years of experience working on regulatory issues in Paris. I started developing a private note off-market, in parallel, and it was the first synthetic in which the underlying asset was bitcoin.
And there, I was able to structure a financial product that you could invest in from a bank account. This was very successful, until the banks told me that they could not accept the money because it included BTC.
I began to think Cryptoball. If I had gone through fiat money, showing it as worthless, I said that I am going to try it with crypto. I started developing cryptoball, but in 2017/2018, it was hard to get a curved display that would show the price of BTC. I had to contact a person in China who gave me access to a flexible screen.
A cryptoball is a sphere consisting of two flexible screens that are connected to software in a processor. The processor shows the real-time value of the BTC that is in a hardware wallet within the piece. It shows the price in Yen, Euro and Dollar. By that time, I had received 250 BTC, and I put them in the Ledger wallet.
“Next to the establishment at the Venice Biennale, I put in a million dollars and a million euros. There were a lot of young people. Many people in the art world asked me what it was because they couldn’t understand.
Then a European collector, whom I did not know, came to me. He offered to meet me at a restaurant the next day. It was very interesting because then they contacted me on my behalf and talked about “His Royal Highness”.
He turns out to be a prince who is very supportive of culture. We sat down and talked about the artwork. I couldn’t believe it because the Venice Biennale is not a place where you sell.
The biennial ended, and I moved the artwork to a location in their home, Switzerland. Very interesting story.
CT: The art and crypto worlds are getting along very well. What do you think about NXT? Do you have plans to work with this technology?
AE: I am starting the process of giving tokens to some functions. I’m thinking of tokenizing the sphere, but I want it to be something interesting. Not only a 3D design of an artwork or sculpture but, for example, a type of live ticker that shows the price. Something that exists in real life, which exists parallel in different dimensions.
I am also working on 3D mapping and augmenting reality with a group of people. I was also invited to become a consultant on the NXT platform setting up artists.
I think we are at the beginning of tokens and there are a lot of interesting things that can spread art. By this I mean that it was very difficult for artists who previously graduated from art schools to reach the galleries. This is changing dramatically. Now, art school graduates who have chosen to dedicate themselves to digital or virtual art are getting job offers, as is happening in the gaming field, for example.
This is added to all the big consumer brands that are entering the virtual world. It’s amazing what’s coming.
CT: Regarding the future of private banking, do you think banks are going to work with crypto or against crypto?
AE: All large banks already have large crypto research divisions. They know that this is a new system within the financial system. It’s like when we talk about landline phones and cell phones – they are going to end all cannibals.
But they are still sticking to their transfer systems and their ways of charging commissions and making money, and they have not felt that this has changed dramatically.
“If they don’t understand staking or defy, and if they don’t adopt it quickly, they’ll see that their business will disappear overnight. There are some people who try to figure it out, but it’s very difficult.”
The same goes for regulators. There are not enough human resources to ask who understands both worlds. And there is no ability, brainpower and determination. They think it is far away.
CT: What do you think will be the situation in the global monetary system in 2030?
AE: I think there will be huge opportunities for new generations. It is a parallel system of governments, based on the speed of technology. I think in 2030, there will be a society that will be more integrated on one side, but more discriminatory on the other side. They’re going to be a very powerful group.
What we are seeing with crypto is basically a revolution of property or private currencies like we have never seen before. In the case of crypto, I clearly see private systems linked to private systems, which may or may not be open source. I see banks in the region as more developed digital assets and tokens of future commodities.
Traders do not want to lose control over all of this. I am seeing this kind of projection. I think there will be a new system which will be neither capitalist nor socialist.