Prague Invests in Culture. In Cryptocurrencies
In recent years, NFTs have been occupying more and more space in the media. Non-fungible token or NFT is a type of crypto asset and can be described as a digital object of art – such as digital painting or a collector's item. These tokens have now appeared in Prague.
The first token ever, named Quantum, was created in 2014 and its content was an original song. Since then, the NFT system has gradually come into wider public awareness. Those who own cryptocurrencies, can now buy unique Prague tokens.
Under the slogan "awaken your bohemian soul", Prague City Tourism recently introduced its own collection of "NFT Bohemian Muse" tokens. As a part of limited edition, the organization issued a total of 1357 original tokens. And why this unusual number? 1357 was the year when the famous Charles Bridge was founded. Ownership of the Bohemian Muse tokens also entitles their owners to enjoy exclusive tours and adventure programs, such as a visit to the Petřín Lookout Tower at dawn or a tour of the premises of the Old Town Hall which are otherwise closed to public. By introducing these tokens, the organization aims to support so-called "slow tourism", a sustainable form of slow and gradual exploration of the destination and is thus the opposite of the consumer way of travel in recent years. In addition, Prague City Tourism will donate the entire profit from the sale of its NFTs to local heritage care. One muse can be bought for about 100 euros.
In October 2021, the first event called Non-Fungible Castle (NFCastle) took place at the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle, with an aim to provide a space for discussion on the topic of connecting traditional art with the world of new technologies. The event culminated in an auction of tokens created especially for the Lobkowicz collections. The funds raised from the sale of NFTs were used for more than 50 restoration projects of the Lobkowicz Collections. Most of them were carried out the following year, which is the highest number in the thirty-year history of Lobkowicz Collections. The NFCastle project was presented as one of three at a symposium organized by the French Ministry of Culture, as a model example of financing of cultural institutions through NFTs. „Our approach to NFTs has been grounded in fostering communities and reimagining the ownership economy, rather than succumbing to the surrounding hype. NFTs are not pieces of digital art sold for profit, but powerful tools for building global connections, engaging diverse audiences, and innovating the realms of culture and philanthropy," says William Rudolf Lobkowicz.
Exactly one year later, another discussion on a similar topic was organized not only by the NFCastle, but also by the creators of Prague Signal Festival in the newly opened Kunsthalle Praha. Ballet lovers could also buy the first NFT of the National Theatre in Prague. In October 2022, it created a token containing a photo from the performance of Swan Lake. Another place in Prague where you can buy tokens is the Crypto Portal NFT gallery, opened at the end of 2021 in Old Town Square.
However, you do not have to use cryptocurrencies in Prague only to buy NFTs. You can stop by at the Bitcoin Coffee – a bitcoin café located in the event spaces of Paralelní Polis. The café opened in 2014 and at that time it was the only café in Central Europe that accepted cryptocurrencies exclusively. Crypto account holders can complete their journey around Prague by riding the historic tram number 42, which is also operated by Prague City Tourism, and which connects the most important Prague monuments. You can pay for a sightseeing ride not only in cash and by card, but also with cryptocurrencies.