Solid gold castings of the hands of South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela have been sold for $10 million in bitcoin.
Ontario-based cryptocurrency exchange Arbitrade is reported to have purchased the four casts of Mandela’s hand, palm, and fist, from Alberta business Malcolm Duncan formerly of South Africa, reports Bloomberg.
According to the report, Len Schutzman, chairman of Arbitrade, the company is planning on launching a ‘Golden Hands of Nelson Mandela’ tour as a way of educating millennials about Mandela and the cryptocurrency exchange.
These are believed to be the first artefacts of Mandela’s to be sold in bitcoin, and are believed to be the only surviving pieces associated with the former president. After Mandela was released from prison in 1990, after serving 27 years, thousands of pieces of art bearing his name started appearing on the market.
In a bid to prevent scandals, involving forgery, Mandela ordered many of them to be destroyed, putting a stop to them flooding the market.
Photos, however, remain showing Mandela sitting for the castings with the now-defunct division of Harmony Gold Mining Co. in 2002. Duncan is reported to have bought the gold casings from the company for $31,000. According to the report, Duncan purchased the artefacts for double the 1.8 million rand purchase price, with the understanding that half of the money would go to Mandela’s charities. However, the report indicates it’s not known whether or not that happened.
Harmony has ‘supplied Mr. Duncan with the necessary paperwork verifying the provenance as requested by his attorneys,’ but declined to comment on what happened to the donation, Bloomberg reports.
According to the report, Duncan has received a bitcoin deposit, which has been converted into $50,000. The remaining is due to be paid in quarterly installments of at least $2 million, beginning the 30th April.
“They take possession when I have the dollar amount in the bank,” Duncan was reported as saying. “At two-and-a-quarter million at a time, they take one hand at a time.”
Duncan has also said that Arbitrade guarantee the value of the castings in U.S. dollars and to take care of the conversion.
Arbitrade is reportedly ‘weeks away’ from launching its initial coin offerings (ICO) and is developing a platform to mine its own digital currencies with plans to trade others.