Skip to main content
Lot 1
(B. 1982)
Proof of Work - Genesis
21 – 30 June 2021, 12:00 EDT
New York

Sold for US$100,312.50 inc. premium

Own a similar item?

Submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

How to sell

Looking for a similar item?

Our NFTs and Digital Art specialists can help you find a similar item at an auction or via a private sale.

Find your local specialist

Ask about this lot

COLDIE (B. 1982)

Proof of Work - Genesis
conceived 2018, minted June 16, 2021

Non-Fungible Token ERC-721
Token ID: 25441
Minted on June 16, 2021, ed. 1/1
Smart Contract Address: 0xb932a70a57673d89f4acffbe830e8ed7f75fb9e0

The present work can be viewed on the Bonham's profile on SuperRare at the following link:

For terms applicable to payment in ETH please contact Customer Services


"I am myself sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a bar-room floor for bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks. It's a small mining- small mining. You're too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should be getting yourself some new ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come of age" – John Steinbeck

Digging for NFT Gold – By Coldie

Originally minted as an ERC-20 token on R.A.R.E. ART LABS on September 26, 2018, Proof of Work was the genesis artwork that would grow to become a well-known artwork of the early ETH NFT movement.

The Backstory

I grew up in the gold country of Northern California. All my life I was surrounded by gold rush culture and references to what took place all around the town I grew up in. Part of this included going to the site of where gold was found in Coloma, CA. The energy and history of places like this has always resonated with me, and to this day I feel a deep connection with gold rush history.

Around 2012 I was getting into spray painting and wheatpaste art which is a process of using a glue-like materials to plaster paper artwork on walls much like street artists like Shepard Fairey are known for. One of the first I made for this was a gold miner with a gasmask on. At that time, cryptocurrency had not been introduced to me, but the basis of the idea of toxicity and mining had been formed.

The Original Image

L.C. McClure's, 1850 A forty-niner peers into the slit of California's American River. This image is a cornerstone of gold rush culture and variations of it surrounded me as a child. From the gold mining store in town, to the car dealership, to the coffee stop, this photo has become synonymous with my early childhood surrounding. Given this image is public domain and able to be used freely for art, it was amazing to give honor to this figure in my crypto art.

Crypto bringing it all together

When I found out about Crypto Art in early 2018, it clicked soon thereafter that this was a fractal we are experiencing. The gold miners are the same as the mining rigs. The gold pan was doing the same work in the water as the rig was doing to figure out the next block of proof of work blockchains.

The addition of the gasmask with the USD $ symbol played perfect with the original mask concept that at the time was a reference to the toxic chemtrails.

The genesis was tokenized on R.A.R.E. Art Labs prior to the minting on SuperRare. This was one of my first experiments about how to do variant series. The genesis is the OFFICIAL token and animated MP4 video. The two variants being static images with unique colors for the water.

The BURN Event

On October 30, 2019 I made the decision to burn all tokens on R.A.R.E Art Labs that had not been sold. This came in response to the platform changing their sales commission to 40% as well as being ERC-20 tokens that were not the now adopted ERC-721 standard.

The major reason I did this was to also protect my early collectors who had supported me early. By burning all other supply, several of the editions sold 1 or 2 piece. These were now WAY more scarce and more valuable.

Proof of Work, 2018, did not sell any editions, so when I burnt the tokens, it allowed me the opportunity to tokenize in the future.

Mining the File From 2018

Over the last 3 years, I have thought about this piece a lot. I remember how it never sold and how after that, variants have become sought after by collectors. It was always the plan to release this when the time was right. I'm not sure there is ever a RIGHT time, but now feels good.

So that created a new challenge.

Find the original MP4 video file used to tokenize originally in 2018. I had a feeling (or hope) that it was on my old desktop computer as that was where I was creating back then. The desktop had since become more of a shelf than a used machine.

Just like a gold miner would, I started digging.

After looking through 3 huge hard drives on the desktop, it was nowhere to be found. I started to get a little freaked out. Then, I went through my archive project drives that hold most of my past art and NFTs. Again, no luck. Now I was really getting antsy.

After 6 hard drives and now getting anxiety that I had possibly LOST the Proof of Work files, I saw an external drive sitting on a shelf. It was as if it was winking at me. Like "hey, over here" and I plugged it in. The drive was a hodgepodge of files, like a transfer station for a bunch of stuff that didn't have a home.

I started digging deep into the folder structure, looking for a vein that would lead me to the motherload I was looking for. I started to get a good feeling when I saw some other art files from that timeframe. THEN....I SAW IT!


I started screaming and jumping up and down. Just as if I was a prospector in the gold rush who had just found a nugget in the gold pan. The symbolism of this whole experience was so amazing to go through and really adds a lot of meaning to the re-release of this piece of crypto art.

Proof of Work lives on

Following the initial release of this series, there have been several releases to follow in the series. I was always very careful to honor the genesis piece and never make a version that would be close to it.

Bringing it Full Circle

Coming back to my roots on this one is super important because it honors where this all started. I hope reading this helped inform you about the story of this crypto art series and how it came from being a graffiti pasteup to becoming a well know NFT and part of Crypto Art history.

Additional information