When Crypto Meets Conceptual Art, Things Get Weird

He added, “I have a sense that my ego is disengaged at the moment I press the shutter release, but this is just a theory.”

Some of Mr. Abosch’s work has no visual presence whatsoever. “Forever Rose,” although inspired by a photograph of a flower, exists only as a single blockchain token that sold to 10 people in February for a total of $1 million. Mr. Abosch said this seems to him “the purest form of art — it’s the idea, without the baggage of a vessel.” He said wryly, “When I get pushback sometimes from people, I suggest they might have an unhealthy relationship with the material.”

To some, these projects might seem like stunts. But the art world is starting to take them seriously. An extension of Mr. Abosch’s “IAMA Coin,” titled “Personal Effects,” recently showed at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. And at a recent Rhizome conference, Seven on Seven, three crypto projects were unveiled, Mr. Connor said. In one, two artists played with the idea of uploading a religion onto the blockchain.

“I think that it’s such a weird field at the moment, so art is evolving really quickly in response to it,” Mr. Connor said.

Mr. Abosch, meanwhile, is tokenizing Manhattan. For a soon-to-be-unveiled project, he has created 10,000 blockchain tokens for every street in Manhattan, then printed the contract addresses on a 6-foot-tall map. This month, collectors will be able to buy the tokens, or virtual artworks, for a few dollars each. More projects are on the way.

“Whatever this is,” Mr. Abosch said, “I’m right in the middle of it.”