A Massive Bitcoin Rat Stares at Wall Street’s FRB in Protest

A massively inflated rat has been installed as a temporary piece of artwork in front of Wall Street’s most powerful financial entity, the Federal Reserve Bank. The giant figure was put in place by union members traditionally as a tribute and silent protest towards industry’s mistreatment of employees.


However, this particular rodent was designed for our modern ages, decked in brightly colored bitcoin codes and other equations symbolizing the freedom of decentralized currency and protesting traditionally state governed legal tender. Towering over the bustling streets of Wall Street perched in front of the city’s iconic FRB’s entrance as a forewarning of impact digital assets will soon have on mainstream society. Within the airblown statue’s eyes, the word PoW is clearly marked, an added remark on the emerging technology’s algorithm.  

Nelson Saiers, the artist and former hedge fund manager behind the massive installation, explained that although the piece will only be erected temporarily, he aims to spotlight the Federal Reserve Bank, a powerful entity that possesses control over the United States dollar. Critics of the country’s monetary system believe that rather than facilitating the nation’s economic standards, central banks such as this participate in devaluing currency and other corrupt dealings.

Not only was the aggressive looking statue placed to stare glaringly at the bank, Saiers deliberately placed the art statement on a street called Maiden Lane which tributes the company that previously provided bailouts in the year 2008 for corporations such as Bear Stearns and AIG. The rat icon itself has been a long-standing symbol in historical events of protest, however, it plays a dual role in representing the topic of cryptocurrency hinting at Warren Buffet’s previous statement claiming bitcoin was rat poison to the second power Saiers explained. During a statement given to CoinDesk, the artist noted that if the Federal Reserve Bank was a rat, then the notion of digital currency being poison may not be such a bad thing.  

Not Taking Sides

Although many who pass the giant installation are left confused as to what its deep symbolism means, this mode of artistic protest has become Saiers’ forte. Earning the title, Warhol of Wall Street, Saiers created intricate paintings depicting images that represent major events in financial history such as market crashes. He aims to portray the dark side of the economy with instances he says affects the majority who seldom understand how. In an attempt to surpass the notion of simply critiquing financial transparency, the artists also protests drug-related crimes that are not committed with a violent nature. Interpreting his knowledge as a former mathematician, the artist displays garments labeled with sequences derived from pi, an irrational number used to hint the irrational logic of arresting people for simply smoking cannabis.      

The giant crypto rat in New York City is the first art piece Saiers created to comment on cryptocurrency.  

Although his art is left to the individual’s interpretation, he does include specific symbols he wishes to represent. He explained that this piece is aimed at reflecting Satoshi’s disagreement with the notion of bailouts. The anonymous bitcoin creator implanted a news article reporting on bailouts within the very first block on the digital assets blockchain platform. Critics commonly interpret this decision as a critique of the underlying tie between government and the banking system.    

Saiers hopes his artwork will help facilitate the awareness and education of cryptocurrency to the general public, as well as the truths behind the nation’s Federal Reserve Bank. Although these two entities seem to conflict, the former hedge fund manager claims he doesn't side with either, but rather believes both entities have strong and weak points. Saiers stated that he wishes viewers will find some source of entertainment from his work, as it is a form of art and should be enjoyed. He also aims to educate and leave bystanders with a lesson learned or at least foster new thoughts. With the Wall Street rat, Saiers particularly wishes to emphasize the topic of cryptocurrency and what he believes Satoshi represents.  

Using Rats in Artistic Symbolism

By using the giant angry rat in his latest installation, Saiers hopes to make an impact on the masses. He argues that bitcoin has stepped out of economics and into the mainstream community. His bitcoin rat has certainly caught the attention of New Yorkers who can be seen posing for pictures and selfies. When Saiers and his team attempted to initially erect the statue, they mistakenly placed it within bounds of public property, which resulted in guards insisting it be relocated to the state’s public pavement to where it now stands.

The finance focused artist has purposely left his creation ambiguous, a characteristic he feels all art should be. As he explained, he is unsure as to whether the rat represents the central bank, bitcoin, or both. However deep symbolic meaning is a major aspect of his art, whether or not spectators are aware of the nuances he hints at. For example, Satoshi a famous anonymous figure parallels another iconic anonymous idol of his, Banksy, the renowned street artist and revolutionary. Banksy has been known to talk about rats often. Saiers explained many similarities with Banksy’s description of rats and the bitcoin movement, describing rats as existing beyond permission, often hated and a target of persecution. Rats may live out of sight and silently, however, have the power to bring about the end of civilizations throughout our history. Series stated that although Bitcoin has suffered ridicule, it now stands as a $100 billion dollar force that continues to impact mainstream society and has the power to dampen the value and power of financial entities such as traditional monetary systems and central banks.

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