Buyer of Solid Gold Casts of Nelson Mandela’s Hands Pays $10 Million in BTC

You can buy all sorts with Bitcoin these days: real estate, hotels, strippers, computer equipment, and a round of beers to name a few of the more widely reported examples. You can even buy solid gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands, apparently…

Mandela Artefacts Sold For Bitcoin

The buyer of the gold casts is Canadian cryptocurrency exchange platform Arbitrade. They’ve managed to secure what are thought to be the last remaining of such aftefacts for a whopping $10 million off Malcolm Duncan, a South African businessman. The payment will be made entirely in Bitcoin.

Duncan explained to Bloomberg the nature of the sale. He told them that he’d already received a $50,000 deposit in Bitcoin for the artefacts. The following payments will be sent in quarterly instalments. Duncan has no intention of holding onto the cryptocurrency though. In fact, he has stipulated that he will only relinquish possession of the casts when he has actual dollars in his bank account. He told the publication:

“They take possession when I have the dollar amount in the bank, At two-and-a-quarter million at a time, they take one hand at a time.”

Arbitrade plans to use the casts to launch a global tour to celebrate the life of the first black president of South Africa. Curiously, however, Mandela himself had ordered the destruction of the casts. This was part of an attempt by the legendary South African to control those attempting to profit from the sale of art relating to his own image and character. As such, the casts Duncan is selling are believed to be the last examples of such a piece.

As he has secured a buyer for $10 million, Duncan has turned a tidy profit on the pieces. He originally bought them from a gold mining firm known as Harmony Gold Mining Co. back in 2002. He paid around $31,000 for them. This was double the asking price as Duncan understood that half the money was to go to charity. However, it is unclear whether Harmony actually made the donation.

The casts themselves weigh 9kg each. They form part of a collection paying homage to the time Mandela spent imprisoned on Robben Island. They are immaculately detailed impressions of the famed leader’s hand, palm, and fist – even depicting a scar that Mandela picked up during his time in prison.

According to Bloomberg, the Ontario-based crypto exchange Arbitrade are weeks away from launching an ICO and are currently building a local digital currency mining facility. The company’s Chairman Len Schutzman says that his company are planning to back all their virtual coins with physical metal – including gold. It’s unlikely that the casts themselves will be used to back any of the firms crypto assets, however.

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