The artist Ryder Ripps is selling the CIA. As an NFT. As I write this, you could pick up the whole agency, “including the personal, the building, the office equipment (printers/desks and such), the data accumulated over the years and all the branding associated,” for a bid over .0275 Ethereum, or just over $650.
But while the Central Intelligence Agency might seem like a solid investment—besides its IP assets, the agency’s headquarters sits on hundreds of acres of pricey Northern Virginia land—there are a few reasons you may wish to park your retirement savings elsewhere. For one thing, it can be very expensive to retrofit government structures to private use. For another, it doesn’t appear Ripps exactly has the agency’s blessing to sell it.
The artist already ticked off the agency earlier this year when he claimed to have redesigned the CIA logo. Yeah, no. The new auction, which includes that logo floating over Langley, claims the government handed him the CIA as “a gift for my hard work.” (Ripps has conducted a number of NFT auctions; his best-known is likely an audio recording of sex with his now-former fiancée Azealia Banks that went for the equivalent of $17,000 at the time and is now up for sale again.)
CIA rebranding as a modular synthesizer festival in Berlin pic.twitter.com/3PQwejMGUq
— SARAH SQUIRM (@SarahSquirm) January 4, 2021
Washingtonian reached Ripps by email to ask why he didn’t just run the agency himself. “Lazy,” he replied, then followed up, saying “Running it is kinda a lot for me right now. My mom just broke her foot, so i have to go to palm springs and help her.. and my laundry is starting to pile up to be honest.”
CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay tells Washingtonian, “As CIA’s website says, we’re looking for personnel from all backgrounds and walks of life to work at CIA, but this individual had absolutely nothing to do with our website redesign.”
Correction: This post originally called the CIA logo shown above fake: It is real, but Ripps didn’t design it.