Collectors, they launched the NFT Factory, the first French museum of crypto-art

After growing up among paintings and art books, Benoît Couty and Thuy-Tien Vo decided to devote themselves to this booming ecosystem.

They grew up among paintings and classic art books, frequented museums but, at age 50, their discovery of NFTs led Benoît Couty and his wife Thuy-Tien Vo to embark on the promotion of digital art.

“4, 5 years ago, I was led, as a lawyer, to work on tax regulations related to cryptocurrencies. That’s when I discovered NFTs”, these digital objects attached to a work – virtual or real – of which they certify the property, tells AFP Benoît, white shirt, salt and pepper beard and cap displaying a line of code screwed on the head.

First French museum dedicated to “crypto-art”

This code is the address of the MoCA, the first French museum dedicated to “crypto-art” which it opened in 2018. To access it, an internet connection is necessary since it is virtual and presents some 800 works. With him, the duo intends to support this new form of digital art, which they describe as “committed” because it is based on values ​​put forward in the early stages of the Internet, such as the sharing of information or freedoms.

This “crypto-art”, he explains, is distinguished from digital art in general by recurring themes: man and machine, the questioning of life and death or the relationship with a distant past such as the Renaissance.

Benoît Couty has also since become the artistic director and co-founder, alongside a hundred other enthusiasts, of a physical gallery dedicated to NFTs near the Center Pompidou in Paris. Called the “NFT Factory”, this exhibition and work space, hosting training sessions, opened on Saturday. This is a new step for him, whose first NFT purchased was “land in the metaverse”, these digital universes presented as the future of the internet.

“At the time, I thought it could have value. I walked around this metaverse and discovered my neighbors, artists who were building their own galleries to exhibit their digital works in the virtual universe”, he says.

Among them, Pascal Boyart, the first artist to have created NFTs from his mural works, and in particular from a fresco, “Liberty guiding the people of yellow vests”, in reference to the painting by Eugène Delacroix. Struck by “the energy and spontaneity of their works, I contacted them to offer them to exhibit them in a large museum (built on its virtual land, editor’s note) which I decided to call the Crypto Art Museum”.

“Rabbit Hole”

“To thank me, the artists gave me their NFT works. Other collectors wanted to buy them back and I understood that it had value. I started buying some with Thuy-Tien and the money home. Sometimes dozens, almost every day,” he recalls.

“The works cost 10 euros, 100 euros, at the beginning of 2019. Today, they can be worth 10,000, 100,000 euros”, he adds.

Thuy-Tien Vo, she explains having “long been a spectator before diving into the Rabbit Hole”, in other words “the rabbit hole” in French, in reference to “Alice in Wonderland”, to describe an unknown world located in another reality.

For the three years of the MoCA at the end of 2021, the couple exhibited, on screens in the former Pierre Cardin museum, 50 works from their permanent collection and 30 works created especially for this event.

“That’s when I fully entered this ecosystem and decided to make it my job by creating a consulting company,” she explains.

“I, who was brought up in classical art with collector parents, believe that it is the crypto-art that will remain once the NFT fever subsides, and it has already subsided. Indeed, we see that it arouses the same rejections, but also the same collaborations and the same emulation as certain artistic movements that have remained in the history of art such as pop art”, she continues.

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Collectors, they launched the NFT Factory, the first French museum of crypto-art


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