There’s a towering inflatable rat on Wall Street and it’s found a temporary home in front of a branch of the world’s most powerful bank.
Claws out, fangs fierce, the art piece installed Tuesday is an homage to the giant rats inflated by union protesters as a way to point a finger at companies for mistreating employees. But this latest rat has been updated for modern times. Instead of a dull brown, it’s covered in colorful bitcoin code and math equations in an ode to bitcoin.
The massive art piece was just installed as a sort of “protest” against government-controlled currency. “Bitcoin will take you apart,” the rat seems to argue from its perch in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s iconic stone exterior. On its piercing blue eyes, its pupils spell out the letters “PoW,” short for proof-of-work, bitcoin’s underlying algorithm.
Not a permanent installation, it’s expected to be on display for a few days according to artist and ex-hedge fund manager Nelson Saiers, who wants to use the piece to direct attention to The Fed, perhaps the world’s most powerful bank because it controls the U.S. dollar.
While this control is intended to keep the U.S. economy running smoothly, critics argue that central banks devalue money and that it’s inner-mechanics aren’t as transparent as they should be (an opinion that has a lot of clout in bitcoin circles).
As if a giant rat staring angrily at the Federal Reserve didn’t make this point already, Saiers specifically chose to set loose his creation on Maiden Lane, named after the entity that bailed out the giant companies AIG and Bear Stearns during the 2008 financial crisis.
But while rats have a long history in protest,