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A 27-year-old bohemian prince jumps into NFT to restore the family’s palace

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Daily NFT sales peak at $268 million at the end of August

A 600-year-old bohemian aristocratic family is embracing the latest craze in the worlds of crypto and art, in hopes that NFTs will help pay for the restoration of their artwork collection and an ancestral castle.

The Czech Republic’s Lobkowicz family—which once sponsored Beethoven, lost everything to the Nazis and communists and then reclaimed their palace and artwork after the fall of communism in the 1990s—are a set of irreplaceable tokens. auction and will host a conference next month. Prague in the Lobkowicz Palace, from where you can see the whole city.

“We don’t get any public funding,” said Prince William Rudolf Lobkowicz, 27, who was born in Boston but raised in the Czech Republic. “My father sometimes says that we are the richest poor people in the world. We are going to show some pieces that are in dire need of restoration. “

The family is hoping to catch on to the trend that has exploded over the past year, where digital certificates that serve as proof of ownership of something – physical or digital – have sold for millions of dollars. An NFT for sale will represent an animated piece, which shows the fall and restoration of a panel of Hercules’ scrafito on the wall of Nelhozevs Castle, one of the family’s four properties in or around Prague.

In the 1990s, the family finally got their palace back, along with a collection of 20,000 artifacts, including works by Bruegel, Canaletto, and Velázquez, as well as hand-written manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven. . Since they are regarded as national cultural treasures, the pieces cannot be sold or left the country without the permission of the government. The Lobkowicz family has therefore financed the care of the collection, in large part through tours and events. About 100,000 people visit the collection annually.

But the pandemic stopped all that. Instead, Lobkowicz fueled interest through free events such as a digital tour of the collection every Sunday, attracting about 130,000 people a year. He organized virtual yoga classes at some of the historical places in the palace.

Now he is trying out NFTs, which have become a huge market in the last one year. According to tracker NonFungible, daily NFT sales peaked at $268 million in late August.

Lobkowicz, whose title is director of digital media and innovation, says they are exploring a new type of fundraising, trying to generate interest and stay relevant. “This is how we are going to live for the next 600 years,” he said in an interview. “I can see NFTs as a new frontier.”

It will begin with a one-day, invitation-only conference called The Irreplaceable Palace. It costs 400 Euros to participate in – payable in crypto, of course – and will explore topics around NFTs, such as whether the whole craze is a scam. Headlines for scheduled panel discussions include “NFT: Nothing F**king There?” and “What exactly are you buying?”

People will also be able to purchase blockchain-based proof that they have contributed to the restoration of certain items within the private collection. Many artists will sell NFTs, with half of the proceeds going towards restitution.

While studying history at Harvard University, Lobkowicz began dabbling in bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin. Since then, he has also bought four NFTs – not the expensive ones, he says – and invested in the cryptocurrency Cardano. He lives in an apartment and takes the tram to work every morning. He also worked the family’s corporate ladder, initially selling ice cream, cleaning and even giving tours of the palace.

Lobkowicz says he wants to create the same kind of buzz around collectibles as he sees around cryptopunks – digital avatars that have raised millions of dollars in turnover.

“It’s a way to connect young audiences to the collection,” he said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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