Street vendors abound in the financial district of downtown Manhattan. But weeks earlier, on September 14, an unconventional salesman set up shop in front of the SEC, transforming a patch of Maiden Lane into a colorful quilt of doormats, each spray-painted with direct instructions to “pull.”
People wondered, but it was fake and not really for sale. These tools were part of “Rug Pull,” the latest war installation by Nelson Sayers, a New York-based hedge fund manager turned artist who some consider the “Warhol of Wall Street” or the most creative cryptocurrency activist. As a work of art, “Rug Pull” highlights the many victims affected by the type of fraud for which it is named.
Over the past year, cryptocurrencies have had to overcome their resistance to centralized systems. At the same time, victims of rug sweeps and other scams do not yet enjoy the protection that central agencies are supposed to provide.
“The SEC’s shortcomings extend beyond just failing to protect investors from obvious fraud,” Sayers told Cointelegraph, adding: “While they have a very difficult job, it seems they have been very lenient in some ways but also very aggressive.” In other ways.I feel that their rejection of some investments may have unfortunately led some investors into more fraudulent products.
Saiers only works on site when it makes sense. His artistic practice goes beyond cryptocurrencies as well. It addresses other topics such as unjust imprisonment or the profound union between art and mathematics.
The artist’s family moved from Ethiopia to the Washington, D.C., area when he was five years old. He earned a bachelor’s and doctorate. in Mathematics from the University of Virginia at the age of 23.
Magazine: The truth behind the Bitcoin revolution in Cuba: an on-the-ground report
Sayers chose a career in finance after reading the book about the struggles of bond sellers on Wall Street Liar Poker By Michael Lewis. He has served as Managing Director at Deutsche Bank and Chief Investment Officer of his own fund, Sayers Capital, which won the 2011 HFMWeek Award for Best Relative Value Hedge Fund.
However, in 2014, he took the step to become an artist.
“Art was more interesting than finance at that point,” Sayers said. He has seen major transformations over his financial career – like the 2008 crisis, to say the least. In comparison, the field was calming down.
“When you regularly daydream about art, or when you wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking about your next piece of art instead of the Nikkei and S&P, it’s time to become an artist.”
He taught himself to draw using videos and books, based on his childhood visits to museums.
At the end of 2014, Sayers presented his first comprehensive exhibition entitled Blindfolded Under Gravity at Vendôme Studio in New York.
In 2016, he unveiled three more, including Default: Making Irrationality Rational, a show that critiques the unnecessarily long prison sentences of low-level criminals in America’s prison industrial complex through the lens of T-shirts — as prisoners often They call those rulings “football.” Numbers.” The show was appropriately set at the notorious prison on San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.
Sayers caused a stir with his first guerrilla-style installation in 2018, inflating a towering “crypto mouse” in Manhattan’s financial district, staring up at the Federal Reserve Bank.
Its design was directly inspired by New York City’s famous exploding rats, which often lead to protests against landlords. In this case, Sayers added the cryptographic code via the rodent’s body and Bitcoin (BTC) signs to his eyes.
The mouse also referenced Warren Buffett, who called cryptocurrencies “square rat poison” at the time. This was the first winter for cryptocurrencies, as Bitcoin fell from $20,000 to $6,000 at the hands of SEC uncertainty and declining confidence in the technology.
That was the year Sayers, who owned only Bitcoin, got involved in the cryptocurrency space. “I wanted to inject some support back into the cryptocurrency community,” he said.
Even at the height of the madness, he never got stuck in the rug-pulling process. Despite disagreeing with Buffet’s criticisms of cryptocurrencies, Sayers cited Buffet’s advice to “be fearful when others are greedy and only be greedy when others are fearful” as his strategy for avoiding most scams.
However, Sayers still sympathizes with those who have lost their savings in the cryptocurrency sector, from obscure projects to FTX. Instead of protecting these taxpayers, he sees the SEC approving bailouts of big banks, even as America’s national debt soars.
“Rug Pull” speaks to the everyman mentality in its simplicity. Sayers got the rugs from Instacart, though his orders were canceled several times because of their size. He chose to spray paint with “drag” strokes for the sake of pragmatism and to honor the guerrilla artist’s aesthetic.
A cart positioned near the sales display gave an extra nuance. The cart itself is another tool of the typical New York street vendor, but Saiers has locks on it to represent locked up liquidity, an exit sign to represent exit scams and an empty water bottle to represent a lack of liquidity.
Latest: Crypto VC: Token Investing and the Next Bull Market with Digital Wave Finance
The artist has another New York exhibition in store over the next year, but just because the first showing of “Rug Pull” has been completed doesn’t mean the project is over. Sayers may perform it again. This wouldn’t be the first time he’s replicated a war installation — he even brought a Bitcoin rat to Washington, D.C. But while he only has to give the New York Police Department a day’s notice to settle in the city, D.C.’s Secret Service has warned him that the bomb squad will need To inspect the generator he uses to keep the rodent inflated. Sayers went home instead.
However, “rug pulling” does not require machines. So, who knows where it might be released next.