The ROBIN™ currency was first created and presented to the public on 2 of June 2008 during Art Basel in Switzerland, as part of the Swiss Art Awards 2008. (Seven months prior to the creation of the first Bitcoin.)
Similar to Bitcoin, each ROBIN™ is immutable and corresponds to one number (or block). But in the case of ROBIN™, these are prime numbers, and not hashes on a blockchain. All ROBIN™ are uniquely produced and first sold by Robin Bhattacharya, who takes the role of what in a traditional currency is the National Bank. Inspired by the British Pound, a line on the ROBIN™ notes bears the same statement as the one by the Queen of England on the British currency: “I promise the bearer on demand the sum of … Pounds”. A solipsistic promise of value, which makes the instrinsic value of the currency dependent on the trust of the its userbase.
Therefore the ROBIN™ currency implies a simple fact: Who do you trust more? An activist artist with a proven track record, a verifiable personal history and who doesn’t owe anything to anyone – or a nation state that has debts in the hundreds of billions or even trillions?
The ROBIN™ currency has been a success right from the start – with thousands of francs, euros and other currencies being exchanged for ROBIN™ at its launch. It also won Robin Bhattacharya that year’s Kiefer-Hablitzel Stipendium art award.
Since then the ROBIN™ currency has been featured in various international exhibitions and Robin Bhattacharya was invited to talk about the project at a number of symposia and talks around the subject of money and currency, such as:
- SELF PORTRAIT – Robin Bhattacharya at RAUM № 2 in Bern, Switzerland – 19 – 28 November 2010
- Hints to Workmen at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
Sunderland, UK – 5 November 2010 – 5 February 2011
- The Drachma Conjuration, Athens & Hydra, Greece – 29 March – 4 April 2011
- Abwehr – Überlebensstrategien in Natur, Wirtschaft, Politik und Alltag at Vögele Kultur Zentrum, Pfäffikon SZ, Switzerland – 6 May – 26 August 2012
- Round table: Art after the Crash Sunderland Museum, Jack Crawford Room, 13 June 2014
SHOW ME THE MONEY at John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton – 7 October – 22 November 2014
- SHOW ME THE MONEY at People’s History Museum, Manchester – 11 July 2015 – 25 February 2016
The ROBIN™ Currency Online-Store
The official ROBIN™ Currency Online-Store was first launched in 2008 and has undergone various updates over the years. First the change from PayPal to Stripe for credit-card payments. Then the addition of payment in cryptocurrencies or with Apple Pay.
At the same time the ability to see exchange rates (prices) in different currencies has also been implemented.
NFT - Non-Fungible Token
In 2021 all prices of ROBIN™ have been pegged to the crypto-currency ethereum. This enables the ROBIN™ currency to be secured on its blockchain and a coin or note to become blockchain-certified – or even a purely digital asset.