Crypto Investors Are Bidding to Touch a 1,784-Pound Tungsten Cube Once a Year

You'll have to travel to a storage facility in Willowbrook, Illinois, to touch the forbidden cube.
October 26, 2021, 2:34pm
Crypto Investors Are Bidding to Touch a 1,784-Pound Tungsten Cube Once a Year
Screenshot: Midwest Tungsten Service

In the latest phase of the quest to turn everything into an NFT, crypto traders are now bidding to digitally own a 1,784-lb. cube of tungsten in Willowbrook, Illinois. According to the terms of the sale, which will have the receipt posted to the blockchain for posterity, the “owner” can have one supervised visit to the cube per year to touch or photograph it. 

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Over the past two weeks, a joke fired off by Coin Center's Neeraj Agrawal about a nonexistent tungsten shortage thanks to crypto traders buying cubes of tungsten due to a meme actually caused one for Midwest Tungsten Service. The Illinois manufacturer actually creates small cubes of tungsten, and the tweet caused a 300 percent increase in sales that depleted the company’s stock on Amazon, Coindesk reported.

Last week, The Block reported that the company entered a partnership with crypto payment processor OpenNode to accept Bitcoin payments. One explanation as to why this is happening, which doesn’t really explain why this is happening, was offered to The Block by CMS Holdings' Dan Matuszewski, who said "crypto just has a propensity for the density." Tungsten is a very dense metal, comparable to uranium or gold, and its surprising weight is, apparently, pleasurable. 

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Midwest Tungsten told Coindesk that it primarily makes these cubes for industrial firms, and Sean Murray, the company's director of e-commerce, suggested to Coindesk there would be a 14-inch cube next. The company offers cubes ranging from an 18-gram, 1-centimeter cube that costs $19.99 to a 41-pound, 4-inch cube that costs $2,999.99.

Well, the 14-inch cube is finally here. It weighs 1,784 poinds and is now listed on OpenSea as an NFT. Seemingly, it’s the biggest cube that Midwest Tungsten can create.

“Since we began selling the cube we have constantly asked ourselves, 'What is the right size?', and 'Would anyone buy a bigger cube?' Only recently has anyone asked us, or have we asked ourselves, 'What is the biggest cube we can make?' We have an answer that creates a bit of a problem. The answer is 14" and 1,784 lbs (809 kg). The problem is, what do with it if we make it. Shipping and receiving can be a problem,” the company wrote in a blog post

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To get around the issues inherent in creating such a massively heavy object for sale, Midwest Tungsten has put some restrictions on the sale of the cube, which will be kept at the company’s HQ: 

“One visit to see/photograph/touch the cube per calendar year will be allowed and scheduled with a Midwest Tungsten Service representative,” the NFT listing reads. “Subsequent owners of the NFT cannot visit the cube in a year in which the cube has already been visited. The cube will not be available to view until 10 weeks after the first sale.” 

The minimum bid is 47.74 ETH, currently equivalent to $201,295.23. According to the listing, the only way to take physical possession of the cube will be to burn the NFT, meaning send it to a dead-end address so it can no longer be traded. 

Personally, I think it’s beautiful that we live in a world where you can scan your eyes with an Orb for crypto in the morning and then start your annual pilgrimage to see the cube you bought with crypto in the evening. 

Midwest Tungsten Service didn’t respond to a request for comment.