Bard Ionson’s piece Mysterious Value was created by training an AI model to create its own version of a Challenge Coin. In the US, these coins are given out as a reward for working on special projects or being top performers and have taken on a life of their own as collector’s items. The coins themselves held no material value, but the riches and mysticism lie in the stories they tell.

Bard Ionson, Mysterious Value (still), 2021

Mysterious Value is one possible output from millions of different versions that was created. This particular coin appears abstract in composition, like a dream or a memory — a contrast to the physical coins that use American iconographies such as the US Flag or the Bald Eagle.

Just like a treasury would have minted these coins, Bard Ionson has poetically minted them on chain. This process was Inonson’s way of taking a forgotten piece of metal and giving it a second life.

Check out our conversation with Bard below: