11/27/2022 | Washington Post
Giant Musk ‘Goat’ statue arrives at Tesla factory in crypto stunt
People recently driving around in Austin might have seen Elon Musk.
But not the real person. Instead, they may have seen a sculpture of Musk’s head atop the body of a goat riding a rocket, all attached to a trailer.
Complete with what appear to be flames that shoot from the rocket, the statue was commissioned by the cryptocurrency company Elon GOAT Token. The company was delivering it to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Austin on Saturday, during what it dubbed “Goatsgiving.” The Elon GOAT Token ($EGT) sculpture was created to honor Musk’s “many accomplishments and commitment to Cryptocurrency,” the company said on its website. Musk is the CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla.
Over the past year, $EGT hasn’t seen much growth, according to data from tracker CoinMarketCap, but its founders hoped the Musk statue would inspire the entrepreneur to tweet about the company and bring new exposure to the token.
Elon GOAT Token’s efforts to deliver the statue landed the company on Twitter’s U.S. trending page. Musk purchased the social network last month, causing an upheaval with mass layoffs, departed advertisers and potential changes to the process of obtaining a Twitter Blue check mark.
Costing a total of $600,000, according to Elon GOAT Token, the Musk sculpture is a nod to the billionaire’s fame — a rocket representing SpaceX, the spacecraft company Musk founded; and the literal goat, a word that is also used as an acronym for the phrase “Greatest Of All Time.”
Despite exponential growth in recent years, cryptocurrency has had a rough 2022. FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange that was estimated to be worth $32 billion in January, collapsed this month. Its CEO resigned, and the company filed for bankruptcy, prompting an investigation into how the business came undone.
In the past year, millions of dollars in cryptocurrency have been stolen in scams targeting users of exchange operator Coinbase.
Although for Elon GOAT Token “times have not been good,” co-founder Ashley Sansalone said Saturday in a Twitter audio stream, the company had earmarked enough money to complete the statue project.
“We believe that Elon’s potential acceptance of this biblical sized gift could catapult $EGT into the limelight and accelerate its various initiatives,” the company said on its website.
Elon GOAT Token did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment Saturday.
After months of construction and travel across the country, the statue arrived at the Austin building, Elon GOAT Token confirmed in a tweet Saturday after live-streaming the event. Musk, who has 119 million followers on Twitter, had not publicly acknowledged the project as of Saturday evening. Tesla did not respond to The Post’s request for comment Saturday.
Kevin Stone, a sculptor based in Canada, said he received a call about the project last year from its designer, Danny Wang, who didn’t disclose the identity of whoever had commissioned the statue until after the contract was signed.
At first, Stone thought the mystery client was Musk himself. He didn’t think anyone else would have commissioned such a “crazy project.”
The sculptor began work on the head of the piece in January and finished it nearly six months later, after about 600 hours of work. The sculpture of Musk’s head itself ended up six feet tall and four feet wide, weighing 250 pounds.
For Stone, who is known for his sculptures of birds and dragons, the project was the chance to do something he’d never done.
“It was so crazy I couldn’t turn it down,” he said. “I just wanted to be a part of it just because it was such a unique opportunity to do something that was really, really different.”
Spectacle, a U.S. design and fabrication company, designed the goat and rockets on the statue.
On Saturday evening, Sansalone started a Twitter audio stream, saying he and those who had accompanied him for the journey were sitting about 150 feet away from the Gigafactory, where security had asked them to relocate for safety reasons.
Sansalone said that the Elon GOAT Token statue was always “supposed to be fun,” intended to make Musk laugh, and that the crypto company was trying to do the same thing as the Tesla CEO, despite being “small in comparison.”
As the sun began to set in Austin on Saturday, it was unclear whether Musk would allow the statue to stay.
“We’re not leaving,” Sansalone said near the end of the stream. “We’re going to see how this goes. We’re going to wait here.”
In the background of the Twitter audio stream, people could be heard yelling: “Elon Musk, let’s go! Elon Musk, let’s go!”
On Sunday afternoon, it was unclear whether Musk had been in contact with his namesake token, which tweeted.