The Circus NFT Collection aims to define intellectual property within the world of circus. Circus as a discipline has existed for over 250 years and its sub-disciplines have existed for much, much longer. During this time, there has been much controversy about the ownership of what we know of as “tricks”.


A trick can take many forms. There are even some who believe that everything is a trick. Throwing your keys on the table, flipping a pancake, some even say taking out your phone could be considered a trick. These may or may not relate to you like tricks, but for this project, a more refined definition has to be made.

In juggling, a trick can be a single throw, catch, movement or a combination of those things. On the other hand, it can also be a pattern that repeats. Changing sides or not. This is all confused further when you bring sequences into the mix. A sequence is a set of multiple tricks bundled together. In this sense, many patterns which we know as tricks are actually a sequence of throws and/or catches. The one thing that sets them apart is a unified name. One may know windmill as an under-=the-arm throw followed by an over-the-top throw, but generally, it has been given a name by the community to make the discussion of tricks faster. This is the definition that we will be using for the Circus NFT Collection.

In aerial and acrobatics, the same characteristics apply. A trick can be a combination of different movements, but if it has been given a name by the community - it will be known as a trick.


Now it's getting heavy. Over the years, many people have tried to answer this question to no avail. There seems to be an unspoken rule that circus artists may or may not be aware of. Often it is easy to follow these rules, but when the line is stepped over, it feels particularly egregious.

The simplest answer is that the inventor of a trick owns it. This fixes a lot of cases, but issues arise when somebody invents the trick later by themselves. Some people say that nobody can own a trick, some say that everybody owns a trick, some say that it doesn't matter. All of these answers are supported by their own logic, but they all contrast each other and no one has been able to confirm them as true.

In 2019, a juggler by the name of Steve Mills attempted to sell a trick that he invented in the 70s. The trick is known to the juggling community as Mills Mess and it is beloved by most as a milestone in the journey that is juggling. The listing was met with massive controversy in the juggling community with many stating that Steve did not have the right to sell the trick. It may have been a satirical joke or it may not have been, but it succeeded in revealing many holes in the concept that is ownership within the circus.


This is the reasoning behind the creation of the Circus NFT Collection. It has been built to show the possibility of giving tangible ownership to that which is intangible - the idea of a trick.

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. To explain it, let's break it into two parts: non-fungible and token.

A token is something that is used all over the internet to give authentication to a user, server, or browser. A token acts as a key so that both parties in a transaction know that they are dealing with the correct person. An NFT is simply a token that proves ownership of something and can be easily checked online.

The non-fungible part means that the token is not reproducible. No amount of artificial intelligence or hacking can solve its equation and pretend like they own the item.

How do they work?

To purchase an NFT you must first have an online wallet (MetaMask is one of the most popular) where you can store it. These crypto-wallets can store NFTs, cryptocurrencies and even login details of decentralised websites.

Using this wallet you can then login to OpenSea and purchase an NFT using cryptocurrency (For the Circus NFT Collection, that cryptocurrency is called Ethereum). Once you have made the purchase, the NFT will be transferred to your wallet and your ownership of it will go publicly online. You can then choose to store the NFT and continue ownership of it, or you can sell it to somebody else!


For now, the Circus NFT Collection is a conceptual art piece about the ownership of circus tricks, but one day we hope to have a platform where people can submit their own tricks and officially define them as theirs. If you would like to get in on this exciting opportunity, get yourself an NFT!