Blockchain and Art — FOMO or Fu*k that shit?

Vince: Yo man, did you hear that Homerpepe sold for 30k USD at a live auction?

Pab: Oh shit dog and they are not even classicly trained! What homie, do what? You mean they just made Homer green added blockchain and cashed in 30k USD, bro my classical art scholarship was 20k for 4 years! I just spent years learning how to mix oil paints and they just did color replace with gimp and made a stupid playing card. WTF is this shit?

Vince: Bro, bro it gets better. Homer only had one token. That shit is RARE, digital RARE. You gotta learn the right slang words to sling this shit to the art high rollers. The new crypto elite with mega bankrolls. They made one token and it went with that one piece of art. There is only one homerpepe yo, it is like Highlander.

Pab: Oh shit man, yea I get it. That is beyond far out. Damn son, WTF am I doing painting this shit all day, painting pictures of clouds and shit in order to apply for the next grant so I get a nice portfolio of grants and gallery appearances so that I can get in more galleries. I need to make gallery artwork but wait, maybe not, I think ill just make homerpepes now.

Vince: Yea man and check this out, there is this shit “Cryptokitties” and they just keep reproducing. People even buy them! They breed so many kitties it shut down the ETH network one day! Dude, they are not even rare, they just keep multiplying and people still buy them!

Pab: Oh shit for real?

Vince: Yea for real!

Pab: Damn, WTF did I go to art school for?

Vince: Bro, I have no idea.

Pab: Ok I’m down

Vince: Ok so we need to “blockchain” the art. Connect this shit to some tokens, you know ICO and shit, “Tokens”

Pab: Yea I have heard of that shit, alright let´s do it

Vince: Ok so we can use bitcoin, ETH or some other platforms, I can ask some computer dude to help us.

Pab: Ok that sounds good, hey man I have an idea! You know that chick Sherry?

Vince: Yea man she has some dope paintings but I cant handle her snobbishness

Pab: Well, what if I just take a picture of one of those dope paintings of hers, make it green tone, add a token and BAAM we sellin that shit!

Vince: Oh shit, well that ant yours bro!

Pab: Yea but how is anyone going to know? I will say that I made it.

Vince: Damn that is a good point, I don’t know

Pab: Yea I’m going to do that, I mean they took homer and made it green and I’m just going to do the same.

Vince: Ok then bro, ill just do the same, ill make a token and take your green shit, and say it is mine and that my token goes with it, I have my marketing is dank.

Pab: Hey don’t crowd my style bro!

Vince: Free Market, what are you for censorship or what?

Pab: Censor this bitch!

(Pab knocks out Vince)

It is a hard life

An example of Male brutality or failure to understand markets and technology?

It didn’t have to come to this. There is no excuse for Pab to knock out Vince in our above example. However if they understood the advantages, and limitations of using crypto tokens to represent digital or even physical art, it might not have come to blows. Simply making a token and saying it belongs to X is not enough alone.

If two people have a two different tokens regardless if they are “fungible or non fungible” (we need another story to cover this discussion) anyone can simply make a token and claim that it belongs to any piece of digital or physical piece of art and claim that the token is the “real” one. Of course, it is harder with the physical works since it is possible that they would not have possession of them, but what happens when the physical object is stolen and the thief uses their brain enough to just make a token and say that it is the “real” one?

Hey that is my kittie

There have been a few to point out that the crypto kitties project is not exactly a D app and you might not really own what you think you own if you bought a crypto kittie. This looks like it doesn’t matter, nobody cares and the project is moving along quite fine. There are new cats popping up all over the place and tons of plebeian know about crypto kitties. While that is all good fun, and money what happens when one of them is really worth, idk 30k, 100k or one million. When someone really tries to claim

“hey that is the wrong token bro, this is the right token you stole that shit from me, hacker bitch”

If you don’t think this will happen, or that it is just being negative to even bring up, then I would put you in the “choice plebeian” category with all due respect. Hey, man stop being so negative we want to make art, feel good and collaborate, stop burning shit!

Opera understands

What to do?

The simplest solution is curation. It is by no means a perfect solution, however, it does solve some problems. The curation board or “foundation” approves or disapproves artwork to be included in a gallery, directory, catalogue or whichever format you may choose to use. This third party is responsible for verifying:

“this token belongs to this artwork and this artwork was made by this person”

When someone tries to sell a counterfeit version of the artwork with a token (most likely in digital form) then the buyer would be able to check if this token matches the token verified by the curators.

Of course, there could be collusion between a counterfeiter and the curators, but they would be risking their entire reputation if they were caught, and they would be caught, it would only be a matter of time. This is not a “cannot do evil” situation, however, if there is enough of an economic incentive for the curators to act in good faith then this system can work. You are still relying on humans for part of the “blockchain art” process.

DIY without a third party

There are a few ways that you could try to link the artwork with your token in an almost indisputable way. One way would be to take a hash of the artwork and link it to the token. You could do a broadcast using the counterparty platform from the same address that created the token, best would be if you could do it on the same block. This would show at least that the token and this hash were done at the same time or very close to each other. A bad actor could claim that it doesn’t matter and their token is indeed the real one but their argument would have to be pretty good. You could also use things like the “twitter chain” the waybackmachine, and other non blockchain applications. You would need to archive a video of yourself, a cryptographically signed message or go all out and do everything you can think of and archive it, and then link this to a blockchain. It is not perfect but it is better than doing nothing.


What are you going to do if there is a fork and one of the forks is still alive and active? Like bitcoin cash or ethereum classic? Which token goes with your artwork now? Do you need two tokens? There is no perfect answer right now but I think there should be a discussion about what is acceptable.


Just because you say “blockchain” and make a token, doesn’t mean that it is really linked to your art. If you buy crypto art you might want to check what you are buying, and if you really control what you buy. There is no perfect way to “blockchain art” right now.

Find me in the rarepepe telegram chat




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Theo Goodman

Theo Goodman

The power of Zeus — The fury of Hades

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