This would blow Elon’s mind

Plus, Art Blocks has finally done it


I’ll know I’ve lost my edge and need to pack it up the minute your grandma understands half the sentences in this newsletter.

Links for the Top 25 drops are HERE.

This would blow Elon’s mind


Conceptual artist SHL0Ms announced a new collection called 404, set to release today. 

Here’s what we know: 

  • Date: February 1 at 5 PM EST

  • Supply: 256 Ethereum NFTs 

  • Price: Auction

Our take

This is an auction that I believe warrants your attention, O Most Busy Of All Readers. 

For some of you, this might even lead to a rare episode of a-ha level philosophical insight, which we treasure greatly around these parts, at the very least for its momentary hit of dopamine. 

First, a quick explainer of how the drop works (a more in-depth intro can be found here):

  1. You buy an NFT with metadata that includes expired (broken) IPFS links

  2. Which means you can’t see the content that it refers to

  3. However, someone can figure out a way to restore the links (this is hard)

  4. But the links will once again expire eventually unless people keep pinning them on IPFS.

The central idea here is link rot, which is something that most Ethereum and Solana NFTs will have to deal with at one point.

Link rot happens when an NFT contains links to “offchain images” stored on something like IPFS, which one day expire, leaving behind a trail of broken URLs in the NFT’s metadata. 

The implication is that a token loses value when link rot happens, and this is bad, which is why some people prefer “fully onchain” NFTs that store the content directly on the blockchain itself. 

But 404 shows us that, funny enough, link rot is the very thing that causes an NFT to transform into an “onchain NFT”, because all of its meaning is suddenly found on Ethereum without any dependency on offchain content. 

So you can think of the timeline for most NFTs as being: offchain → onchain (when the link expires) → offchain again (if someone re-establishes the links). 

Yet in the case of 404, it’s the opposite. The NFTs start fully onchain because they contain only broken links. But they can be turned “offchain” again if someone figures out how to restore the IPFS files. 

And since “offchain” stuff is supposedly less valuable, this would imply that you can negatively impact a 404 NFT just by turning on its IPFS links and restoring the content that it points to. 

Which of course sounds ridiculous – but therein lies an insight. 

The Token Is The Art 

It’s worth repeating, all together now: the token is the art; the token is the art; the token is the art. 

The OGs understood this.

Which is why they had no issue spending thousands of dollars on Rare Pepe NFTs in 2016 despite the fact that those tokens had no references to the art itself. 

It was all just tied together on some centralized databases and websites. 

But they knew that they were only buying the tokens, and this was true whether or not the associated art was linked onchain.

As said by one of those OGs: the image is simply what the token looks like. It’s a reference to more easily help people understand why it’s valuable. 

And yes, ensuring the permanence of that image is useful. Like in the case of inscriptions that store the image directly on Bitcoin itself. And more people should be thinking about all the obsolescence hidden throughout the internet. 

But, from one angle, it doesn’t totally make sense that this should significantly “improve” what you’re buying. Even with fully onchain NFTs, the token is the art, and the token will always exist as long as the blockchain does. 

This is where newbies, and even supposed geniuses like Elon, get stuck and then go on podcasts and literally say things like “the NFT is not even on the blockchain”. 

They believe it’s one big gotcha, that we’re buying certificates of ownership instead of the art itself, but this just reflects their confusion. Those certificates, which represent authentic signatures on a decentralized global blockchain, are what this was always about. 

Bottom line

Props to SHL0MS for using a simple mechanic to illustrate a point and produce an almost bistable image perspective shift.

A pure example of conceptual crypto art.

NOTE: These drops are lightly curated. Our only requirement is that they have recognizable founders. As usual, DYOR. To learn more go here.

Deus Ex Machina by CyberSea

After releasing one of the most successful Ordinals art collections ever back in December, the Vivid platform is back with Deus Ex Machina by Michal Szafarski, a.k.a. CyberSea.

If you’re a gearhead you might be in for a treat, as its 400 animated generative pieces feature steampunk scenes where gears and pipes take center stage, moving to the beat of the Bitcoin chain by reacting to block events in real-time.

The art style might not be for everyone, but its dynamic use of Bitcoin data should entice Satoshi apostles.

Heartsleeves by Lovid

Ever liked a piece of generative art so much that you wanted to wear it on your skin? Well, now you can (sort of), with Lovid’s Heartsleeves.

This interactive 300-supply collection releasing on features infinite video animations of colorful, slow-moving shapes that have been crafted with analog synthesizers, giving it a retro feel.

Once you own one of these, you can use a camera to unlock a portrait studio, which turns the animation into a “video skin” from which you can mint portraits of yourself (or whatever you point the camera at).

These skins are akin to the camera filters you would find on Snapchat or Instagram, except they are onchain and token-gated, with a max of five portrait mints per skin.

Melancholic Magical Girl by Emi Kusano

Fellow weebs, we’ve done it. As per a recent editorial, generative art senpai Art Blocks has bent the knee and is going full anime in Melancholic Magical Girl, an upcoming Curated release by Japanese artist Emi Kusano.

The collection showcases anime-styled eyes laid still atop animations of bombs seen through a CRT-like filter, evoking nostalgia for any 90’s anime watcher.

On a more conceptual level, it explores the magical girl subgenre of Japanese media, perhaps best known in the West from Sailor Moon, playing off the tropes and stereotypes through the use of AI captions.

One for the generative art and anime enthusiast (this Venn diagram must overlap).


Giancarlo Chaux@GiancarloChaux

Guillermo Martin@pikanxiety

Jon Yale @JonYale

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