Working on the next iteration of Checks and itching to share some of the ideas/revisions/thinking.
Went back and forth on doing this — but ultimately, the process is as much a part of the art as the art itself, so will be sharing more in the thread below.
This began life as a single piece of artwork, captioned:
“This artwork may or may not be notable”
Priced at $8 per edition, a nod to the new meta of “purchasing” status. No prizes for guessing the very notable “legacy” artist that inspired the visual.
An edition limited by time only (a nod to the idea that the only requirement to get a check, was $8). It ran 24 for hours on @ourZORA, and 16,031 identical pieces were minted.
Candidly, as is always the case — you have no idea how the world will react to something you made, so that number could have also been very different.
To have the world “validate” an idea that you have thought deeply about (but always second guess) is a profound experience.
This piece from March 2021 “NFTs, explained.” contains the genesis of this idea: Since then I have been exploring the overlap between social contracts, NFTs, digital provenance, what art is, how it evolves, and who decides all of the above. https://foundation.app/@visualizevalue/foundation/12012
Obviously all of this has been massively controversial, which is exactly why it’s fertile ground for making art.
Bit of context setting out of the way, back to the Checks idea. One of the other big recurring themes in my work @visualizevalue has been positive-sum games vs. status games, inspired heavily by the writings of @naval
It’s my belief that on a long time horizon, permissionless markets are a positive sum game, but in the short term they can feel incredibly zero sum.
Which led me to my first idea (that didn’t make the cut) for an extension of Checks, an on-chain status game:
While I think this would make a great artistic statement, it leaves the possibility open for someone to burn the art they purchased and get nothing in return.
It’s the original piece, sliced in to 80 1/1s — distributed to the top 80 burners of the edition.
Not quite right.
So back to the creative process, but this time starting with some numbers:
There are 2,561 owners of the original Checks piece at time of writing. 16,031 in circulation. ~6 per person.
Each artwork contains 80 checks.
In my agency art director days, I always used to start with wikipedia if I was trying to find a creative angle on something that was rooted in truth.
Full transparency, the 80 checks in the original piece were not intentional so this is a fully reverse engineered rationale:
The semi-perfect number above gave me an idea that I am still working on, and will continue to document in this thread shortly.
Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for collecting my work. I appreciate it more than I can articulate.
A concept that gives us some constraints to work within.
Also worth noting how paradoxically perfect the word “semiperfect” is for this. A mathematical oxymoron.
If you have been around NFTs for a while, you’ll recall Damian Hirst’s “The Currency” — which worked like this:
Burn the NFT, get the physical, or keep the NFT, and the physical gets burned.
Of the original 10,000, there are 1,846 NFTs left.
The supply stays the “same” but the market reveals its preference for each medium in the process.
(Numbers above are apparently not correct, collection is split across a couple of chains/not displaying perfectly on OS, anyone who knows actual numbers please enlighten me)
A lengthier detour than planned, correction below:
The majority of the market opted for the physical version.
This is not what we are going to do, but an important precedent to recognize.
Next steps for Checks — checking technical feasibility on a few things, and double checking some math.
Will be back to share soon, thanks for reading.
Some meta-transparency on this thread to leave you with.
To extend the premise of the original piece — the question we are trying to answer is: are checks more desirable if they are harder to get?
We can find out by incentivizing a reduction in supply.
But we want to do it without destroying anything in the process.
Some new wireframe sketches informed by our semiperfect concept, and true to the invisible grid of the original piece:
80, 40, 20, 10, 5, 4, 1, 0
Recruited the legendary @jalil_eth & @traf to build some proper tech for the next round. Below courtesy of the giga talented @traf (all this animation is done in-browser)
Current working mechanic (not final):
Burn your edition for an on-chain original.
Burn 2 originals for the next smallest edition original.
80 > 40 > 20 > 10 > 5 > 4 > 1
Stop wherever you like.
Hard to explain in text so here’s a visual (again, a work in progress):
What this does: rewards every collector, creates new, original, on-chain work, and every interaction either maintains or reduces supply.
An idea for everyone following along in real-time, minting some of the concept sketches as a free claim for holders.
Scratch that, not interesting. Right click save only. A few closeups of @jalil_eth 's color tests for on-chain generation of new originals using only the 80 colors from the first piece: 80s (left) 20s (right)
How many possible permutations of the 80 grid are there?
Assuming 80 colors w/ duplicates allowed, 80 checks, 80 positions.
one hundred seventy-six novemquadragintillion six hundred eighty-four octoquadragintillion seven hundred six septenquadragintillion four hundred seventy-seven sexquadragintillion eight hundred thirty-eight quinquadragintillion four hundred thirty quattuorquadragintillion
We will only be generating a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of possible permutations, capped at 16,031.
A closer look at yesterday’s burn mechanic diagram:
2x editioned 80s → 2x on-chain 80s
2 x on-chain 80s → 1x on-chain 40
They are very meditative. And 100% on-chain. Live test: https://testnets.opensea.io/collection/untitled-collection-15203397
The above video is on 2 second rotation, and the live link is at 3 seconds.
Think we’re liking 3.
One issue with the perpetual motion to represent each piece is losing the low-probability in the outputs like the below.
Great in isolation but gets homogenous at scale.
Might make sense to make motion downloadable for display in a frame vs. running with it as the token.
At time of writing there are 2,964 holders (will try to track change from here on): Avg: 5.4 editions per collector Top: 247 editions (1.5% of supply) 20 collectors w/ over 100 editions 56 collectors w/ over 50 editions And we hit 9th on opensea today
A visual recap.
Massively tempting to buy and burn 27 editions for a cleaner start, but we work with what we were given…
Work in progress burn data visualizer here to track macro:
Working on front end stuff today.
Data and burn UI.
Updates to follow.
One thing I have always known but had trouble articulating: markets are art.
In further developing this piece, we are producing a living piece of art that collectively represents our taste, behavior & psychology.
Thanks for being a part of it.
“Token as canvas” enables this connection and interactivity, and the underlying infrastructure is as much a part of the work as the visual component.
Without it, the piece has an entirely different (and limited) meaning.
We want to design something that simply reflects the behavior of everyone who interacts with it, forever.
Once the rules are defined and deployed immutably, the infinite art show begins.
We’re building some components in framer to make our recap visuals above into live modules:
And here they are in a browser:
Quick bounty: 3x Checks to someone who can help me set up a simple twitter sales bot.
In the spirit of network effects, follow the bot
and drop your ens under this tweet, will airdrop 5 editions at random at 8 EST.
Minor interruption but we should be back now.
Some transparency on listings, looks like 2 editions (12163 and 12165) have been stuck all day, h/t
so hopefully resolved soon.
You can pinpoint when they got listed below:
Secured a domain for the front end:
Meta commentary, but popped in my head when I saw this so will share to keep it transparent: 10/10 meme placement, entangled with the meaning of the project itself.
v0 of site now working w/ real market data. Some writing, leaderboard and burn UI design in the works. Likely sharable tomorrow. http://checks.gg
Big problem with that stuck listing, but incredible day, thank you all. 89 ETH of volume 2,133 sales 2,739 holders Tomorrow we continue
Since OS is bugged and throttling volume, removed all zero-royalty trading restrictions, and dropped optional royalty to 2.5%.
Contentious topic so more detail:
Royalties are essentially unenforceable based on the way I deployed the edition, so the option I had was to block zero-fee markets, and set an optional royalty on OS and buyers opt-in to paying. (ty)
Opened it up since OS listings are bugging.
Even more candidly: Given the our dwindling attention spans, throttling the volume and subsequently the attention on the project is a bigger risk than not earning royalties from the tiny percentage of people who do opt in (legends all the same).
For proper context, here’s what the “creator earnings” dashboard looks like on a collection with optional royalties.
This slice is pretty indicative of opt-in percentage, and it goes down as the price goes up (as number gets bigger, less people want to pay)
I am v sympathetic to the idea of capturing upside from your work into the future — and royalties are an important way to do that.
But there’s also an argument to be made for reducing friction/maximizing attention/reach:
These 1/1s just kicked off (have been sitting for months)
gm, weather check
One “semiperfect” set.
Would take 128 editions to produce.
Currently doable by 5 collectors.
Excludes the final check.
We just finalized the logic for the token IDs for the on-chain originals post-burn.
It is no secret that “low number good” has been a pervasive idea in collectibles and art way before we had these tools for digital provenance…
Not to mention numbers that mean something to individuals — culturally significant numbers, birthdays, or flexing single digits.
Another aspect to your journey through Checks will be taking agency over the numbers associated with your originals.
I’ll have a UI sketch soon.
Congrats to both!
Sent for this just after mint, no physical plans but thought I’d share.