Opepen Transparency • Complete summary of the project’s development

This is how all started:


And this is the story behind:

opepen evolution

transparency threads have been stopped and started many times, because this process has taken many twists and turns

it began as a free mint, open for an hour, a nod to the open edition meta of the time and the internet’s most prolific memetic character

provenance wise - it follows checks, a long-form generative art project that comments on verification in the age of the internet, and gives agency to collectors to create immutable, onchain pieces themselves


my intention: the preservation of moments in time driven by big technological shifts

the output, “artifacts” that capture these moments

for checks - the disruption of top-down institutional trust, and the normalization of bottom-up truth seeking

or opepen, the following tweet sent me down a rabbit hole that I probably should have waited to go down


the pfp format is appealing if you evaluate it purely by its potential reach - prime real estate etc

but that reach has traditionally been achieved via skeuomorphic collections (10,000 of x with varied traits, very hard to do well and props to those who have)

if you’ve been following the opepen journey for a while, the initial idea was to borrow the visual language from checks, mapping color onto recognizable geometry:

interesting? maybe

capturing a specific moment in time? commenting on a massive shift in technology and behavior? not really

working on this in public meant that people like @visualzare spun up tools to essentially create these outputs (as images) before we even had chance to you can play with one of them here: https://opepefy.art

they are ace, and many people used them for pfps

I also noticed people grabbing the updates I was posting and using them - my notifications tab is full of opepens that never “shipped” or no one “owns”

on most posts, “wen?” from someone already using an opepen pfp

so what is it that people are actually after here?

in many cases, probably a catalyst to exit a position (nature of the game, no complaints from me)

but it is very bizarre if you consider the above, probably a behavior that has been burned in, the path well trodden, etc

that said, both checks and opepen have been the subject of many remixes check https://createchecks.art/discover by @iamng_eth and https://opepenzine.xyz by @Lost4theCause


what I hope to be true about both collections is that they reflect the ideas of the infrastructure on which they are built

permissionless creativity and value exchange, networked art, experimentation, and a solution to the cold start/blank page problem that many experience

interruption to clarify this

could not be happier that people are using it without feeling the need to “own” it

you own a part of idea if you participate at any level


in my mind, that’s what this entire ecosystem is about

if we all operated with the mentality that we only need to capture a small percentage of the value we create, we’d create a lot more value

opepen was a free mint and now funded with 0.5% royalties

competing for attention with multi billion dollar venture backed brands

without permissionless, distributed creative efforts, it’s very hard to stay on the feed

a massive thank you to everyone who has made or interacted with anything to do with it these past few weeks, truly incredible contributions - we will do some individual callouts as we get further into the thread here, please share some of your favorites too

seems like it may need to be said

if long rambling threads are not your thing, you may be in the wrong place (there will be many more)

also would offer to anyone making stuff, thinking out loud can be an incredibly powerful way to find your people

evidenced by meeting many people in person the last couple of months

it’s science

brings us nicely to the next idea

a transition from:

art constrained by what can make with your hands, to art constrained by what you can describe

(not just the image you prompted, but the reason you made it)

the massive realization in tinkering with this project:

we are not far away from the aesthetic led “pfp” meta being obliterated (imo)

commodification of image making, contract deployment, etc drives cost to launch to close to zero

the idea > the image

aesthetics matter and always will

but my bet is that the speed of image generation in particular will compress cycles of relevance exponentially

so we go a layer deeper than style, and arrive at symbol

probably close to 10,000 prompts deep at this point

first attempt (left, march 19th)
one from today (right)

all this to say, the “opepfp?” tweet took us from

“lets do colorful variations of these” (and please add a torso)


“let’s map an infinite number of combinations of visual consciousness onto a recognizable symbol”

the initial mint reached 15,984 - 16 short of 16,000

to clean up the math and simplify the mechanics, 16 will be minted to current one check holders

(there are 17 as of now, 16 if you exclude me)

now we’re at 16,000 even, let us get into the mechanics

first - the reason for getting to an even 16k, clean math 16,000/80 = 200 :white_check_mark:

in an earlier transparency thread, we talked about “subeditions”

you can think of the above as 200 collections within the collection

both structured and flexible

as we release each pack, 80 opepens will be selected and revealed via a provably random algorithm (will open source in the thread here shortly), with some selection weights applied to checks originals collectors

all opepens are eligible for selection

a note on this decision:

on a long enough timeline, these two collections should be able to live completely independently of each other, many of the deeper integrations/visual mapping were really hamstringing the bigger concept in each

this feels like an elegant solution

to summarize

  • 200 drops
  • 80 opepen revealed per drop
  • metadata changes on existing token
  • provably random
  • checks originals increase the likelihood of your opepen being revealed in an earlier, lower # drop
  • $0

something I have learned in the past couple of months

there is simultaneously an expectation of absolute clarity, and perpetual suspense

this mechanic is a reflection of that, and the first of many experiments we will run

will make some tweaks to the drop mechanics today based on feedback, thanks for the input

stand by

in the meantime, I will try to summarize the pushback, and explain our reasoning for what was presented yesterday

first, increasing the likelihood for checks collectors to get early editions vs. “rare” editions

my understanding of the pushback is (at least those who were vocal about it) see no “benefit” to getting an early edition…

our reasoning, if the collection is significant, the early editions will be

also, limiting distribution of the smaller editions to those with the largest collections doesn’t do much for the growth of the project, or the desire for those without large collections to participate

sharing the above to make clear that no decision is made without thinking about both those that got us here, and those who aren’t here yet

always listening

90% sure we have a very good solution running some tests to confirm :saluting_face:

will elaborate more but the solution is essentially this drop a collection wide metadata update after day 69 of checks (friday 4pm et) to lock rarities guarantee edition size of migrated checks or lower to originals collectors (1 check = 1/1 opepen, etc) for context, if you examine collector overlap, it’s less than 10% across the two collections involve everyone in creation and curation of drops on top of established rarities, my work, ai generated, artist collabs, community generated, etc :white_check_mark: