Computer Heaven

August 27, 2021

I woke up this morning at 4:00 am and did the bad thing and reached for my phone. I ended up joining a live Twitter Spaces chat hosted by the NTF platform OpenSea. They were interviewing an artists called godmin about her recent project called Heaven Computer.

I sound and feel like an old man. The chat room was filled with ~500 people all waiting to be called up to the mic to ask godmin a question about the project. Everyone sounded like they were talking to their favourite celebrity, nervously fumbling their way through thank you’s and questions. And I was just like, “wtf is going on here?”. 

I’ve been hanging out around the edges of everything NFT for a while, but now I’m looking more seriously at supporting artists, I need to dive deeper into what is going on. What’s going on with this project and what going on in general? 

Heaven Computer

So, the best explanation I’ve got on this is this article hosted on Notion. It describes a 2 year long stunning piece of development and design that ended with 7,777 NFT’s that sold out in 5 hours after launch totalling somewhere around USD$2m.

The beautiful part of the project is how the artwork is created, “The idea, was that on each mint, the hash is created based on the minters wallet addresss and the tx's block hash, resulting in a unique generative 3D piece of art in the form of a ghost, with a message, inspired by the concepts of tarot cards or the fortune tellers you may find at a fairground.”

Generative art created using technology that is unique to you.

The other part of this that feels worth noting is the incredible attention to detail that has gone into the project. godmin has designed and built the entrance, gallery, production, shipping, and more all custom to match the experience of the art. It feels like what I imagine would happen if a painter was able to create their gallery space from scratch. It’s genius. It’s beautiful.

NFT Space

The numbers that have been flashing through my Twitter feed over the past week are pretty incredible. Here are a couple of notable call outs:

1. OpenSea did >USD$200m of volume in one day this week.

2. An early NFT project called EtherRock (100 rocks that look like they were drawn in Paint) are selling pieces every other day for north of USD$1m

3. Ghxsts sold an original piece for USD$2m

There are thousands of people all over the world jumping between Discord, Twitter, OpenSea, Foundation and more, deep diving into NFT artists, their projects and their work. With this explosion of activity and I feel like I’m sitting across the road the restaurant that used to be popular staring at the cool kids fighting to get into some new nightclub I’ve never heard of.

The Big Change?

The thought I woke up with today was something like this… NFT’s can be .jepgs, .pngs, .gifs, 3d files whatever. I’m not sure there is a restriction on this. And none of these file types are new. That obviously isn’t where the innovation is, people have been creating them for as long as computers have been around. The innovation is the digital scarcity that new technology has unlocked. That has seems to have transformed what was a .png last week into a collectable NFT.

But the way people were talking about them on the call this morning was like they were a totally new medium/type of art. And through one lens they are. The bear case is they’re just images that I can right click and save to desktop. The bull case is they unique collectables that have value because only one person can own it at a time.

What I feel like is happening that I haven’t acknowledged before is that NFT’s are in fact a new medium and should be thought of like that. Once your .png is minted, it’s not longer a .png, it’s something else. Something that people might continue to collect for many, many years to come.

When the photograph was invented it was truly new. It’s newness made it easy to understand its value. The NFT world is different. Thousands of people are researching and buying into the art, the movement. They are saying that this work has value and if you don’t agree, well they don’t care. It’s exciting and beautiful.

There is a world here where I can claim that this whole thing is a bubble being propped up by a bunch of people that go into Eth low and now have more money than they no what to do with so are buying everything they want. I’m sure there is some truth in that. But will we ever see middle of the bell curve folk put their fiat currency into Eth and start their own collections of NFt’s? And does that even matter? I suspect not.