“There’s nothing new in the world
but the history you didn’t know yet”
Satoshi and Vitalik, as technologists, stood on the proverbial shoulders of giants. As do Tyler Hobbs,ii Mitchell F. Chan,iii and Justin Aversanoiv as visual artists. On the collector side, VincentVanDough, DANNY, and FingerprintsDAO stand out. The greatest inventors in and of any field recognise this simple fact with humility and gratitude for those that came before. But these are all the 0.01% adding their own “X factor” to the wisdom of previous generations to create something new.v What about the next segment of the gaussian adoption curve, the innovators? What about the next 2.5%?
For those of us in this group, there may appear to be much less “X factor” or “originality,” and that it’s all just a bunch of blind/deaf/mute copytrades. What’s a copytrade, you ask? Essentially it’s the ancient “monkey see, monkey do” but applied specifically to markets, and it’s what’s often necessary for innovators aka “fast followers” like yours truly to take the inventions of the 0.01% – be they left-field projects or nascent market structures – and carry the ball to the early adopters. In the innovation phase, participants need to constantly pivotpivotpivot at lightning-speed in a space where information is imperfect, asymmetric, and bloody precious, so copytrades are very much a tool of the trade as a means of maximising precious bandwidth and conserving valuable time so as to create more alpha. But are copytrades really as “uncreative” or even “inauthentic” as they appear? Hardly!
First off, the monkey from whom you’re copytrading is just one star in a consellation of information that has to be parsed. A macro thesis is also important. Secondly, it’s very important to select from whom you copytrade. I can copytrade Flamingo DAO or Beanie or 3AC but that’s mostly not very resonant. So once I’ve selected a leader in the space, likely one with more resources and experience than myself (eg. FingerprintsDAO), then, thanks to the wonders of blockchain transparency, I’m able to curate their curation, as it were, to find what’s personally resonant. And as long as an art investment is Resonant, it’s worthwhile; for this one of the two prerequisites for art to become Art, the other being Wonder.
It’s important to lay all of this out in writing because there are always fast followers of fast followers, and so on and so forth down towards the early adopters, early majority, late majority, and finally the laggards. So putting this framework on the page quietly plants the seeds of success for other participants in the digital assets space to create the infrastructure for future growth. This is how culture is built.
Bitcoin and subsequent cryptocurrencies were the first pillars of a new foundation, creating the blueprint for digital scarcity, and therefore digital culture.vi What was needed next was art (or “propaganda” if you’re on the other side of the fence), which, after a decade of experimentation with digital assets, has now been unlocked thanks to Cryptopunks, Art Blocks, Ether Rocks, Bitchcoins, and many more yet to be unearthed and fully absorbed into the cannon of digital society.
But regardless of the exact jpg or png, with visual weapons of mass destruction now at our disposal, we finally have the cultural arsenal we need to build a new paradigm and a new economy, one that will eventually come to surpass meatspace economy in size, impact, and political importance. There will be many a (figuratively) bloody war waged for territory in this new space, which is why “this is a land grab, not a swing trade” is so lucid and why “don’t let the institutions [of the ancien regime] steal your jpgs” is so prescient.
Art is the coordinator. Art is the unlock for a new era of mass coordination. Let’s get building.
One copytrade at a time.
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- 1980-2021, quoted from memory↩
- Tyler Hobbs created the Fidenza series, which has been the most commercially and arguably artistically successful Art Block Curated series to-date. It’s ascended to Valhalla now and I’m very grateful to The Girl for her input last week when selecting a new project to degen into. Between Denzas, Ringers, Pegz, Rare Pepes, and Deafbeef, she chose Tyler’s titans of
generativeparametric art. Here’s #635:
- Mitchell F. Chan is a Canadian conceptual and parametric artist heavily inspired by Yves Klein and Sol LeWitt. In mid-2017, right around the time that Cryptopunks were released (so the very very OG days), he issued the first 30 certificates of “Digital Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” aka “IKB.” A total of 101 such certificates of Duchampian “nothingness” were minted between 2017 and this past week, with the final 20 being minted on August 18, 2021. Here’s IKB #33:
- Justin Aversano is the champion of community in the NFT photography space. Since betting on art (or any investment), is really betting on people, how could you not invest in Justin? His landmark “Twin Flames” project is a poetic and touching tribute to his own dearly departed twin, and it features timeless portraits of 99 sets of twins and one set of triplets. Justin is also about to launch a new platform called Quantum Art, which will be the Art Blocks of NFT photography, so keep an eye on this guy! He’s shaping up to be the Snowfro of his domain! Here’s Twin Flames #30:
- And thank goodness for well-communicated and well-preserved information. Without shared stories and myths, l’dor v’dor, we’d cower in terror at every thunderstorm and from every beast. But we figured out stories! We figured out myths! And this has provided us a platform with which to coordinate ourselves in larger and larger groups towards more and more sophisticated ends. With the aid of not only written communication and verbal communication, but the arguably more important visual communication, we’ve been able to (when we take a step back) accomplish more and more as a species with each subsequent generation.
Obviously there are particular moments in history when humans coordinate better than others. D-Day or the Pyramids at Giza simply wouldn’t be possible today, but nor were rockets that landed on drone ships in the middle of the ocean possible back then. Still, today, there’s a pretty obvious and rather appalling dearth of large-scale coordination in meatspace, at least in the western world, as evidenced by our manifest inability to build even relatively basic transportation infrastructure… but there’s hope around every corner! As there must always be. And the hope for this coming generation lies largely in the digital realm. ↩
- For there can be no culture without yearning, which is to say some degree of inequality of outcome. It may be sad, but it’s true, and as far as I can see unavoidably so. ↩