Ms Ethereum had a square life marked by blocks, instant by instant: 0, 1, 2… Most of these moments were insignificant. But, she thought one day, some of them are memorable! Her genesis block, for instance, or the block in which she generated a child chain, the block in which she risked dying due to an error in her (genetic) code, and the block in which she died for real. Before the last block, Ms Ethereum had a brilliant idea: for each of these special moments, she commissioned a work of art from as many artists: a portrait for the genesis, a recital for the child fork, a dance for the near death, a music for her real death. She left written that, after her death, a virtual museum be created containing all the art that marked the notable moments of her rectangular, but sometimes wonderful, life.

We are generative artist hex6c and art curator Chiara Braidotti.

We created a data art representation of 8 notable Ethereum blocks. hex6c coded the digital part using Processing. The digital part of each block contains two main structures:

  1. a background binary string, which corresponds to the hash (fingerprint) of the block. The block size determines the font size and the age of the block determines the amount of fluctuations of the string (the older the block, the less jittery the string).
  2. a foreground garden, which encodes the miner. This is drawn using a recursive procedure that inputs the hash of the miner and deterministically outputs a unique digital garden associated with the miner.

Each digital drawing was physically printed. Then Chiara hand drew on it, adding elements inspired by the story behind the notable event that happened at that block. Finally, the physical piece was put back in digital form and tokenized on crypto art gallery SuperRare.

Block 0 — The Genesis

Almost as an ancient bust, half lit in the night of times to come, Vitalik surfaces the darkness. Everything is concealed except for his simple and dramatic figure. He is just a young man in a t-shirt and yet the creator of a new reality at once. The key to the Genesis in the blink of an eye.

Block 1 — The Ethereum Frontier

The first block with a miner, in its unprecedented garden just a die cast in space. The scenery is not neutral: it participates in the Frontier’s own nature. Through the branches, one can glimpse at the profile of the promised land, follow its waves all the way to cliffs and mountains cut against the sky. Clouds too are present, both stya lised and realistic, to point at the fourth element in place: fire. With its light and transformative energy, the flame leads back to the die-block again, an aleatory sign of this new world for humankind to explore.

Block 515000 — DevCon-1: London

Within the frame of a wide, leafy infinite, a sort of hourglass diverts its course to let a “1” be fixed in time. It’s the sign of the first DevCon, whose audience is portrayed in the block. Late 2015, London in the background, Gavin Wood at the microphone, a semi-circle of chairs near him. All empty. A chair can be read as a symbol of power and authority. Those empty chairs on stage can signify the lack of a strong leadership in the Ethereum system: one can stand on stage to talk and listen, and yet be always peer to the counterparts in the dialogue. No-one gets the throne. Everyone is in power.

Block 1920000 — The DAO fork

Either black or white, forks are central to the block. Pitchforks remind of revolts, and in fact this particular Fork was not a pacific one. The recursive call that sparked it spreads as a virus in the thriving garden, repeating itself in spirals to poison every other fractal. Delicate yet central too is the Robin Hood Group that tried to fix the situation, whose bow and arrow recall the DAO symbol itself. ‘Code is Law’, the blockchain mantra, proved to be false for this block.

Block 4041169 — Parity Multisig Public Init Hack

Another hacker, another robbery, another infamous block. This time the wallets of Edgeless Casino, Swarm City and Æthernity were drained. Their symbols, all recalling the infinite or hinting at beehives, sink within a wave of blockchain transactions directed to the initWallet. As a spark of hope, this time there is the White Hat Group, hovering over the hacker’s sign to protect other wallets.

Block 4321454 — The start of the Terraform Event

Between a tree and an architectural structure, the tangle of this block’s garden opens up towards a pristine landscape. This is nothing but the slightly surreal transposition of Decentraland’s logo, ready to be populated thanks to the Terraform Event. Within this tangle, the urban plan of the city appears, accompanied by a luminescent planet whose craters too recall the logo of this decentralised reality. As a hint to human presence, a light kite approaches one of the new land’s suspended gardens, possibly someone’s dwelling too.

Block 4605346 — CryptoKitty #1 is born

A bundle of DNA chains, building blocks and furry friends on one hand: the little chaos of life. On the other, as a silent, restrained universe, a perfect egg: the mystery of full potential. CryptoKitties are born.

Block 6610000 — DevCon-4: Prague

Fourth DevCon: multiple stages, loads of contributions, ten times the attendees of the first one. Again, the faces that one can tell through the garden leaves are inspired by those of the real participants of the event, women and men who gathered in Prague in late 2018 (see minutes 13:07 and 3:33). These people from DevCon1 London took an imaginary bridge that led them to Prague through St. Charles, for the biggest up-to-date Ethereum conference.

data scientist generative artist blockchain enthusiast crypto art evangelist —