The Ephemeral Artcoin

salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
edited February 2014 in Projects

The Ephemeral Artcoin

Art has a powerful abstract message which functions on a different level than other media or craft. We all know real art when we experience it, but we can’t always explain what makes it real. The Ephemeral Artcoin (EA) is a platform designed to spark the creation of qualitative new works of non-commercial art in the post-bitcoin digital economy.

I've been considering since May 2013 how to design a system that could marry a cryptographic asset to an original work of art, and support the value of this asset via social consensus. I believe this idea is something new and interesting that would not have been possible before the invention of Ethereum.

The EA currency units represent past works of art if you’re looking backwards through time, and potential future works of art when looking forward through time. Ephemerals or artcoins create registered existential links between creative works of art.

The 3 pieces of The Ephemeral Artcoin

1. The Protocol

Coin generation is hyper-inflationary and happens in the Fibonacci sequence. This sequence was chosen because it demonstrates a bridge between nature and mathematics, just as art is a bridge between the empirical and abstract aspects of our existence, and our perception.

Minting happens based on a 100% proof-of-stake algorithm. There is a 100% premine. 64 artcoins are to be awarded to a consortium upon release of the protocol. The number 64 was chosen because it represents the codons of human DNA.

1.1 Coin Age Demurrage

The point of owning artcoins is to pay them forward. Therefore there can be no long term proof-of-stake reward for coins that have not been verified to be travelling through the economy above a minimum velocity limit. These coins instead incur demurrage. In this way the artcoin economy will scale in tandem with the success rate of its mission to spark the creation of original non-comercial true works of art.

2. The Consortium

This ad hoc organization is charged with documenting all of the works of art of the community. These may be digital, mechanical, drawings, paintings, sculptures, possibly even literary works, or open source software. The Consortium’s theme is bridges, between art and technology, the future and the past, the known and the unknown.

A coin does not represent actual ownership of a work of art, but rather proof that it was the coin that paid for an original work of art to come into existence. The art created by the community would be featured on a public website, and records are kept by the Consortium.

The object of the EA project is to render artcoins valuable, so that artists can receive higher compensation for original works commissioned by members the community. The Consortium pledges to operate completely transparently with its finances, and to spend its coins with the explicit strategic goal of increasing humanity’s output of original creative works.

3. The Public Website or “Oracle”

A robust media website controlled by the Consortium. It is funded via community donations of cryptographic assets, and by the increase in value of its holdings in artcoin and ether.

Why Do Ephemerals have Value? How Does the Artcoin Economy Work?

The purpose of owning an artcoin is to pay it forward to an artist as payment for the creation of an original work of art. To be in possession of an artcoin is to possess the ability to commission a work from the community of artists, or to trade this privilege.

An artcoin is like a digital version of any other collectible coin or artifact, as well as a digital representation of a separate physical or digital work. The existential relationships between artworks are experienceable on the oracle website via posts, discussions, links, and robust visualizations.

Who owns the Artwork?

The artwork created belongs to the artists, and they are free to sell their work for any price independent of the artcoin or Ethereum communities.

Conditions for Artists

Every artist who agrees to accept an artcoin as payment for the commission of an original work is honour bound to either finish the work commissioned, or return the coin to its previous owner. The artist is also honour bound to include a signature on the artwork identifying the ID of the transaction which led to the creation of the work, and to upload a photograph or video of the work and a bit of text (which should include a description or story about the work and/or biographical information about the artist) to the oracle website.

The Mechanics of the Artcoin Economy

Through the oracle website and other portals, members of the community can request works of art (ie. “I’d like an abstract painting of Satoshi Nakamoto”). Every artist in the world will be invited to create a profile on the oracle website, and network with the community.

This project presents new ideas that could never have been attempted before Ethereum, but it is also based on proven social, technological, and economic principles. EA is a great way to bring the technology and finance communities together with many of the world’s great artistic and abstract minds.

The long term vision for EA is to have the entire project take the form of a distributed autonomous organization. The ultimate goal is to enrich humanity’s social and intellectual capital.


Post edited by salwilliam on


  • StephanTualStephanTual London, EnglandMember, Moderator Posts: 1,282 mod
    Interesting stuff. Has anyone build a working 'Oracle'? I remember reading discussion about the use of Amazon AWS for that purpose but lost the link.
  • salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    I think I'm using a different definition of oracle. I mean a trusted centralized entity (in this case a website that is controlled by a transparent consortium).

    I'd also like to read more about the different definitions of oracle that could be linked to the concept. Who's got a link!?
  • RayzzzRayzzz USAMember Posts: 2
    Anyone following up on this idea? I am an artist with similar ideas and willing to do original art for the project.
  • salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Rayzzz said:

    Anyone following up on this idea?

    It would be great to get you involved as a founding artist, Rayzzz. When I get some artcoin I'll pay some to you to create a portrait of Vitalik as a pioneer on the frontier!

    I've been thinking about this idea on and off for the past year, but haven't had time to dig much into Ethereum and figure things out. Some ideas came to me on the drive home from an Ethereum meetup in Toronto last night, and I outputted this:

    Revisiting the project now makes more sense because Ethereum is actually live. I just now grabbed the domain (That might be a better name.) The token can be called ART.

    ART could perhaps be tethered to ETH units in a contract stipulating that PoS rewards from the ETH would go to the holders of corresponding ART. This way, ART would have some automatic value based on the PoS rewards of the corresponding ETH.

    ART itself must also increase in supply. This could be done via PoS, but I think it would be more fun to make distribution more random. A design goal could be to imbue token generation with an authentic serendipity.
  • GyeongTae KimGyeongTae Kim Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2016
    any progression on this marvelous project? I wanna know some more. if you have any further information can someone let me know about this? Thanks.
  • salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭

    any progression on this marvelous project? I wanna know some more. if you have any further information can someone let me know about this? Thanks.

    I've been way too busy myself with my other work to start on this. Although, I've been discussing related ideas with a few folks now and again. I also put together a simple website a few months ago, Since that time, I've been thinking it'd be best to focus first on the 'crowdfunding for art projects' aspect, coupling it with a robust media/community website.

    Every work of art created via the platform would indeed receive a unique ART token. So supporters and artists would be sharing in the genesis of an original work of art, plus a unique epiphenomenal token. Tokens could wind up valuable later, as they would be extremely scarce (1 token generated per work of art).
  • salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    latest update on this is that a better website is planned
  • salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Version 2 of the site is up: + new twitter: @art_fuel

    I want to stay as true to the OP here as possible, but there will be adjustments. I won't go into detail yet on what I'm thinking, but am planning a blog post. Please post any thoughts/questions/ideas you may have!
  • salwilliamsalwilliam Member Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Many little improvements to the site and we just posted our 1st (video) blog post :)
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