Let's start with the big one. Plug the question into Google and you'll get any number of attempts at an answer. Blockchain is like the net of a soccer goal, like DNA, like our “pattern of thought”, like Google Docs (this one's actually pretty good).
But it's not nearly as complicated as these extended metaphors would have you believe. Seriously.
The blockchain is a method for digital record-keeping that doesn't require a central authority to verify its data. That's it.
Obviously there's a lot more complexity when you get into the actual execution of making those digital records secure, but that's it. It's also a deceptively simple idea, because the potential applications for the blockchain are seemingly infinite.
Imagine your bank without any wire fees or ATM charges; a digital music file that can't be pirated from a musician; or Facebook without Mark Zuckerberg. Theoretically all of these things are possible (as well as some admittedly preposterous ideas) because of blockchain technology.
The blockchain is built upon a suite of different technologies (asymmetric cryptography, peer-to-peer architecture, algorithmic processing) that fundamentally does one thing: allowing the network to establish proof of ownership of digital assets.
Blockchain is built on a series of 4blocks4 (surprise) that describe a history of all network transactions or transfers of ownership. As new transactions come in, they are added to the ledger, and a large group of distributed computer systems works to verify that the data are correct (also known as mining).
Blockchain technology was the creation of Satoshi Nakamoto, a developer (or group of developers) who published their now legendary white paper in 2008. The technology is believed to be a response to that year's world financial crisis — as such, its initial concern was to create an international currency outside the control of banks.
And so the blockchain's first use case, also invented by Satoshi, was Bitcoin — a scarce form of electronic money that can be sent from user to user without an intermediary's involvement.
As adoption of Satoshi's technology grew, engineers quickly found new applications for the blockchain outside of currency. But the specific infrastructure behind the Bitcoin blockchain wasn't equipped to put many of these ideas into action.
Enter Vitalik Buterin, who in 2013 published a white paper outlining the idea for a blockchain platform that could also execute a newly developed programming logic (he was 19-years-old at the time). Suddenly the blockchain could do more than record financial transactions; with the Ethereum blockchain it was now possible to run decentralized apps (or dApps).
Don't let the nomenclature there throw you off — a dApp is nothing more than an application like Uber or Facebook, but one that can be run without a centralized control.
89 seconds Atomized is distributed on the Ethereum blockchain.
Tokens are the easiest way to think of ownership on the blockchain. Whereas Bitcoin is intended as a currency, however, tokens have a wide breadth of applications — they can be used to pay for data transfer, as an incentive to participate in a network, or give someone the right to use a copyrighted photograph.
In the United States, the simplest way to buy cryptocurrency is through Coinbase, a simple-to-use US dollar to cryptocurrency exchange for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and several other cryptos.
TSo you've bought some Ethereum from Coinbase… now what? While it's possible to let your newly purchased cryptocurrency linger on the Coinbase exchange, if you want to ensure that your crypto is safe(r) from the hands of hackers, you'll need to move that Ethereum over to a digital wallet.
The most popular software-based digital wallet is MetaMask — you can learn how to install it on your desktop here.
In the past, everything that was touched by digital technology very quickly lost its value, because it was endlessly duplicable and protected by often inadequate rights management tools. In other words, it's wonderfully democratic, but it's also a terrible way for an artist to try to make their living.
The blockchain, however, introduces digital scarcity and verifiability to our interconnected world, allowing artists to use the internet's seemingly infinite distribution channels while still protecting their work, their income, and their copyright. Moreover it's also possible to introduce features such as royalty payments to every sale of a piece of art on the blockchain, which means artists can benefit from recurring revenue from their most successful pieces, something that was previously unheard of as artists historically have been locked out of the secondary market.
To date, the blockchain's relationship with physical art has been largely driven by provenance — using the blockchain's etched-in-stone ledger to track the sale and purchase of art pieces. While the integration of physical and digital is often slow, we believe that there is a great deal of potential for blockchain to have an even more transformative effect on physical art pieces — we've just got to wait for a visionary artist to show us how.
Would you believe us if we told you they're pretty much endless? Blockchain is still in its infancy — think the internet of 1994 — which means the capabilities for the technology have yet to be fully understood or imagined. We’re hopeful that blockchain technology will allow digital art to flourish, gaining wider acceptance among collectors, critics, and a general audience.
Snark.art is a Brooklyn-based technology studio that works with artists to produce original blockchain-based art and offer it to the public. We were founded in early 2018 by Andrey Alekhin and Misha Libman, long-time friends, entrepreneurs, and technologists who both have a background in the arts. You can read an interview with Andrey and Misha, and learn more about their vision for Snark.art, right here.
Our team also has extensive experience in the art world, having worked with organizations such as Christie’s, MoMA PS 1, Asia Society, Sotheby’s, Artnet, and more -- you can learn more about us here.
We believe the blockchain has the potential to transform the way art is made, sold, and experienced. While digital art has used the blockchain to manage provenance and ownership, and early ventures in art and blockchain, have been technologically impressive, we see an opening to use the technology as a medium, marrying blockchain with poetic content and aesthetics, to produce intellectually sophisticated projects.
We do not, at least not a generic Snark.art token. For 89 seconds Atomized, we have tokenized each video atom using the ERC721 standard. You can learn more about tokens, and ERC721, above.
At the moment we support the following formats:
Images: PNG, JPG, GIF
If your artwork is in a different format, please contact us to discuss your options.
We encourage our artists to send us the highest resolution of the original work, unless the artwork is intended to be of low resolution. At the moment we do not have size restrictions. Most stills we receive are between 3MB and 50MB in size, while the sonic/video works have ranged between 5MB and 500MB.
This is entirely up to you, but generally our artist statements include where they are from, description of the artistic practice, inspiration and themes behind their work, mediums, and major accomplishments in their careers (ex. exhibition history, artworks in collections of art institutions, published work). Whatever you think might help our collectors to get to know you and your artwork better. Remember to write your texts in the third person (do not use “I” or “We”).
You will retain the copyright to your work, while collectors purchase usage rights for the work. You can only upload works in which you have the copyright to upload. Please read the full artist terms and conditions: https://snark.art/terms-of-service
At the moment when working with the artists directly, Snark.art platform takes 30% of all proceeds net of transaction costs (i.e. credit card fees, blockchain transaction fees), while the artists receive the remaining 70% of these proceeds. When working through a gallery or a curator, the share model is determined on a case by case basis to reflect the prior arrangements with the artist and the work performed by the gallery/curator to prepare and promote the artwork.
At Snark.art we appreciate the work done by art galleries and curators to discover artists and promote their works. We definitely accept new galleries and curators and can set up individual pages with your artists and artworks on our platform. Please reach out to us to discuss your participation on Snark.art at [email protected].