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An oral history of the culture.

By Chad
December 14, 2021
Image: NFT Culture Proof
Image: NFT Culture Proof

A month ago, we reported on the inaugural day of NFT Culture Proof, a project in which writers exchange tokens for a chance to leave a lasting imprint on the Polygon blockchain in the form of a 120-character paragraph. The Twitter comparisons continue: what began as a high-minded experiment in human communication quickly devolved into a series of thinly-connected shitposts and subliminally implicit pissing contests, unintelligible without context. I imagine most of you are (understandably) unwilling to scroll through half a thousand infinity tweets to get said context. Unluckily for you, I am. And, as sales of these eternal pieces of Internet real estate come to a close, I feel it’s my professional duty to give y’all the low/highlights.

The project both peaked and valleyed on its first day, with a spirited discussion of possible names for the Metaverse. After quickly exhausting the most original submissions — Untitled, Life, the, uh, Metaverse — the best minds of our generation started dishing out memes, strings of emojis, untranslated references to Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream, and haikus from yours truly. Lo, in less than 24 hours, Internet discourse had already reached its logical conclusion: incoherence.

By the beginning of the second day, the collective had moved on to virtual scatting. As you read, keep in mind: each of these posts went for 64 MATIC ($100+) a pop.

It soon becomes impossible to discern any thruline in the Culture Proof, in part because the prompts to which the writers responded are not included in the feed. Thus, frantic philosophizing appears next to typo ridden gibberish and achingly personal flash poetry. The result is bizarre, disorienting, but ultimately, kinda moving. 

Except, of course, when it isn’t.

However, in between the epic edgelording and half-baked attempts at profundity — as well as strange tangential debates about the Game of Thrones finale, because it wouldn’t be the Internet without those — something somewhat beautiful begins to emerge. Perhaps more than any viral article or bit of spot-on fiction, reading these short paragraphs captured the ineffable feeling of being alive today.

As a culture, we’re considering our legacy, absurdity, and supposed immutability like never before. We’re in some unholy limbo between divine comedy and Greek tragedy as the world goes to shit in so many ways and there’s nothing we can do about it except get online and scream and laugh together just to hear our own voices and opinions for as long as we have them. Which is exactly what happened here.

One user shelled out a Benjy to say: ‘I love to think about early net.art and how quaint yet revolutionary it seems now. I can only hope the same for this.’ Maybe those hopes won’t be in vain. But more likely, the project will gather dust in the corner of a server farm until a freak storm or global electricity shortage comes along to remind us that the blockchain isn’t forever, after all.

The project ends today, and, with little mainstream attention to this point, it’s looking as likely as it is shameful that few aside from the participants will ever read NFT Culture Proof. You can check out the live feed here or contribute yourself until 5PM PST. But you won’t. So, in honor of one of the strangest Internet projects I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of, here’s its essence in a single overpriced sentence:

Culture: proved.



Cas Stone is a story told in essays, posts, ads, audio, visuals, podcasts, novels, someday, naturally, stories.

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