Crypto Hyperstition Philosophy

Hash Gematria

Gematria in Hebrew uses a SIGINT attack on God’s fully homomorphic encryption of the book of nature to extract meaning. A non-Hebrew gematria is a glimpse not back into the mind of God but forward through the fall of the tower of Babel into a scrambled linguistic world of contingency. It is a generator of Deleuzean “dark precursors” to connections between concepts, just as rhymes are. These connections are useful irritants, spurs to the generation of actual structure that would otherwise not occur, anchors for beliefs. Both kinds of gematria are exercises in exploiting the surplus value of code. The former is revelation, the latter is construction. Yet each resembles the other as much as is possible in their respective universes.

Interpreting letters as numbers recapitulates the history of mathematical notation. This is a defensible choice based on its maximal simplicity and its historical embedding. Cryptographic hashing lacks both this simplicity (for a human being to calculate the value of a word numerically takes seconds, for them to calculate a cryptographic hash by hand would take around 15 minutes) and this history (cryptographic hashes date back only to the 1970s).

It does however compress a history of ever increasing uniqueness and thereby security (in the senses of both secrecy and stability) of identity. It is part of the present moment of the history of technocapital/techonomics rather than a form of nostalgia for the past of accounting and its gentrified forms (or “mathematics”). As the number of cryptographic hashes calculated by the Bitcoin network alone approaches 120,000,000,000,000,000,000 per second at the start of 2020, the process of hashing reinforces its reality and its effects in the world through sheer volume of repetition.

Cryptographic hash collisions (where hashing two different pieces of data generate the same hash value identifier or “name”) are vanishingly unlikely by design. The evolution of cryptographic hashing algorithms has been the evolution of ever more effective ways of scattering bits into cryptographic space to destroy their significance while retaining their identity. But the 64-character hexadecimal (base-16) strings used to encode 256-bit hash values are difficult for human beings to read and compare, so software systems that use them pervasively such as “git” or “Docker” truncate them by displaying or reading just the first few characters (the “prefix”) in order to make them more readable.

These shorter values do collide as more and more hashes are used to refer to more and more things in the world (this is the “Birthday Problem”) and so longer prefixes have been used over time. It takes two hexadecimal characters to encode one eight-bit byte of data. The first byte of the hash value is 2 hexadecimal characters, the first two are four characters, the first four are eight characters etc. We can represent hash prefixes in more exotic bases: Proquint, BIP-49, Urbit @p, Base 56, Bech32 or even decimal. But these are not the hash values that are displayed pervasively within the culture of computing.

Non-cryptographic hashes will collide far more frequently but they are not embedded in the same way within that culture or in the culture of technocapital and its imaginaries of resistance (crypto-anarchy, cryptocurrency) as cryptographic hashing algorithms are. We therefore mean cryptographic hashes when we refer to hashes here.

Replacing letter-value summing and decimal reduction with cryptographic hash prefix collision generation gives us hash gematria. This is a hype-cycle peak-shift maximally historically contingent and embedded extractor of surplus value of code. This surplus value will itself be maximally historically contingent and embedded dark precursors. As a strategy this is inflected by the pop cultural strains of Chaos Magick but has far greater qualities of repetition and embeddedness and is more abstract and therefore more dynamic than a specific cultural expression.

If this seems unconvincing, what would a stronger candidate be?

What for?

To get the first four characters of a cryptographic hash of a piece of text using the Unix command line, enter something like the following:

echo -n "egress" | sha256sum | cut -c -4

Art Crypto Projects

Staking Ratio

New on-chain blockchain art project! This is last in the series pairing aesthetic properties with blockchain governance systems. Stake Ether to alter the ratio between two (perceptual) values.

See: http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho/staking-ratio/

Art Crypto Projects

Shared Secret

New project! Open your authenticator app (e.g. Google Authenticator or Authy) and point it at the QR code above.

Or for more details see:


Art Art History Crypto Reviews

The Rarest Book

The history of rare digital art doesn’t make sense without Rare Pepes.

Pepe the frog is a cartoon character, originally created by Matt Furie, that turned out to be catnip for Internet meme creators. Some of these memes were formatted as trading cards in order to create humorous simulacral cultural fakes called “Rare Pepes” which were shared on imageboards and then sold on eBay and other marketplaces. In reality, digital images are difficult to make “rare”. They circulate as infinitely copyable files on the Internet. There is a “The Simpsons” meme for this, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

The Rare Pepe Blockchain Project took the problem of making rare pepes actually rare seriously and ran with it. It catalogues rare pepe images registered as blockchain-stored metadata in small editions of Bitcoin-based Counterparty XCP tokens. Social media clique exclusivity thereby becomes blockchain artificial scarcity. I talked about the economic and social dynamics of this in “Tokenization And Its Discontents“, but it is worth emphasizing (as Jason Bailey and others have) that one of the outcomes of this was the whole “rare digital art” market. While they do represent a valuable alternative to the economic and social dynamics of the existing artworld, the current rare art tokenization platforms amount to a gentrification of the Rare Pepe Blockchain Project, obscuring that more liminal aspects of their origins and discarding some of their possibilities in the process.

“The Rarest Book” is a physical volume created by Eleanora Brizi and Louis Parker collecting 36 series of Rare Pepes, 1774 in total, along with essays that cover the history of the project and put it in context. It’s a fat paperback edition with a striking green cover, as playful and comprehensive as the work it covers. The Rare Pepe Blockchain Project shows the strength of social and memetic content for building community and value in crypto projects. It would be difficult to produce such a book about most other tokenized art platforms, which tend to lack a unifying theme, iconography, or curatorial approach. If you don’t want to view cartoon frog trading cards as conceptually rich contemporary art (although there is always the MODERNPEPE token on the back of the book in that case), step back and look at the project as a whole. This book is an excellent way of doing that and makes a strong case for the interest, value, and alterity of the project.

So order a copy before it becomes even rarer. There were only 300 to start with. Find out more here:

Art Crypto Projects

Pay Previous Path

“Pay Previous Path”, the penultimate piece in the series of artworks pairing aesthetic objects with economic allocation methods, is now live after some Ethereum transaction wrangling due to unexpectedly high execution costs on the network.

You can find out more here: http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho/pay-previous-path/

The final piece will be “Staking Ratio”.

Art Crypto Projects

Hack Line Properties

Hack Line Properties, 2019, Ethereum DApp.

“Hack Line Properties” is a supposedly secure blockchain smart contract designed to allow only its owner to update the vector line stroke properties that it stores.

But a common Ethereum code bug allows anyone who finds it to “hack” the contract and set the line properties themselves.

If Lawrence Lessig’s descriptive statement that, on the Internet, “code is law” is taken normatively then bugs such as this are governance mechanisms and each hack of the contract is an act of governance.

You can view Hack Line Propeties in an Ethereum-enabled browser here:

The source code for the series is available here:

Art Crypto Projects

Proof of Work Bitmap

“Proof of Work Bitmap” (2019) shows a 16×16 pixel monochrome bitmap that lives on the Ethereum blockchain.


Clicking on that bitmap shows an editor.


Submitting any changes made using the editor starts a (simple) proof-of-work calculation.


When that calculation is complete the results can be sent along with the bitmap to update it on the blockchain. Doing so costs some “gas” Ether to pay Ethereum for the transactions.


You can see it (in an Ethereum-enabled browser) here:

The source code for the series is here:

And the project page is here:


Proof of Work Bitmap is the latest in a series of pieces that pair aesthetic properties with methods of economic allocation or social governance. In computer art and digital culture a monochrome bitmap is the simplest representation of a discrete image. In blockchain-based systems a “proof of work” is a time-consuming computational puzzle that is impossible to cheat on but simple to check the result of. The result of solving that puzzle in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Proof of Work Bitmap, is a 256-bit number with a specific number of zeros at the end. This is the same size as a 16×16 bitmap and as a memory cell in Ethereum. There’s a resonance here, as there is in each piece in the series.

On a technical basis this is the first piece in the series made with the Web3.js 1.0, Bulma CSS, and raw JavaScript DOM access rather than Truffle-Contract, Bootstrap and JQuery. It’s a much more lightweight approach, which is good for maintainability.

The next and final pieces in this series are “Hacked Line Properties”, “Staking Ratio”, and “Pay Previous Path”.

Art Art Computing Crypto Ethereum Projects Shows Virtual Reality

Galerie Default

I created a building in CryptoVoxels using one of their default build templates and filled it with a show of Tokens Equal Text:

I’ve named it Galerie Default after how it was made. You can take a look in your web browser via the link above (and if you have a fancy VR headset you’ll soon be able to wander around it immersively). There are much more advanced uses of the CryptoVoxels system to show NFT art within it, but this was a fun experiment.

Art Crypto Projects Shows

Crypto Valley 2019: Blockchain Aesthetics

“Blockchain Aesthetics” was in a selection of art being shown by the awesome Kate Vass Galerie at Crypto Valley 2019 in Zug, Switzerland.

Here’s a quick video from the gallery:

Art Crypto Media

Adventures in Artistic Tokenisation

Via @squizzi on Twitter, an article that mentions “Secret Artwork“:

Similar in movement to early net art, blockchains and blockchain platforms provide a new variation of current applications and representation of data that art niches can easily pick up on. Add into that the potential financial benefits that blockchain offers and you can see how it has easily captured a quickly growing clique of early adopters and artistic organisers.

This article is a short intro to various early artworks and ideas that have come about in this space.

There’s lots of good stuff in the article, I recommend taking a look.