This is how it started. Well actually no, it really started back in 2019 when we began communicating via Twitter DMs.
Throughout the years we would have discussions on all types of different topics but we would repeatedly discuss his amazing data visualizations. Eventually, it got to the point where I asked him to come on the Zima Red podcast but because Takens is full anon (fully anonymous) he asked for a written Q&A that you can check out here. The TLDR version is that Takens is an intriguing data scientist coder who has a deep passion for inspecting and creating data visualizations around the crypto ecosystem. So throughout the years we went with Takens constantly tweeting out these awesome data visualizations until January of this year when I responded to one of his tweets with “make crypto art out of this!” He rebutted with this:
And after I saw this I DM’d him and asked if he could actually start minting some crypto data as a kind of artwork. That DM launched a flurry of regular and ongoing conversations and has evolved into what Takens has dubbed Ethstory. Ethstory has grown from single crypto data visualizations to an entire visual story showcasing the history of Ethereum since its inception via on-chain data. We even decided that Sfermion would steward Ethstory. This means I’ve assisted with everything on the launch, business, marketing, and token strategy side of the project. Ethstory has essentially become Sfermion’s first incubated project. To find out more about Ethstory you can check out the website here (https://ethstory.eth.link/) and I will take some quotes and add them below:
Ethstory - Data-Driven NFTs Reflecting the History of Ethereum
“Ethstory is a data visualization project, using network and other diagrams to describe the history of Ethereum. Visualizations will be released as NFTs, and draw inspiration from many exciting artists in this space. Each original visualization uses thousands of data points from on-chain and other resources to create symbolic depictions of Ethereum's intriguing history. Scarcity is associated with depth in time — the earlier the depicted events, the rarer the items. On OpenSea, owners (and only owners) unlock a link to a password-protected vector-quality PDF, permitting printing, zooming, etc. to any resolution.”
“There will only be 4 series produced. Each series will include several originals, and each of these originals will have a limited number of editions. These will be issued as NFTs minted on OpenSea. Series will be released in waves in spring, 2021.
Series 1: "36PrZ (Conception)" Mar. 9th, 2021. 4 originals in 22 editions.
Series 2: "0x304a5 (Branching)" Mar. 20th, 2021
Series 3: "0x06012 (Complexifying)" Apr. 3rd, 2021
Series 4: "0x00000 (Transforming)" Apr. 17th, 2021”
As we can see this project will be a limited edition release of NFTs that showcase the very early days of Ethereum to what the network looks like today. The visualizations are not only stunning in a visual sense but also helps us understand how powerful of a network Ethereum has become.
Series 1 - 36PrZ (Conception)
The first series will launch on March 9th on OpenSea and consists of four original pieces. Each piece has varying number of editions and owners receive unlockable PDF files where you can zoom in on the images and inspect every bit of data inside the piece.
WPYP Chromosome (4 Editions)
"WPYP Chromosome," the core genetic material of Ethereum, was generated from the main prose of the white paper and yellow paper.. In total, almost 20,000 words are projected on this original. In the PDF, it is possible to zoom in on individual words at perfect image quality, or to zoom out and take in the aggregate complexity of these ideas before they manifested on-chain.
Inject BTC (5 Editions)
Deposits into Ethereum's public sale were hosted in 2014 by BTC address 36PrZ[...]. "Inject BTC" represents over 6,000 transactions (zoomed in, the larger nodes) and many more thousands of inputs (zoomed in, smaller nodes). Using a deterministic grid layout algorithm, it results in these concentrations of paths here and there. Ownership includes a PDF, and zooming in on the PDF reveals the first few characters of the wallet addresses and transaction hashes for 36PrZ[...] as it collects the inputs to support Ethereum development in late summer, 2014.
Bridging BTC (6 Editions)
Vitalik Buterin's blog post about the sale (7/22/14) indicated that 1 bitcoin would yield 2,000 ether for the early period of the sale, and then linearly scale down to 1337 ether/bitcoin by 9/2/2014. Using this formula, this piece draws possible linkages to GENESIS wallets in the Ethereum mainnet launch — bridging the wallets on Ethereum with their corresponding wallets on Bitcoin. The dotted lines reflect this alignment, symbolizing what is to come but not yet realized. They converge on the future GENESIS block, at the top left. Those who submitted into 36PrZ[...] await this realization, shown here only as an intriguing specter of that future state. Zooming in on the PDF version of this original reveals the first few characters of wallet addresses and transaction hashes.
Birth (7 Editions)
This piece plots most depositors who purchased approximately 10,000 or more ether in 2014. This is depicted on the left, as edges on a connection graph, flowing into this deposit address. A year later, Ethereum's mainnet went live, with ether flowing from the GENESIS block. Edges to the right depict the first transactions from GENESIS. The first transactions that spring from these same large BTC depositors are shown, but now in ETH, representing the birth of a new meshwork that would found ICOs, DeFi, NFTs, and more.
The auction for Series 1 - 36PrZ (Conception) will happen on March 9th and begin in a staggered timeslot per original piece:
WPYP Chromosome (4 Editions) auction begins @ 5pm PST and ends at 5:30pm PST
Inject BTC (5 Editions) auction begins @ 5:30pm PST and ends at 6pm PST
Bridging BTC (6 Editions) auction begins @ 6pm PST and ends at 6:30pm PST
Birth (7 Editions) auction begins @ 7pm PST and ends at 7:30pm PST
All pieces begin with an initial bid of 0.05 ETH.
Why Steward Ethstory?
It really boiled down to the relationship that Takens and I had built over the years. I knew, from our years of conversations, that he is a rare individual who loved to create data visualizations and had a clear passion for crypto. We have never met each other in person and have never even spoken on a phone, video call, or any method using audio. So while there are risks with this project, just like there are with every other, I feel confident enough in Takens to work together on the launch of this awesome project. Sfermion has never incubated a project, and I thought it would be fun to do something at a reasonable scale that is different and interesting.
On top of everything I mentioned above, Takens is not money motivated. He is taking the majority of proceeds from the sale of these NFTs and donating them to charity! His main potential financial upside in this project will be via holding NFTs from the project. If he ever decides to sell, and the value of these pieces has increased, then that will be his main form of compensation. Talk about skin-in-the-game. He is also more of a data scientist than an artist… but he is inspired by the art in this space. He hopes giving back will help bring some attention to the platform.
Besides our personal relationship, the motivations for getting behind such an amazing project are quite simple. I have yet to see another project similar to this and I love the narrative. The pieces of art are very well made and actually tell a story through data which is extremely interesting, Takens is anon which adds some mystique around everything and I could see these pieces having long-term potential value as the the story they tell is about Ethereum. I have a strong long-term belief in Ethereum so any pieces of art that tell the history of its creation and overall life I think will be very interesting for collectors in the future. For these reasons and more, I knew Ethstory is something we had to get involved in.
Also, the entities that I have are perfect for incubating NFT projects. Sfermion can provide initial capital and directly purchase NFTs, Zima Red could act as the megaphone and tell people about this exciting project. For clarity, Sfermion is not receiving any income from the sales of these NFTs. Sfermion is fully aligned with the project as we are asset owners with full skin-in-the-game, just like everyone else.
Links + Resources