Cryptoart

Cats, Frogs and Cryptoartists: What if Auteur .jpgs Become a Luxury Good

March 11th, 2021
When in July 2013 I met Andreas Schildbach, the first developer to write the Bitcoin Wallet for mobile, one Bitcoin was worth around 80 euros. We were sitting at a table in a bar, the Room 77, which had recently hit the headlines because the owner, Joerg Platzer, had been interviewed by the BBC for the insane act of accepting Bitcoin as a form of direct payment. Still not satisfied, Joerg had managed to convince many shops on the street, Graefestraße, to do the same, and for this reason the area was dubbed by the few nerds who knew about it and by the owners of those same shops, Bitcoin Kiez. While I was interviewing Andreas (for a documentary I was shooting), around us a bunch of developers and crypto anarchists were chatting and drinking, but Andreas was so focused on his story and I was consequently so busy trying to understand what he was saying that the voices around us had disappeared. 

What I am only now fully able to understand, and what Andreas was trying to communicate to me at the time, was that in the use of blockchain technology, for him, monetary exchanges were a completely secondary phenomenon. As a player and collector of Magic: the Gathering, a passion that over time had given way to other more adult passions, which were anti-fa demos, fetish parties, drag and developing at the service of the open source community, Andreas had always wondered how collecting could be ever digitized. Blockchain was the answer. Through blockchain technology, Magic: the Gathering collectors from all over the world could finally exchange the unique and digitized version of a card.

Image found on @beeple’s Twitter.

GAME START

This statement came back to my mind and became clearer when three years later, in 2016, I came across the Rare Pepe Wallet project.

The Rare Pepe Rush, that is the practice of collecting unseen and uncommon versions of the meme Pepe the Frog, started trending well before Pepe the Frog hit the headlines, or in this case we should probably say thrash the headlines, in the form of mascot, god and magical protector of the neo-Nazi media apparatus (the so called alt right), as Donald Trump, in October 2015, had well thought of retweeting a caricature of himself in the guise of Pepe, tagging and winking at the bulwarks of far-right American blogging.  

Like so many artistic and memetic products of internet 3.0, rare pepes were born in 2014 in the shadow of 4chan, DeviantArt, Tumblr, Reddit threads and perhaps even earlier they had been exchanged by who knows who, through private chats, now impossible to trace, for reasons certainly far from political propaganda, but again private and now impossible to trace. One of the first conversations on 4chan, relating to watermarking their own rare pepes, dates back to October 2014. The conversation refers to ‘a market’, which is however the meme market and therefore a market that responds to the currency of likes, virality and visibility indexes, that from 2016 onwards will be made official by the subreddit r/MemeEconomy. During the same conversation anons also discuss topics concerning Art, one of the users observing that watermarking the pic would ruin the rare pepe artistic value, by partially covering the image.  Six months later, on April the 1st, 2015, a .jpg collection of ‘over 1200 rare pepes’ was placed for auction on Ebay and reached the value of $ 99,166 before being removed from the site a few days later.

Apart from the April’s troll, this short story tells us that in 2015 selling .jpgs on Ebay was not allowed by company policies, for a simple, yet fundamental rule of the art market: to be sold, the artistic object must be not only “rare”, but also “scarce” as difficult or impossible to replicate. 

And here it comes, to solve the problem of the non-replicability of the art of the Rare Pepe: the blockchain technology.

To my amazement, during 2016 the Rare Pepe Wallet website had started selling Rare Pepes framed in a graphic that was the direct reference to Magic: the Gathering game cards. As Joe Looney, co-founder of Rare Pepe Wallet tells us, the digital collector’s dream had finally come true thanks to Non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Unlike basic cryptocurrencies, for example Bitcoin which, while leaving traces of its movements on the blockchain, remains perfectly interchangeable as a normal coin or banknote does, an NFT token is unique: it cannot be exchanged for another token of equivalent value, nor deleted. This makes it suitable for representing the authenticity of a digital work. 

The NFT represents the digital consideration of a notarial contract attesting that an asset is scarce or even unique, just like a work of art, but without any actual notary involved in the process.

When you buy a Rare Pepe on Rare Pepe Wallet, what you buy is a certain amount of NFT, in this case branded as ‘Rare Pepe Cash’. The blockchain ensures, for example, that there are exactly 4202 NFTs associated with the Nyan Pepe card – to figure this out, I imagine small tokens with feet that hold a Nyan Pepe card on themselves, bringing it from one owner to another – or there are exactly 7050 NFT associated with the Warhol Pepe card, or the Kardashian Pepe card, or the Homer Pepe card that in January 2018 was set sold for the sum of 350,000 Pepe Cash, amounting at the time at $ 38,500.

Homer Pepe Card from Rare Pepe Wallet.

I like to think of the news of Homer Pepe sale as a watershed, a moment of strong symbolic and hyperstitional value. It’s everything: the epic figure of Homer Simpson, a pop icon on the degree of Beatles and Madonna, portrayed in the green guise of the most mainstream meme that the history of the internet has ever known for now, on a gold card, as gold was the ‘expansion symbol’, index of rarity, in Magic: the Gathering, cards whose monetary value has reached unprecedented heights in the history of collectible card games.  

A clickbait machine, a hype epitome to the nth degree, and a monetary exchange in which none of those who contributed to this exaggerated accumulation of value receive the slightest return, from Matt Furie, designer of the first Pepe, or Matt Groening, designer of the first Homer, or Richard Garfield, the mathematician, inventor and game designer who in 1993 gave birth to Magic: the Gathering, up to the thousands of memers who gave birth to the Rare Pepe phenomenon, or to the hundreds of developers who, like Andreas Schildbach, have contributed in creating the many blockchain apps and softwares, which are right now still open source. An exploitation of resources, that of the creative community, and internet users in general, which as we will see, however, is fundamental to create a consensus of value, or more simply to feed the hype, and make us forget that the Homer Pepe card, as all the other collectable cards and works of digital art that will come, is scarce and unique, only because it has been decreed as such, within the crypto ‘game’, by the players themselves: the investors. 

THE FIRST WAVE OF CRYPTO ART MARKETPLACES

The first to replicate the Rare Pepe Wallet experience were the Canadian studio Dapper Labs, with CryptoKitties, a virtual cat collecting and trading game. A copyCat of Rare Pepe and another great success, such as to congest the Ethereum cryptocurrency network, on which the kittens’ NFTs were hosted. In the following months I imagine many other realities, belonging to the world of “crypto” tring to set up something similar. Entrepreneurs attempting to tap into the nearest bubbles, investors doing their best in understanding what digital art was, digital art curators doing their best in understanding  what blockchain was, strange moments for everyone. Just a month after Homer Pepe was auctioned, I was contacted by a digital art curator, Bob Bicknell-Knight, whom I had been in contact with in the past months for an Issue concerning gamer gate, and who had now been searched for by a pop-up Digital Art Marketplace, the Iconic Show. 

A freeze frame from Dream Navigator (2020) made by @fantastic3dcreation, as featured on Feltzine. Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_qATfID0yL/

Iconic presented itself as the first blockchain-based Digital Art Marketplace, boasting sponsors of a certain level, now disappeared from the official website, which is still active. From their social media, we could deduct that the physical part of the Digital Art Marketplace took place in Russia. This experience for me was limited to an exchange of emails with their social media manager, and to my sending a ‘digital work’, a rather horrendous .jpg image of an eye taken from the internet and reworked with a artistic style transfer process using TensorFlow, a prepackaged deep learning script. After a few months and past the peak of 20k reached by Bitcoin in that period, Iconic fell back into thin air. The hype had dropped and with the hype perhaps even the investors had decided to turn elsewhere. 

A WORD FROM MY DIGITAL ART NETWORK

In my small universe, a network of artists, curators and creatives that I had the opportunity to meet because of my work with Clusterduck, the multidisciplinary collective with which I study the processes and actors behind the creation of Internet related content, Iconic had appeared and disappeared like a foreign body, a strange meteor that by chance had rained down on us and then disappeared with equal speed and randomness. That year for Clusterduck had been the first year of activity in the world of digital art, although some of us had already individually worked in this field. As a collective we had curated the Berlin pavilion of Wrong Biennale, trying to bring just the relationship between hype, hyperstition and digital art into the discourse of digital art. 

💖🌠💞 (2020) made by @reyunsung, as featured on @post.vision.


From our point of view, the digital art to which we were referring was inseparable from the community and the contexts in which we had seen it born, and had survived for years in good and bad weather. Areas and networks close to Hito Steyerl, Eva and Franco Mattes, Metahaven, Camille Henrot, DIS Collective, Katja Novitskova, Carla Gannis, Jodi, Olia Lialina, Aram Bartholl, Domenico Quaranta, Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico, just to name a few, or magazines such as Rhizome, E-flux, Neural, AQBN were the context to which the new generation of digital artists could look to. 

As Erica Lagalisse points out, about her study on Freemasonry and conspiracies, we too felt within ‘an (auto)ethnographic research project’, being at the same time both researchers who tried to observe the phenomenon of digital art from an external point of view, either creators or curators of digital art who operated from within one of its filter bubbles. We looked to creators, artists and curators that we recognized as part of this confusing world, Tom Galle, David OReilly, Zach Lieberman, Ines Alpha, Molly Soda, Fantastic 3d Creation, Violeta Forest, Miyö Van Stenis, Paul Soulellis, Nicolas Maigret, Ruby Gloom, Mara Oscar Cassiani, Guido Segni. While Instagram channels and magazines such as Feltzine, Postvision, Antimateria, SiliconValet, were the places, close to our bubble, where, along with many other aggregators, the still in definition new digital art, jumping from umbrella terms to other umbrella terms (#vaporwave, #postinternet, #3dart, #glitchart, #cyberghetto, #aesthetic, #generativeart, #webglart, #internetart, #gameart, #memeart) was curated and hosted, in a continuous swing between recognition, accusations of amateurism and spikes of dizzying virality, as told by Valentina Tanni in Memestetica, recently published by the italian publisher Nero Edizioni.

THE SECOND WAVE OF CRYPTO ART MARKETPLACES

A few weeks ago NFTs came back to visit us, this time with great fanfare, while also getting to the headlines. There are continuous buzzing around crypto art and the new Digital Art Marketplace, among which Superrare, Nifty Gateway, MakersPlace, Zora, Seditionart, Foundation, exclusive platforms that combine their public and private auctions through NFTs hosted on the Ethereum blockchain with editorials, rankings, selections, curatorial contributions and an active and constant use of Twitter and Instagram, which in recent months has allowed them to expand the network, penetrating many of the aforementioned bubbles, including ours, in search of value and consensus.

MMM_VR_DONUTS (2020) made by @xsullo, auctioned on SuperRare.


While the NFT hype along with Bitcoin is – again – skyrocketing, the Digital Art NFT Rush is spreading to the most unexpected places. Three days ago I was contacted by a journalist from Milano Finanza, Marcello Bussi, who was trying to figure this whole situation out, and asked me how in my opinion the world of cryptocurrencies would affect the art market: there was perhaps the risk that the new Digital Art Marketplaces replaced traditional galleries and auction houses? I told him that the fastest would win. 

As I write this, the Nyan Cat original gif has just auctioned and sold for 300 ETH, equivalent to $ 587,000 at the time of sale. Meanwhile this same week one of the major auction houses, Christie’s, which is currently second only to Sotheby’s, announced that it will be selling Beeple’s NFT, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, becoming the first major auction house in the world to launch into the NFT art market. Christie’s announces that Everydays: The First 5000 Days will be sold with ‘the artist’s unforgeable signature and uniquely identified on the blockchain’ together with all the ‘vital details including time of creation, edition size and a record of any prior sales’. 

Everydays: The First 5,000 Days (2021) made by Beeple, auctioned on Christie’s.


Another watershed event that today generates
new clickbait titles, journalists and bloggers who invoke the ‘Stonk’ of NFTs: in the same week that crypto enters the traditional art market, the gif of the internet’s most famous cat literally flies on the moon, outstripping any other amount spent on the young NFT market so far. This time the proceeds from the sale will go to Christopher Torres, then @prguitarman, who, exactly 10 years from now, published the original gif of Nyan Cat on his LOL-Comics website, while the Digital Art Marketplace which hosted the auction, Foundation, will retain 10% of the proceeds. Lindsay Howard, Foundation’s community leader stated that this event ‘signals a new era where digital artists can be directly compensated for the work they create and share online’. I’m wondering if part of that proceeds will also reach Sara, the YouTube user @saraj00n, who by combining Nyan Cat with the track ‘nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!’ actually made that cat the most viral cat in the history of the Internet. It definitely won’t get to Daniwell, the producer who created the piece, in turn using Hatsune Miku‘s Vocaloid, or to the millions of users who have contributed to making Nyan Cat what it is today, including the almost as viral version of Nyan Cat created to honor the exploits of the hacker group LulzSec. And who knows if this type of information will ever be included in the ‘vital details’ of future memes that will hypothetically be auctioned by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips or China Guardian. For now, Christie’s has limited itself in auctioning a work that is exclusively and without a shadow of a doubt created by a single author: Beeple. 

TWO WORDS FROM MY DIGITAL ART NETWORK

This summer I found myself tracing the origin of ancient memes and digital discoveries, for a transmedia project still under construction that I am currently building with Clusterduck, which also falls under the umbrella of digital art, and which, although resembling in an uncanny way to Everydays: The First 5000 Days, has much more to do with the context and collective modalities in which Nyan Cat was born. For this reason, these months we have had the opportunity to question ourselves at length about the value that memes, as to some extent any digital work, may have once taken out of context. Like participatory performance works, or some forms of new media art, memes exist in a given period for a given historical reason, sometimes political, often subcultural, as their major significance is happening on ephemeral media such as chats, threads and comments in private groups. For this reason a meme should not be considered an autonomous unit of information that propagates on the net following a “spatial” and “viral” diffusion model, and consequently it should not be sold as such. 

A freeze frame from Dead Ramen (2020), Music by deadmau5, Visuals by Mad Dog Jones, auctioned on Nifty Gateway. Link: https://niftygateway.com/itemdetail/primary/0xa20f75be9427995e596788c29a10c7d734671251/1


As Wade Wallerstein, digital art curator and founder of
Silicon Valet, wrote to me a couple of days ago, as I was asking his point of view on the NFT phenomenon, none of the new Digital Art Marketplace for now takes care to include the context of the work of art in the blockchain inscription that should certify the value of the work (where it was shown, who wrote about it and so on). Other ‘vital details’ are omitted. Furthermore, Wade notes, most of the platforms cited above do not exhibit works of art in their whole form, but only ‘drops’, smaller versions of the initial work, reducing the artist’s work to what is nothing more than a collectible digital card game. It is as if the digital works, for technical necessities, are constrained to become a Magic: The Gathering card. 

THE CRYPTOARTISTS

Intrigued by the breaking of the filter bubbles that these platforms are causing, I found myself a few nights ago looking at whose works were actually auctioned. Beyond the striking case of Nyan Cat, many of the digital works sold these days – at prices ranging from $ 11, to $ 2,000, up to $ 10,000 – come from artists or creators of all kinds, from the designer or visual composing emerging artist, to the already somewhat established 3D artist, for having worked on music videos, or having participated in digital art shows, or having been published in magazines such as Juxtapoz, or in the most extraordinary cases for a feature on Adult Swim. From the information provided on the Digital Art Market platform account it is sometimes impossible to understand if the artist has already exhibited somewhere or if he is pretending to be something he is not, and in that case I wonder if behind the mask provided by the approval, the hype and consent of the Digital Art Marketplace newborn community in question does not hide yet another foreign body, tourist, troll, gold digger. Then I imagine the curators or who at this moment is dealing with the selection of new creators coming from the very large waiting list. I guess it’s not an easy job. The litmus test, however, is often provided by the link to the Instagram or Twitter profile of the artists, where you can orient yourself by reading the bio or reaching for more familiar bubbles. By digging deeper I even happened to find creators from my bubble who had managed to sell something and then I thought «good for you». That the world of digital art is made up largely of creatives condemned to do two jobs, the artistic or creative unpaid one, which however requires constant self-promotion work, and that of the corporate, of brands, of underpaid jobs as freelancers, it is certainly not a secret.

THE CRYPTOPATRONS

Continuing my exploration of the Digital Art Marketplace, I notice that some of the works on display are direct references to Elon Musk, and not by chance. Together with Chamath Palihapitiya, chief executive of Social Capital and previously a Facebook executive, Elon Musk has widely publicized his investments in NFT, receiving gestures of extreme gratitude from the current crypto community, obviously also due to the recent purchase by Tesla of the equivalent in Bitcoin of 1.5 billion dollars, and his very popular Tweets about Bitcoins or Dogecoins. This brings us to another question to explore, namely, who are the major collectors? Talking about it with Valentina Tanni, and as Salvatore Iaconesi pointed out to us in a chat a few days back, they are probably people who have suddenly accumulated large sums of money in cryptocurrencies and who today find themselves experimenting with new possible forms of market.

Elon’s Huge Cock (2021) made by @obxium auctioned on SuperRare.


Scrolling through the works currently on sale it is impossible not to notice
declared allusions to anarchocapitalist cryptoanarchism, according to which through crypto not only the art world, but also the finance world could finally free itself from the yoke of gatekeepers, bankers, gallery owners, notaries, in favor of a distributed and decentralized power. For this reason buying an NFT depicting the iconic face of Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, hanging with an alien dude or on a mission to the moon surrounded by unicorns and kittens is a gesture that for a crypto rich can assume, as Valentina Tanni suggests, a high degree of symbolic performativity. After all, the huge amounts of money that at this moment are not preserved in banks, or invested in stocks, but in crypto instead has exceeded the trillion mark a few months ago, making the set of crypto the fifth most used currency in the world. This virtual money has to go somewhere, that is, has to be invested, and so here you are, the digital art market is finally taking off. ‘To the moon’.

CARBON FOOTPRINT

In addition to artistic and political issues, there are environmental problems. As Joanie Lemercier tells us, the disastrous consequences that blockchain is inflicting on the environment due to the huge amount of electricity and water that servers need to mine new blocks of verified transactions, have led some artists to withdraw their works from Digital Art Marketplaces, after the shocking and apparently unexpected discovery by Joanie himself that the auction of six of his digital works ‘consumed in 10 seconds more electricity than [his] entire [Art Gallery] studio over the past 2 years’.

At the dawn of what could be a new era in the world of art collecting, Joanie like many other artists and curators asks for honesty and transparency in the processes underlying the new Digital Art Marketplaces, and in his testimony he talks about the fact that in the next year Ethereum scaling will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the NFTs transactions hosted on Ethereum. Definitely a good news, given the fact that all the aforementioned Art Marketplace, which are currently by far the most frequented by CryptoPatrons, are using the ETH blockchain as a base.

Scorpio (2020), auctioned on Nifty Gateway.


In the meantime, however, there are those who are not satisfied with future promises, and who prefer to find alternative solutions in the present time, while the second wave, or should we say second pick, is actually happening.

As Franz Rosati pointed out to me, a couple of days before Nyan Cat was auctioned, the computational artist, engineer and computer scientist Memo Akten made public A guide to ecofriendly CryptoArt. His work includes a very nice website where it is possible to calculate energy usage and emissions of all NFT transactions on ETH and a list of eco-friendly Digital Marketplaces. The list is useful not only for digital artists who want to approach the world of blockchain and NFTs without leaving huge carbon footprints behind their auctions, but also for those artists who, for example, want to keep their anonymity, or who prefer to avoid the pressure and bias of the curation process that is currently going on in the aforementioned SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, Foundation and so on.

The list is useful not only for digital artists who want to approach the world of blockchain and NFTs without leaving huge footprints, but also for those artists who, for example, want to keep their anonymity, or who prefer not to undergo the short listing and selection process currently going on in the aforementioned SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, Foundation and so on. In a short chat I had with Doreen A. Rios, curator at the Mexican Centro de Cultura Digital and founder of [Anti] Materia, Doreen observed that the same opaque elitist transactions which already characterize the traditional art market, are now exactly reiterated by major Digital Art Markets. Scrolling through the list put together by Memo Akten and other contributors on Github, you will notice that some of the Digital Marketplaces are also contrassaigned with the indication: ‘not invite only or curated’. One more step towards the much desired decentralization of the marketplaces. 

COPYRIGHT DYSTOPIA

In 2013, the same year I met Andreas Schildbach, and in the same city, Berlin, Ascribe was born. Together with Monegraph, born around the same months in New York, Ascribe was the first company, born with the aim of using Blockchain to help digital artists monetize their work. 

On the Ascribe website, under the notice ‘Ascribe is no longer active’ it is written: 

We had been asking the question: how do you collect digitally based artworks? Then we realized: what if you could own digital art the way you own Bitcoin? This was the starting point for ascribe, before blockchain (or even Bitcoin) went mainstream. The idea behind it was to give everyone more control over their work: for the first time in history, creators could break the lock on content, distribution and licensing of the entrenched players.

Following an approach closer to those years, the work of Ascribe and Monegraph paid particular attention to issues of intellectual property licensing. How to decentralize copyright, so that there is a profit in the diffusion of digital works, but that revenue does not end up in the pockets of the ‘entrenched players’? 

The idea of ​​rewarding artists without any intermediary, or at least the empty shell of that idea, remains, and indeed we have seen how the major Digital Art Markets take this motivation as a flagship or a shield, useful to cover many other delicate issues, such as the actual failures in reaching ecological sustainability of transactions and the opacity of the artists’ selection and curation system. In the meanwhile, fortunately, the combination between blockchain and copyright is not yet taken into consideration by Digital Art Markets. CryptoArtists do not mind posting the images they will sell on their Instagram and Twitter accounts on the Digital Art Markets, as a good social media presence is a win win for them as for their Digital Art Markets. The ubiquity and liquidity of digital art then means that the same work can be splitted into different parts, to be sold in different Digital Art Markets at the same time. For example, I happened to find fragments of Everydays: The First 5000 Days on Nifty Gateway, the same work that Beeple put up for auction, in its entirety, with Christie’s, and to think, «well done Beeple, nice troll».

Meme posted by Jeff Thompson on the Facebook public group BrowserBased.


However, dystopian implications are always around the corner. Speaking of
Nyan Cat, we have already observed how difficult it is, if the digital work of art and its value are inextricably linked with the story it had as a meme, to reward the internet community, as every single artist or creative who contributed to the creation and success of the work. This aspect is not even remotely taken into consideration by the actual copyright laws. While on the contrary, the memers, or “content re-elaborators”, will probably in the near future be exposed to the opposite risk, that of being fined or accused of disseminating and modifying copyrighted content.

At least this could become a reality under European jurisdiction. Article 13 (renamed Article 17 in the most recent draft of the legislation), was approved on March 26, 2019 by the European parliament, and it will be translated into national law on March 26 this year. Very soon we will be able to know the consequences of this law, of which it has been said to be: ‘vague and poorly thought-out, and will end up restricting how content is shared online, stifling innovation and free speech’ and that in some of the worst case scenarios ‘could lead to the introduction of “upload filters” that will scan all user content before it’s uploaded to sites to remove copyrighted material’. In a famous tweet, Julia Reda, MEP for the German Pirate Party and former Member of the European Parliament, had defined March 26, 2019 a ‘dark day for internet freedom’, but is still fighting the cause undr the hashtag #SaveYourInternet.

I hope that these testimonials can help the digital art community find a way to be rewarded for the enormous contribution that for years has been giving, free of charge, to anyone who has the opportunity to use the internet in the world, but above all I also hope that they can be used to avoid destroy this community in the process. If we want to save our internet, there is still a long way to go.

THANKS

In this article, a little for fun, a little for the love of attribution, I decided to call by name and surname, as is usually not done, all the people with whom I found myself exchanging ideas on the matter. In addition to them I thank Franziska Von Guten, Noel Nicolaus, Aria Mag and Tomato Cappelletti who have accompanied me in the work of Clusterduck Collective since 2016, and I also thank Giacomo Vannucchi, Gregorio Magini, Umberto Boschi and the person who in 2013 introduced me to those Bitcoins that I never bought (*sigh*) Giulio Ammendola. 

The italian version of this long form was published on Not – NERO on Theory on February 25th, 2021.

Silvia Dal Dosso is a multidisciplinary creative and a researcher in internet and memetic subcultures. She is co-founder of Clusterduck, a collective working at the crossroads of research, design and transmedia, focusing on social media and internet related content. As filmmaker she wrote/directed The 1Up Fever (2013), a mockumentary about Bitcoin and the mysterious release of an AR mobile game inspired by Super Mario Bros, foreseeing the famous Pokémon GO App.

Reference List

Books

Erica Lagalisse, Occult Features of Anarchism. With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples, Oakland: PM Press, 2019.

An Xiao Mina, Memes to Movements. How the World’s Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power, Boston: Beacon Press, 2019.

Limor Shifman, Memes in Digital Culture, Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 2013.

Valentina Tanni, Memestetica. Il settembre eterno dell’arte, Roma: Nero, 2020.

Edited books

Bob Bicknell-Knight (ed.), It doesn’t take long to find new targets, This is it?, Issue № 3, London, 2017.

Articles

Memo Akten, ‘A guide to ecofriendly CryptoArt (NFTs)’, Github, 26 February, 2021, https://github.com/memo/eco-nft.

Jonathan Bolding, ‘With a Black Lotus sold at $500k, Magic: The Gathering hits a new level’, PC Gamer, 30 January , 2021, https://www.pcgamer.com/with-a-black-lotus-sold-at-dollar500k-magic-the-gathering-hits-a-new-level/.

Christie’s Press Office, ‘RELEASE: Christie’s to Offer the First Purely Digital NFT-Based Work of Art Ever Offered by a Major Auction House’, Christie’s, 16 February, 2021, https://www.christies.com/about-us/press-archive/details?PressReleaseID=9948&lid=1.

Silvia Dal Dosso, ‘Gatti, rane e criptoartisti. Se il .jpg d’autore diventa un bene di lusso’, Not – Nero on Theory, 15 February 2021, https://not.neroeditions.com/gatti-rane-e-criptoartisti/.

Eileen Kinsella, ‘Christie’s Hopes to Open a New Frontier of the Art Market With the First-Ever Major Auction of a Wholly Digital Blockchain Artwork’, Artnet, 16 February, 2021, https://news.artnet.com/market/christies-nft-blockchain-art-auction-1943697.

Eileen Kinsella, ’Is This the Next Art-Market Bubble? A Unique NFT for the Popular ‘Nyan Cat’ GIF Just Sold for a Whopping $560,000’, Artnet, 16 February, 2021, https://news.artnet.com/market/nyan-cat-nft-sells-for-560000-1945679.

Jessica Klein, ‘I Went to the First Live Auction for Rare Pepes on the Blockchain’, Vice, 19 January 2018, https://www.vice.com/en/article/ev57p4/i-went-to-the-first-live-auction-for-rare-pepes-on-the-blockchain.

Steve Kovach, ‘Tesla buys $1.5 billion in bitcoin, plans to accept it as payment’, CNBC, 8 February, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/08/tesla-buys-1point5-billion-in-bitcoin.html.

Joanie Lemercier, ‘The problem of CryptoArt’, Studio Joanie Lemercier, 17 February, 2021, https://joanielemercier.com/the-problem-of-cryptoart/.

Jack Martin, ’Cointelegraph to gift NFTs to honorees on its ‘Notable 100’ blockchain list’, Cointelegraph, 12 February, 2021, https://cointelegraph.com/news/cointelegraph-to-gift-nfts-to-honorees-on-its-notable-100-blockchain-list.

Paul Roberts, ‘This is what happens when bitcoin miners take over your town’, Politico, 9 March, 2018, https://www.politico.eu/article/this-is-what-happens-when-bitcoin-miners-take-over-your-town/.

Adam Smith, ‘The original Nyan Cat GIF is being auctioned for thousands of dollars so someone can ‘own’ it’, Independent, 19 February, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/nyan-cat-gif-beeple-auction-cryptocurrency-b1804805.html.

Samanth Subramanian, ‘Crypto is now the world’s fifth-most circulated currency by value’, Quartz, 12 January, 2021, https://qz.com/1954555/all-the-worlds-crypto-is-now-worth-more-than-1-trillion/.

James Vincent, ‘Europe’s controversial overhaul of online copyright receives final approval’, 26 March, 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/26/18280726/europe-copyright-directive.

Websites

1200+ RARE PEPE MEMES FOR SALE on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdkG6OvhMA8.

[Anti] Materia, https://anti-materia.org/.

Andreas Schildback on Twitter, https://twitter.com/schildbach.

Ascribe, https://www.ascribe.io/.

Beeple Crap, https://www.beeple-crap.com/everydays.

‘Beeple Everydays – Raw’ on Nifty Gateway, https://niftygateway.com/itemdetail/primary/0xc170384371494b2a8f6ba20f4d085c4dde763d96/1.

Clusterduck, https://clusterduck.space/.

Cryptoart.wtf, http://cryptoart.wtf.

CryptoKitties on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CryptoKitties.

daniwellP on Fandom, https://vocaloid.fandom.com/wiki/DaniwellP.

Eco-friendly NFT on Github, https://github.com/memo/eco-nft#eco-friendly.

Elon Blows Strange Clouds on SuperRare, https://superrare.co/artwork-v2/elon-blows-strange-clouds-18840.

Elon Musk on Twitter, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1357914696645414913.

Feltzine on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/feltzine/.

Foundation.app, https://foundation.app/.

Freedom on SuperRare, https://superrare.co/artwork-v2/freedom-17367.

Graefestrasse on Google Map, https://goo.gl/maps/XGXcY3RpXvETuEWV9.

Hatsune Miku on Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatsune_Miku.

https://education.district0x.io/general-topics/ethereum-scaling/introduction-to-ethereum-scaling/.

Iconic Digital Show, https://iconic.show/.

Iconic on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/iconic.market/.

Internet Fame Pavilion, http://internetfame.clusterduck.space/.

Introduction To Ethereum Scaling on district0x, https://education.district0x.io/general-topics/ethereum-scaling/introduction-to-ethereum-scaling/.

Julia Reda’s tweet

LulzSec on Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/LulzSec.

Makersplace – Premier Rare Digital Art Market, https://makersplace.com/.

Market | SuperRare, https://superrare.co/market.

/r/MemeEconomy on reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/MemeEconomy/.

Meme Manifesto, https://mememanifesto.space/#iceberg/top-iceberg.

Meme Manifesto: Detective Wall, https://mememanifesto.space/detective-wall/.

Nifty Gateway, https://niftygateway.com/.

Non-fungible token on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-fungible_token.

Nyan Cat ipfs, https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXtQ6YfwZmdyucvRQEnjpNWhQvB3z5SZNPAYc1MghhTFR/metadata.json.

Nyan Cat on Foundation.app, https://foundation.app/NyanCat/nyan-cat-219.

Postvision on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/post.vision/.

Rare Pepe on Know Your Meme, https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1015708-rare-pepe.

Rare Pepe Wallet, https://rarepepewallet.com/.

Room77, http://www.room77.de/.

Sedition Art, https://www.seditionart.com/.

Silicon Valet on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/silicon.valet/.

Silicon Valet, https://www.siliconvalet.org/.

SuperRare | Authentic Digital Art Marketplace, https://superrare.co/.

TensorFlow, https://www.tensorflow.org/lite/examples/style_transfer/overview#understand_the_model_architecture.

The 1 Up Fever on Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1_Up_Fever.

The Wrong Biennale, https://biennale.thewrong.org/.

Vitalik on SuperRare, https://superrare.co/discover?q=vitalik.

Zora: Internet Renassance, https://store.zora.co/introducing-zora.

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