Curation Notes: SNOW CRASH

Notes: SNOW CRASH proposal was received overwhelmingly positive by the Fingerprints Curation Committee. I have aligned with Fingerprints’s vision and collecting thesis for a long time, and my personal collection also overlaps with Fingerprints’s, including SNOW CRASH. I am not paid to write this article, my goal is simply (as it has always been) to highlight boundary-pushing blockchain art experiments.


SNOW CRASH is a conceptual and performative art edition by Bushi, launched in January/February 2024. Editioned at 50 pieces, I consider SNOW CRASH a fascinating experiment.

In essence, SNOW CRASH is an SVG file that is stored fully on-chain. Within the file, there is a visual glitch artwork. But this is where the conventional part of the art ends and chaos starts.

SNOW CRASH cannot be viewed. Wherever the file exists, it crashes the renderer. What’s worse, it crashes the renderer in such a way that everything around it also crashes, not even allowing other NFTs to be viewed alongside it.

I’ll detail the technicals to explain how it achieves this, but before that, I’d like to touch on why this concept interests me so much.

Ownership & Viewership Paradox

Art has always been primarily about qualia, whether through emotions you experience or through boundaries of your thinking get pushed. As capitalism captured more and more parts of our life, the only way for artists to get deservedly paid for their labor started to be through “gated access”. Paintings became exclusive to billionaires’ homes and even mainstream movies required payment to enjoy them.

In parallel, collecting provided another source of qualia: The sense of ownership. With facets of building a personal collection, signaling taste, and supporting directional belief; the interest in collecting grew over time.

The internet broke down the gates of art, but capitalism’s involvement in every aspect of life didn’t go away; so digital art started to suffer.

Enter NFTs.

Pioneering artist Van Arman recognized NFTs' game-changing qualities early on
Pioneering artist Van Arman recognized NFTs' game-changing qualities early on

NFTs enhanced the sense of ownership in collectors, without gating the experience. This is remarkable because it provided an avenue for artists to get paid for their labor, while still maintaining art’s primary goal of providing qualia to as many people as possible.

When Mathcastles introduced the usage of zero-knowledge proofs in NFTs, they challenged how we experienced art. If we absolutely knew that the art existed, without actually being able to see it, what would be our experience? And if we absolutely knew we could own it, without actually being able to own it, what would be our relationship with the sense of ownership?

SNOW CRASH is also touching on qualia and ownership, but it subverts the expectations in digital art in an entirely different way from Mathcastles. It highlights all the advantages NFTs brought forward for digital art but destroys everything else alongside it.

My first comments about the release
My first comments about the release

How would your relationship with an art piece that you own be, if you can’t experience its visual, can’t signal its visual element or your taste, and can’t even display it within your collection alongside others?

The owner can prove it exists and that they own it. But it can’t be experienced in its raw form, even by the owner. Not only is the qualia of viewership stripped away, but so is the qualia of signaling taste, building a personal collection alongside it, and displaying it.

I own a SNOW CRASH but in a completely separate wallet where it sits alone. I can’t keep it in my main wallet. I can’t display it alongside my other on-chain art. I can’t connect it to OnCyber.

This is ownership, in its naked form.


On-chain art is often presented as permanent, immutable art that is superior to other types of art. The main reason behind this is the reliability of the layer the data is stored.

To some extent, this is true. I myself make only fully on-chain art for similar and a few more conceptual reasons. But we often forget that most on-chain art relies on browser rendering. Particularly SVG and HTML files are heavily reliant on renderers functioning accurately.

Regina Harsanyi questions the "fully on-chain" claim for HTMLs and even SVGs, due to rendering dependencies on browsers
Regina Harsanyi questions the "fully on-chain" claim for HTMLs and even SVGs, due to rendering dependencies on browsers

Bushi has not disclosed this concept in their announcement, but I can’t help but be reminded of this reliance when I think about SNOW CRASH. SNOW CRASH is stored fully on-chain, so it satisfies everything on-chain art enthusiasts strive for. And yet, it still can’t be viewed.

SNOW CRASH perfectly exposes the vulnerabilities in on-chain art that we sometimes may forget.


I was hooked on the concept of SNOW CRASH from the experiential angle. But Bushi tapped into the utility aspect of SNOW CRASH to take the performance one step further.

After minting, Bushi used SNOW CRASH in ways that truly completed the art. He sent the editions to notable wallets such as Coldie’s and Nate Alex’s to crash the experience of their immensely valuable collections. To do this, he even found a way to circumvent OpenSea’s spam filter so that SNOW CRASH is placed alongside many valuable NFTs.

But that’s not even the only performance. Since the asset is fully on-chain, Bushi could pull it from the chain into his Farcaster profile, ending up crashing the entire Warpcast client (resulting in a temporary ban too).

Warpcast's growth was hindered for one day (it's an SVG btw, not a GIF)
Warpcast's growth was hindered for one day (it's an SVG btw, not a GIF)

All web3 apps were vulnerable to SNOW CRASH. Developers scrambled to deploy fixes. Some greatly enjoyed this performance and used it as an opportunity to improve their front-end security. Others were not so happy.

Two different approaches to front-end vulnterabilities
Two different approaches to front-end vulnterabilities

And that’s how SNOW CRASH as a weaponized NFT took over web3 for a few days.


The piece is an SVG file, stored fully on-chain. It includes a flashy glitch animation but that animation is referenced a full 2²⁶, i.e more than 67 million times within the same SVG code. This over-reference is what overloads the browsers and crashes them.

This is the full file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?><svg xmlns="" xmlns:xlink="" width="100%" height="100%"><rect width="100%" height="100%" fill="black"/><image href="data:image/svg+xml," width="100%" height="100%"/><g id="b"><use xlink:href="#a" /><use xlink:href="#a" /></g><g id="c"><use xlink:href="#b" /><use xlink:href="#b" /></g><g id="d"><use xlink:href="#c" /><use xlink:href="#c" /></g><g id="e"><use xlink:href="#d" /><use xlink:href="#d" /></g><g id="f"><use xlink:href="#e" /><use xlink:href="#e" /></g><g id="g"><use xlink:href="#f" /><use xlink:href="#f" /></g><g id="h"><use xlink:href="#g" /><use xlink:href="#g" /></g><g id="i"><use xlink:href="#h" /><use xlink:href="#h" /></g><g id="j"><use xlink:href="#i" /><use xlink:href="#i" /></g><g id="j"><use xlink:href="#i" /><use xlink:href="#i" /></g><g id="k"><use xlink:href="#j" /><use xlink:href="#j" /></g><g id="l"><use xlink:href="#k" /><use xlink:href="#k" /></g><g id="m"><use xlink:href="#l" /><use xlink:href="#l" /></g><g id="n"><use xlink:href="#m" /><use xlink:href="#m" /></g><g id="o"><use xlink:href="#n" /><use xlink:href="#n" /></g><g id="p"><use xlink:href="#o" /><use xlink:href="#o" /></g><g id="q"><use xlink:href="#p" /><use xlink:href="#p" /></g><g id="r"><use xlink:href="#q" /><use xlink:href="#q" /></g><g id="s"><use xlink:href="#r" /><use xlink:href="#r" /></g><g id="t"><use xlink:href="#s" /><use xlink:href="#s" /></g><g id="u"><use xlink:href="#t" /><use xlink:href="#t" /></g><g id="v"><use xlink:href="#u" /><use xlink:href="#u" /></g><g id="w"><use xlink:href="#v" /><use xlink:href="#v" /></g><g id="x"><use xlink:href="#w" /><use xlink:href="#w" /></g><g id="y"><use xlink:href="#x" /><use xlink:href="#x" /></g><g id="z"><use xlink:href="#y" /><use xlink:href="#y" /></g></svg>


To me, experimental works like SNOW CRASH that challenge conventional methods of art appreciation represent the most exciting part of today's digital art landscape. The performance invites us to question the essence of the qualia in art in the age of NFTs.

Since on-chain assets all live in the same universe and are composable, I imagine the performance of SNOW CRASH is not even fully finished yet. Anyone can call the token within their piece and can crash the experience elsewhere. I’m proud to have curated a significant piece of art that contributes to the ongoing conversation about value within and outside the digital art community.

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