A cryptomedia experiment


My main goal is to make music, collaborate with other artists, and contribute to an internet culture that makes up responsive and resilient networks. I believe moving towards a decentralized technology stack is necessary for a radically different web.

Attention and privacy

Most social media interactions seem to fall into the public space, and while this is fun and useful, I think there is a point it can get distracting, saturating, or risky. So much of it is designed for unidirectional content maker → audience interactions that optimize for advertisement. I think this is the premise of the creator economy, but I find it tricky because the exercise of our rights to privacy and speech in digital spaces is also tricky.

The fact that you can get targeted by the police based on unverified information, or incriminated by platforms leaking conversations makes me think that social media blurs the line between public and private. My impression is that it affects the way we engage in personal relationships and consumption, as if there was an underlying encouragement for some parasocial interactions and a continuous production-consumption cycle that could be contributing to burnout, disinformation, or ideological fragmentation.

I don’t think we need to completely quit social media (although it is likely a good idea) we can still make best use of it, and then transition to enclosed spaces and end-to-end encrypted mediums. Opt-in social networks could render less irrelevant information and ads on our screens or collecting data to make them that could be leaked, while showing us more context-informed interactions.

Generally speaking, I want to take more interactions into encrypted communication by default, and to make the space social media occupies to be less of a clustered stream of content with loose boundaries. Perhaps less entertaining, but also less noisy.

Cat-assisted graphic about in-group communication.
Cat-assisted graphic about in-group communication.

Status: the crypto-native app.

Status has been one of my favorite products of the Ethereum ecosystem ever since a joined the space because it is a mobile-first app that is open-source, private-by-design, and contains multiple features to engage in web3.

When I try to teach people about Ethereum, I usually share this app because I can explain a little bit about the underlying encryption, self-custody, and transactions, all at once. Generally, just making people realize that a phone number or email is not required to make an account (since it’s all stored in your local device) makes them interested.

Status uses a decentralized messaging protocol named Waku, developed by the Nimbus team, who is also working on an Ethereum client. The app currently has a 85.7mb size and it runs on low-range mobile devices. This means it’s accessible and there’s less reliance on centralized services to keep communicating and transacting.

Status network philosophy is one I consider part of the decentralization movement. I highly feel aligned with their principles. Since it is an opt-in social application, making contacts through this app is like going back to the mailing list— again, not very fun, but a lot less double-edged.

Element (Matrix) is another solution for communications that is open-source and more private than Discord. In my mind, privacy-by-design socials creates an invisible graph that is viable for organizing grassroots movements.

Memetic digital assets

There are many non-fungible tokens used for different purposes, but for the sake of this brain dump, let’s say the main categories fall into cryptoart, social currencies, and “altcoins with pictures”. These are vague definitions and are not mutually exclusive, they likely overlap depending on the direction of a project.

  • Cryptoart as the main artistic and cultural movement happening on the blockchain. A microcosm of the industries of art, music, fashion, etc.

    • ex: Catalog, Zora, SuperRare or a custom contract collection.
  • Altcoins with pictures as speculative collections that derive or follow the ICO model, or are so highly fungible that simulates the ERC-20 token market.

    • ex: CryptoPunks, Azukis, or Webaverse Genesis Pass.
  • Social currency as non-financialized items that can work as a gift, signaling tool, or grant some type of access.

    • ex: POAP, or most ENS tokens.

Cryptoart seems to be the most community-driven sphere, as more people are on-boarded into the ecosystem, it performs access to creating and collecting NFTs. Altcoins with pictures are usually on the high-end of financialization because these are tightly related to venture capital. Social currency tends to be outside of any speculative premise or “buy-in” mechanisms.

As someone who’s work leans more into the cryptoart scene, I can see that collectors are not profit motivated, they mostly want to make relationships with artists and see the ecosystem grow, but there’s limited amount of capital that can be deployed with no strings attached. Vice versa, I can see the on-going conversation about NFTs sales alone being unsustainable for web3 creators.

I think that a vast majority of market actors are reasonably profit-motivated. When I buy into someone’s project, I want some positive feedback even if it isn’t a financial return. At best, people execute their ideas, or get closer to their ends; at worse, they completely withdraw from the space when they meet their financial goals, even if it means breaking promises.

Taking this perspective in mind, I started to think about how to communicate conviction and leverage collaboration.

rather silly Venn diagram about NFTs
rather silly Venn diagram about NFTs

The medium is the message

I created a custom ERC-721 contract on the Ethereum network. This contract is meant to publish cryptomedia. As I’m first and foremost a music producer, I mean to use this collection to share my works. In other words, this is my digital discography, and I may include other formats like physical or virtual objects.

The great thing about the NFT standard is that it’s composable and can be integrated in different contexts. What I want to do is to expand this cryptomedia and treat it as a social currency as well— a curated network of co-creators and owners. I’m using my funds to create a liquidity pool, so they have an underlying redeemable price denominated in ETH.

As I am both the issuer of items and liquidity provider, I am both encouraged to carefully mint digital works and distribute them. Meanwhile, holders question whether it’s worthy against a financial incentive. I consider this a conviction game.

What’s at stake with the people that own my discography is essentially my reputation and financial capital, so it basically forces me to continually feedback the goals and values of as a group. As a creator, I can also be a platform for others, the idea is to encourage creative peers to do things with me and capture the potential upside if that were to be a significant piece of culture.

Team up, export, feedback.

This flowchart takes inspiration from the article What Makes Tokenized Communities Valuable? published on Forefront. Particularly, the Production → Network → Ownership flywheel. My idea is to create a production cycle that considers impact as a health factor.

Media workflow
Media workflow

Composability in action

🎧 Play: Rarible. This is the best interface I found to display my music tokens in circulation, but you can see them in other interfaces like Rainbow, OpenSea, or Zerion. You can also download them for free from IPFS.

Screenshot of collection page on Rarible desktop view.
Screenshot of collection page on Rarible desktop view.

🔎 Verify: Etherscan token tracker where you can see the contract code, holders, and transactions.

Screenshot of source code on etherscan
Screenshot of source code on etherscan

💬 Feedback: guild.xyz community, where you can verify ownership to access an exclusive Telegram group chat.

Screenshot of guild.xyz community page
Screenshot of guild.xyz community page

🔥 Exit: Sudoswap pool where you can sell your tokens back to me.

Screenshot of sudoswap interface 8/24/2022
Screenshot of sudoswap interface 8/24/2022

This website is optimized for the Status browser. The left Chat button is enabled if you’re using it, you can send me an in-app direct message. A quick way to go from public → encrypted.

Meanwhile, the right Connect button is usable as long as the browser is web3-enabled, you can click it to query the total amount of items in circulation, the amount of ETH in the liquidity pool, and if you own any token on the selected account.

xedra.computer connected on Status in-app browser
xedra.computer connected on Status in-app browser

⚠️ EDIT: this website is no longer online but **you can still access it through IPFS. **ipfs://QmUgW3QuT7B8mE2ycKA58KcRcaBefAFRiGaNzKBwCjhW7Q

If the available funds and members allow it, I can raise or decrease the floor price of these tokens, perhaps a high redeemable price would make them composable into other tools like fractionalization or lending protocols.

Sell NFT window from Sudoswap on Status
Sell NFT window from Sudoswap on Status

This is an on-going experiment and it’s imperative for me to have both a collaborator’s permission to tokenize a piece, and a recipient’s permission to receive a token. If you are a current XEDRA MEDIA owner and want to provide feedback, please reach out.

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