I read an article about blockchains that made me wonder how this technology, which seemed to have been dropped through a portal from a future century, might revolutionize books. I dipped a toe into the emergent NFT culture and minted some initial literary-focused experiments.
Web3 publishing was overshadowed by Web3 visual arts at the height of their boom cycle. Web3 jpegs and gifs had an existing pipeline and established culture, while it was still an open question as to how literary works could make the jump to the blockchain. I connected and networked with other authors. We released some initial experiments and formed early communities. But from the sidelines, we mainly just watched and learned as we waited for our turn.
I created “Inverted Homer,” an image that represented lost works. Poet friends were incorporating short textual works into literary-themed images and animations. I experimented with unlockable content and, while this approach successfully linked chapter-length content to digital assets on the blockchain, the text itself was located in a marketplace database.
The PageDAO Minter
As 2021 drew to a close, PageDAO’s beta minter made it possible for the first time for authors to more easily embed decentralized ebooks into a decentralized interface and link them to the blockchain. My first real decentralized NFT book was the Cryptoversal Gutenberg, through which I tied the current revolutions in publishing technology to the 15th Century print revolution that enabled the modern world.
2022: A Year of Creativity
The Bear Market
My view of crypto from the sidelines was of a deregulated environment, seen by many as its primary benefit, that also fostered crime, fraud, and market manipulation. Investors and speculators followed waves of hype to projects that prioritized profits over artistic merit. Talented artists could find success, but only if they managed to raise their profiles amidst relentless waves of hype and unsustainable speculation. Lessons abounded in what not to do and what not to allow in the nascent Web3 publishing space. The inevitable crypto crash, high-profile failures, and cultural excesses marred the reputation of cryptocurrencies and NFTs among mainstream audiences. Great damage has been done to the Web3 space, but many who remain are dedicated to building back better.
Intent on building a daily habit, I leaned on the Wordle word-puzzle as a source of randomized prompts: solve, write, mint, repeat. In the process of building each vignette atop those that had come before, a world emerged that was deeper and more inviting than I’d have expected. This became Wordler Village, the Cursed REALM, and its readers minted over 40,000 NFT vignettes in 2022.
2023: A Year of Collaboration
In the upcoming year, I hope you will join me on my journey into Web3 publishing.
Cryptoversal creates experimental literature at the intersection of authorship and technology. By harnessing emergent technologies, we help authors achieve their full creative potential in a future where our readers can share ownership in dynamic, interactive, immersive, and personalized literary journeys.