I owe my entire involvement in the crypto-art scene to the introduction by Mr. Bones from the $BASED art collective and my friend jrdsctt’s help. In short, Bones dragged me into minting my first piece on Rarible.com by just telling me I should, that he was starting a collective, and here’s a little ETH to pay for my first token mint. All the vocabulary from this section will be confusing to outsiders – but essentially you can mark files and art on the blockchain and trade/sell ownership of these marked files (Non-Fungible-Tokens). It’s been a booming space for artists to join the cryptocurrency world and a chance for crypto to generate something of cultural value. My very first toe-dip into this pool, sponsored by Bones, was bought immediately. It was a departure from the LFP series of which I minted 10 tokens, and Blue Kirby owns them all last time I checked.
Concerning $BASED and the art collective – it’s a little more slippery to understand than just crypto art. I may be speaking out of turn (but then again, BASED is a permissionless environment) but BASED isn’t just an elastic supply currency or a sort of crowd-sourced VC alternative for de-fi: but it asks one central question that most crypto projects aren’t asking. BASED is a way to address the problem that all these cryptocurrencies and small market cap tokens have: you can’t generate culture around get-rich-quick schemes (ruggable or not). If all everyone talks about is number, and whether number go up – cryptocurrency is just one more ponzi scheme or mid-level marketing or even just an honest but very boring business arranged around currency alternatives and mechanisms. BASED experiments and tries to make money – but ultimately the goal is to create a cultural project. This is why the art collective and the aesthetics of BASED is so significant. You can’t simply tell people “go make art so that we have a thing” because top-down cultural movements don’t work. They’re garbage. BASED deliberately tries not to tell people how to be BASED or what it means to be BASED or what to do to contribute because the community itself has to be goal-setting and creative. This is where you get some of their best and most enduring memes – “if you know you know” and “if it’s based, do it.” Note: the anons from Rope use some of these same types of slogans – they’re about “vibing” and “trusting the plan” – it’s a similar concept, they just have less aesthetic skin in the game so far (which is what makes their collaboration with BASED falling through such a tragedy). Outsiders see what’s going on and kind of want to co-opt it a bit, and so they’ll try to figure out something cool that they can use for their project, but really – BASED is kind of just cool for the sake of being cool. Incidentally, my sentiments I had been working on here were shared almost exactly by the host of the FTX podcast.
Not to bring up Nietzsche again, but this is kind of how the Gay Science works – value creation is meant to be fun and creative – the concept only got perverted in readings of The Will to Power (collated by his fascist sister) and abused and projected back onto the Gay Science in ways I think it shouldn’t have. I don’t even think this has to mean totally subjective value, but it definitely means something completely new in a space like de-fi and crypto where what’s good and beautiful and true and exciting and worthwhile is all up for grabs because everything feels so open and free.
So I have made a few pieces inspired by the $BASED community and how their currencies work (plural: there’s $based, $moonbased, and now $rural). I have some memes floating around I made for them too (which is actually more lucrative than the artwork so far) – but I’m more proud of the artwork that came from their carefully cultivated mood. These were also an important precursor to Sega_Sibyl because doing $based designs meant adopting their aesthetic from based.money that had colors I hadn’t used, shapes I considered a little too silly before, and patterns that I never would have considered had I not been trying to make something that fit that world.
“based_always_goes_up” which is a misquote of Bones’ mantra “based only goes up.” If you read the above you know what it means, I suppose.