Onchain Hypercultures: Organizing Decentralized Data

In the previous essay we outlined what an onchain hyperculture is and the phase, context-fermentation, most of us are currently in. An inexhaustible incubator for creative/cultural innovation, in which each creative endeavor minted has an opportunity to birth a hyperculture (OH).

Now we look at three different hypercultures in the space - Nouns, Zora, Opepen.

Memetic Icon

The simplest way to think of memetic icons are as containers or mental doorways. They act as the entry point to the information/context within them (the culture).

A recognizable container seems non-negotiable thus far in OH creation. Let’s examine the three types.



In Nouns we have a skeuomorphic* *memetic icon.

a design concept of making items resemble their real-world counterparts

For Nouns, much of the culture is about vision. Thus it makes sense, in hindsight, that the memetic icon are glasses (noggles).



For Zora we have an abstract* *memetic icon.

existing in thought or as an idea but not having concrete existence

Much of Zora is about creativity. Their memetic icon is open to many forms of interpretation, just like creativity itself. A world? A magic orb? A ball? All legitimate interpretations that will mean different things.



With Opepen we have a referential* memetic icon.*

containing or of the nature of references or allusions

A pfp-art project that blends human, ai, and large scale collaboration only possible online*.* Jack Butcher’s Twitter bio of “internet art” syncs up perfect with a memetic icon referencing the old chat room avatars.


What seems evident is that each memetic icon is a visual representation of the deeper context within the culture.

We have:

  • a dao trying to help people see the benefits of crypto using glasses

  • a protocol helping people find their imagination onchain using an orb

  • an art project creating notable internet art using an avatar pfp

These memetic icons condense massive amounts of context and simultaneously signal ‘allegiance’ to fellow digital-compatriots.


In the graphics below we are using two variables to measure OH development:

  1. Cultural spread

  2. Onchain propagation

It’s important to remember our definition of hyperculture. Particularly their ability to “grow freely and forever without maintenance, interruption, or intermediaries… once it has entered the collective mind.”

In each of these examples there is still a pioneering hand on the wheel. Yet, they have entered cultural spreading beyond the originators.


y = t + x
y = t + x

Cultural Spread = Treasury + Auction

Each auction bolsters onchain proposal funding. Everyone has a route to the funds and each proposal is an attempt at cultural spread.


decentralized label
decentralized label

Cultural Spread = new.vertical + (sum of prev.verticals)

Each new vertical is an addition toward overall cultural spread. The diversity of creative endeavors is not surmountable through one channel. Therefore, Zora has created a net of specified operations.

They have a dao deployer, an L1 marketplace, L2 blockchain, editorial publication, sub-daos, partnerships, and an engineering vertical.

All onchain creatives have means of accessing these various label parts. If their interests reside more in daos, they go there. If more interested in minting/collecting art, they go the the marketplace. If an aspiring dev, they go to Zora Engineering. Each participant brings a new onchain prop and a boost on cultural spread.



Cultural Spread = (sum of prev.attention) x (new art/artist valuation)

Each new drop, art work, and/or chosen artist have a multiplicity effect on overall cultural spread. Opepen is the most chaotic of the three. Being an art project, instead of a dao or protocol, shows us aspects to hypercultures that would be ‘unreasonable’ for the others. Here we have 200 attempts at going viral.

Artist partnerships, community opt-in/feedback, ceaseless derivative updates and spin off projects; Opepen arguably operates at the epicenter of onchain culture. It could also be argued that its structure is the most aggressive mechanism for finding and honing signal.

Though I believe their team is interested in a masterpiece from top to bottom, 200 drop attempts need only produce a handful of breakthrough outputs. Each successful drop produces new derivatives, onchain networks, etc. All funneling back into cultural spread.

Memetic Math

We have three different hyperculture creators:

  1. a dao

  2. a protocol

  3. an art project

We have three different memetic icons:

  1. skeuomorphic noggles

  2. abstract zorbs

  3. referential avatars

We have three different structures:

  1. A treasury + auction equation that feeds proposals to spread culture

  2. A decentralized label that empowers participants to spread culture

  3. A 200 cycle art vortex that attracts artists and appreciators to spread culture

If part one of this series was about the diversity of contextual vitality onchain, then part two is about the diversity of contextual structuring.

Here we have three different demos, with different memetic icons, and means of spreading their culture. So current steps seem to be:

  1. Ferment resonant context

  2. Design memetic icons

  3. Design onchain prop to cultural spread structures

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