Onchain is likely the next iteration of the internet. And if so, it’s where we have a legitimate chance of turning our cultural diversities into a more fruitful world.
We are discussing an attempt at a renaissance unlike any feat in human history.
In an abstract sense, the internet is a representation of the human race. Or at the very least, the human mind.
Blockchains present a new wrinkle to this ever-changing web of ours. The provenance functionality allow us to put mile markers in what used to be an endless abyss.
To all who participate in filling up the onchain-mind, there will be a universal understanding on how to locate any data at any point henceforth.
This is revolutionary in the most fundamental sense.
The web is both an individual and collective phenomena. Before anyone resonates with a creation you make, whether that is literature, visuals, audio, sports, cinema, or a recipe, you have to give it context first.
Things that go viral illustrate this at the extreme end of the spectrum. Things that get ignored highlight the inverse; if you don’t contextualize it, no one resonates with it.
Why this matters onchain, is that paying to mint, rather than just uploading onto servers, bring new levels of consideration and capabilities to the context you share.
Onchain culture, like all culture, is birthed by creative minds. It is important to widen our definitions of the term creative here.
A painter is creative. A teacher is creative. A speech orator is creative. The list is endless. And the culmination of these creative minds often result in a culture (Mexican cuisine, Oceanic rugby league, Korean pop music, etc).
Let’s examine the visual artists that currently occupy much of the onchain space.
I see a scenario that could play out like this:
creative mind makes cool visual art
those cool pieces gain traction through collective resonance
the resonant figures propagate the visual art/artist to the local hive mind
then, diverse and complimentary people come assist in the scaling of the inherent memes
In fact, it’s already been proven with Nouns.
They’ve had a SuperBowl commercial, charity drives, coffee brands, sub-daos, film production, and a treasury currently at 52.5 million dollars. The genesis, for people in Asia and Africa to be wearing red noggles while doing charity, is onchain visual art.
This is an example of a hyperculture.
The cofounder of Zora wrote a brilliant piece on hyperstructures (read here). What we are discussing is a more intangible concept, though closely related.
If a hyperstructure is a
crypto protocol that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries
then a hyperculture could be articulated as a
crypto culture that can grow freely and forever, without maintenance, interruption, or intermediaries… once it has entered the collective mind
The subtle difference between the two is that a crypto (onchain) protocol is a vehicle that can potentially birth a culture. While a crypto culture is a vehicle that will undoubtedly birth protocols (see Nouns).
Combining our previous talking points, the individual creations and the exponential scalability of a diverse and onchain web, we see how the decentralized nature of blockchains allow for endless attempts at hyperculture creation.
Music, journalism, film, dev tools, defi, generative art, physical art, podcasts, poetry, spoken word, ebooks, tattoos, real estate, ai, collectibles, and on and on and on the list goes.
Every creative entity that can put it’s context onchain, has the opportunity to birth a hyperculture. I’d argue we are in the context-fermentation window currently.
The breakdown of a substance (context) by other microorganisms (collective) involving vivacity and enthusiasm.
The beauty of context-fermentation is in its inexhaustibility. As long as you have new context to share, whether that’s as a creative or member of the would-be culture, you have chances at birthing a hyperculture.
It is important for ‘non-creatives’ to realize their equity in the creation of these cultures. Nouns does not become significant without bidders on the NFT. In this vein, creative context only becomes culture context through its equal half.
When listening to a recent interview with Peter Schiff (a notorious gold-backed currency advocate) I found some insight on the additional layers to this concept.
If we continue examining Nouns for a moment, we see that the NFTs are:
a unit of account
a medium of exchange
a store of value
By Peter’s own definition this means that Nouns behave as money. And we have already proven how they behave as culture.
Through crypto, we (Nouns) not only de-centrally produce and distribute context by which others scale a culture on top of. We also found a way to turn the very same symbols of that culture into a native currency valued by the broader market. For example, Budweiser bought a Noun and participates in onchain voting.
This is why I defined the term with its ability to “grow freely and forever…once it has entered the collective mind.”
If you are reading this in the year 2023 then you stand at the forefront of the world’s next cultural update. A world in which creators like Mr. Beast have chocolate bars that outsell Hershey’s. One where an internet connection and a crypto wallet can birth the next $50M treasury. All of this potential, birthed from the things diverse individuals enjoy contextualizing onchain.
This is just the beginning of the equation. After fermentation you have organization, scaling, and release. Nouns have proven power laws still reign true, even onchain, by accomplishing the next three while most of us are still trying to ferment resonant context.
The more constructive takeaway from this truth is that hypercultures are very much a legitimate feature of onchain activity, and not a bug. With less than 1M onchain collectors in the space and even less creators, anybody here can realistically be part of the next hyperculture.