Greg Walsh

 

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My Entrance into NFTs

March 30, 2021

COVID-549k, Greg Walsh. Done with Python and pixels In 2013, I got into cryptocurrency mining and did relatively terrible. Then, I got into cryptocurrency trading and turned $20 of BTC into $1000 value of alt coins. Then the exchange I was using, Cryptsy, got “hacked” or possibly embezzled or lost in a divorce settlement…I’m not really sure. So, I decided to just buy on Coinbase (referral link) at a slow and steady pace instead of trying to invest in hardware and electricity.

I had everything on autopilot and then heard about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) recently (you can watch SNL to learn more about them). I’ve always been a fan of the idea of blockchain even if it felt like a solution without a problem. The idea of digital items that only officially exist in one place is really interesting to me as I’ve often seen digital assets as easy replicable from a technical standpoint even if copyright owners see it differently. NFTs allow a digital file to be signed as if they are the original. Even if a copy can be made, the blockchain transactions ensure who has the original. Think of it like a Picasso painting: you can buy a highquality print of the painting in the museum gift shop, but, that’s not the same as having the original thing.

In order to learn more about this, I made some of my own NFTs using generative art. I’ve written a program that makes a non-representational (abstract) picture based on the number of victims of COVID-19 in the US. While grim, it has helped me work through the last year’s trauma that we’ve been sharing. I used Opensea to “mint” my NFTs. Minting requires using the cryptocurrency Ethereum (I had some from Coinbase) and a wallet (I’m using MetaMask. To mint the first time on Opensea, it cost about $75 but that varies throughout the day and depends on the Ethereum blockchain.

I do not think I will make $69M, but I do think this is a next step in Web3, a more decentralized web that supports transactions and builds on the backend as Web 2.0 did on the front end.

My collection is viewable at https://opensea.io/collection/covid-gen-art.


Greg Walsh, PhD is an associate professor of design at the University of Baltimore. His main focus is co-design and works with people to incorporate more voices in the design process. You can follow him on twitter @gxwalsh or email him at greg [at] ] gregwalsh [dot] com