‘Checks – VV Edition’ – A 16k open edition collection of uber-simplistic checkmark arrays has been the driver of over 3300 Eth traded in less than a month's time… but why?
For one thing, it doesn’t hurt that the artist behind Checks, Jack Butcher (231K followers on Twitter), had already made a virtual name for himself with his overarching project ‘Visualize Value’ (self-described as a “Mental Wealth Service”) and his first digital collectible ‘NFTs Explained’ (from March 2021; seen below).
He’s one of the internet's go-to guys for explaining complex concepts/processes through simple images – but even more than that, we’d argue, he’s been one of the few artists who can reverse-engineer those simple images into complex and auditorily-pleasing sentences, artists statements if you will, that really put the premium value in his visualizations.
In a Twitter spaces about ‘Checks’, you can hear Butcher’s tempoed and silky British voice explain the myriad subconscious and conscious influences for his most recent project. He’s calm and regulated as he talks about the symbolic $8 price point for the Checks mint (a nod to Twitter Blue’s subscription cost), the 8x10 array’s allusion to Damien Hirst's ‘The Currency’ series, and how the format, as opposed to the image, is the true meme.
And us highlighting Butcher’s eloquence/salesmanship is not to dilute the perceived authenticity in the project – rather, it seems like Jack’s platform and eloquence gave Checks its initial push, but Checks’ since grown into something far bigger than the individual creator, or as Jack put it, Checks is now held up by its “memetic mass”.
Not only have the Checks community already produced a mind boggling amount of derivative projects (many of which are quite impressive as standalone works and can be seen in Butcher’s retweets), but also, they’ve self-determined memetic values for the ID #s that came associated with each original edition — #s like 420 and 69 are grabbing high prices; plus low numbers and palindromes are being priced higher.
Interestingly, those ID #s, as well as the specific colors of each Check’s edition, will play an involved role in the next iteration of Checks. Any day now, a burn mechanism will be released that presents Checks holders with a choice:
- Do nothing; keep your open edition Check as is.
- Burn your Open Edition 8x10 Check for an on-chain 8x10 Check.
But let's assume you burn your open edition for an on-chain Check ... then what?
First and foremost, your new on-chain 8x10 Check is imbued with visual and numerical DNA. Meaning: the image, the colors, and the ID # associated with your on-chain Check are all embedded within the token contract itself. And that’s important because once you’ve burned your open edition(s) for an on-chain check, you will have a further opportunity to burn those on-chain Checks for a Check with a new array count. For example, two on-chain 80-check NFTs can be burned to produce one 40-check on-chain NFT. Ultimately, you can burn all the way down from 80-check NFTs to a black 1-check NFT (there will only ever be 3 of these), but it would require a whopping 4096 80-check burns (and, because that would require both heroic conviction and capital from one entity to reach a single black Check, folks are already beginning to organize DAOs that will collectively acquire and burn Checks).
Remember the on-chain DNA, though? Ya, so each time a grouping of Checks is burned for a higher tier Check, the DNA of the previous Checks mathematically determines the new NFTs color array. It’s a lot like the passing on of recessive and dominant genes in biological genetics. What's more, each time you burn multiple Checks to produce a new Check, you have a choice of which ID # you’d like to carry forward – which, as you can imagine, has some interesting game theoretic implications (ie, what ID # is worth preserving?)
Meanwhile, one has to wonder what happens with the original open editions that are not burned, or the Checks that are burned but never listed – how does their value compare to the higher tier 40-Checks, 20-Checks, and so on?
Depending on your outlook, ‘Checks – VV edition’ is either annoyingly convoluted, brilliantly intricate, or perhaps a bit of both.
One thing’s for sure: everyones’ eager to watch the burn.
Disclaimer: This is not financial, legal, or tax advice. This article is strictly educational and is not investment advice, legal advice, tax advice, or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not legal, financial, or tax advice. Talk to your lawyer, accountant, or tax professional. Do your own research. See Flip’s Terms of Service for more details.