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Links for 2021-02-24

  • Amulet version 1

    This is great. An amulet is ‘a kind of poem that depends on language, code, and luck. To qualify, a poem must satisfy these criteria: Its complete Unicode text is 64 bytes or less; and the hexadecimal SHA-256 hash of the text includes four or more 8s in a row.’

    The hash is a cold hexadecimal spew – 9a120001cc88888363fc67c45f2c52447ae64808d497ec9d699dba0d74d72aab – and, like a fingerprint, it doesn’t tell you anything about the entity it identifies. That’s by design, but even so, it feels strange for a value so pivotal to be totally disconnected from the underlying content, especially when it is this value that’s being collected and traded in cryptographic marketplaces. Ostensibly, the hash provides an immutable link between unique cryptographic object and free-floating digital media. The amulet asks: what if we took that link seriously? In a sense, the definition of the SHA-256 hash function created, at a stroke, all amulets of all rarities. Common to mythic, trashy to lovely, they have been hiding in the manifold combinations of language; we just didn’t know we ought to be looking for them. Until now!

    (tags: poetry blockchain amulets poems sha-256 crypto)