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Date: Sat 20 Nov 11:00:00 CST 2021

> An brief introduction to blockchain/NFT

Hi Block Chen, 


Before my introduction to the exhibition, here is a simple story about blockchain and NFT, which may facilitate your comprehension of the technology and the exhibition. 


What is blockchain? I tend to see it as a protocol, just like HTTP, FTP and P2P that we are familiar with. With these protocols and corresponding software, we can connect online and exchange information and files. Blockchain functions alike, but we don't need a special software to get access. We can simply use a specific website (like to check blockchain data. At any rate, we can imagine blockchain as a virtual space that stores data, data that are almost impossible to be change once they are stored.


This is because the creation of blockchain is not to facilitate common data exchanges, but to establish a safe, reliable, decentralized system of online transaction, which avoids the risk by storing data (or public ledger) on a few servers. 


To achieve this goal, two major techniques are implemented. The first is encrypted digital signature to assure the validity of a transaction, such as whether A send a valid transaction request to B. The second is the idea of P2P, that is, multiplying the common ledger and sending it to all users to keep. This will achieve the goal of “decentralization”. A complicated computation is involved in this process to make sure that everyone keeps the valid and the correct ledger. The fastest user (more specifically, their computer) who complete the computation will be rewarded certain amount of cryptocurrency. This is what we call “mining”. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency generated with this method. 


The full name of NFT is “non-fungible token”. Although we can still regard it as an improved cryptocurrency, it is essentially different from traditional Bitcoin. Bitcoin is like the currency we use in real life. Every banknote is equivalent, and so is every Bitcoin. 


But NFT is different; each of it can be of different value. For this characteristic, I would probably even say that NFT is no longer a currency, but is really a "token"; it can represent any thing and even concept, including a work of art, or one of its different editions, or its ownership, or a transaction in its ownership. These can all be "tokenized" by being digitally labeled and/or by being marked with a value. 


This technology allows us to buy and sell digital works of art that were not suitable for trading in the past, because we are no longer trading digital works “themselves”(which can be easily multiplied in the digital world), but buying and selling its "ownership." For example, the work of Beeple, a well-known NFT artist, is actually a JPG image file that anyone can copy, download, and store on their hard drive. In the NFT market, we are not trading and auctioning this image file, but the "ownership" of the image file marked by the NFT technology. Whoever buys its ownership is the real and officially verified owner of the artwork.


In short, if you don’t care much about these techniques behind, perhaps you only need to know that blockchain can be viewed as a cyberspace storing a common ledger that keeps data which can hardly be tampered with (you can put any information in the ledger). Both cryptocurrency and NFT are its extended applications. NFT is a non-fungible token that can be used to label any concepts, digital objects and online behaviors, including the ownership of digital works of art and their transactions.


​This is only one of the simplest versions of the story. 

In fact, what has happened is much more exciting. Many people believe that these new technologies will profoundly change the future. I hope this brief introduction can help you understand blockchain and NFT, and also the exhibition "Dear Block Chen".​

> works of artists <link>

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