The Chain, a crypto-art project


Bitcoin crashing in my life

I am Laurent Benichou. A big Bitcoin lover. I like the modernity it brings to the rotting monetary system. I like self-sovereignty, self-responsibility and privacy. I love maths, numbers, puzzles… I love Proof-of-Work, not only for its contribution to Bitcoin but also for what it is in nature: an elegant process in which hexadecimal numbers dance around a door until some dude finds the right key. By chance. By work.

I fell in the rabbit hole pretty early. From Bitcoin, I jumped to Ethereum and issued the first Ethereum-based insurance product. That was in September 2017.  In October 2017, Cryptokitties clogged Ethereum. I could not sell insurance for days. First interaction with NFTs. First lesson: the winning use case is selected by the crowd, not by me. Gets you humble.

Bitcoin Meteorit by Cypherpunknow (

NFTs, Scratch Tech & me

NFT summer. Rising prices. Some projects pump… and dump. Why? In my view, crypto-art needs more ‘crypto’ in itself. And tools to inject it. This is my new goal. I write the Scratch Tech white paper. Then  the prototype: I apply Proof-of-work to .GIF images to customize their hashes. I begin to dream: one day, maybe an ERC to limit NFT spam, using my PoW tool…
Back to reality. I build a few projects to showcase my tech: Modern mining, Rabbitcoin. Monochromes. Fingerprints. Dordinals. And of course Scratched ClayPunks with my friend CryptoClay. Scratch Tech raises the crypto sugar rate in crypto-art fruits.

But something is missing. The ethos of decentralized networks: P2P & collaboration. I seek an interview with Benoit Couty and Thuy-Tien Vo, founders of the Museum of Crypto Art. They accept. They welcome me in the pack. Immediately. Arms wide open. We brainstorm. We invent a crypto-enriched art collaboration project : The Chain.

The Chain

The Chain ( is a chain of artworks from multiple artists that are chained artistically and cryptographically. The artistic link is made by the next artist as they need to find inspiration in the previous artwork of The Chain. The cryptographic link is provided by Scratch Tech through Proof-of-Work: the first digits of the hash of artwork #N+1 are equal to the last digits of the hash of artwork #N. The Chain mimics the Bitcoin blockchain. With artworks instead of blocks. And the same proof-of-work activity to confirm new blocks. In one sentence, I define The Chain as a mix of an Exquisite Corpse (all artworks form a meta artwork that is the full chain) and Chinese Whispers (each artwork is a distortion of the previous artwork) on a cryptographic continuum (hashes are linked in a never-ending series of hexadecimal numbers).

The Chain is a chain of artworks. And a never-ending cryptographic sequence. Maybe the most important artwork is just the latter, by the way : a dull and monstruous never-ending series of hexadecimal numbers that ‘hide’ multiple artworks. Life behind the maths. Hiding art. Crypto-art.

The first batch of The Chain is a collaboration with 37 of the most well-known crypto-artists. But then The Chain will continue. Each artist will nominate the next one. Build art. Nominate. Build art. Nominate. Extend The Chain. Continuously. Starting from Block0, the genesis artwork from artist hOrOmOx.

Block0, by cryptoartist hOrOmOx

You & The Chain

The Chain is a crypto-art experiment. Will it thrive? Will it speak to other crypto-artists ? Will it resonate in crypto-collectors ears? Will it survive the bear market? Will it survive us ?

We have ambition for The Chain. Decentralize it. Give artists easy tools to fork it. Make it cross-chain maybe one day. Will you crypto-artists build The Chain with us ? Will you crypto-collectors fuel The Chain with us ? We’ll know more farther down the life of The Chain. We’ll know more farther down the chain of life.

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