The CHROMA Manifesto

Collect Coder
10 min readAug 19, 2021

This article details the origins, rationale and implications of CHROMA CODE, a generative on-chain NFT collection created by collect-code, which includes a novel autonomous token delivery mechanism that empowers a few collectors with supply control, named CHROMA CACHE.

cache, noun: a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place. verb: store away in hiding or for future use.

We cover the following aspects of the CHROMA collection:

  • The Art (inspiration)
  • The Medium (technology)
  • CHROMA Sources (governance)
  • CHROMA Cache (supply)
  • Cachenomics (implications)
  • Licencing (CC BY-SA 4.0)

THE ART

Although being completely digital, the CHROMA collection draws inspiration from traditional canvas artists that were already breaking conventions over 70 years ago.

Abstract expressionists Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

Ellsworth Kelly and hard-edge abstraction.

Even having prolific and varied careers, their art converged towards abstraction and minimalism. They reached the essence of their craft, manifested as the purest colours and emotions. And that’s how they are remembered by many people.

Those are artists who dared to push the limits and confront expectations.

Panels from 4900 Colours, Gerhard Richter, 2007 / Ellsworth Kelly, Spectrum IV, 1967 / collect-code, CHROMA-V#32, 2021

The CHROMA collection is being released in 5 series, starting with CHROMA-V until CHROMA-I, with increasing simplicity.

All CHROMA series are generated using the exact same rules, but with different parameters, and can have 25, 16, 9, 4, or just 1 pixel.

Like Gerhard Richter's 4900 Colours, CHROMAs could be combined and rearranged in countless combinations, creating new landscapes.

Mark Rothko, Red And Yellow, 1968 / Murat Pak, The Pixel, April 2021 / collect-code, CHROMA-II#03, 2021

But what is the size of 1 pixel? That question is nonsensical since a pixel is immaterial and needs to be digitally displayed, by light. But the pixel’s contents is always the same, no matter how large or small it is presented.

There's a usual misconception that artwork needs to have a well-defined subject. The artwork itself can be the subject if the viewer gives allowance.

Their sheer simplicity, when amplified, can be overwhelming.

Barnett Newman, Vir Heroicus Sublimis, 1951, MoMA / James Turrell, Event Horizon, 2017, Mona (Photo by Jesse Hunniford) / collect-code, CHROMA-I#00, 2021

“Size doesn’t count, it’s scale that counts” — Barnett Newman

Barnett Newman invited the viewer to be 18 inches away from his painting Vir Heroicus Sublimis (1951). The relative scale then dominated the entire field of view, turning it into an immersive experience. It brings the senses, the body, the mind, to a place where they are not used to go, drawing raw moods and emotions from the viewer. Viewers themselves become the subject.

More recently, James Turrell mastered immersiveness. Installations like Event Horizon (2017) obliterates the senses. The viewer is abducted by the artwork. It becomes an out-of-body transcendent experience.

Immersion allows the viewer to become one with the artwork.

CHROMAs were designed to be immersive, projected on a white wall by a high contrast laser projector, or displayed on massive LED panels. We're looking for opportunities to develop a CHROMA installation.

To bring immediate immersion to collectors, future collect-code phases include The Codex, a desktop and VR experience, bringing the artwork to be experienced in environments and galleries virtually impossible in real life.

The Codex prototype, collect-code, TBD, featuring CHROMA-IV#11,

We invite you to read The collect-code Vision for the full scope and roadmap, as well as other plans for CHROMAs.

THE MEDIUM

The CHROMA collection consists of 5 Smart Contracts, running on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), each containing the exact same source code, with different parameters.

From the collect-code DApp (decentralized application), collectors can mint new CHROMA artwork using a MetaMask Ethereum wallet. Each artwork is an Ethereum Token, a permanent record linked to its owner. Tokens can be traded on secondary markets like OpenSea.

The CHROMA minting function will use the contract's address, the buyer's wallet address and the transaction block hash as seeds to randomize the Artwork. That makes each Token unique and personalized, virtually impossible to predict or replicate. Minting generative art is a bet, on the coder/artist skills and on your designated random hash.

The Ethereum blockchain is definitely an interesting environment to create new interactive experiences, or Smart Contract Art Projects (SCAP), as defined by Atlantes of Squiggly.

As Smart Contracts are used to drive how Artwork is generated or delivered, now the medium itself becomes part of the Artwork.

This is how CHROMA gamify the EVM to make things a little more interesting…

CHROMA SOURCES

When minting a CHROMA Token, Buyers have to make a choice, if they want to Build the Token or purchase it as a Source.

  • Choose to Build, and the Smart Contract will generate the final Artwork with its actual pixels, which will be stored on-chain, with the Smart Contract, accessible via the ECR721 standard tokenURI() function.
  • Choose to Source, and the Artwork will not be generated at mint time. Sources can be built anytime later, by the current Token owner only, with some gas. The act of Building is irreversible.

The first immediate consequence of Sources is that most collectors purchase at least two tokens, one Built and one Source. As of publishing this (August 18th), the average Tokens per Owner ratio is exactly 2.

CHROMA Source Tokens

CHROMA Sources are like a mystery box, or a sealed card pack, which contents can only be seen when the seal is broken, by Building it.

Another analogy can be made to the Quantum Observer Effect, as the act of observing (building) the Artwork will affect and determine what is observed.

There is one unique side-effect advantage for minting AND building multiple Tokens. Since they share the same generation seeds, they will also share the same colour spectrum and can be chained to each other. We call those tokens Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets and Quintuplets, depending on the number of Tokens being built. That is the base for rarity traits of the CHROMA collection.

The Quadruplets CHROMA-V#38, #39, #40, #41 (Screaming For Immersion)

THE HOLDER’S CACHE

Source Tokens can be used in many interesting ways. For the CHROMA collections, we created a novel autonomous supply control mechanism, in the hands of Source Holders.

Our implementation is named CHROMA CACHE, composed of the following stages:

  • Launch: The Coder (contract owner, The Artist) mints Token #0. This event automatically opens the contract for public minting.
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO): The first 50% of the supply is available to mint freely, Built or as a Source. There is a steep bonding curve, pricing is calculated as (InitialPrice x TokenNumber).
  • Source Reduction: The remaining 50% comprise the Holder’s Cache. The contract will only allow new mints if less than 10% of minted tokens are Sources (Cache Threshold). Sources above the threshold need to be built by owners or sold to collectors willing to build them.
  • Cache Offering: When the Cache Threshold is reached, Source Holders can control the contract's supply. By building one Source, they quickly open a new window for minting a new Source and control supply again.
  • Source Falloff: 100% minted. The remaining Sources could become the most valued tokens, as they give access to the final remaining Artworks of the collection.

Source Holders become the dealers of new mints.

Taking CHROMA5 as an example, the maximum supply is 100 Tokens. When Token #50 is minted, and there are 10 or more Sources, the contract will not allow new Tokens to be minted. If the Source count drops to 9, 1 new mint becomes available. If there are 5 Sources, 5 mints are available.

CHROMA5 cache simulation (max supply of 100 Tokens)

As of publishing this, 67% of minted CHROMA Tokens are Sources. It will be interesting to see how this rolls out, as certainly, all the series will reach the Cache Offering phase above the Cache Threshold. A lot of Sources need to be built for the new mints to become available.

CACHENOMICS

The CHROMA CACHE is an experiment designed to push the NFT scarcity game away from its comfort zone. It contains a few features that directly stimulate the basic principles that drive markets, supply and demand.

The first is a direct application over Token pricing and quantity. Opposing the current NFT supply model, instead of thousands of low-cost tokens, CHROMA contracts offers few, with a steep bonding curve. Larger series (CHROMA5) have lower prices, while smaller series (CHROMA1) have higher prices.

CHROMA price bonding curve (InitialPrice x TokenNumber)

Does rarity really increase value? All CHROMA Tokens are rare and unique. Not just a few lucky ones. With Token price increasing after every mint, every minted Token value also increases.

Then supply control is put directly in the hands of Source Holders. During the Cache Offering phase, as new mints become available only after a Source is built, Source Holders can artificially manipulate supply based on current market prices. As Token prices rise on the market, reaching the current minting price, it becomes worthy for Source Holders to build one Source, quickly mint another Source, sell the Built Token, and still keep minting power.

The Minting Power inherent to Sources can lead to a Source Hunt, to pass it along.

Artists can also benefit from the CACHE. Most NFT drops have two very distinct phases. At first, minting originals happen very quickly, it can take minutes or last a few days, depending on the following the project has. Then it goes straight to the secondary market. We often see collectors paying twice the minting price not long after the collection sells out. Even having a small percentage of secondary sales, the Artist can profit less than experienced dealers.

The CACHE allows the minting phase to last longer, and grow together with the secondary market. That can give the Artist a steady income, with a direct benefit from the market's success.

Finally, when supply reaches 100%, the remaining Sources become the last original Artworks. I can only imagine how long they will remain unbuilt. Will someone hunt and open them all? Will Sources be held forever? How much does it cost a sealed vintage collectible card pack? Mystery and rarity can become more valuable than the actual contents.

LICENCING

We believe this design could be improved and modified in many ways, thus it is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0), for anyone to use it, as-is or modified, for any purpose, even commercially, as long as attribution is made to this article or collect-code. Would be very, very kind to send a couple of your Sources to collect-code.eth, thank you!

We actually encourage you to twist it! Here's just a few ideas that could be experimented with…

  • Builder Protection. Some guarantee that the Builder will be able to mint a Cached Token after building a Source, like a short time lock, while only the Builder can mint. Or Build and Mint in one single method call.
  • Source Limiters. To purchase a Source, the buyer needs to own at least one Built Token. Or set a maximum Source-to-Built ratio (ex: no more than 20% of minted Tokens can be Source).
  • Source Auctions. A Source is put on auction. Once settled, the Source is automatically built and transferred to the Buyer, allowing Holders to mint their cached token. Builder Protection could mint the new Source to the Seller automatically.
  • Bribe Pools. Bribers can deposit tokens (NFTs, ERC20, ETH...) to the contract in exchange for a newly built token. If any of the current Source Holders accepts a bribe, Source is built and transferred to Briber, and Bribe is transferred to Holder.
  • Dynamic Cache Pricing. Flat prices during IPO, but Cached Tokens prices can rise with the market floor price.
  • Source Building Events. Akin to Card Breaking, popular among sports cards collectors, events could be organized to build and sell Sources, by auction, raffle or guessing of the built Artwork contents.
  • Twisted Cache Parameters. It would be interesting to see what happens if some key parameters that drive the CACHE are changed. Larger supply. Lower Cache Threshold. No bonding curve.
  • Completely new use of Sources. Sources have the potential to become a temporary currency token. Give access to other collections. Used as giveaways. Send to a friend as a wrapped gift!

Thank You!

Go to The collect-code Vision for the full project roadmap.

Updates from Twitter @CollectCoder.

Mints are posted on Instagram @CollectCoder.

Thanks to @BlockFrameNFT for naming CHROMA CACHE.

Created by Studio Avante.

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