In brief

  • Newly launched platform Cryptographs will auction off digital artwork.
  • When sold, a portion of the sale will be sent to charity.
  • Crypto figureheads are getting behind the process and creating their own artwork.

An Ethereum-based digital art auction is set to go live on July 8, featuring exclusive artworks by popular cryptocurrency personalities. The auction will take place on a newly launched auction platform called Cryptograph, that has a social element built in.

Cryptograph, which launched on June 6, is a platform for auctioning its own type of digital artworks, eponymously called Cryptographs. Ownership of the artworks will be stored as unique digital collectibles, known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are stored on the Ethereum blockchain. And a clever piece of code enables them to provide charitable contributions over time.

“Every Cryptograph that is sold on our platform supports a charitable cause and every time a Cryptograph is bid on or transacted, it automatically raises money for its charity, creator, and for our company Perpetual Altruism,” Cryptograph co-founder Hugo McDonaugh told Decrypt.

The creator of a Cryptograph selects a charity that will receive a portion of the token sale when it is auctioned off. Afterwards, every subsequent transaction involving the token sends yet another donation to the chosen charity, while generating further profits for its creator.

The first Cryptograph up for auction is titled “Quadratic Funding”, by Vitalik Buterin. The piece is a visual formula of Buterin’s vision for a new method of funding public services.

Buterin’s artist page on Cryptograph.co summarizes the concept of Quadratic Funding, stating: “In principle the model incentivizes individuals to voluntarily contribute amounts that together signal to a government how much society as a whole values a public good, how much should be spent on it, and where that funding should be directed.”

Early Bitcoin adopter Erik Voorhees and Ethereum researcher and developer Vlad Zamfir are also set to auction their own artworks on July 8.

A perpetual form of charity

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin displays his finished work of digital art, titled "Quadratic Funding". Image: Cryptograph.co

Cryptograph is the creation of UK-based Perpetual Altruism, which attempts to “align the for-profit motive with social impact.” By attaching charitable contributions to a token which could conceivably be traded forever, Perpetual Altruism has, in effect, created a perpetual charity system—one that doesn’t even rely on the company itself.

McDonaugh, who was an early adopter of Ethereum, said, “If we were to disappear, all of the core infrastructure and incentives to trade and transact existing Cryptographs (i.e. our smart contract ecosystem) would still exist and could continue.”

However, there will be a third party involved, to handle the charitable donations—for those that don’t accept direct payments of Ethereum (ETH).

“The intermediary is also needed so that we can do professional due diligence on the charities in question to make sure they are all above board. It is important to show from an accounting/reporting and transparency perspective what funds that have been generated are clearly for charity and can therefore have the appropriate tax treatment and tracing etc,” he added.

According to a recent Cryptograph Medium post, at least 10% of the funds raised in the sale of Cryptographs will go to the charity chosen by the creator, while some will receive upwards of 70%.

With Ethereum a hotbed of Ponzi schemes, it’s about time there’s something more positive on offer.

This article has been updated to show that ownership of the artwork, as opposed to the art itself, is stored on Ethereum.