Can This Project Send a Message About Privacy?
The intersection of creativity and privacy: Unraveling the message behind 'Social Contracts' with Burak Arikan
Introducing Social Contracts
Arikan discussed his latest project, Social Contracts, which focuses on creating an interactive, dynamic NFT that visualizes the relationships between people and their art collections. By mapping these connections, Arikan hopes to offer users an engaging and unique way to explore the world of digital art.
Social Graphs, Privacy, and Art: A Dual Purpose
Arikan explains that the idea for Social Contracts arose from two primary goals. The first was to emphasize the existence of social graphs on the blockchain and allow users to gain a bird's eye view of their network, making it easier for them to explore their connections and predict their behavior.
The second goal was to draw attention to the need for privacy-preserving blockchains. Arikan believes that the increased traceability and predictability of non-private blockchains can lead to an exponential accumulation of power for a select few and that privacy must be a choice. He sees Social Contracts as a way to surface the potential issues surrounding privacy and promote the development of more secure blockchain solutions.
‘A Sweet Sour’
When asked about the dual nature of Social Contracts, Arikan describes it as “a sweet sour.” On one hand, the platform allows users to discover new people, collectors, and art pieces. On the other hand, it serves as a reminder that all of this information is in the open and emphasizes the need for privacy-preserving blockchains. Arikan's project, therefore, serves both as a creative exploration tool and a thought-provoking statement on privacy in the digital age.
Centralized or Decentralized?
While blockchain technology is often associated with decentralization, Arikan says that the platform runs in a centralized manner. The data used to build the graphs is gathered from a centralized server, which then creates and updates the NFTs accordingly. However, Arikan maintains that this approach is necessary to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the graphs.
Exploring and Trading Dynamic NFTs
Arikan envisions users minting their Social Contracts NFTs and using them to explore their art collections and discover new artwork. He explains that the dynamic nature of these NFTs allows them to update their data over time, making them unique and valuable assets in the digital art world. Users can also transfer their NFTs between accounts or trade them on the open market.
From MIT Media Lab to Social Contracts
Arikan's journey into the world of digital art and NFTs began during his time at MIT Media Lab, where he experimented with internet money and virtual currencies. Over the years, he has worked on various projects involving finance, social media, and data visualization.
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