NEW YORK—Ever gazed upon the Mona Lisa and thought it would look several times grander had Da Vinci painted your placid frown over Lisa Gherandini’s?
“Iridescence,” the world’s first digital clothing on the blockchain,” lets you do just that. At first glance, it’s fairly simple—a three-inch thick frame bears a screen, upon which a woman stands against a Manhattan skyline, swaddled in a floating, translucent dress.
But the woman is a cipher; after a few seconds, the dress vanishes, revealing her in a beige body-suit. The dress, which upon closer inspection is revealed to be a highly abstracted blend of squashed CryptoKitties, has been digitally mapped onto the model’s torso.
Whoever purchases the image—bidding started at $10,000, and expected to surpass $65,000—will be able to replace the image of the woman with themselves; head, torso, limbs and all. The frame, using the same technology that underlies Instagram’s face filters, then maps the translucent dress to the buyer’s unique dimensions.
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The buyer’s ownership of the portrait is secured cryptographically—the buyer receives a hardware wallet, only accessible to them, alongside the frame. It’s built by DapperLabs, the company responsible for smash hit CryptoKitties, along with The Fabricant, a “digital clothing” startup.
The portrait, a “non-fungible token” on the Ethereum network, cannot be replicated. The portrait, and the rendering of the buyers’ dress, are digitally unique.
The image has been generating a lot of buzz at Ethereal Summit, the annual gathering of the Ethereum tribe, in Brooklyn, which started this morning and marks the start off Blockchain Week NYC.
“With digital clothes you can tailor it to look good no matter what shape you are,” said DapperLabs Product Lead Benny Giang. “And it can defy gravity because you’re not restricted how heavy the material is.”
“The point for this is firstly creating entirely new creative class,” he explained. “Fashion for a long time has been restricted to cities like Milan, New York, Paris and London. This makes it as easy as creating a vlog.”
It does, of course, come with the usual dystopian possibilities that attend to blockchain projects—Giang says miners on the Ethereum network could conceivably collude to override the portrait and render a new subject into the image.
The thing is selling at the Ethereal Summit in New York, at 5:30 pm on May 11. A former Vice President of Christie’s will conduct the auction. Lest you think $65,000 is a reach, remember DapperLabs is the startup that sold a non-fungible, cartoon kitten for $150,000.