Meraki — A Generative Art Platform

Randomness

Meraki leverages Chainlink VRF technology to guarantee true randomness to creators and collectors of generative artwork.

What is Chainlink VRF?

Chainlink VRF (Verifiable Random Function) is a provably-fair and verifiable source of randomness designed for smart contracts.

It is essentially a “tamper-proof random number generator” which guarantees that the output of the smart contract (the generative art, in this case) is random.

Why is randomness important?

Randomness is important for integrity.

In a generative art collection where some pieces are rarer — and thus sometimes more valuable — than others, it is important that creators and collectors can have faith in the system of distribution.

By distributing the generative art in a truly random fashion, creators and collectors can be content that nobody — including oracle operators, miners, users, or even smart contract developers — has an unfair advantage in the distribution process.

How does the randomness actually work?

There are three steps to ensure randomness:

- When randomness is requested, Chainlink VRF generates a random number and cryptographic proof of how that number was determined;

- The proof of randomness is published and verified on-chain;

- The smart contract then interacts with the random numbers to administer in the random fashion determined.

How does Chainlink randomness compare with other ‘randomly generated’ art?

Chainlink randomness is verifiable and published on-chain, which means that you can see with your own eyes how the randomness was created and administered.

Other ‘randomly generated’ art is not verifiable or on-chain — it is not transparent. It may appear random, but may not be as mathematically random as Chainlink randomness.

By providing Chainlink VRF to our creators and collectors, we are setting the highest standards for generative art.

Given the importance of the inception of generative art, we believe it is essential for the distribution of generative art to be provably random.

Unique Creator Contracts

Why is this important?

Because as creators and collectors have become more knowledgable about NFTs, blockchain technology, and smart contracts, it has become obvious that it is in everyone’s interest for creators to produce on their own contracts. This article explains why.

What is a smart contract?

At a high level, a smart contract is like a vending machine. It guarantees certain ‘outputs’ in response to certain ‘inputs’.

In the context of digital art:

money + art selection = art dispensed

The smart contract essentially governs the sale from the artist to the collector: it replaces the person who might have ordinarily ‘sold’ the art to the collector.

Why is art from a creator contract better than other options?

The primary reason that a creator contract is better than another type of contract (like the shared contracts administered by Nifty Gateway and OpenSea, for example) is that art produced by a creator contract is perfectly identifiable as by the creator. It is obvious to everyone that the creator is the true creator of the work, because it has come directly from their very own contract.

This is not the case with shared contracts, which mix up all of the art produced by the platform in a way which means there is no provenance (no proof that the art was directly created by the creator, only proof that the art was directly created by the platform).

This is a big deal for two reasons:

  • Collectors value provenance — proof of the origin of art has throughout history been of exceptional value. Now is no different.
  • Shared contracts are vulnerable — anyone can change the metadata of NFTs produced from a shared contract at any time, meaning the NFT can substantially change in nature without the approval of either the creator or the collector;
  • What are the other benefits of the creator contract?

Meraki offers all sorts of customisable options for creators (and collectors) to enjoy:

  • Share royalties — creators can easily add recipients to receive royalties;
  • Share responsibility — creators can give administrative access to trusted individuals;
  • Whitelists — creators can use Meraki’s in-built whitelist functionality to reserve NFTs for certain collectors;
  • Breeding — creators can leverage Meraki’s latest technology to merge NFTs to create an altogether different NFT;
  • Evolving NFTs — creators can design their NFTs to improve or deteriorate over time;
  • Define ownership — creators can permit their collectors to name collected work officially on the blockchain.

How does the creator contract actually work?

We have a contract called the Meraki Core contract. From this contract is created a new contract for each artist. The artist will be able to configure their contract in a way which suits them best. Both the artist and Meraki are administrators on the artist’s contract, but it belongs to the artist and their project.

Final thoughts and context

Meraki is empowering creators with the tools to take full ownership and creative control of their own contracts.

With this power, we hope creators can utilise our first-class technology to push the boundaries of what generative art can offer.

Holistic support

Meraki has numerous in-built features which support creators all from within the Meraki platform.

We want to make the creative and administrative process — from generating, testing, adjusting, minting, selling, and managing revenue — to be as straightforward for everyone as possible.

Code testing

We conduct due diligence on creators’ code to make sure it doesn’t infringe on any other party’s rights or contain any malicious activity for which JavaScript is infamous.

In addition, we check that the code meets the Meraki SDK standard which allows for uniformity between scripts, regardless of what rendering library is in use. This makes it much easier to create scripts as there’s a single, documented way to write a valid Meraki script.

This thorough process should give creators and collectors peace of mind.

Preview images

Creators can preview a variety of images produced by their code before minting to the mainnet.

In this way creators can be confident of what their code will produce.

Platform messaging

We are on hand around the clock to support creators in their process.

We have built an in-platform messaging service for creators to contact us with any issues they encounter.

As such, whether questions or concerns relate to technology, code, or logistics, we can figure it out all in one place.

Full-cycle support

We support the creator’s journey from code to sale — and post-sale.

From the day we accept artists onto the platform, we work closely with them to make sure they are happy with the art produced, as well as the dynamics of the sale and subsequent revenues.

Final thoughts and context

By providing the support outlined, we hope to lighten the load on generative artists who want to focus their energy into their art.

It is our ambition that many established and emerging generative artists join us for our streamlined process and support network.

Proof of Stake

This is the fourth article in a series which will highlight the unique qualities of Meraki, this platform built for generative art creators and collectors.

Today’s focus is how Meraki’s decision to build on Polygon reduces environmental costs and saves money for its users.

What is Polygon?

Polygon is a “proof of stake” blockchain. It operates as a sidechain to Ethereum (which is currently still a “proof of work” blockchain moving towards becoming a “proof of stake” blockchain).

A sidechain is a type of blockchain. They run separate to the main blockchain (Ethereum in this case) but use the same technology. In this way, a sidechain of Ethereum must be dependent on Ethereum.

What is the advantage of a sidechain?

At a high level, users of Polygon can benefit from a higher volume of transactions per block and lower transaction fees because it has a larger block size and shorter block time.

Savings for users can be significant:

Whether it’s NFT transactions or swapping of coins on a DeFi platform, all dealings on Ethereum incur a cost, or gas. The average for the network soared to around $60 for a single transaction this month, with charges sometimes ranging into hundreds of dollars. Polygon’s $0.002 transaction fee is a guilt-free bargain by comparison.

Polygon Blog, December 2021: Why Eco-Friendly Projects Choose Polygon

Whilst this does mean that Polygon is not as decentralised as Ethereum, it is a trade-off which is deemed by many as necessary for the technology to scale.

How is Polygon better for the environment?

Ethereum is a “proof of work” blockchain.

This means that processing transactions on Ethereum requires computational power to solve complex problems. This is a very energy-intensive process.

This race to solve complex algorithmic puzzles in return for rewards burns about 97 terawatt hours of electricity per year, which ranks Ethereum between Philippines and Kazakhstan in terms of energy consumption.

Polygon Blog, December 2021: Why Eco-Friendly Projects Choose Polygon

Polygon, on the other hand, uses a system where people stake their tokens to approve transactions. This “proof of stake” approach to mining intends to cut the energy bill by 99.95%.

Ethereum’s CO2 emissions currently clock at roughly 92.23 kg per transaction, compared with just 0.0003 kg for Polygon PoS. That’s the difference between burning 46 kg of coal and about one tenth of a gram.

Polygon Blog, December 2021: Why Eco-Friendly Projects Choose Polygon

Final thoughts and context

By building on Polygon, Meraki can offer it’s users significantly lower costs (without sacrificing security), and participation in a more ethical eco-friendly blockchain.

We hope creators and collectors share our vision of building on top of a sustainable blockchain which has a low barrier of entry for everyone.

The first generative art platform on Polygon

Meraki is the first generative art platform on Polygon.

“Meraki” is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity or love.

This is the way we have built Meraki, and the perspective with which we view the generative art space.

In this article, we summarise how Meraki provides creators and collectors of generative art an eco-friendly platform that puts first the sovereignty and desires of creators and collectors.

Creator contracts

Our contracts give sovereignty to our creators and provenance to our collectors.

The contracts we provide are not shared. So our creators don’t have to worry about their work being mixed up with the work of other artists — and collectors can receive work directly minted from their favourite artist.

The contracts are also fully customisable which grants autonomy to the creator. A creator can create bespoke arrangements for royalties, administrative access, and whitelists.

We are very proud of how we’ve pushed the technological boundaries to put so much power in the hands of our creators.

Holistic Approach

Our holistic approach to support our creators makes the creative and administrative process streamlined.

Testing code, previewing images, and platform messaging are all built into our platform so that we can work with creators at every stage of the process to help them get their work to their collectors.

Randomness

We use Chainlink VRF — a “tamper-proof random number generator” — to make sure the art is created and distributed in a provably fair manner.

We believe “randomness” is really important for integrity.

By distributing the generative art in a truly random fashion, creators and collectors can be content that nobody — including oracle operators, miners, users, or even smart contract developers — has an unfair advantage in the distribution process.

Proof of stake

Meraki’s decision to build on Polygon reduces environmental costs and saves money for its users.

Polygon users can expect quite significant savings from using Polygon instead of Ethereum:

Whether it’s NFT transactions or swapping of coins on a DeFi platform, all dealings on Ethereum incur a cost, or gas. The average for the network soared to around $60 for a single transaction this month, with charges sometimes ranging into hundreds of dollars. Polygon’s $0.002 transaction fee is a guilt-free bargain by comparison.

Polygon Blog, December 2021: Why Eco-Friendly Projects Choose Polygon

Polygon also uses significantly less energy than Ethereum. Whilst Ethereum ranks between Philippines and Kazakhstan in terms of energy consumption, Polygon’s proof of stake approach to mining intends to cut the energy bill by 99.95%.

Final thoughts and context

These articles each outline the specific benefits to creators and collectors of generative art in advance of our launch.

We hope they provide the most useful information in a concise way, but of course if you have any questions or would like to get involved with what we are building, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter or Discord.

We are very excited to bring generative art to collectors in a more eco-friendly and sustainable fashion.

If you’d like exposure to the Meraki platform, the Meraki Founder’s Token, which allows holders to participate in profit sharing and governance just by holding it in their wallet (and also will act as the future DAO token), is available here. Further details can be found in our Whitepaper.

Meraki Generative Art Whitepaper

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Meraki Generative Art

Meraki Generative Art

The first Generative Art platform on the Polygon Blockchain