Anatomy of a Heist, or Why We Built Curse NFT on Ethereum

Accursed Share
3 min readSep 6, 2021

The question has been asked, so we will answer it: Why did you build Curse NFT on Ethereum?

We would like to start by stating that Curse NFT matters, to us and to the cultural ecosystem. It is our flagship project; one that carries real-world impact and explores and incites transformation on multiple levels.

As our platform will soon demonstrate, Chainlink’s Keepers oracle would have allowed Curse NFT to respond to an infinity of beguiling phenomena: changes in weather, stock fluctuations, electoral results, sports statistics, animal migration, rates of de- and re-forestation. If the data is available, the oracle can channel it. The possibilities an instrument like this affords are endless, and so we had to ponder how exactly Krystall’s drama would be best expressed; not just thematically and symbolically, but also rhythmically.

A tracker is a sort of metronome. That which it tracks sets a pace; it installs a heartbeat in a creature, and so it is a leitmotif or what John White, in his Analysis of Music, describes as “the smallest structural unit possessing thematic identity” in a composition. We could, as a result, not be cavalier about this choice, because it would essentially convey the nature and the nurture of the piece; its character, and that of its makers. We had to settle on a (time) signature, our first, and so we thought it should be drawn with purpose, passion and precision.

We cycled through any number of enticing options to entrain Krystall’s variations to; some better than others, each with its charm. As we moved the project forward, we began to aggregate, then constellate, a series of themes that kept appearing in different guises: there was fairness, optimism, hope, tenacity, poetic justice, humour, affirmation in Krystall’s pursuit, but hers was also a tale of defacement, grief, bereftness, with a sense of being aimlessly aggrieved without resort, until. Ah! What is this? Enter: suspense, excitement, vision. Curse NFT had an unusual emotional range, and so we gradually understood that it would be something like our Eroica: a personal testament to the ups-and-downs of Krystall’s loss and reclamation, and a statement of intent for what Accursed Share was destined to become as well.

This is how we arrived at the price of Ethereum.

Accursed Share is on a culture-making mission. While we appreciate the features offered by layer 2s and Ethereum alternatives, the culture we are participating in, and contributing to, was established in the Ethereum ecosystem. This is our substrate, our primal ooze, at least for starters. We are developing the next step in autonomous digital artist communities, and that requires culture in at least two senses: as a prepared medium that stimulates growth, and as a context one shares values with.

So what might that medium and that context be?

The ethos of Ethereum is Promethean: ardent, revolutionary, humanist. It embraces the titanic task of stealing fire from the ‘gods’ to give it to people. It dares to build a new way of being digital by inciting you to pass the torch with your own hands, and this always comes at a cost. The exercise of freedom is not free.

In this spirit, Curse NFT is a sundial for heaven and hell. It accepts adversity, but is entrenched in hope. It sets out to revert what was once irreversible, to inject that possibility into the culture, and it invites the ripple of its consequences. It is, as we have argued, the key to a heist, and a successful heist accomplishes two things. It takes back power from all kinds of institutions — the artworld in this case, as well as trickier predicaments, like Fate. In doing so, it automatically expands the sense of what is possible (and so, the frequency and range of what is probable).

A heist is a civilising gesture in that it opens a way, and makes space. If Curse NFT is our first salvo, it is only fitting that its tracer ammunition be Ethereum.