Just recently Bitcoin.com chatted with Max Hampton-Fischer, an industrial design student at the Rhode Island School of Design to talk about his new physical bitcoin creation. Fischer has created a piece of artwork that also safely stores bitcoin keys in what he calls the ‘Bitcoin Cold Storage Mosaic.’
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The cold storage mosaic is a group of large tiles glued to two pieces of 1/4“ plywood that contain a bitcoin public and private key pair. Fischer describes his work as a “sort of bitcoin ‘piggy bank’ that can only be ‘cashed out’ if it is destroyed.” The design student will soon be releasing a full-length video of the process but discussed his project and videos in detail with Bitcoin.com
A Mosaic With Material Value
Bitcoin.com (BC): What got you into bitcoin and tethering it with design?
Max Hampton-Fischer (MHF): I’ve been interested in Bitcoin since the summer of 2015. Bitcoin is an incredible technology. I’m fascinated by the idea of concealment, privacy, assets, and money. In the 21st century, exposure is value, but with bitcoin exposure is only good if it’s the correct data. I want to create beautiful pieces of art that have material value (bitcoin) that people can put in their homes or collections without having to go through the trouble of using the complicated storing methods.
I like to use the saying; jewelers use gold, I use bitcoin.
BC: How did you come up with the idea for your Mosaic cold storage artwork?
MHF: Obviously this can be easily seen as art, but I would consider myself a designer. Last summer my close friend Cole Jorissen and I started discussing many of these ideas surrounding bitcoin and its physicality. It’s incredible how physical it really is considering it’s the first digital currency. You know this if you’ve ever ASIC mined or had to use hardware and paper wallets.
BC: Can you tell our readers how you made the Bitcoin Cold Storage Mosaic?
MHF: The addresses are calculated from an offline device that is later destroyed. I glued the contents of the public and private key onto two 1/4″ pieces of plywood. Then, after completing both keys, the private key is glued by its border to the back of the public key face first; thus making it impossible to see. The private key creation is not included in my videos – in fact, all digital input including phone/ laptop cameras and microphones are physically tapped. To those who are familiar with bitcoin, the microphone might be excessive, but mapping hand movements with sound is a possible thing, and my device has to be perfect.
There are few security measures for the private key. One of my biggest worries was that someone might be able to scan through it with an x-ray – so each tile is exactly the same density – each tile has both colors of paint layered on its surface and the only difference is what color is before the other. This makes differentiating the two with a powerful X-ray almost impossible as you would have to find minute density shifts inside, within the size of a hair – and scan through the sheets of metal that are sandwiched between the two.
This creates a device that resembles a sort of Bitcoin black box that can only be cashed out if it’s artwork is destroyed. The mosaic is definitely one of my larger projects so far, taking hundreds of hours to complete.
BC: When did you start making your videos and projects that are focused on bitcoin?
MHF: I bought my first camera when I was quite young. I’ve been making Youtube videos since 2007. My first experimentation in this area was with Coin Flakes; an appropriation of Corn Flakes with private keys inside containing a random amount of bitcoin. I made a very small batch, and they sold surprisingly quick considering the low Youtube exposure. I make products that have some undertone of a commodity or product. Art is becoming more and more of “asset” despite resentment from creatives.
BC: Do you have other projects that you are working on that tether bitcoin to physical art?
MHF: This is my first real prototype to test the validity of this concept. I plan on making more that are similar to the mosaic and other forms of exposing and concealing data through physicality.
BC: Is the mosaic piece just a personal project or have you thought of making these storage concepts for others?
MHF: I would love to share them. This is a commodity just like any other and should be freely traded on the market.
What do you think about Max’s cold storage mosaic? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Max Hampton-Fischer
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