philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


The Bizarre Digital Book You Must Destroy Before Sharing

Blockchain_TAA Universe Explodes. The book, written by Google employee Tea Uglow, developed by design studio Impossible Labs, and published by Editions At Play, is actually more of a web app.

Before an owner can give her version away, she must remove two words and add one to every page, creating a personalized limited edition of the book.

These changes are saved to a public database using blockchain...

With every iteration of the book, more words disappear until there’s only one word left on each page. “Frankly, after 20 owners it will be unreadable,” Uglow says.

With something like bitcoin, the transactions are financial in nature—you can see who bought the cryptocurrency, when they bought it, and for how much, without the need of a bank. In the case of A Universe Explodes, it’s more about tracking creativity than the transaction itself. Uglow compares the book’s ledger to a library card—you can see who’s read the book and how they’ve changed it, even if you can’t change the book yourself. From the website, readers can trace the devolution of all 100 original volumes, as each is edited and passed down by its respective owner.

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