ElementBlocks: Bringing Chemical Elements to the Ethereum Blockchain

Published: 09th of February 2021

1. The Periodic Table of Elements

When the alchemist Hennig Brand in 1669 boiled buckets of urine with the aim to create the philosopher's stone, which he believed would grant him eternal life, he accidentally discovered Phosphorus - the first element that was not known to humanity since ancient times. [1]

After that, many more elements have been discovered and synthesized in a journey that became a symbol for human curiosity and collaboration.

200 years later, in 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev introduced a system to cluster chemical elements that not just accurately explained patterns between existing elements but also allowed him to predict properties of not yet discovered elements. [2]

Mendeleev's table is now known as the Periodic Table of Elements and contains all the 118 unique chemical elements that humanity has discovered so far.

We are standing on the shoulders of the giants we created. Science and technology are the ultimate results of the collective intelligence human civilization has become.

2. Digital Assets

In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the idea of a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. [3] Since then, the idea of a decentralized future has blossomed in many minds. Bitcoin has shown that money needs no central authority pledging for its value.

Vitalik Buterin has taken this idea to the next level by creating Ethereum, which gave the community a tool to easily write smart contracts and decentralized applications with their own set of rules. [4]

A whole ecosystem has since then flourished with people self-organizing in decentralized autonomous organizations to free human civilization from the authorities it has created.

Banks, brokers, and other financial institutions are being replaced by decentralized finance protocols.

Hal Finney, the first user of Bitcoin after Nakamoto, predicted cryptographic collection cards in 1993 [5] - his ideas have become reality.

Larva Labs has created CryptoPunks, a set of algorithmically created pixel avatars in 2017. They were the first art project that determined the ownership of a digital asset through a non-fungible token (NFT) on the Ethereum Blockchain.

CryptoPunks have shaped the landscape and inspired a new standard for the ownership of digital art. A new world of NFT collectibles has been sparked.

3. Introducing ElementBlocks

Hennig Brand, the discoverer of Phosphorus, sold his phosphorus recipe to D. Krafft from Dresden for 200 thalers. [6] If he would have lived in our time, he would probably have declared ownership of the recipe, or maybe even the element, through an NFT.

The goal of this project is to bring all chemical elements as unique collectible artworks to the Ethereum Blockchain. Each element is represented as an ElementBlock, which is a 1:1 NFT.

As a tribute to CryptoPunks, an ElementBlock is a 24x24 pixel image. The image contains the element's atomic number (1-118) and its symbol (a one or two-letter abbreviation).

Each ElementBlock holds an essential piece of information about our universe. The idea is that they will gain historic meaning in the coming decades due to their early storage on the Ethereum Blockchain.

Like real elements, each ElementBlock comes with a set of different traits that influence its rarity.

Official traits of ElementBlocks are:

Nevertheless, unofficial traits will probably influence the Block's desirability as well. Some elements are just emotionally more tangible for humans than others, independently from their traits.

4. References

[1] https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/hennig-brandt-and-the-discovery-of-phosphorus

[2] "The Soviet Review Translations" Summer 1967. Vol. VIII, No. 2, M.E. Sharpe, Incorporated, p. 38

[3] Nakamoto, 2009 - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

[4] Buterin, 2013 - https://ethereum.org/en/whitepaper/

[5] Hal, 1993 - http://cypherpunks.venona.com/date/1993/01/msg00152.html

[6] Parkes, G. D.; Mellor, J. W. (1939). Mellor's Modern Inorganic Chemistry. Longman's Green and Co. p. 717

Twitter: @ElementBlocks

Rarible: @ElementBlocks

OpenSea: @ElementBlocks

Official ElementBlocks contract address: 0xa13325ba1b9493c02d364a4a41e646d24f532126