The Block: A Study of Simple Complexity

By Matt Mills

The Block: A Study of Simple Complexity

This is the online version of the whitepaper. Click here to download the PDF.


At the core of all human beings lies creativity. Most of us are forced to suppress this as we grow older. We must work in soulless jobs so that we may feed money back into the financial system. This system has taken my soul. It may have taken yours as well. We now have the knowledge and technologies to fight back and my weapon of choice is art.

The Artist’s Manifesto

“I am an artist. I am tired of ignoring my true calling and my god-given talents for the sake of conformity and pleasing others, in a world where so few dare to live their dreams. Today I embrace my most inner desires to be artistic, audacious, admired and notoriously brave. Enough of denying my love for the creativity and my urge to be unique. Today I surrender to the need of being surrounded by beauty in all forms that represent the authenticity of my talents. I am now defining and choosing my life purpose as an artist and refuse to spend the rest of my precious days pursuing anything that is not aligned with that purpose. I am ready and open to follow the success paths which are unfolding in front of me at this very moment. I will not be denied. As I write these words, the right people and the right circumstances are shifting to recognize my passion and ingenuity, as the universe conspires to bring me the perfect opportunities for wealth, happiness and peace. I will not be deviated from my passion for art and self-expression. And I will not shrink when people diminish or laugh at my views and artistic ambitions. I am a deserving, admired, thriving artist. So it is and so it will be.” [1]

  • 1. Introduction

  • From a very young age, I knew there was something different about me. I had an intense desire to create. My days were filled with drawing, building, and experimenting. There was a fire burning. I couldn’t get enough. I would lose sleep staying up all night listening to music and drawing. It didn’t matter, I needed to release the creativity.

    Eventually, as typically happens in our culture, my creativity was slowly suppressed. The fire was systematically extinguished by everyone around me. Forced to conform to social norms, I was shuffled through schools with the expectation of conformity. Get good grades. Go to college. Get a job. It wasn’t until much later that my eyes were opened to the real driver behind all of this. Money.

    The system has been orchestrated to supplement the incomes of a small few. We are injected with fear in order to conform. We are bombarded with marketing materials showing us what we need to be happy. We take on massive amounts of debt to live lives that we cannot afford, to impress people we don’t care about. Continuously feeding the pockets of a few large corporations. This must stop.

    In 2002, after years of aimlessness, there was a spark. I still don’t exactly know how it happened. Maybe it was luck, or fate, or divine intervention. It doesn’t matter, I rediscovered my passion for creating. I was still a cog in the corporate machine, but I had a renewed sense of purpose. Every waking hour while not in that cubicle, I was creating. My eyes were opened to a whole new world. A world of creating with software. It was beautiful.

    2. Software

    It all started with Adobe Photoshop. Actually, it started with BitTorrent [2]. I had needed Photoshop for a project but was disheartened to find out that it cost over $500 at that time. Now, I had been torrenting music for years at this point but hadn’t realized that there were pirates out there cracking and distributing software. I knew that this was not the proper way to go about obtaining the software, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to create. And once, I started, I couldn’t stop. From Photoshop, I started experimenting with 3D using Autodesk (Alias) Maya. Then, Adobe After Effects, Maxon Cinema 4D, Adobe Illustrator and more. The software tools allow me to explore my creativity in ways I could have never imagined. I continue to explore exciting new software tools and utilize them in unique ways while creating my work.

    3. The Block

    The year 2019 brings a new exploration. The Block is a focusing of energy. A singular concept that, on the surface, has a certain amount of simplicity. However, upon closer inspection, The Block exposes a deeper complexity of natural design that I will be tapping into.

    The Block has inherent roots in the mathematical representation a Platonic solid [3] or more specifically, the cube.

    the block whitepaper blockchain art mathematical representation

    When visually represented, these properties align to form what we have come to know as the cube.

    the block cubic form blockchain cryptoart

    Dissecting the cube further, we discover that each cube consists of 6 unique nodes or sides. It is here, where I begin to assemble the basis of The Block. Each of these nodes provides the origin for my creative canvas. There are 11 distinct nets for the cube [4].

    the block whitepaper blockchain ethereum crypto art cubic node nets

    Each combination of node arrangements (nets) allows for an exponential amount of information and detail to be distributed in an array of visually stimulating imagery (i.e. The Block).

    4. Calculations

    Disclaimer: The structure and shape of The Block can be mathematically calculated. However, these calculations cannot, and will never, be able to fully describe the complexity of The Block.

    The surface area and volume of The Block with edge length a are:

    the block whitepaper blockchain calculation

    The Block has inradius, midradius, and circumradius of:

    the block blockchain whitpaper cryptocurrency artist

    The Block has a dihedral angle of:

    the block encrypted artwork calculations

    In terms of the inradius r of The Block, its surface area S and volume V are given by:

    blockchain artist whitepaper matt mills the block

    So, the volume, inradius, and surface area are related by

    the block blockchain art crypto artist matt mills

    where h = r is the harmonic parameter. [5]

    5. Proof-of-Work

    To implement the initial proof of work, The Block has been constructed of rudimentary nodes, one of which exhibits an additional layer of complexity.

    matt mills blockchain the block proof of work

    As the viewer explores and increases the zoom level of the artwork, the additional complexities are revealed.

    matt mills the block blockchain crypto art node detail

    The complexity that this proof of work exhibits is merely a procedurally generated pattern. Final implementations of The Block will consist of additional complexities including, but not limited to, encrypted messages, puzzles, audio, video, and more. The outcome of which will be an enhanced visual experience for the viewer that will extend far beyond first viewing.

    6. Artwork Releases

    Each artwork release will be unique. From the implementation of The Block to the distribution of the medium, the details of each release will be reconsidered upon each new release to allow for maximum creative flexibility.

    • Each artwork will be limited
      • Only a specified number (n) of minted pieces will be available for distribution
    • Digital Block(s) will be distributed and tracked on the blockchain through various platforms (see item 7)
    • Physical Block(s) will be distributed via the postal system
      • Each physical piece will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity (see item 7)
    • New artwork will only be released at a time after the previous release has been closed

    7. Authenticity

    Lack of information and reliable ways of assessing the authenticity of art pieces means that investors deal mostly only with centuries-old institutions that are perceived as trustworthy. [6] With the emergence of blockchain technologies, it is now possible for an artist to create a limited number of digital assets for secure distribution.

    For Block(s) created using a digital medium, the distribution and authenticity verification will utilize these new technologies to ensure that the purchasing owners are receiving authentic artwork.

    For Block(s) created in a physical medium (paint, sculpture, etc.) authenticity will be ensured utilizing a combination of a physical certificate as well as a digital key.

    8. Ownership

    Ownership of a Block will be considered an act of support for my creative explorations and the intent of my artistic passions. Not only will the owner receive a token (the artwork) for their financial support, but they will also be enabling the creation and release of additional Blocks.

    9. Conclusion

    In conclusion, I’d first like to thank anyone who has made it this far. I believe you have found this document for a reason and I absolutely appreciate the time you have invested in learning about this project.

    My intentions here are multi-leveled. On the surface, the selfish intention is to be able to follow my creative passions and fully support the creation of new and intriguing artwork. Free of the chains of societal norms.

    On a deeper level, my work is intended to be a source of inspiration. A visual spokesman for chasing your true calling. For finding a way to make things happen. For working hard for years behind the scenes, devising your plan for domination, and then executing on it with full force. For utilizing the global community and emerging technologies to our advantage in our attempts to escape the norm.

    Click here to download the PDF.



    [1] Sandra Belegi, “The Artist’s Manifesto,”

    [2] Jahn Arne Johnsen, Lars Erik Karlsen, Sebjørn Sæther Birkeland, “Peer-to-peer networking with BitTorrent,”

    [3] Eric W. Weisstein, “Platonic Solid,” From Mathworld--A Wolfram Web Resource,

    [4] Eric W. Weisstein, “Cube,” From Mathworld--A Wolfram Web Resource,

    [5] Michael Dorff, Leon Hall, “Solids in Rn Whose Area Is the Derivative of the Volume,”

    [6] Maecenas, “The Decentralized Art Gallery,”



    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published