Retrominting: How to Create ASCII NFTs on

Retrominting: How to Create ASCII NFTs on

There was a time when monitors were bulky, the Internet worked over a landline, and instead of memes, we exchanged ASCII art—pictures composed of typed characters. Let's get nostalgic for those times at the Typed Marketplace.

This post covers some peculiarities of ASCII art, interesting and expensive works on, and the incompatibility of text-based NFT with some wallets.

Understanding ASCII

ASCII is an encoding standard and an eponymous character map. It contains 127 elements: letters, punctuation marks, numbers, and special characters. In addition to composing plain text, they can be used as a substitute for pixels to create images.

Text art originated in the late 19th century with the spread of typewriters. The craft had gone into oblivion for decades until resurfacing in the 1980s when home PCs became widely available.

At first, developers used symbols to represent objects in games like Rogue and NetHack. Then came the Internet. Users invented emoticons, added more characters to the table, started using multiple strings, and wrote PNG to ASCII converters. And so we went from ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to the Big Wave in Kanagawa.

Presently, ASCII art can be a part of retro games like ASCIIDENT or roguelike ones like Dwarf Fortress.

ASCII Art at Typed is a new NFT marketplace on Tezos that supports nothing but minting text-based tokens: tweets, short stories, and ASCII pictures.

Since its launch in June, the project has gained more than 2,000 followers on Twitter. Within 5 days, users had created 4,000 NFTs, and now there are about 6,500.

Judging by Typed’s smart contract statistics, collectors buy artwork every day. Here are the most expensive and coolest.

Token #11,000 tez (really).

Token #3348 featuring LINES — 200 tez.

Token #1419 — this somewhat questionable rendition of Vermeer cost someone 95 tez.

Apart from these, there are other interesting works like Markov chain-based pictures. This is a sequence of random events with a finite or countable number of outcomes, where the probability of each event occurring depends only on the state achieved in the previous event. Roughly speaking, it is a generated ornament.

Also, there are stories written by the AI algorithm GPT-3.

There is a problem with Typed, though: not all wallets display this format. For example, Autonomy and Temple don’t work with NFTs, while in Naan, they can only be viewed through the “dApp” tab. Hopefully, displaying NFTs directly in Gallery for Typed Art will become available later.

The developers continue developing the marketplace. For example, they recently added functionality for token holder viewing and additional tags for art creation.

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