Interviewing MurAll — a digital canvas to draw and mint on using an ever-decreasing token.

MurAll is, philosophically speaking, one giant art project. Technically, it’s a protocol for deploying your artwork to the Ethereum blockchain via smart contracts. The name comes from the idea of a mural.

MurAll is a 2048×1024 pixel large digital canvas. Drawing on it will cost you PAINT tokens (not mineable). Initially, when the supply is high, it will be cheap to take a spot and fill those pixels. Over time, as the consumed PAINT tokens are burned, drawing on MurAll will become increasingly costlier.

The maximum supply of PAINT tokens is capped at 22,020,096,000. Coloring one pixel costs 0.5 PAINT. The total area is 2,097,152 pixels. Consequently, the MurAll canvas can be painted and repainted all over 21,000 times.

Your artwork (pixel coloration) can be drawn over. Permanence can be achieved by minting MurAll NFTs.


This is an interview with TheKeiron, co-founder and developer of the MurAll art and NFT project.

Website: https://murall.art/ — MurAll is a decentralized, peer to peer protocol for user-created artwork. MurAll is free, public, open source software and a set of smart contracts.

The wall itself is self-governing just like a real life graffiti wall too; any users who do not like what they see will cover it with something else.

MurAll
The live MurAll at 21:47 UTC on July 17, 2021.

#1. A truly great project. As a designer, I appreciate MurAll’s genius ideology. My first question would be to know when are we expected to get out of beta seeing the current adoption rate and development speed?

The current dApp on murall.art is a release version, however we know it isn’t perfect and has a learning curve to it, so we’re always listening to our community on ways we can improve the user experience.

#2. Just like how blockchain technology professes anonymity, resilience, and security – MurAll has what it takes to become a strong digital art project. But what are the challenges that are facing you and your fellows?

I think the biggest challenge we’re facing is the unprecedented growth of the project! We have garnered a lot of attention and our following has grown exponentially however we are still a very small team so there is a lot of pressure on us to meet the expectations of our following. Also being a cryptocurrency project we have to manage peoples expectations with regards to the goals of our project; there are many who concentrate on the price of the Paint token rather than adoption, and want to push the price up through trading, however our goal is to see Paint used to create great pieces of art, which will burn the Paint used, increasing the rarity of Paint which should in turn make the price appreciate in a natural way.

#3. MurAll speaks strongly against centralization and censorship. Surely, censorship is an issue in real-world art. How else, apart from letting all users draw whatever they wish to, will MurAll help the fight against centralization and censorship, especially in the near future?

Art is subjective, thus we believe art should be as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Censorship of art is one of the reasons we built MurAll in the first place; while we understand there are those who value centralised services/offerings for ease or for a “walled garden” experience, we’ve seen artists excluded or deplatformed or have their artworks censored if it does not meet the rules of their chosen platform. We’re strong believers in the neutrality that blockchain brings, and our goal is to provide a truly decentralised art protocol for use of everyone, no matter their stature in the art world, we want to lead by example, providing a real alternative to the centralised offerings, as ultimately the centralised platforms only hold power while people use them; really its the people who hold the power. The whole reason blockchain was invented in the first place was as the true “opt-out” to the traditional system that gives the most power to the few in charge. Art is subjective, thus we believe art should be as accessible and inclusive as possible.

#4. How will you defend artwork against intentional sabotage? In other words, what if someone with lots of PAINT tokens tries to sabotage others’ work rather than creating their own work on the canvas?

So this is the “double-edged sword” of complete neutrality: it’s a level playing field for everyone no matter their intentions, and any type of intervention would create a platform that goes against the neutrality of the MurAll protocol. Instead of centralised control we’ve purposefully leaned towards tokenomic incentives; Paint is in fixed supply and is deflationary – any Paint used in drawing is burned, which increases the rarity of the paint left in circulation and thus its value, and also the process of drawing on MurAll mints an NFT of what you draw, which can be sold later or displayed alongside other pieces you own, thus if it is something not of high quality or without meaning, the artist may not be able to sell it.

Just like in real life, a good piece of art is more than the sum of its parts. Take the Mona Lisa for example: it was assessed at $100 million in 1962. Taking inflation into account, the 1962 value would be 10 times that. This is of course way more than the cost of the paint/canvas/frame, and MurAll is emulating this on chain; a good piece of art will be worth a lot more than the Paint expended on the drawing, so it is in an artists favour to use the paint wisely otherwise they may not get the chance to again.

#5. Tell us more about the ERC-721 NFT. How does it work and how can users mint their NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain?

ERC-721 is the current standard for NFT smart contracts; simply put its a standardised set of functions to dictate ownership of a particular non-fungible token (NFT). Though the inputs and outputs of the functions are standardised, some implementations can differ between projects, for example minting NFTs can differ from platform to platform as often platforms implement restrictions to the mint function to govern who is in charge of minting, or prevent minting unless certain criteria are met. In the case of MurAll, minting is only possible with our Paint token, and only with valid artwork data.

#6. The canvas will be entirely redrawn at a point. Up to 21,000 times. The idea behind the MurAll project is that the later iterations of the canvas will be more serious art, as it will cost more PAINT to draw on the same pixels. But, don’t you think that this will also put a sort of negative pressure on the artists who would be serious about being recorded in MurAll history forever? As we all know, artists don’t work that well under pressure.

The cost in Paint is always fixed at 0.5 Paint per pixel, though as previously stated the increased rarity will increase the value of Paint. The increased value will encourage artists not to waste it as they may not have the opportunity to use it again, however it’s worth noting that the Paint is only required at the point of minting onto MurAll, so artists can take their time to produce the art they wish, then when they deem it ready they can mint it to MurAll.

#7. When MurAll becomes a widely known phenomenon, it has a risk of getting used by people to meet bad ends, especially those who control dark money. It could be propaganda, cyber danger, or something illegal. What are your thoughts? Can something like this happen?

The MurAll protocol itself is built with only the Paint token as a requirement to mint, so this is absolutely a possibility, however as stated previously the Paint tokenomics incentivise proper use; the Paint burned in the process of it’s use so you can only use as much Paint as you own, and also if someone has the intention to use it to produce artwork that is in bad taste etc., they will struggle to sell the produced NFT, so they are highly likely to just sell the Paint itself to someone else rather than wasting it.

#8. Quick follow-up. If something like that does happen, what would be the course of action? Will we just let it be, let it unfold, and believe in the collective power of the good people to draw over?

The wall itself is self-governing just like a real life graffiti wall too; any users who do not like what they see will cover it with something else. If it is something illegal we would be obligated not to display the decoded data on our website however the data itself would still be there on the blockchain.

#9. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to add an image to the canvas. Can you tell us about the basic drawing process and how to import images into the canvas?

We actually have a quick 1 minute video outlining how to add an image onto the wall:

[YouTube Link embedded here for convenience:]

There is a bit of a learning curve just like any other tool, though we have recently improved the minting UX flow since this video was produced. You can use our editor to draw or import images produced elsewhere if you’re more comfortable drawing with other tools such as Photoshop etc. The main things to bear in mind are the restrictions on the amount of colours per image (256) and the colour space (RGB565). There is also a limitation on the blockchain itself on how much data can be put into a single transaction, which in turn limits the image size per NFT, so larger images have to be divided into sections. We have tools in editor to reduce the colours to the correct amount/colour space and also divide the image when required.

MurAll drawing screen
The drawing interface of MurAll. Free to draw before you go live.

#10. What platforms can MurAll NFTs be sold on or purchased from?

We have collections on OpenSea where the NFTs can be traded.

MurAll Layer 1: https://opensea.io/collection/murall

MurAll Layer 2: https://opensea.io/collection/murall-l2

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