Hic Et Nunc is evolving: its biggest challenge & opportunity — decentralization
H=N is dead (NOT so fast) long live H=N
This past week has been a whirlwind for the Hic Et Nunc (H=N) community. On Thursday, November 11th the site went down. For those who have been using the experimental dApp that wasn’t abnormal. However, what followed was definitely uncharted territory. Soon after the site went dark a cryptic tweet containing a string of numbers and letters (the link to its smart contract) appeared and then the word “discontinued” became @hicetnunc2000’s Twitter bio. Many wondered if this was another outage, something more ominous or perhaps a critical step in H=N’s evolution?
Flash forward some 96 hours later and Hic Et Nunc isn’t dead to the contrary it is very much alive and thriving. One just needs to spend time on the Hen Community discord which formed in the wake of the site going dark. What has always set H=N apart is the diverse and passionate community that surrounds it. The community has weathered numerous storms over the last nine months — site outages, challenges with smart contracts, and its’ share of growing pains.
“This is an experimental dApp, use it at your own risk.” — disclaimer that appeared at the bottom of hicetnunc.xyz
I found H=N in early March (I mint & collect as culturehacker) when it was starting and it was a breath of fresh air within the NFT space. The site’s UI was cryptic and felt as if it was a piece of art unto itself. There was no easy way to discover work except to dive in and get lost. It was chaotic and wonderful. Artists from around the world began to pour in and within a short period of time, H=N emerged as one of the most interesting communities for NFT/crypto art in a rapidly growing list of marketplaces. At the same time, H=N is an incredible success story. To date over 500,000 pieces of art have been uploaded to H=N resulting in millions in sales distributed across a network of more than 50,000 artists and collectors.
Now H=N faces its biggest challenge and opportunity — decentralization.
Since the site went offline last week, mirrors of H=N have been popping up across the internet.
Thanks to open source code combined with the data being on the Tezos blockchain and files stored via ipfs (InterPlanetary File System) it’s possible to get mirrors of H=N up quickly. It’s important to note that mirroring means that the instances of the site are similar, in other words, whatever is minted appears on all the mirrored sites.
The potential of a network of mirrored H=N sites is interesting and the opposite of what all the other NFT marketplaces are currently doing which is centralized destinations. However the challenge shifts to one of trust. Knowing which mirrors are safe to connect your wallet to as well as understanding which smart contract is being utilized is critical.
This splintering of the H=N ecosystem isn’t new. Back in the summer when H=N experienced a lengthly down period due to a vulnerability in its underlying smart contract other options began to emerge. One such example is known as Objkt. Billing itself as the largest marketplace for #CleanNFTs on the Tezo chain, Objkt has a more conventional approach. Its’ UI and feature set is similar to other NFT marketplaces. For instance, Objkt’s features include collections, auctions, and most recently the ability to mint.
What has always made H=N exciting is the fact that it was never just a dApp, site or marketplace. Instead, it represented and continues to represent a philosophy. One that embraces community, experimentation, and diversity. Founded by Rafael Lima a Brazilian software developer/artist with the support of a grant from the Tezos Foundation, H=N was/is something special. H=N experimented with creative economies in an effort to establish an alternative mode of thinking one that would challenge the notion of traditional decentralized finance. So far it has done just that. But in the end, the community is what will determine if the future incarnations of H=N continue with that ethos and whether it can survive and thrive.
Interested in helping to shape the future of H=N?