The Persistence of Status by gillesdc.eth

Jack Butcher’s Checks Derivatives Have Taken Over Web3

BY Eric James Beyer

February 07, 2023

Without a doubt, Jack Butcher’s Checks VV is taking over Web3. What began as an artistic experiment and social commentary on the concepts underpinning Web2 and Web3 has grown well beyond the walls of its own making. At this point, Checks’ identity has shown up in derivative projects that span everything from early 2000s memes to Web3 tropes to classical art. The official Checks VV website features a page dedicated to these derivatives and currently displays 415 of them. Hell, we even gave our logo the Checks VV treatment.

Given the breadth and depth of Checks’ reach, we may be witnessing Web3 history in the making. No other NFT endeavor has acted as such a vast canvas for the Web3 community to show their creativity, raise money for humanitarian causes, honor NFT history, or simply have a laugh. Here’s how Checks and its derivatives have united Web3 — through the lens of the artists and collectors that have put their spin on the original.

Seedphrase, Chromie Squiggles, and more

There are literally too many Checks VV derivatives to list here, but a few have recently captured the attention of the Web3 community. First is venture-punk.eth’s Chromie Squiggles. Honoring Art Blocks’ creator, Erick Calderon, and the platform’s iconic Chromie Squiggles collection, venture-punk.eth put together an instant Checks VV classic with their interpretation of the project. Likewise, iconic collector Seedphrase, Lana Denina, and Young & Sick have all interpreted Checks in their own unique ways.

Chromie Squiggle-inspired check
Credit: venture-punk.eth
seedphrase face check
Credit: Seedphrase
Pepe check man in front of water with woman
Credit: Lana Denina

VincentVanDough’s Pepe Checks

Checks derivatives are even inspiring their own derivatives. On February 4, Pseudonymous NFT collector and thought leader VincentVanDough dropped his Pepe Checks open edition. Priced at $6.90 a piece and available for 24 hours, 237,869 editions were minted in total, garnering VanDough a fresh $1,641,296 — more than three times the amount Butcher’s Checks made from the initial mint and creator royalties. 

Illustrator Oxdgb quickly followed in VVD’s footsteps with their own version of Pepe Checks composed of the artist’s distinctive security camera aesthetic. However, fans of the image won’t be able to mint that derivative’s derivative; Oxdgb did this one “just for fun.” 

Beeple was next to get in on the Pepe Checks action, putting his distinctive twist on VincentVanDoughs’ derivative. Let’s just say the artwork caught the attention of both Butcher and VincentVanDough. If Beeple gets inspired by something you’ve created, you know it’s truly made an impact on the NFT space.

Checks in art history

Checks’ influence isn’t limited to the present. The project has reached back through time to touch some of the most well-known works in art history. Gillesdc put their spin on several such pieces, including Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” and Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.” The artist has done the same for several other artworks, like René Magritte’s “The Son of Man” and “The Treachery of Images.”

Humanity Checks helps those in need

Butcher isn’t just using the popularity of the Checks VV project to spur collaborative creative thinking in Web3; he’s also using it to help people in need. On February 6, Butcher took to Twitter to announce the open edition mint of Humanity Check to aid the victims of the recent earthquake in Turkey, which has left thousands dead and whole blocks razed to the ground.

humanity check with red cross
Humanity Check. Credit: Jack Butcher
100 plates in a square
100 Meals. Credit: Jack Butcher

Checks’ popularity has also done quite a bit to put another one of Butcher’s aid-related open editions back into the spotlight. In November 2022, Butcher released the 100 Meals OE, with each minted NFT representing a 100-meal donation to Feed America’s nationwide network of food banks. Several NFT community members have directed Web3’s attention to the mint in recent days and weeks, helping push the number of mints to 20,896, translating to over two million meals.

The togetherness and cross-ecosystem collaboration that Jack Butcher has catalyzed is something the Web3 space should appreciate and celebrate. Community is perhaps the most overused buzzword in the crypto sphere, but like all good cliches, it exists for a good reason. Checks VV is precisely the project the blockchain was built for, and is one of — if not the first — to inspire such a high level of solidarity and goodwill throughout that NFT community.

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