proof-of-thought
conceptual art, 2021
The proof-of-thought principle (hereinafter "p-o-t") is a new approach to the relationship between an artist and a collector.

This principle is based on the concept of mining, as used in blockchain technology. In this case, the calculated messages of hash functions can be found more quickly by humans than by algorithms using large amounts of computing power.

A work of art created using the proof-of-thought principle is a reward for the collector who is the first to discover the correct original message of the hash function specified in the work. This is similar to the way that miners in a blockchain are rewarded for successfully solving complex mathematical problems.

Architecture

The proof-of-thought (p-o-t) architecture is based on the idea of replacing a computer with a person in the task of searching for the original message of a hash function. To do this, the calculation problem must be designed in such a way that it takes significantly longer for a computer to find a solution than for a person to do so using reasoning and imagination.

Traditionally, the transfer of a work of art from the artist to the collector is determined by the cost of the work, either in traditional currency or in cryptocurrency in the case of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The p-o-t principle allows for the creation of artistic value to be based on the reasoning power of both the artist and the collector, rather than the simple purchase and sale of the work.

To implement the p-o-t principle, the artist includes a hash of the original message in the work of art, which can only be calculated through reasoning. At the same time, this message cannot be calculated using machine calculation or brute force. There are a few recommended parameters for the original message when creating an artwork:
- it should be at least 12 characters long
- the parameters of the message (such as language, symbols used, and encoding) should be publicly disclosed
- all the information needed to find the original message should be in the artwork itself or in its description,
- the original message should be able to be found through reasoning
- the SHA-256 hash function is used to hash the original message

The collector who is the first to discover the correct original message and publicly share it with the artist becomes the next owner of the work. The artist agrees to transfer the work (or NFT) for a pre-agreed period of time. Instead of receiving the work itself, the artist receives the collector's time spent searching for the original message, which becomes a new way of defining the value of the artwork. This exchange does not have a practical application, but rather represents a fundamentally new way of understanding the value of art.

The proof-of-thought principle allows for the direct exchange of the artist's time for the art collector's time, without the need for a monetary intermediary or an institutional intermediary. The value of a work of art is determined by the time that the collector spends searching for the solution to the public hash of the work.

This new way of creating and exchanging value in the art world allows for a more personal and direct connection between the artist and the collector, and eliminates the need for traditional methods of valuing and transferring artworks.
use case
Consider the artwork "six words hashed with SHA-256 algorithm" as an example of the use of the proof-of-thought principle. The picture displays the hash of the original message created by the artist. The title of the painting indicates that the message being sought consists of six words and that the SHA-256 algorithm was used as the hash function.

In addition, no information about the properties of the message is provided, so it can be assumed that the work relies on reasoning alone and nothing more is required to search for the original message. It is worth noting that the title of the work itself, "six words hashed with SHA-256 algorithm," also consists of six words. This leads one to hypothesize that these six words were the original message for the hash function. You can test the accuracy of this hypothesis using a browser-based coding service such as https://cryptii.com.
"six words hashed with SHA-256 algorithm" v2
Another example of the use of the proof-of-thought principle took place at an exhibition in Ekaterinburg, Russia (entitled "Taking care of you," held at the Cultural Foundation Transit in 2021). During the exhibition, a visitor named Pavel Kniazev was able to discover the correct original message for an artwork on the picture, and as a reward, he received the painting after the end of the exhibition.