Breaking Down the Trojan Llama Piñata

By Sven Eberwein

The best way to predict the future is to study the past.

When the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, they hid a selected force of men inside and pretended to sail away.

The Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. The rest is history.

That was the Bronze Age. Today, roughly 3000 years later, we live in the digital age and the aliens at Reddit came up with a little more modern adaptation of the very same idea.

They abducted a Llama Pinata, filled it up with ERC-20 tokens and beamed it right back into r/FortniteBR.

Repackaged as a community points called “BRICKS”.

Set out to do nothing less but win back the freedom of the Internet.

In a slideshow Reddit introduced the idea:

In the beginning, the Internet was a free frontier — a land of openness, creativity and possibility.
Early settlers discovered many like themselves. Out on the frontier, they banded together into communities that made up the free Internet.
Then the amusement parks opened. Millions abandoned the frontier, drawn to the glitzy rides and manicured lawns.
At first, everyone loved the parks. Until they built walls and billboards. And spied, manipulated, and censored the people.
Today, the free frontier lays in ruins. Walled gardens dominate the landscape, with people trapped behind walls and under watch.
Is this how the Internet ends? Or will people find a way to take back control?
With the right tools, people can break free of the parks and escape the walled gardens.
They could reclaim their rightful ownership of the frontier, and rebuild stronger, more independent communities, even better than before.
Liberated from control, they could express themselves freely, collaborate on decisions, and determine their own future.
The frontier could finally regrow into a dynamic world of diverse, prosperous, and independent online communities.
We believe in a new dawn for the Internet, where it can be free once again.

Let’s unpack that. The Internet is indeed broken today. Nevertheless, for most people it is working just fine. To convince a large number of people to move towards a free and open web you need to pick them up where they stand and not only offer a solution that solves a problem but one that is fun and creates an incentive. This is the point where things get really interesting. Imagine you can earn a piece of the communities you are a part of and later on enjoy the fruits of your labor. You have complete control over your share of the Internet and you can influence its future based on your own ideals and values.

For now the launch of Community Points will be fairly small with two subreddits, r/CryptoCurrency and r/FortniteBR (2.3 Million members combined) participating in the initial testing. Although looking forward it could be the beginning of one of the most important initiatives towards a better Internet and a widespread adoption of Ethereum.

To fully understand the scale and potential you have to look at the numbers. Reddit is absolutely massive, with 430 M+ monthly active users it is one of the biggest social networks on the planet and every Redditor who will sign up for the new feature will create his own “Vault”. When a Vault is created, it generates a public address / private key on the Ethereum blockchain where all the points are stored. Keep in mind, currently there are only 400, 000 active addresses on the Ethereum blockchain. That is just under 0.1% of the active Reddit user base.

Art critic Jerry Saltz told Vulture in 2016

Artists often channel the future, seeing patterns before they form and putting them in their work, so that later, in hindsight, the work explodes like a time bomb.

The Trojan Llama Piñata is such an attempt to predict the future. Will we look back at it and see a major milestone towards a free and decentralized web? Hard to imagine but that’s exactly what the Trojans thought.

Author profile
Sven Eberwein

Sven Eberwein is a new media artist working at the intersection of computer graphics & internet pop culture. His digital works are emerging from references collected all around the web, set out to explore their impact and relevance in a new context. Works of the internet, by the internet, for the internet.

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