Snow Crash

break the "metaverse"


Drawing on inspiration from Neal Stephenson’s iconic novel, I set out to create an NFT that acted as a modern-day “Snow Crash” stored entirely onchain on Ethereum. My version utilizes a simple SVG payload to deliver the user a “unique” experience.

The mission of the payload is simple, eliminate the viewing experience and protect the artwork at all costs. As a result, this artwork remains unviewable, and its presence in a collection renders all other NFTs therein unviewable as well.

Go ahead, try and view SNOW CRASH yourself on any browser / device:


NFTs typically enable universal viewing and appreciation while being exclusively owned by one individual. However, this unique NFT presents a paradox: it can be owned by someone, but remains unviewable and unenjoyable to anyone, challenging the very concept of ownership and enjoyment in digital art. Furthermore, its mere existence has the peculiar effect of deteriorating the viewing experience of all surrounding NFTs, adding a complex layer to its interaction within the digital art space.


Across a range of web3 platforms, including Dapps, games, and social networks, interoperable NFTs like SNOW CRASH bring an entirely new meta into play. This invites a new realm of "creativity", presenting numerous possibilities for utilizing an asset like SNOW CRASH, many of which remain undiscovered or unexplored.

For instance...crashing Warpcast - sorry (ಥ﹏ಥ).

(*SVG Dan, svg.)

Since SNOW CRASH is an NFT hosted entirely onchain on the Ethereum blockchain, any decentralized application (Dapp) that retrieves NFT token data without adequately cleaning the code or safeguarding against this particular type of "art" is susceptible.

Even if one decentralized application (Dapp) manages to secure itself against SNOW CRASH, others may remain exposed. The core of the problem lies in the attack being aimed at the client side, which is the interface that operates on a user's own computer or device, not the remote servers or blockchain its stored on. Dapps operate by linking users directly with the blockchain, eliminating the need for central servers. This means any content, such as NFT data, gets processed right on the user's device via their browser and device of choice. Think of SNOW CRASH as a package and a Dapp as a delivery vehicle. Once SNOW CRASH is delivered to the user, the payload begins being processed on the user's browser. Since most Dapps assume that NFTs are "safe" packages, they deliver these packages to the end user without much thought.


At its heart, "SNOW CRASH" leverages a tiny SVG payload designed to overwhelm and disrupt the rendering capabilities of any browser or device that attempts to load it. This is achieved through the strategic use of SVG's <use> and <g> elements to create a deeply nested, recursive structure that exponentially increases the computational demand required to render the artwork.

The payload begins with an innocuous-looking SVG artwork. However, embedded within is a series of group (<g>) elements that recursively reference each other. Each group doubles the references of the previous one, creating a cascade of exponential growth in the number of elements to be processed. This geometric progression ensures that, very quickly, the rendering engine is overloaded, leading to significant performance degradation or a complete snow crash.

Deep inside this recursive digital spiderweb lives an artwork. Hidden from view.


The impact of "SNOW CRASH" is twofold: Visually and Functionally.

Visually, the artwork remains hidden, shielded by the complexity of its container. This inaccessibility is a deliberate design choice, reflecting on the nature of value and visibility in the digital art world. The artwork challenges the notion that digital assets are always accessible, posing the question of value in absence.

Functionally, the payload disrupts not just the viewing experience but the entire operational capability of the device or browser attempting to engage with it. This disruption is a powerful statement on the vulnerabilities inherent in our digital ecosystems. By causing browsers or devices to crash, SNOW CRASH underscores the fragility of the systems we believe will underpin the "Metaverse".


Fully stored onchain on the Ethereum network, this NFT opens the door for future developers to build upon its foundation and extend its use case. Its structure allows for intriguing possibilities in smart contract interaction and further exploration of SNOW CRASH-esque use cases and educational opportunities. I have decided to release 50 editions of SNOW CRASH into the wild. I invite others to experiment with SNOW CRASH across the metaverse.

Payload stored onchain via tokenURI


SNOW CRASH editions ERC-1155: 0xe3567441448dfC9Fd1aaE574EDcf628df2aa079f

50 editions of SNOW CRASH are available for collectors on OpenSea for 0.05 ETH each. If OpenSea delists SNOW CRASH (which I imagine will happen), I will announce alternative marketplaces to purchase from on Twitter.

Although it's listed for sale, don't think that it will be easy to acquire a SNOW CRASH. It's already working against you.

In order to harness it, first you need to understand it. Once you understand it, you can control it. Once you can control it, you can use it.



The "SNOW CRASH" NFT and all related content and activities are purely artistic in nature and are intended solely for the purposes of artistic expression and exploration within the digital medium. This project is not intended to be used for any illegal or unethical purposes and should not be interpreted as an encouragement or endorsement of any form of malicious digital activity or cyber vandalism.

The creator(s) of the "SNOW CRASH" NFT disclaim any responsibility for any unintended harm, loss, or damage resulting from the use or misuse of this artwork. The NFT is conceptual and should be viewed and interacted with as a piece of digital art. It is not designed to cause actual harm or disruption to digital systems or personal property.

Purchasers and viewers of the NFT are solely responsible for their use of the artwork and must acknowledge the artistic intent behind the project. The creator(s) do not advocate for, nor support, the use of digital artworks for malicious purposes.

This project is a reflection on and exploration of digital ownership, the impact of digital creations, and the boundaries of digital art and technology. It should be engaged with in the spirit of intellectual and creative inquiry.

By interacting with or purchasing the "SNOW CRASH" NFT, you agree to do so at your own risk and acknowledge that the creator(s) are not liable for any consequences that arise from your interaction with the artwork.

Collect this post to permanently own it.
Subscribe to bushi and never miss a post.
  • Loading comments...