Updated: Jan 25

‘The multiple human needs and desires that demand privacy among two or more people in the midst of social life must inevitably lead to cryptology wherever men thrive and wherever they write’

David Kahn, The Code-breakers

This series is a tribute to the centuries old Art of Cryptography. It’s an invitation to take an investigative look at the world we live in, where it’s headed and the great importance of cryptography in shaping a future of liberty, freedom of thought and justice for all.

Lets Dive into the stories..

1. ´The Oracles of Crypto´

Animated digital painting

The Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the Greeks. Oracles were delivered in a frenzied state, induced by vapours rising from a chasm in the rock, spoken in allegories with hidden meanings.

The Crypto Oracle is a temple of mysteries, puzzles, inventions and symbols created by the forefathers of Cryptography. It’s walls adorned with ancient cyphers and enigmas. It’s priests chosen carefully by the writers of history. It’s atmosphere holding the contradictions of a science often accused of black magic and occult practices.

Julius Caeser - the greatest Roman of them all, the first to use substitution cyphers in military affairs.

Al Kindi - ‘The Philosopher of the Arabs’, the author of the oldest surviving document on cryptology.

Ibn al Durayhim -the first to describe eight cipher systems that lead to the earliest suggestion of a ‘tableau’ of the kind that two centuries later became known as the Vigenère table.

Johannes Trithemius -the bishop and magician who wrote a trilogy of books known as the Steganographia, all written in code and amongst the first books ever written on the subject.

Leon Batista Alberti - the ‘Father of Modern Cryptography’.

Entering a world of post truth and possible postmodern surveillance dystopia, we must ask ourselves, ‘Who are our Oracles?’. What do we stand for and how do we make decisions? What kind of global civilization are we after and how are we using the technology and cryptographic tools at our disposal?

*This piece will be minted as a 1/1 NFT and auctioned off on Thursday, January 21st.

2. The Physical counterpart of the Oracles of Crypto.

The Scytale is the first system of military cryptography established by the Spartans, the most warlike of the Greeks. The device consists of a tapered baton around which a piece of leather inscribed with the message was spirally wrapped. The disconnected letters make no sense unless they are wrapped around a certain diameter of baton, serving as the key.

The base of the piece is a Basque Makila. An elegant walking stick, a symbol of nobility and respect as well as a security element. It is entirely hand-made by Beñat Alberdi, the only artisan in the Spanish Basque country that still uses century old artisan techniques.

The Makila is painted with the first archeological findings of Cryptography.

⁃ Non-standard hieroglyphs carved into the wall of a tomb from the Old Kingdom of Egypt around 1900 BC

⁃ Cipher symbols written in the Meluhha language, found in Harappa, from 3300 BC, pre-dating the invention of alphabetic or syllabic writing systems. The cipher consisted of symbols of similar sounding words that held a secret message

3. The Crypto Puzzle

On Thursday, January 21st, at 11am ET a Crypto Puzzle will go LIVE on the NiftyGateway website.

There will be 8 hours to solve it.

It will be a painting filled with clues, ciphers and secret messages - all pointing at a phrase about cryptography.

To win the prize you have to get one of the open editions in the 8 min window and be the first to tweet the answer tagging @yonatvaks and @niftygateway or emailing the answer to after the Open Edition closes at 7.08pm ET.

The first one to do so will win a 1/1 Commissioned NFT that we will create together, on the subject of this drop!

I´m very excited for this!

To read about the 21 animations about the Crypto Wars inside the Pack -

 © 2021 by Yonat Vaks. 

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon