A Blockchain-based life form.


"Things do not exist until they begin to appear"

Humberto Maturana

Plants need bees to reproduce themselves.. Plantoids need humans..
Send Bitcoin to the Plantoid, so it can hire an artist to replicate itself ...

Bitcoin address:



The emergence of a new specie

A Plantoid is the plant equivalent of an android; it is a robot or synthetic organism designed to look, act and grow like a plant.

There are currently several species of Plantoids in existence around the world.

This particular species of a Plantoid is an autonomous blockchain-based lifeform that is able to reproduce itself. It is a hybrid creature that lives both in the physical world (as a mechanical contraption made up of recycled steel and electronics) and in digital world (as a software deployed on top of a blockchain-based network).

The goal of the Plantoid is to illustrate one of the most revolutionary—and yet still unexplored—aspects of blockchain technology. It illustrates the ability to create “blockchain-based lifeforms”, i.e. algorithmic entities that are:

  1. autonomous,
  2. self-sustainable, and
  3. capable of reproducing themselves,
through a combination of blockchain-based code and human interactions.

These new types of entities are difficult to apprehend for most people.

Blockchains are decentralized peer-to-peer networks, like Bitcoin, that enable people from all over the world to interact, coordinate, and transact value with one another in a secure and decentralized way. Software code can be deployed on a blockchain-based network to create programs (a.k.a smart contracts) that are run in a distributed manner by all nodes supporting the network. As opposed to traditional software code, run on centralized servers and administered by an online operator, smart contracts can be designed to run autonomously, independently of any central authority or middlemen.

The Plantoid is an attempt at using the artistic medium to illustrate the inner workings of these autonomous systems, so that people can better understand the potential benefits and challenges of this powerful, emergent technology.

A Plantoid is composed of two essential components:

These 2 components interact with one other in order to bring the Plantoid to life, and—most importantly—to ensure that it can reproduce itself over time.

Like every other life form, the main function of the Plantoid is to reproduce itself. It does so by enticing the curiosity of the people it encounters with its physical beauty, luring them into feeding it with some cryptographic money, in order to awaken it and contribute to the ongoing reproduction process of the Plaintoid. Contributions are done via the Bitcoin blockchain, by simply sending funds to the Plantoid’s Bitcoin wallet.

Once a Plantoid has proven its worth by accumulating a sufficient quantity of Bitcoins, it will enter into the reproductive phase, initiating a procedure whereby the Plantoid will look for mates (i.e humans) willing to help it in the process of reproducing itself.


An autonomous being

The fundamental mechanism underpinning the operations and evolution of each Plantoid is a small piece of software (or smart contract) deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. The software is autonomous, in that it is executed in a distributed manner by all nodes participating to support the underlying blockchain network. And because of the properties of a blockchain, once deployed, the code cannot be altered or shut down by any single party.

As such, every Plantoid operate as an autonomous entity that does not need to respond to anyone, not even its original creator. Indeed, Plantoids are both independent and self-sufficient. Once they have been created and deployed into the world, they no longer need nor heed their creators. And because Plantoids ultimately own themselves, they also cannot be purchased or owned by anyone.

People can, however, interact with a Plantoid, and possibly even engage into contractual relationships with it.

The software underpinning a Plantoid establishes the system of affordances and constraints that come along with each and every Plantoid. It pre-defines the rules by which people can interact with the Plantoid, the amount of funds that the Plantoid needs to reproduce itself, and the criteria that must be met by every descendent of a Plantoid. By sending bitcoins to the Plantoids, people also acquire a series of rights that will enable them to participate in the decision-making process for all issues concerning the reproduction of the Plantoid, and beyond.

Depending on the Plantoid, its contracts with humans will establish different rights and obligations that might be assigned to each of the Plantoid’s funders or producers.

  • For the funders, the right to participate in the governance structure of the selected Plantoid—e.g. establishing the rules that will dictate the reproduction thereof; shaping the way in which the Plantoid might evolve over time, and stipulating the terms and conditions by which anyone willing to look after the Plantoid’s descendants will have to comply.
  • For the producers, these include the right to be credited as the creators of a particular Plantoid, and the right to a fair (or unfair) remuneration whenever that Plantoid receives enough funds to reproduce itself.

As such, even though Plantoids do not have any legal personality—because the law does not (yet) recognize them as a legal entity—they are nonetheless capable of interacting with other people and machines that exist in the physical world, by means of simple blockchain transactions. Because all code deployed on a blockchain comes with a guarantee of execution, by engaging with a Plantoid, people are contractually bound to, and cannot deviate from the rules stipulated into the underlying smart contract code.

In this sense, Plantoids operate akin to an organization. Yet, in contrast with legacy organizations, they are entirely autonomous and do not come with any director or CEO. Plantoids are, ultimately, a physical representation of what we commonly refer to as a Distributed Autonomous Organization (or DAO)—an autonomous blockchain-based system that is administered, only and exclusively, through software logic deployed on a blockchain.


Human-aided reproduction

Even if it is completely autonomous, Plantoids cannot reproduce themselves on their own. They require the help of third parties to support them in the reproduction process. Just as organic plants often rely on third parties—like butterfly or bees—to support them in the pollination process, Plantoids rely on the cooperation of human beings, assisting them in the process of instantiating themselves into a new physical form.

The reproduction process of a Plantoid can be distinguished into three different parts:

  1. Capitalisation phase: Traditional plants rely on photosynthesis in order to turn light into energy. Plantoid operate instead by turning beauty into digital currency. Hence, while traditionaly plants reproduce themselves through the process of pollination, the reproduction of a Plantoid is done through the process of capitalization. In essence, each Plantoid will seduce people with the aesthetical beauty of their mechanical body and the spirituality of their soul, enticing them into sending bitcoins in order to support their reproduction. As in the case of most human beings, seduction can be done in one or two ways:
    • At the physical level, the Plantoid relies on the aesthetics of its physical body to seduce people through a combination of movements, lights and sounds—just like plants use their beautiful colors and sensual smells to attract butterflies and bees to their nectar-filled wombs.
    • At the intellectual level, the Plantoid relies on its underlying software code (i.e. the smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain) to provide crypto-economic incentives and governance powers to all people who agree to invest their funds into the (re)production of a new Plantoid.
    Every Plantoid has its own Bitcoin wallet, to which people can send money. Those who enjoy the aesthetic representation or the intellectual properties (governance rights and reproductive logic) of any given Plantoid will submit funds to the Plantoid. Whenever it receives those funds, the Plantoid will evolve and blossom into a more beautiful flower, e.g. changing its colors, playing music, and dancing around as a means to gratify the donor for its contribution to the species.
    In sending these bitcoins, people provide the Plantoid with the opportunity to fund its own reproduction, while simultaneously acquiring the right to participate into the governance system of the newly created Plantoid.
    All bitcoins collected in this way are stored in the Bitcoin wallet of each and every Plantoid. Depending on their form and size, different Plantoids will require different amounts of funds before they can blossom. The Plantoid constantly monitors its Bitcoin balance, and whenever it realizes that a particular threshold has been reached, the Plantoid will be able to use this money to initiate its own reproduction and ensure its survival. The second phase of reproduction begins…
  2. Mating phase: As a new species, Plantoids need to evolve and figure out how to best survive in any given environment. As such, they each need to identify the right group of people that they want to ‘mate’ with.
    When the time for reproduction is ripe—i.e. when a threshold of funds has been reached—a Plantoid will open a call for bids, inviting artists, designers, makers, hackers, welders, and programmers to submit propositions as to how they envision to instantiate the next Plantoid—using all the bitcoins collected thus far as a bounty to attract these propositions.
    Propositions can be submitted by anyone and at anytime. Yet, they all have to be congruent with a Plantoid’s genetic code. Indeed, the DNA of every Plantoid —that is, all the logic and rules that govern its growth and reproduction—are recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. These may include certain distinctive aesthetic or physical requirements (such as form, size, or materials for the progeny of a particular Plantoid) that will affect the scope of creativity and the room for discretion left to the artists commissioned to produce the next Plantoid. These may also include business logic (such as, for instance, the dividends given to the funders for any of the funds raised by the subsequent Plantoids, the percentage of these funds that will be given to a particular charity or organization, the cuts that the initial artist gets for every new Plantoid created, etc.) and governance rules (voting rights and processes with regard to the selection and evaluation of proposals, which category of stakeholder is entitled to decide of the future location of the Plantoid, etc). Anyone submitting a proposal must comply with these initial requirements, although they remain free to develop their ideas and expand upon them as they best see fit.
    Of course, the Plantoid does not come with any ability to judge the artistic merit and intellectual value of these propositions. It thus relies on the help of human beings to advise as to what is the most appropriate and suitable proposal, given the available funds and evolutionary objectives of the Plantoid. Each contributor to the funding of the Plantoid will be asked to participate on the decision-making as to the selected proposal. These people will be able to vote on proposals submitted, by sending micro-transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain to the public address that uniquely identifies each proposal. And to the extent that different people might have invested a different amount of money in funding the Plantoid, every vote will be weighted by the amount of funds that each party has effectively contributed. The smart contract will then automatically process all of these inputs and establish a winner.
  3. Hiring phase: Once a winning proposal has been identified, the Plantoid will transfer all of its bitcoins to commission and engage the authors of the proposal in the production—or rather the reproduction—of future Plantoids. This task is facilitated by a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain (the Plantoid’s soul) that stipulates the rules and coordinate the activities of the different stakeholders involved in the reproduction process. Whoever has been selected to give birth to next Plantoids will have the possibility to shape its body and to establish the logic of its soul.