Last month, while searching the net, Cointelegraph came across an interesting Blockchain-based invention – the Plantoid. It is a robot which “eats” Bitcoins and hires artists to replicate and evolve, all by itself. The idea seemed quite interesting and unusual, though CT couldn’t figure out any practical purpose for it. That’s why CT decided to look for such cases. For what it’s worth, the technology could be a revolution. Maybe, we just don’t realize it yet.

Plantoid is a steampunk-looking iron sunflower with hooky petals. It was created by Primavera De Filippi, a researcher at the Harvard Berkman Centre and founder of the Okhaos artist collective. The robot has an Ethereum-based smart contract inside which allows it to manage its own Bitcoin wallet and use Bitcoins to hire artists. Technically, it is an independent Blockchain-based entity which works without the help of people. All you need to do is donate Bitcoins – all the rest will be done by Plantoid.

A Useless Toy or a Revolution?

When CT first read about Plantoid’s features, it seemed like it could be a nice character for a steampunk-styled novel. Why not, indeed? A “living” mechanical flower that replicates itself using digital money – it could be a good idea for a fiction writer. But what are its actual features, the ones that could be used in real life?

Plantoid’s developer Primavera De Filippi “believes that the Blockchain provides a whole new set of opportunities for artists to experiment with new business models, and the Plantoid is just an example of what she considers to be a new model of funding the production of art — a model that could potentially be applied by analogy to many other sectors of activity that require the creation of resources of public or collective utility”.


She stated to Cointelegraph:

“I hope that the success of the Plantoid will constitute an interesting example of how we can conceive new business models which are not grounded on the exclusivity of copyright law, but rather on maximizing the dissemination and the creation of derivative works. I hope that people will be inspired by the Plantoid and try to transpose this same model to other fields”.  

Sounds promising but abstract. For what it’s worth, Plantoid uses a financial pyramid scheme as it passes about 5% of the Bitcoins back to its ancestors. It could be a real finding for pyramids’ runners. Just imagine, you get one Plantoid and he starts replicating bringing you the 5% royalty. There’s no need to constantly search for referrals, robots will do everything themselves. The only thing is that it would need something to make people give him Bitcoins. And “a little wiggle and dance, with a glittery noisy light show” wouldn’t be sufficient for this.  

Limitless Possibilities With a Little Update

It seems like practical use cases for Plantoid haven’t been researched thoroughly. It is often the case, when inventors are so excited about a technology that they don’t have the time – or desire – to research purposes of their invention.

Plantoid is a novelty. It’s first of the kind – a funny-looking iron sunflower which replicates itself using Bitcoins. What else can it do? The question is still open. But as Nathan Wosnack, CEO of Ubitquity, stated to Cointelegraph, “programmers could build features onto it with new patches that are supported through the Ethereum consensus mechanisms”.

Updates could give Plantoid plenty of new possibilities and features. Nathan added:

“Developers can make it indeed useful. Like building it to give shade to areas of land needed by humans or to build it into replicative structures that protect seeds. Or perhaps with solar energy panels placed onto it, where its energy is used and stored. I think its early existence is a novelty, its future possible use-cases are limitless”.