The Project

The unsigned_algorithms NFT collection is a study of color created by artist and programmer Alexander Watanabe, dynamically generated and minted on the Cardano blockchain between May 28, 2021 and July 29th, 2021. Individual pieces in the collection are referred to as “unsigs,” and although there are images stored off-chain for easy viewing, the code for each unsig is contained on-chain within its metadata, and can be recreated at any time, in any resolution, using that code.

Compared to other NFT projects, unsigned_algorithms has a reputation for complexity because doesn’t fit neatly within established patterns of NFT markets. With 31,119 pieces it is far larger than other collections, and the images themselves appear to many eyes as simple gradients. Enthusiasts of the project, however, appreciate the collection for the artistry and craftsmanship needed to create the project in the way that it was, and for Watanabe’s stated purpose of using the blockchain itself as an artistic medium.

It deserves to be said that the value of the unsigned_algorithms collection is more than financial. Not only is it innovative in the NFT space, its appeal is spreading to the traditional art world and is sparking conversations about blockchain as an artistic medium. On May 12, 2022 a panel discussion was hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, featuring unsigned_algorithms as the vanguard of this new way of thinking about art and technology.

Screenshots from the official unsigned_algorithms website at

Videos / Interviews


Medium as Message: A Case for Blockchain as an Art Medium

Dissertation by Eva Gentner for Master of Studies in History of Art and Visual Culture, Trinity Term 2022 , University of Oxford

Articles / Presentations

Programmatic NFT

Slide deck presentation prepared by unsigned_algorithms creator Alexander Watanabe.

Unsigned Algorithms: An Invitation To Ask Better Questions

"There was a riveting Twitter Space yesterday, October 16, 2021, organized by the human behind the Twitter handle @IbisNft. The conversation was on the well regarded but yet to be entirely elucidated subject of the vastly successful unsigned_algorithms project, the artwork of which is commonly referred to as an 'unsig'..."

Algorithmically Awesome NFTs

“What are Unsigs you ask, and how did I get involved with them? Well…”