Project 256 Concept
Concept Project 256ArtworkContributors Project 256


The purpose of making advances in technology is to improve the human condition. Those that do not have access to technology are greatly hindered and do not benefit from the improvements in quality of life. By recycling out-dated or damaged mobile devices, and enabling them to send and receive new systems of digital money and use the web and email, we can give those most in need the help that was never possible before.

Many contemporary artists show their work by painting in public spaces. The entire city becomes their art gallery, but the people that live and sleep everyday on these same streets can now be a part of this art show. By combining art and technology we can ease some of the suffering, make their lives better and restore the dignity to those living on the streets.


A portrait is painted of a homeless person on a public wall. A QR (Quick Response) code is also painted on the wall that is linked to a specific Bitcoin or Ethereum wallet belonging to the homeless person in the portrait. When the portrait is viewed on the street, there is a weblink to a video of an interview with the homeless person in the portrait so you can get an understanding of their story. In the painting the QR code enables anyone viewing the art to send a direct donation of any amount to the person in the portrait.

The donation is received instantly from anywhere in the world directly to the recipient via an old recycled mobile device. The donation can be spent by the recipient immediately to buy food, shelter for the night or saved for larger purchases. The art, video portrait and Bitcoin / Ethereum QR code can be viewed on the street as well as online at

If you are an artist and would like to contribute to this project and help someone out that needs a hand in life, the cryptocurrency wallet QR codes can be downloaded from the proj256 website. The QR code stencil can then be cut with a laser cutter at you nearest Fab Lab or Maker Lab or can be simply hand cut. You can download the portrait photo and paint your own artwork in your own style and add the QR code using your stencil to link your art with the person you painted. Please paint on a legal wall or with permission and please send a photo of your art to us via email so we can add your art and the location to the website.


Every Bitcoin / Ethereum wallet address used for this project is public and is published on the blockchain for anyone at anytime to see. On the blockchain, you can view every transaction for each Bitcoin / Ethereum address, how much was donated and where it was spent, how much was received in total and how much is left.

By recycling discarded, and outdated mobile devices and then distributing them to people that can really benefit from being connected to modern society, we give these people the chance to get back on their feet and contribute back to society. The mobile devices do not need a contract with a photo or data carrier, and the SIM card is removed. All that is needed is the built in wifi connection so that they can send and receive Bitcoin, have access to the web and email.

The wifi connection for the recycled or discarded mobile device is accessible to the Internet for free using wifi hotspots commonly found in cities around the world. Keeping the mobile device charged can be done by charging the device at a human powered charging station or plugging in at a cafe.

Most cities have merchants that will accept Bitcoin for the things that someone homeless would most need; food and shelter. Access to good food and a place to sleep and get cleaned up are essential for people to be able to get a job. Once they have received enough Bitcoin, it is easy for them to use book a room to sleep, eat at restaurant or order a pizza to be delivered to them and pay using Bitcoin.

One of the many advantages Bitcoin has over other payment methods is that the transaction fee for processing a Bitcoin payment, regardless how large the amount sent, is only a couple of cents. PayPal, credit cards, bank transfers and money transfers all take very large percentages of the money sent which makes sending micro payments of 25 cents impossible and sending large amounts of money would be greatly reduced. These micro-payments make it easy for anyone to donate and is similar to someone being able to drop 25 cents into a cup, but from anywhere in the world. Also, these micro-payments can add up quickly and are very significant amounts for people in need of help. For security, each person is given a cold storage device or hardware Bitcoin wallet (see photo to the above left) that can safely store Bitcoin even if the device is lost or stolen. This will reduce the threat of others trying to steal the Bitcoin they have, and all Bitcoin stored is safe and can be restored quickly and easily from any computer.


If you come across the art for this project on the street or online, and you wish to make a donation & instantly help someone in need of help, you must first exchange cash into Bitcoin or Ethereum. The fastest and easiest way to get small amounts of a cryptocurrency that you can immediately use to donate, is to buy Bitcoin with a credit card online. Once the online transaction is complete, you can easily transfer the Bitcoin or Ethereum to your wallet on your mobile device or computer. Now you are ready to use the QR code to send a Bitcoin or Ethereum donation directly to someone.

Another fast and easy way to exchange cash is to use a Bitcoin or Ethereum ATM machine. These ATM machines are located all around the world in most major cities. A search for "Bitcoin ATM map" will show you the closest location for you to instantly exchange cash for Bitcoin. You will first need a mobile device with a Bitcoin wallet app installed. There are many wallet apps available for free for iOS and Android. BreadWallet is an easy to use, open source Bitcoin wallet app for iPhone that connects directly to the Bitcoin network. Another option for Bitcoin wallet is Copay and also open source and available for most mobile devices and computers.

When you arrive at the ATM machine, you will first open your Bitcoin wallet app and use the QR code for your wallet to receive money. Then feed the ATM the money you want to convert into Bitcoin. Many of these ATM machines have no fee so you are getting the full value of the current exchange rate from your currency to Bitcoin. When the transaction is complete your mobile device will notify you that you have received a Bitcoin payment. If a Bitcoin ATM is not easy accessible, then one can use one of the many Bitcoin exchanges online. This process will take a couple days because you will need to make a bank wire transfer to the exchange. Once your wire transfer is received by the exchange, your money can be converted into Bitcoin and you can then easily transfer your Bitcoin to your mobile device. A listing of the artists and their artwork with the geographic location of each painting will be listed at With each work of art there is a link to a video interview with the person connected to the painting so you can get a better understanding of their situation and their story. If you want to help this person directly with a Bitcoin donation, you will open your Bitcoin wallet on your mobile device and then look for the QR code on the painting. If you are looking at the art online you will find the QR code on the webpage. You will then put the wallet in ”send" mode and use the QR code scanner to register the QR code with the wallet. Automatically, the Bitcoin address will appear and you can enter the amount you wish to send to this person. You can send as little as 10 cents but you can choose any amount you would like you to send to them. Hit the send button and in a few moments the person in the painting will be alerted that you have sent them a Bitcoin payment that they can use to help get back on their feet.


Being homeless can happen to almost anyone and for a variety of reasons. A tragic life event or a series of bad choices can create a vicious cycle preventing them from getting their life back on track and be a productive member of society. We are working with non-profit organisations to help us select people to have their portraits painted for this project. Finding people that could use a little bit of help to break the vicious cycle.. All too often when people see someone homeless on the street, their reaction is to look away and try to not see the person. This makes the homeless person feel invisible, forgotten and shunned. By having their portrait painted on a public wall by a world renowned artist helps to bring back their feeling of self worth and sense of pride in who they are as a human being. Just knowing that people around them will look at their face in the portrait and appreciate them as a work of art, a beautiful aesthetic, and this will help make them feel visible to society again.