A beautiful method of hash visualization based on Conway’s Game of Life.


© 2020 Blockchain Commons

Original Author: Wolf McNally

Watch the LifeHash explainer video!

LifeHash Explainer on YouTube

LifeHash is a method of hash visualization based on Conway’s Game of Life that creates beautiful icons that are deterministic, yet distinct and unique given the input data.

The basic concept is to take a SHA256 hash of the input data (which can be any data including another hash) and then use the 256-bit digest as a 16x16 pixel "seed" for running the cellular automata known as Conway’s Game of Life.

After the pattern becomes stable (or begins repeating) the resulting history is used to compile a grayscale image of all the states from the first to last generation. Using Game of Life provides visual structure to the resulting image, even though it was seeded with entropy.

Some bits of the initial hash are then used to deterministically apply symmetry and color to the icon to add beauty and quick recognizability.

From the "LifeHash Example" demo app:

"LifeHash Example" lets you scroll through an endless table of LifeHashes generated from sequential integers, and tap on any of them to get a closer look.

LifeHash Example Samples of LifeHash

From the "LifeHash Gallery" demo app:

"LifeHash Gallery" shows an elegant, artistic presentation of various collections of LifeHashes that automatically change every ten seconds.

LifeHash Gallery

From the Mathematica implementation:

Samples of LifeHash


LifeHash is currently available through Swift Package Manager and as a Mathematica (Wolfram Language) notebook.


LifeHash is available under the BSD-2-Clause license. See for more info.

Financial Support

LifeHash is a project of Blockchain Commons. We are proudly a "not-for-profit" social benefit corporation committed to open source & open development. Our work is funded entirely by donations and collaborative partnerships with people like you. Every contribution will be spent on building open tools, technologies, and techniques that sustain and advance blockchain and internet security infrastructure and promote an open web.

To financially support further development of LifeHash and other projects, please consider becoming a Patron of Blockchain Commons through ongoing monthly patronage as a GitHub Sponsor. You can also support Blockchain Commons with bitcoins at our BTCPay Server.


We encourage public contributions through issues and pull-requests! Please review for details on our development process. All contributions to this repository require a GPG signed Contributor License Agreement.

Questions & Support

As an open-source, open-development community, Blockchain Commons does not have the resources to provide direct support of our projects. If you have questions or problems, please use this repository's issues feature. Unfortunately, we can not make any promises on response time.

If your company requires support to use our projects, please feel free to contact us directly about options. We may be able to offer you a contract for support from one of our contributors, or we might be able to point you to another entity who can offer the contractual support that you need.


The following people directly contributed to this repository. You can add your name here by getting involved — the first step is to learn how to contribute from our documentation.

Name Role Github Email GPG Fingerprint
Wolf McNally Originator, Project Lead @WolfMcNally <> 9436 52EE 3844 1760 C3DC  3536 4B6C 2FCF 8947 80AE
Christopher Allen Principal Architect @ChristopherA <> FDFE 14A5 4ECB 30FC 5D22 74EF F8D3 6C91 3574 05ED

Responsible Disclosure

We want to keep all our software safe for everyone. If you have discovered a security vulnerability, we appreciate your help in disclosing it to us in a responsible manner. We are unfortunately not able to offer bug bounties at this time.

We do ask that you offer us good faith and use best efforts not to leak information or harm any user, their data, or our developer community. Please give us a reasonable amount of time to fix the issue before you publish it. Do not defraud our users or us in the process of discovery. We promise not to bring legal action against researchers who point out a problem provided they do their best to follow the these guidelines.

Reporting a Vulnerability

Please report suspected security vulnerabilities in private via email to (do not use this email for support). Please do NOT create publicly viewable issues for suspected security vulnerabilities.

The following keys may be used to communicate sensitive information to developers:

Name Fingerprint
Christopher Allen FDFE 14A5 4ECB 30FC 5D22 74EF F8D3 6C91 3574 05ED

You can import a key by running the following command with that individual’s fingerprint: gpg --recv-keys "<fingerprint>" Ensure that you put quotes around fingerprints that contain spaces.


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Last updated: Wed Feb 01 2023 17:54:08 GMT-0500 (GMT-05:00)