Categories
Art NFT

Async Art, NFTs and the Programmable Media Movement

Greater utility gives NFTs greater value.

In previous articles, I discussed a couple of NFT use cases, namely the ability to display NFTs within virtual worlds, and the ability to use NFTs as access passes for exclusive content. In this post, I’d like to further explore NFT utility in the form of programmable artwork.

Programmable art is a new, experimental art movement that first broke onto the scene in February 2020 with the debut of the first rare, programmable art platform – Async Art. Leveraging the power of Ethereum-based smart contracts, Async Art empowers creatives to create new types of artworks that can evolve over time, and react to its token owners.

https://async.art/art/master/0xb6dae651468e9593e4581705a09c10a76ac1e0c8-0
First Supper

To display the capabilities of this new technology, Async Art launched with the first-ever programmable artwork—a collaborative piece that features the work of 13 different artists, aptly titled First Supper. The artists involved include: Shortcut, Josie Bellini, Sparrow, MLIBTY, Vans Design, Alotta Money, Twisted Vacancy, Coldie, Hackatao, XCOPY, Matt Kane, Rutger van der Tas, and myself, Connie Digital.

How Programmable Art Works

Understanding how programmable art works requires understanding how the artwork is composed. On the Async Art platform, each piece consists of a Master composite and Layer images. Both the Master and the Layers are individual NFTs. The Master is the single edition (1 of 1) composition of the dynamic work of art. Layers are all the visual elements that make up that Master. As an example, First Supper is the Master artwork which consists of 22 Layers (individual parts created by the artists involved).

Layers have unique abilities that are determined by the artist at creation. Some of these abilities include: changes in state, scale, color, rotation, opacity, and more. Owners of Layer NFTs have exclusive control over these abilities and can make Layer changes to alter the visual look of the Master. This means when a collector purchases a Layer NFT they have the opportunity to directly influence the artists’ work.

Greater utility gives NFTs greater value.

Artists are excited about the possibilities of programmable tools because they allow for the creation of extremely dynamic works. In fact, some artists have experimented with creating autonomous artworks that change based on various sources of information. One such example is time-based NFT artworks that change based on day and night cycles. Another example involves conditional rules for Layers that change based on bitcoin price fluctuations, or special annual events like birthdays.

Milestones and Programmable Music
Async

In October 2020, Async Art collaborated with the world’s leading auction house Christie’s to auction-off Robert Alice’s programmable NFT – Block 21. This marked the first time in history that an NFT was sold by any major auction house, fetching a price of $131,250. Since then, Async Art has gone on to release a browser Tab Extension to showcase artworks, an Apple TV app for displaying works on larger screens, and the team also secured a $2M+ round of funding.

With new funding secured, the next focus for the platform appears to be onboarding more creators—including musicians. In the same way smart contracts and programmability have forever changed art, these tools also have the ability to forever change music. And my bet is that it will.

Programmable music will work similarly to programmable art with each piece being composed of a single Master Track NFT and multiple Stem NFTs. Stem NFTs are effectively the same as Layer NFTs. They have the ability to alter what the Master Track both looks and sounds like.

Async / Connie Digital

This is because the Master Track cover art is also an Async artwork. Activating different Stems means the cover art will change according to the artists’ programmed design. Stem NFTs also give their owners the power to determine which variant of that Stem is being played in the Master Track (the current live song).

Imagine vocal Stems with up to 9 different lyric variants that collectors can mix and match against 9 different beat variants. Each possible combination of the Stems adds a richer meaning to the full track, while at the same time providing a fun experience of ‘unlocking’ different versions of the song.

With programmable music, fans can now become active participants in the listening experience. They can interact with the sound and the musician in ways that were not possible before. They effectively have the power to decide which version of the Master Track the world hears.

Greater utility gives NFTs greater value.


Async Music will launch in late April with a diverse spectrum of musical genres, including works from Verdigris Ensemble, HMLTD, Connie Digital and Mighty33, and one yet to be announced artist. You can get all the launch details by following Async on Twitter.

Categories
Art NFT

KidSuper Brings CryptoSupers to the NFT Landscape

Artists are coming up with new ways to create NFT projects every day. Although traditional visual art has made a lot of headlines in the past few weeks, almost any form of art can be converted into something mint-able as an NFT. So couldn’t a sculpture be an NFT?

It absolutely could. Iconic brand KidSuper Studios, helmed by Colm Dillane, is auctioning off 3 NFT animations of some absolutely mesmerizing sculptures today, April 12th on Nifty Gateway. The stop-motion style animation project—titled “CryptoSupers”—features three caricatures: Bodega Man, BallonGirl and The Wandering Traveler. Even Elon Musk has thrown a bid down on a KidSuper NFT! Each of the NFTs also comes with a physical asset, in addition to the sculpture’s personal superpowers.

Bodega Man
https://niftygateway.com/itemdetail/primary/0x04f20e4767ed1bf7cb3d08385b9bfe8bc0726c70/1
KidSuper

The Bodega Man NFT comes with an absolutely amazing superpower: “Ability to talk to anyone about anything with the utmost confidence.” Just like your neighborhood bodega man. The NFT also comes with real life collectible resin cuboids with 1/1 CryptoSuper fossil. This one is my personal favorite.

The Wandering Traveler
https://niftygateway.com/itemdetail/primary/0x04f20e4767ed1bf7cb3d08385b9bfe8bc0726c70/3
KidSuper

The Wandering Traveler has a pretty killer super power as well: “The constant nomad, ability to survive in any scenario.” The little animation with accompanying bindle sack (and an entirely fresh fit) also comes with the aforementioned resin cuboids with 1/1 CryptoSuper fossil.

BallonGirl
https://niftygateway.com/itemdetail/primary/0x04f20e4767ed1bf7cb3d08385b9bfe8bc0726c70/2
KidSuper

The BallonGirl, like the other two, has a super power of her own: “Ability to float high up into the sky without an ounce of fear.” Her balloons and flowery dress are a show-stopper. Her NFT also comes with the aforementioned physical items.

For some information on the process of creating the figures, check out this video from KidSuper’s IG:

The auction ends today, so make sure to take a look at the collection on Nifty Gateway if you’re in the market for some killer NFTs.

Categories
Art NFT

RTFKT and FEWOCiOUS Are Back At It, Pushing the Envelope with NFT Drops

If you’ve been keeping up with digital art NFTs at all, then it’s likely you know the name RTFKT. The next-gen studio has released some of the sickest pieces of digital art in the past few months, but more than that, they’ve constantly tinkered with mechanics of releasing, making every single drop a unique experience. Their previous Among Drip collection was released in a loot box style and, before that, their sneaker drop with FEWOCiOUS gave collectors the opportunity to actually get a physical shoe as well.

Well they’re back at it again, this time with FEWO WORLD’s 1st Forging Event. Taking place today, April 10th at 10am PST, the event offers an opportunity for owners of the FEWO SHOES to cash in on even more bonuses, like physical shoes and this incredible ledger. This collab is a game-changer again; although new NFTs drop every day, by including physical assets and other opportunities for collector interaction, RFTKT has created a living, ongoing art piece.

RTFKT

If you were lucky enough to nab one of the FEWO SHOES, then make sure to attend today’s event to grab some more gear from the killer studio and burgeoning digital artist. FEWO WORLD is focused on merging virtual and physical craftsmanship, providing collectors with dope physical assets and upgrades thanks to their BLUEPRINT NFTs. The first event will include:

  • The physical shoes and a premium full print box full of FEWO artworks.
  • Custom Limited Edition Ledgers Crypto Hardwallets
  • Premium Limited edition stickers
  • Tie Dye and Long Sleeve Tees
  • Decentraland Wearables sneakers
  • And more…

This is just the first of many forgiving events that will take place throughout the year, with RTFKT using different themes and innovating the mechanics each time. Take a look at the ledger and sneakers available to FEWO SHOES holders below, and make sure to check their website for more info on all the items:

RTFKT

RTFKT

RTFKT

Categories
Art NFT

An Intro to VeVe, The NFT Collectible Platform Turning Heads

If you are up to speed on the emerging NFT market, you probably heard about the digital artist Beeple’s $69 million sale of his “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” collage.

For those who still don’t know what an NFT (Non-fungible token) is, they are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain – a digital ledger guaranteeing the item is an original copy and is owned by a particular person. Just like cryptocurrencies are guaranteed by the backing of a blockchain, so is the authenticity of an NFT. For those who would like further details on the subject of NFT’s, check out this article we wrote. 

While many in the digital collectible space are familiar with the wildly popular NBA Top Shot–whose sales in February and March of 2021 alone exceeded $400 million–many are still trying to find the “next big thing”. It’s my opinion that the digital collectibles app VeVe is on the verge of a major breakout. 

1. What is VeVe?
VeVe

According to Veve’s parent company Ecomi’s website “VE-VE is an app-based marketplace for premium licensed digital collectibles. With VE-VE, users can obtain common, rare, or one-of-a-kind digital collectibles, customize and showcase them in the virtual showrooms, as well as buy, sell or trade collectibles with other VE-VE users – all from the palm of their hand.”

VeVe’s Augmented Reality makes it so that you can take a photo with your favorite collectibles. With their AR feature, you can scan your surroundings and tap on your phone to drop your digital collectible on any flat surface. You can then move, rotate and scale your collectibles and text them to your friends and family, or post them on your favorite social media channels. 

In VeVe’s secondary market, you can get an idea of the value of your collectibles, buy the ones that you may have missed out on, or sell the ones that you currently own. Sales on the VeVe marketplace do not exchange cash, but instead, trade-in “gems.” 1 gem is always equal to $1 USD. You can then swap gems for Veve’s native token OMI, which fluctuates based on market value.

2. VeVe Partnerships
VeVe

VeVe has already formed partnerships with some huge brands, including Warner Bros., Capcom, and DC Comics. Some of their most popular collectibles to date have come out of their Ghostbusters, Batman, Ultraman, and Harley Quinn drops. 

Veve’s parent company, Ecomi’s global head of licensing–Alfred R. Kahn–is one of the biggest reasons for optimism on this platform. Before VeVe, Kahn was the founder chairman, and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment from 1991-2011. He is recognized as an industry leader and is responsible for more than $25 billion in retail revenue on partnerships that included brands such as Pokemon, YuGiOh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Polly Pockets. He also assisted with branding and licensing of Nintendo, Mario Bros, Zelda, Donkey Kong, James Bond, and the World Wrestling Federation.

According to VeVe’s website, future partnerships include upcoming drops for the NFL, Adventure Time, Monster Hunter, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Fast and the Furious, and Superman. There are rumors on VeVe discord channels and Facebook groups about a possible partnership with Pokemon in the works, but as of today, that can not be confirmed.

3. VeVe NFT’s Already Re-Selling for Big Money
VeVe / eBay

Early investors in VeVe digital art have already seen quite an uptick in the value of their collections. Some of the more rare and highly sought-after collectibles have popped up on eBay, such as two of the first edition Harley Quinn’s–designed by artists Terry Dodson and Steve Pugh–which have sold for $10,000/each on March 24th. The Steve Pugh design is an “ultra-rare” with just 500 minted and cost $79.99 to purchase. The Terry Dodson design is a “rare” with just 750 minted and also cost just $79.99 before it sold out. 

The rarest of the series of four Batman Black & White Series 1 collectibles–designed by Edurdo Risso–recently sold for $6500. The original purchase price was $69.99. The “common” Todd McFarlane design minted to 7500 recently sold for $1525 on an eBay auction and was available originally for $79.99 when it dropped on the VeVe app. 

The Big Barda collectible from DC Comics’ “Bombshells” recently sold for $2250. It is considered a “rare” and minted to 1044. The cost to purchase it was just $49.99 before selling out.

The Ghostbusters collectibles have also generated quite a bit of buzz, with one of the “rare” Ghostbusters logos (that cost just $16.99 when it was released) recently selling for $2950. There is a platinum “secret rare” Ghostbusters logo that was minted to 200 (cost $89) and a gold “secret rare” logo minted to 188 (cost $99) that are reported to also have sold for upwards of $10,000 each. 

4. Upcoming Releases
VeVe

Some huge releases are on the horizon for VeVe, as the first “Back to the Future” NFT is set to drop on Thursday, April 8th at 11 am in the form of the brand’s iconic DeLorean Time Machine. 

According to VeVe’s app “This premium digital format collectible is a highly detailed replica of the DeLorean Time Machine from the Back to the Future Movie, directed by Robert Zemeckis.”

There will be three versions of this collectible released, including an interactive one in which the doors open and close and the front wheels turn with the steering wheel. However, it is not drivable, a feature that will apparently be available in a later release. 

Also set to drop on Tuesday, April 6th, is Mermicorno – Series 1. This is the first appearance of the popular toys, from Japanese lifestyle brand Tokidoki, on the Veve platform. 

5. First Carbon-Neutral NFT Platform
VeVe

VeVe recently announced its plans to become the first carbon-neutral NFT platform, beginning with a commitment to offset 100% of the carbon footprint caused by the minting of NFTs, negating the environmental impact caused by distributed ledger technologies. Initially, VeVe will offset the carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits equal to the amount of CO2 used in minting NFTs.

Co-Founder and COO, Dan Crothers said, “Being sustainable has always been a strong priority for VeVe and ECOMI since our founding. Our carbon neutrality pledge is a step toward making NFT digital collectibles and the digital AR metaverse part of a green, environmentally friendly future.”

For more information on VeVe, visit their website or check them out on twitter. To download their app, click here.

Categories
Art NFT

4 Metaverse Events To Watch Out For in Early April

There’s never a dull moment in the Metaverse!

More and more events are popping up each day across various blockchain-based virtual worlds. From weekly meetups to digital art exhibitions, casino nights, music listening parties and NFT launch events, there seems to be something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some upcoming events to consider attending in early April:

Graffiti Queens Street Art Show
https://events.decentraland.org/en/?event=0a9313f5-ee84-441a-9861-e62340dcb235
Graffiti Queens

On April 3rd, there’s an all female NFT artist group show taking place in Decentraland to help launch the new Vegas City Skatepark Gallery. The show will include work from over 200 artists with live music from GK Radio. The virtual doors open at 08:00pm UTC. Read our full writeup on the event here.

In-world coordinates

WTF are NFTs ???

Beginning on April 5th at 06:00pm UTC, the WTF are NFTs ??? conference kicks off inside Decentraland. The event will last for 5 days and feature industry leaders taking an in-depth look at various types of NFTs. Day 1 of the event is all about collectibles, Day 2 is all about art, Day 3 will highlight music, Day 4 will tackle gaming, and Day 5 is about the Metaverse. You’re bound to learn something by attending this event.

In-world coordinates

Live NFT Art Auction
https://events.decentraland.org/en/?event=b98511ac-df1a-40d1-ab4f-1b806257d1cc
Live NFT Art Auction

Back in Decentraland, on April 6th there’s a live NFT Art auction taking place upstairs in the Tominoya Casino. The event will also feature casino ‘FREE PLAY’ competitions where attendees can earn $DG token airdrops. The top 5 high scorers will each receive tokens, with the highest score taking home $100USD worth of $DG. The event will run from 10:00pm to 11:00pm UTC.

In-world coordinates

Weekly WIP Meetup

On Thursday, April 8th, the weekly WIP Meetup will happen inside Cryptovoxels. Every Thursday at 8:00pm UTC, the WIP hosts 3-4 speakers from across the NFT, DeFi and broader crypto space. Speakers hit the virtual stage to introduce themselves, pitch their projects, give updates, answer questions, and connect with hundreds of guests. The next meetup will feature talks from artists Spherical Art, Coldie, and crypto publication NFT Plazas.

In-world coordinates

If possible, take the time out to attend at least one of these virtual events. Have the experience for yourself. It may still be early days, but these types of fun and interactive events have the potential to accelerate the mainstream adoption of blockchain-based virtual worlds.

Categories
Art NFT

The First Creator-Meets-Crypto Summit Is Days Away

Seed Club calls itself the Internet Native Incubator.

They are focused on helping people build online communities that thrive through the use of social tokens.

https://seedclub.io/
https://seedclub.io/

This may sound like a niche space at the moment, but a lot is pointing to the fact that tokenized communities are about to explode. 

Over the last 10 years, building and participating in communities online has become the focus of millions. These communities live on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook. 

The “tokenization” of said communities — that is, the measurement and extraction of their value — is primarily in the hands of those companies. The social graphs that tie these like-minded people together, as well as the valuable data that comes from those strong ties, are owned by the platforms and not by the communities themselves. 

Simply put, this is broken

Tokenizing your community — be it in the form of fungible tokens, non-fungible tokens, or a mix of both — is the fix to this problem. 

It is not about turning every little thing into some monstrous hyper-financialized stock market. It is about restoring value to its rightful place.

Seed Club knows this, and that’s why they are devoting themselves to enabling the realization of this new world. 

They’ve begun this work through a cohort-based program. Now on their second cohort consisting of 11 projects, they mentor and nurture creators and communities in the development of thriving social token projects. 

As Seed Club’s founder Jess Sloss put it to me, one of the most successful ways they’re doing this is to “just have smart people smash into each other”. Which brings us quite naturally to their upcoming event…

https://summit.seedclub.io/
https://summit.seedclub.io/

A first of its kind, the Seed Club Summit is designed to build bridges between the creator and crypto worlds. What these two spaces can do together is just beginning to show up in early stage projects. This event is meant to bring those projects and ideas to the forefront, and push at the edges of how we can use these new technologies to empower artists and communities alike. 

The 3-day event is jam packed with an incredible range of speakers covering topics in the worlds of social tokens, community building, cryptoeconomics, NFTs, DAOs and more. Some of the top thinkers, designers and artists speaking at the summit include Grammy award-winning musician RAC, Startupy founder and VC Sari Azout, co-founder of the community-first product studio Late Checkout Greg Isenberg, and crypto wunderkind at Audius and Variant Fund Cooper Turley. 

For a full list of the speakers and events, check out the Creator x Crypto Summit website. There you can also register for free to attend.

Sponsorship NFTs
https://zora.co/club
https://zora.co/club

The way that Seed Club has decided to pay for the event is interesting, and points to the creative ways that crypto can bring together creators and communities.

Instead of charging attendees for access, Seed Club has instead minted 3 Summit Sponsorship NFTs and put them up for bid on Zora. Each NFT represents one of the summit’s three days. By purchasing one you are effectively unlocking that day’s content for everyone else to enjoy and learn from.

Seed Club put up this article walking through the details of these Sponsorship NFTs. The auctions close on Friday March 26 at 6pm PT, and the 3 winners will get some pretty awesome perks: 

  • Be the named sponsor of the Summit for that day across all event platforms (website, Discord, livestream, etc)
  • The opportunity to host a 30-minute session as a capstone for each day 
  • A bunch of attention and thanks from the various Seed Club social media channels (Twitter, Discord, email)
  • Recognition as an early Seed Club supporter (“and all that entails … which is mostly just bragging rights for now, but we plan to make it be something in the future”)

That last one points to the long term relationship that Seed Club wants to build with its sponsors. Seed Club’s Jess Sloss told me that this is the reason for the 99% creator fee attached to the three Sponsorship NFTs: 

“We want to discourage secondary market speculation. We’ll be discerning on who we partner with as a sponsor and have bigger plans with these NFTs in the future. So we want the incentives to lead sponsors to hold these things long term.” — Jess Sloss

In doing so, Seed Club is practicing what they preach and putting these new ideas into action. These sponsorship NFTs show us how we can build strong bridges of trust and support online, and how we can use them to forge communities that are working together for the long term.

Speaking The Future Into Existence

NFTs have clearly swept across popular culture very quickly. And like most new technologies and ideas, they are stirring up all sorts of controversy and debate. A great deal of that debate, however, lies at the surface use-case of NFTs —which all seems to be about money. But people are starting to look deeper than the surface of things, and seeing that there is a whole lot more potential to this stuff than making a quick buck. 

Social tokens act as strong ties of patronage between people, and as levers to align people’s incentives towards a shared future. The power this gives creators and their communities is huge. I like to think of it less like infusing creativity with money, and more like infusing money with creativity. We now have these limitless lego blocks to play with, and we can take them as far as our imaginations allow. 

These ideas and more will be explored at length during the Creator x Crypto Summit — both from a 30,000 foot view all the way down to the practical level. 

If you’re interested in attending the summit, you can register for free here

More info on Seed Club can be found on Twitter and Discord.

Categories
Art NFT

Check Out STREETSCAPES by L’Atelier des Camions, a Global NFT Art Collection

Digital art collections have been hugely successful in launching NFT artwork to the spotlight; take a look at the success of CryptoPunks or MoonCats, for example. L’Atelier des Camions is aiming to create a global community of artists, and is capitalizing on the burgeoning world of NFT art collections with their project, STREETSCAPES. The project is comprised of imagery from Pixel Pasta’s project, CryptoTrucks, coupled with numerous backgrounds for the animated vehicles to “drive across.”

Multiple artists worked on the project, ranging from the fashion industry to academia. Bernise Wong from New York, Wai Kit Lam from Hong Kong, Hubert Lengdorfer from Austria, Deborah Rogers from Australia, Solomon Kifle from Ethiopia and Nejal Mehta from India all worked to create different landscapes for the animations. You can see the full list of artists here. L’Atelier des Camions (“The Truck Workshop” in English) is made up of 50 digital art pieces that each take you for a drive in somewhere totally different around the world. Each of the animations is totally unique, with its own truck design by Pixel Pasta, a myriad of reeling landscapes, their own individual story, and even a complementary film score. Every animation is its own experience. 

The process of creating the project was immensely global. Pixel Pasta hails from the UK, while artists and writers from India, the US, France, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Austria were also involved in the production. Between the delightful variable truck design and the masterfully concocted landscapes, every single piece of the STREETSCAPES collection is unique and beautiful. Browsing through the collection truly feels like traveling around the world. 

The project will be available on OpenSea from March 27-28th. The collection will also be followed by future initiatives such as treasure hunts, exhibitions, and game apps. This is just the beginning for L’Atelier des Camions, and signals what other kinds of collaborative projects we’ll continue to see in the burgeoning NFT art space. 

Categories
Art NFT

The Future of NFTs Doesn’t Include Gas Fees

On March 11, a collage of 5,000 digital images by Mike Winkelmann, a digital artist better known as Beeple, was auctioned at Christie’s. The sale price of $69 million put Winkelmann among the world’s three most valuable living artists. 

What Winkelmann sold wasn’t the image itself. The millionaire buyer didn’t walk out of an auction room with a giant painting that they could hang on their living room wall. They bought a non-fungible token, or NFT, representing the image. In effect, what they paid almost $70 million for was the right to put their name in a ledger attesting to their ownership of Winkelmann’s work. Anyone can still open Winkelmann’s image on their computer. They can even print it, in the same way that they can view and print a copy of the Mona Lisa. But only the buyer of the NFT can say that they own Winkelmann’s image. 

Because that ledger is supported by blockchain technology, it can never be changed or forged. A future buyer of that one-of-a-kind token will always know that it’s authentic, that it represents Winkelmann’s work, and that the seller owns it. An NFT solves one of the problems that has long plagued the art world: proving the provenance of valuable works of art. It also solves a problem plaguing digital art: ensuring the scarcity value of a digital file.

The rise of NFTs then should be a huge opportunity for artists, particularly digital artists. Before the development of the blockchain, Winkelmann had sold prints—but never for more than $100. For artists, NFTs should be a way to break out of their bare loft studios and finally make a good living out of their talent.

If it hasn’t yet worked out that way, it might be because of the cost of creating—or minting—those NFTs. 

Shortly before Winkelmann’s sale, Allen Gannett, author of The Creative Curve, a book about creativity, decided to find out what exactly is involved in turning a creative work into a commercial NFT. He found the process complex but also surprisingly expensive. Gannett’s NFT would be written onto the Ethereum blockchain, the most popular blockchain used by NFT platforms such as Rarible and SuperRare. Using that blockchain requires a payment, called a “gas fee.” The payments are made in ETH, the blockchain’s own currency. The size of the gas fee needed to create an art collection on Ethereum depends on the network’s congestion rate at the time. 

Gannett found that he’d need to pay .67 ETH—or $997.

Paying almost $1,000 to sell an artwork for $69 million is clearly a good investment but most artists won’t be selling their works for millions of dollars. And the gas fees don’t just apply to sellers. Buyers can also encounter gas fees whenever they place a bid, cancel a bid, transfer their NFT to a different wallet, or make a purchase. They have to promise to pay before each use of the Ethereum blockchain. The speed with which their transaction is completed depends on the amount they’re willing to pay.

NFTs promise a world of new opportunity in the world of art and collectibles, but as long as the gas fees remain high, that opportunity can’t be realized. Where there’s a problem though, tech entrepreneurs inevitably work out a solution. The Worldwide Asset eXchange, or WAX, is a rival blockchain to Ethereum that’s democratizing the minting and trading of NFTs. Unlike Ethereum, it was designed specifically for exchanging NFTs. Transactions are instantaneous. And it doesn’t require gas fees. Brands using WAX to create collectibles have included Animoca’s Bratz, Capcom’s Street Fighter, DeadMau5, Atari and Topps’s Garbage Pail Kids.

I’m not an artist. I don’t expect to sell artwork for millions of dollars. But I have used WAX to create and sell a set of NFT-supported digital trading cards. Our first set of 125,000 cards sold out in about 15 minutes, and have created large secondary markets. We’ve now produced three series of digital Blockchain Heroes cards, each of which has sold out in minutes, and accumulated more than $2.5 million in secondary market sales.

That’s not something we could have done using Ethereum’s blockchain. The gas fees would have been too high for us and much too high for customers who just want to buy and trade their collections easily.

Multi-million dollar sales have turned NFTs into the topic of the moment, but it is important to understand that the technology that underpins the opportunity is variable. Despite the headlines, it’s still early days for NFT-based artworks and collectibles. The infrastructure still needs development. And that development will be in the direction of the mainstream public and towards blockchains like WAX that don’t require gas fees.

Categories
Art NFT

The Graffiti Queens’ Virtual Exhibition is a Game Changer for NFT Art

The Graffiti Queens Art show is buzzing on Twitter, and I’m here to answer some questions. People are coming out of the wood work to find out: what is the Graffiti Queens?

In a nut shell, it is an all female NFT art show. But it is far more than what appears on the surface. For the first time in Crypto Art History an all female, no artist limit, no rules apply, no fees, no application, non-platform specific show is taking place in Decentraland

For the first time, a true blockchain cryptocurrency, Polygon, is sponsoring the female artists in the space. It’s the first time major celebrities have joined forces with NFT artists to do an exhibition. Celebrities such as Pussy Riot and Viktoria Modesta, who recently sold their first NFTs on foundation, are involved, just to name a few. It has created such a buzz that Paris Hilton herself has engaged in conversations with the female artists in the exhibition.

Makersplace and Known Origin have banded together to bring support to the exhibition. With Makersplace bringing the entire Venus of the Metaverse event to extend into the Graffiti Queens, and David Moore, founder of Known Origin, creating special contracts for his artists so gas fees don’t kill them to mint work for it.

The WOCA foundation members have stepped up to organize interviews and artist discussions on the project and the artwork across all social platforms like Club House. 

How does one apply? Again, there is no application process. Simply chose the artwork you want: new, old, sold it doesn’t matter. Get an Apensea link for it and direct message it to me @CryptoYuna on Twitter. It’s as simple as that. Yet artists continue to ask where to submit their applications, because it’s certainly not what they are used to in this space.

But who are the Graffiti Queens and how did this name and theme come about?

None of this would have been possible for any of these amazing women if Darren Cullen of the Graffiti Kings had not reached out and asked me if I would be willing to curate an all female art show in his new skate park gallery in Decentraland, Vegas. Also, BIG BIG thanks to Sam at Decentraland who is building the Skate park and believing in this vision. 

Who is Darren and who are the Graffiti Kings for that matter? 

Like all of us, he is an artist, one with a most colorful background. His street art name is SER; he grew up in London. He began as a youth on the streets when nicking cans of spray paint was all he could get his hands on. Eventually word got around about this amazing artist, so much so that the local train operators and even UK Government wanted him to do graffiti, giving him all the paint and projects he could handle. 

He put all his buddies to work. Darren even had Banksy paint on one of these projects. I’ll just let that sit there.

Today, Darren has turned the Graffiti Kings into a major brand. The Kings have over 2.4 million Facebook followers, they’re the only Graffiti artists ever backed by the UK government, their own radio station and a web show for Facebook, Ladbible and Extreme Official… and that’s just the short list.

So why host an NFT art show? Because the Graffiti Kings know it’s the future for artists. They are here to make some noise and bridge the gap between worlds. What better way to start than to host an exhibition—and with all the ladies none the less, making them the official Graffiti Queens! 

The open call for artists ends March 20. Already we are over flowing the skate park gallery borders and using Polygon’s Decentraland space as well.

The Exhibition is April 3, 2021, in Vegas, Decentraland at Graffiti Kings Skate Park Gallery. 

All are welcome to attend this historic event! We’ll see you there.

Categories
Art NFT

Why NFTs Going Mainstream is Inevitable

“It’s a bubble.” “It’s a money laundering scheme.” “It’s a fad.” I’ve heard it all. I’m here to tell you why that’s not the case. NFTs are here to stay.

Physical vs Virtual Reality

Ever heard of the simulation theory? It’s basically the concept that humans will progress to the point where virtual reality will be indistinguishable from physical reality, and our current reality is a virtual simulation of the past. But we can’t tell the difference because our programming is so well advanced beyond our understanding.

That theory exists because people are starting to realize the power of augmented reality. The future of tech lives through immersive experiences, and NFTs open the gateway for unique markets within those immersive experiences.

Take a look at Waze or Maps, for an easy example. You are physically driving down the road, observing your surrounding sights and sounds. You are experiencing the physical realm, but your digital GPS is what guides your journey.

More activities will start to look like an unfamiliar drive in the car, like digital tools immersed in human experiences. Just like NFTs.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Why are we acting like this is something humans don’t already do? NFTs are just the digital manifestation of existing markets. It’s taking an old idea and building new infrastructure around it, or providing new tools to succeed.

NFTs allow artists to build a ninth slice of pizza. The pizza was already there, but there are now new ways to make pizza. How else could society fund an artist every time their work was bought and sold? Why shouldn’t collectors get new opportunities to make profitable transactions?

Now, that may sound like another niche exclusive market bubble that will boom and make a few people rich, then bust. Here’s why I think NFTs going mainstream is inevitable.

Content is king, NFTs help content

Digital content (though way too top-heavy imo) is one the most important industries in the world right now. It is the backbone of Facebook, Google (Youtube), Twitter, Apple, etc. The largest companies in the world are centered around content and data.

When you look at NFTs, they are more than an opportunity to trade high art to rich heads in Manhattan and LA. NFTs are a way to monetize all forms of content. Just this week, famous Youtuber Ethan Klein of H3 Podcast dropped a collection of NFTs linked to his most popular videos and memes on OpenSea.

Why is this significant? The future of the internet lies in scarcity. Think of the invite-only Clubhouse, or now David Dobrik’s invite-only Dispo app. Content is trending toward exclusion and decentralization more than ever before.

So when you see Kings of Leon dropping an album as an NFT, Twomad dropping an NFT of his man boob, and thousands of creators retroactively monetizing content through NFTs, you can start to picture a world where tokenized assets will complement any creator’s monetization strategy.

And why not? Artists have been short-handed for centuries. Historically, when an artist sells their work, it is no longer theirs. If that art piece spikes 10x over its original value in their lifetime, that artist doesn’t see an extra penny. The old-world art business model was like a founding developer selling their Uber stocks the day after building the code. Not a great move.

Musicians, on the other hand, have been cut out of their fair share since digital recordings first became available in the early 1900s. Back in those days, artists needed sound engineers to capture the sound, studios to fund the equipment, managers to connect them to the right studios, marketing teams to connect them to big radio stations, tour managers to book gigs with venues.

Now, musicians can build small internal teams and drop a platinum album. Emerging tech like AI is already disrupting music and art. Why should we act like these industries haven’t changed?

As digital content goes ↑ NFTs go ↑

If someone asked you about the market outlook for digital content, what would you say? If you think NFTs are a fad, then you don’t understand their value-add for content creators.

We’re already seeing a push for direct fan to creator relationships. Substack is an easy example. But what about Youtube super chats and paid member options, Patreon pages, or Twitter’s roll-out of superfans? It’s not a coincidence.

The ad market for content creation needs to reinvent itself, badly. Spotify is failing to dent podcasting because no one wants hand-placed ads based on personal data anymore. We want to hear from our favorite creators. Side prediction: Rogan will go independent within two years.

Folks would rather pay $5/month to creators than deal with advertisements. The other hidden downside to ads? They limit the creator’s creativity. If company x doesn’t want you bad-mouthing industry y, you don’t bad-mouth industry y. Over time, that hinders the creative process.

NFTs offer content creators yet another way to monetize beyond ad revenue and subscription models. And the best part? NFTs go beyond content as a value-add for fans, they offer investment opportunities, bragging rights, exclusive collectibles, etc.

And I haven’t even touched on gaming.

NFTs are already mainstream

Diplo, Dillon Francis, Paris Hilton, Mark Cuban, Grimes, Lindsay Lohan, Jack Dorsey, Shawn Mendes, Steve Aoki, Rob Gronkowski, Kings of Leon, Nyan Cat.

These are a few celebrities already pushing NFTs. If I said those people had one thing in common for any other topic, would you consider it mainstream?

The question becomes whether NFTs will stick, or end up falling out of fashion like Bitcoin. Oh sorry, I thought Peter Schiff was here. Nope, NFTs will do just fine.