Categories
NFT

Inside Afterparty: The Community Behind The First-Ever NFT Gated Festival

In Web3, you see plenty of variety when it comes to DAOs and platforms. Both general and specific applications of Web3 tech are being developed, along with the grey area in between.

What is Afterparty?

Afterparty is somewhere in the middle; they’re focused on the creator economy, but are building obscurely enough to maximize the depth of what they’re accomplishing. On their site, Afterparty describes itself as “…a community of innovative creators, artists, and builders with a Web3 platform for accessing physical and virtual experiences through NFTs. [Afterparty is] building a platform where anything is possible and creativity flourishes.”

After combing through their socials, you’ll notice Afterparty links with influencers and celebrities in a way that most brands couldn’t replicate, even if they tried.

Afterparty’s 2 classes of NFTs:

Afterparty offers two different versions of NFTs, Utopians and Guardians, which both come with different art and sets of utility.

Utopians come with all-access passes to Afterparty’s Art and Music NFT festival in Vegas for (at least) 5 years. In addition, Utopians come with a free Guardian NFT airdrop and two free Afterparty pass airdrops. As if that’s not enough, Utopian holders receive a priority guestlist for all Afterparty and creator NFT drops, all-access and a +1 to Afterparty’s fall NFT event in LA, access to select events at the Afterparty house in LA, priority access to pop-up events like NFT.NYC, Art Basel, and more.

Guardians come with VIP access to Afterparty’s Fall festival in LA (Halloween weekend 2022), priority access to all future Afterparty festivals in LA, priority for Afterparty’s 3rd generation of NFTs and more. Only 10,000 copies are in existence, so it’s become quite a hot ticket.

In March, Afterparty held their inaugural Art and Music NFT festival in Vegas, with performances/appearances from notable names like The Chainsmokers, The Kid Laroi, Gryffin, Diablo, Charly Jordan, and many more.

Other important info:

A large portion of Afterparty’s focus is dedicated to optimizing the connection between creators and fans. Their Creator Pass is currently in development, but is set to serve as a “passport” to the worlds of some of the most influential creators. Afterparty says to expect this function to be rolled out in the near future.

Just as impressive as the intricate world of Afterparty is the four-person team behind it: David Fields (co-founder), Eytan Elbaz (co-founder), Dan Rahmel (co-founder), and Robert Graham (Chief Community Officer). Amongst the four of them, they have amassed experience from Disney, Intuit, Google, and Paradigm Talent Agency, along with eye-catching educational resumes. In short, their team looks like the textbook definition of a Web3 powerhouse.

Whether it’s the savvy operation of their mansion in LA, their two festivals, or the maze of functionality amongst everything in the world of Afterparty, there are countless reasons to learn more and get involved in their community.

After the seamless demonstration of what an Afterparty festival looks like in Vegas, the platform and its community are eagerly anticipating the Halloween weekend event in LA. So are we.

Categories
Sneakers Style

MAWdoods Thinks Outside Of The Box To Make Captivating Art

MAWdoods, an artist from Green Bay, Wisconsin, has gained a ton of attention for his SHOEBOXSERIES. The collection is centered around the idea of making art on pre-existing canvases: Nike shoe boxes. He came up with the idea after working at Finish Line and being immersed in sneaker culture. One day, MAWdoods saw the Nike swoosh and thought it looked like a sword. He made that idea into a piece depicting the swoosh stabbing someone, titled “Death By Sneakers.” From there, the idea has evolved to focus on texture and other unique aspects of the boxes. He refers to his art as “kixed media,” like “mixed media” but for “kicks.” 

MAWdoods’ SHOEBOXSERIES is an innovative approach to customizing a familiar element of people’s lives, turning typical items into extraordinary collectibles. The series references characters and themes of pop-culture, ranging from South Park to Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. Each piece employs the Nike swoosh in a way that makes it a part of the art, and with each design, MAWdoods has brought more and more life to this breathtaking idea. Even the ideas that don’t reference pop-culture are wildly creative utilizations of the Nike logo: a Nike swoosh surfboard, snake fangs, a musical note, an ice skate, a high heel, and much more. To see such a simple concept be taken to such an extreme is riveting; MAWdoods shows his audience that there are a seemingly endless amount of perspectives to look at this simple everyday packaging.

The collection has obviously drawn a major appeal amongst sneakerheads. How could they not love this collection? It’s the perfect type of art piece for people that love sneakers and Nike, specifically. MAWdoods sells these beautiful pieces in both original and print form, offering his audience affordable options to own a piece of his art. 

MAWdoods makes art beyond this Nike shoebox collection, including pieces of renowned rappers, other pop-culture references, and even trippy visual landscapes so intricate that they resemble “Where’s Waldo?” pieces. Whether he’s making portraits of your favorite rapper or showing you a completely different way to look at a Nike shoebox, MAWdoods is always working, and he’s set the stage for an impactful presence in 2022. His instagram accounts are the perfect way to get familiar with his work, and we’ve included them below so you can get hip. Take a look at this alluring artist and his one-of-a-kind collection below!

Categories
Art NFT

An Intro to 9021, a Generative Fine Art NFT Platform

What is 9021?

9021 is an NFT generative fine art launch platform that went live on August 18, 2021. There are a total of 9,021 unique pieces of generated art all carrying the same Pop Art theme. Once the first collection of 9,021 pieces sell out, the second collection will offer an entirely different theme, but still a limited supply of 9,021 pieces total.

The idea for 9021 came from two university students who were researching solidity and user experience and wanted to adopt a user-centered approach to developing a brand in the NFT environment. Johnny, the CEO of 9021 and Duplication, the CFO of 9021, are building an equitable, and affordable generative art brand that will hopefully become a leading successor within the ecosystem.

Collection 1*, which was inspired by Roni Kaufman, was initially only 5,492 pieces, meaning that only 3,529 additional pieces will ever exist in the initial iteration of the 9021 collectives.

This means that future artist drops will be far more scarce than the first drop, so as to allow as many generative artists as possible to be part of the collective. This approach will create scarcity, demand, and appreciation.

9021’s team’s short-term objective is to develop a project that highlights the concept of Pop Art and turn it into generative fine art. Pop Art was a trend that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s in response to commercial and popular culture. Almost everyone enjoys Pop Art, hence why they decided to choose it as 9021’s first theme.

9021 will become a decentralized generative fine art launch platform, creating sequential launches until the limit mint of 9,021. This means they will be doing multiple drops of lower supply until they reach a limit mint of 9,021. Each sequential drop will offer different forms of generative art from various other generative artists and fine artists. Each sequential drop will have different supply limits, and will also be utilizing an incremental price strategy that will gradually increase as total mints get closer to 9,021.

3027 from the first 9021

Collection number two is already in the works and drops on December 13th, 2021. These pieces of generative art will be released in Subsets of 500 until reaching a total of 9,021.

The 9021 DAO

For future drops, 9021 aims to have artists send in their work that will then be graded and ultimately determined through a voting process using a DAO, more specifically, a decentralized voting system known as Snapshot.

This DAO provides flexibility on how the voting powering is deliberated. The 9021 DAO will include a treasury fund, community proposals, and a voting system used for the curation process of the brand.

9021 Print Shop

In addition to the NFT itself, 9021 will begin an initialized print shop where holders will have the ability to print physical pieces of their generative art. In fact, for collection two, 9021 has decided to raffle off 50 of these prints where random holders will be gifted a physical piece of art. 

In addition to the print shop, 9021 is aiming to open a real-life gallery showcasing various pieces from the 9021 collections, truly bridging real-life pieces to digital assets. Ultimately, members of the 9021 DAO will be able to vote on which city the gallery will open.

Conclusion:

I think it’s safe to say that the 9021 generative fine art launch platform may just give Art Blocks a run for their money, and with that, a percentage of their consumers’ attention as well. If you want to know more about 9021 and what they are doing, make sure to hop into their Discord.

Categories
NFT Tech

Are NFTs Only Art? 7 Use Cases For NFTs

If you know anything about the NFT space, then you are likely aware of the common misconception surrounding non-fungible tokens. Some of the most famous NFTs sold to date have been art, leading many to believe that NFTs are mainly offered solely as artwork and can simply be “right-clicked saved”. This is not the case, in fact, NFTs have many use cases other than art.

Here is a list of 7 unique uses which NFTs may offer:

1. Access

One of the greatest use cases for NFTs is their ability to provide access. NFTs can provide access by using them in a ticket-stub fashion. Considering NFTs are non-fungible and can easily be tracked via the blockchain, they are the perfect solution for eliminating physical stubs and providing people with a digital, trackable, and traceable option.

Additionally, thanks to smart contract capabilities in combination with NFTs, you can actually write-in a ticket’s terms & conditions, expiration dates, and any other limitations. This makes it easy for both parties to keep track of their tickets and the information that is stored on the ticket.

One perfect example of NFTs that provide access is Gary Vaynerchuck’s NFT project, VeeFriends. All VeeFriends token holders gain access to VeeCon — a multi-day event exclusively for VeeFriends NFT holders.

This leads me into the next use case for NFTs, collectibility.

2. Collectibles

Owning an NFT may come with many benefits. One of those benefits includes their collectibility aspect. NFTs are often associated with collectors due to their ease of verification and authentication. 

You see, one problem that many collectors face when it comes to physical collectibles is the ability to replicate the real thing. Buying a fake collectible is a collector’s worst nightmare, that’s where non-fungible tokens save the day.

From the time an NFT is minted it is tracked on the blockchain. The blockchain allows you to view a token’s entire transaction history, including the date it was created, who created it, and where it’s been since. This allows collectors to easily verify an asset’s authenticity. NFTs may also help collectors make better buying decisions since they are able to see the sales history of any NFT.

In addition to the ease of authenticating an NFT, collectors can also trade their collectibles on one of the many NFT marketplaces available, making NFTs a frictionless and stress-free way to collect and verify any asset, regardless of whether you own it or not.

3. Contracts/loans

That’s right, NFTs can actually be used in place of a traditional loan. I am a believer that there are many benefits to using NFTs for loans, as opposed to the stack of papers and many hoops you need to jump through before you can even qualify for a loan.

With NFT-backed loans, you can get access and keep track of the leased NFT being provided by following the transaction from the initial lending date. If a loan repayment is not met on time, the NFT can automatically be returned to the owner, and the entire process takes place without intermediaries.

This allows loans to be strictly peer-to-peer, keeping fees low, trust high, and transparency in the forefront of the entire contract.

Some of the NFT loans you will find today include marketplaces that allow you to offer your NFTs as collateral in exchange for a loan, and even offer other users a loan using their NFT as collateral. These loans are immediate, automated, and decentralized, all things that you won’t find with traditional loans. I think the potential for NFT loans is massive to say the least.

4. Coupons

In all reality, we already use digital coupons on a daily basis. Whether we are adding a coupon code to our purchase at the time of checkout, or redeeming our free small fry on the McDonalds’ app, as humans, we are attracted to the idea and ease of use of digital coupons. So, how can NFTs be used to make coupons even better?

NFTs can be kept as coupons inside a single digital wallet, meaning all the coupons you’ve collected will be organized in an easy to view manner, all in one place. Also, since the coupons are stored in digital wallets which can be viewed by public eyes, means that the companies providing these coupons have potential for more exposure.

As well, smart contracts have the ability to automatically deactivate any coupons which may expire, and provide all the terms for the coupon within the NFT. Additionally, you can sell and trade your coupons on NFT marketplaces, making coupons not only a way to save money, but also an option to make some money. 

One more thing to consider is that NFTs could be used in the metaverse as virtual coupons. As more companies such as Nike and Sony make their way into the metaverse, they will look for a way to provide their beloved customers with discounts and special promotions. NFTs are a great option for this purpose.

5. Memberships

Similarly to a coupon concept, NFTs can also be used as a membership to attend special events, gain access to limited-edition products and unique services. An NFT membership is frictionless, transparent in its intent, and allows the membership to be effortlessly bought, sold, and traded for any other asset on the blockchain.

Owning all your memberships in one wallet, regardless of what kind of membership it is, allows for an easy way to keep track of your memberships. Memberships can also be used as a way to flex the particular groups and organizations that you are a member of, potentially leveraging your personal brand and even your own credibility.

One of the most popular examples of an NFT that offers collectors membership access is the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The BAYC NFT collection doubles as your membership to a swamp club for apes.

Also, collectors of BAYC NFTs love showing off their assets on social media, you will see many holders display their BAYC NFTs as their profile pic, proving to be a great example of how certain NFTs can leverage your personal brand.

6. P2E (play to earn)

Play to earn is huge for both gamers and NFT collector’s alike. Games such as Axie Infinity, offer players a way to make money by investing and spending time in the game. Players earn cryptocurrency, which they can exchange for real money, by breeding, trading, and battling Axies.

This use case for NFTs is literally a game-changer. With the ability to earn real money playing a game, I am going to assume that more people will want to play these types of P2E NFT-based games, as well as invest more money into them and of course more time. 

Axie Infinity is just one example of P2E NFT games in the space right now, however, there are many more available to play, and I expect to see a majority of the gaming industry continue to move towards this P2E style of gaming.

7. Virtual accessories

Hear me out, virtual accessories are going to be massive! We have already seen some big name brands such as Nike, D&G, and Diamond Supply Co enter the space, offering collectors the opportunity to own some of the first virtual goods ever released into the market.

Virtual accessories are sold in the form of NFTs. The holders of these digital assets are able to use them in a virtual world called the metaverse. The metaverse is populated by user-operated virtual avatars, accessories, and various events.

As more people begin to interact with the metaverse, you can expect the demand for different virtual assets to rise. Moreover, some of the virtual accessories that you can purchase are eligible to unlock the physical product, and may even give holders access to limited-edition drops that are not available to the public.

My point is that although it’s true NFTs can be art, that’s not the only use that these digital assets offer.

At the end of the day, there are many use cases for NFTs. These use cases will continue to grow and develop in due time as more people join the space. What will be the next NFT use case? Only time will tell.

Categories
Art NFT

Cosmos, A Collection by Jen Stark Merging NFTs and Art

Whirling and vibrant artworks fill the screen—a collection of shapes bouncing off the bounds of their frames and flashing in a hypnotic trance. The imagery undulates and vibrates as the viewer takes in the array of artwork in the collection. If these images seem familiar to you that is because they are. In the spring of 2021, Jen Stark made her debut by setting records with the sale of her kaleidoscopic animation, Multiverse. The piece was collected by 3FMusic for 150ETH ($343,000 USD), which made Stark the first female artist to enter Foundation’s top 10 selling creators.

With the recent launch of her newest NFT collection on Foundation, Stark brings a new set of mesmerizing patterns to the platform. Kicking off the new collection called Cosmos, Stark dropped 12 new artworks on Wednesday, September 29th. Selling out within 24 hours, the collection is off to an exciting start. Over the next several weeks Stark will be unveiling eleven ‘micro cosmos’ and one ‘macro cosmo,’ for a total of 60 artworks in the collection. By bringing this vibrant set of artwork to Foundation, Stark also shows off the new collection feature that the platform will soon roll out to all creators. Stark has made her mark on the contemporary art scene with works in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and MOCA Miami, as well as group and solo exhibitions across New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Thailand, and Canada. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Stark about her recent move into NFTs and how she feels that it is allowing the artist to take the power back.

Jen Stark / Foundation
https://foundation.app/collection/cosmos

What inspired you to begin making NFTs?

“I was born in Miami and went through art school, and then I went to an art college in Baltimore, found myself back in Miami, and started my art career. I moved out to LA about nine years ago. And I was able to meet like-minded artists and creative people to start a community here. 

My art is mainly inspired by nature,  color theory, math, Fibonacci sequences, fractals, psychedelic mathematical designs in nature and science. 

I heard about NFTs in February and it seemed mind-blowing to me how the artist had so much autonomy and power with their work. In the traditional art world, you sell your artwork to a collector and that’s it, you don’t see any other profits usually. I thought it was cool for the artist to take the power back, and always be connected to the work. You get royalties if it sells which you don’t in the art world usually. The community around it intrigued me as well, and it’s been really cool. I have met so many new people on Twitter, and mostly virtually through the NFT world.”

How has joining the NFT community/creating NFT art changed the way you view community/art/creativity?

“The thing I love about this community is that it is very open and there is a lot of helping each other. The NFT world is very open and welcoming and I loved that above it. And it’s kind of a bunch of technology rebels that are trying to pave a new path, and can be a new avenue of art history. I think the art world looks down on it a bit, but they are opening their eyes a little. But I think they have to look at it because it’s happening and they can’t control it, and I think it is already this fork in art history.”

Since launching on Foundation’s marketplace, what has your experience been like and how is it different from traditional gallery spaces?

“I chose Foundation initially because I loved the look of their site, it is super clean and it is super easy to navigate and beautiful to look at. A lot of other platforms are still missing the user experience, and Foundation had that from the start. I dropped on SuperRare a few months ago and that was really fun. But Foundation’s support really helped me and guided me through the process.”

Has working with NFTs opened up new possibilities in your creative process?

“It’s definitely a natural progression, I am a hands-on building stuff kind of girl—painting, and sculpture. In college I started to learn a little bit of animation, starting with stop motion, cutting paper, sculptures, and creating animations with that. I dived a bit into the animation world and then I started teaming up with a few collaborators years ago. 

Personally, I am more of a painter sculptor—I have an animation brain but I usually team up with people to help me execute my vision.”

Do you feel that there is a separation between the NFT art you make and your other artwork?

“The cool thing about the NFT world is that the collectors are visible, and you can directly connect with people so much easier. Also, the NFT element of art is interesting, and I am trying to think of it as more of a utility. Like how can this NFT benefit the collectors, and trying to think about the future of that. It has become a lot more thought out as far as creating private discord channels for my NFT collectors which have been really fun. 

I see the whole NFT metaverse as another material an artist can use. A material that opens a whole new universe for the artist to express themselves and create a whole new community around their work. I want to dive into all the crazy web3 experiences. Everything about it is so open, and there are so many possibilities it is a little bit overwhelming.”

Are there any artists working in the NFT space that inspire you?

Some of the artists that inspire me are @ix_shells, @Mad_Dog_Jones, @kyttenjanae, @badmocap, @newrafael, @rich_lord.

Has there been friction with traditional artists joining the NFT space?

“Yeah, I’ve seen a little friction with it, and there was this moment at the beginning of the year where everyone was learning everything together. Me and most of my artist friends all dove in and we all learned it and became obsessed with it. The artists that did not do that are a bit behind, and it is harder for them to jump in and learn about it. I think it is always possible and if they are willing to jump into it I think it’s a really fun world to be a part of. 

I think a lot of people don’t understand what NFTs are, and once they do understand that they have ownership of their work, autonomy, and direct royalties I think they will jump on board.”

Categories
Finance NFT

Choosing The Right NFT Project For You

When I first began my journey into the realm of non-fungible tokens—better known as digital assets—I had no idea where to start or how to figure out which of the projects would be the right choice for me. After being in the space for close to a year and collecting numerous NFTs, I believe I have discovered a good way to choose the right project for you and your long-term investment goals.

When choosing the best NFT to buy for yourself and hold long term, it is crucial that you follow these three simple rules:

1. Always invest in NFTs that you like

First and foremost, you should always invest in NFTs that spark your interest. I mean, what’s the point of purchasing something that you don’t actually enjoy? Don’t just look for the “next best” NFT, search for the next best NFT that suits your interests.

Not everyone has the same interests, and not everyone will be able to make the same knowledgeable choice about any one NFT project because we all have different levels of understanding of the category we are choosing to invest in.

For example, if you really enjoy soccer and you know a lot about the players and the teams, it’s safe to say that a soccer NFT project would be a good category to start doing your research on. Or, if you really appreciate modern art, then you should be digging deeper into modern artists and their NFTs.

This first step is the foundation of your decision for choosing the best NFT project for you and your investment portfolio.

2. Do your own research

Who doesn’t love a little research? After you have found an NFT you are interested in, it’s time to get your hands dirty and learn everything you can about that specific NFT. Researching NFTs isn’t as easy as going to the “reviews” section and reading everything that other consumers have posted, but it’s close.

When you sit down to research any NFT, here is what I recommend you try to find as much information on as possible:

  • The creator(s)
  • The community
  • The project (brand)
The creator(s)

I think it’s important to understand that when you invest in a non-fungible token, you are actually investing in the human behind the project. Similarly to when you are betting on your favorite sport’s team, you are betting on the player’s ability to execute, not just a random team of people.

There are a few things that I personally look for when examining the creator behind a project; their past performance and ability to execute, their social status, and their ability to build brand awareness.

If you find a project where the creator has a good track record, a positive social status, and a team that seems to understand how to build a brand, then you are likely on the right path to finding the best long-term NFT for your collection.

The community

Don’t forget about the community! A good NFT project will have a healthy community following them. Signs of a healthy community include an overall positive vibe, helpful people, and a whole lot of communication from the project manager. This communication should include project updates, alerts, and assistance with any problems that community members may face.

Okay, so now you’re probably wondering where you are able to find out more about a project’s community; the answer is simple: everywhere. Allow me to elaborate.

Wherever an NFT project has a presence, you should be there observing, listening, and asking any questions you may have about the project. Some common places where you are able to observe a project’s community is on various social media platforms, Discord, and other media outlets such as blog posts and videos.

Spending a majority of your day simply observing a community is not a waste of your time at all. In fact, I would argue that it is an excellent use of your time that can help you decide if an NFT is right for you or not.

The project (brand)

Finally, the main piece of the puzzle: the project itself. The project—or as I like to think of it, the brand—is arguably one of the most important pieces to the NFT puzzle. The brand is what draws people in and keeps the demand for their assets high.

Branding is generally what draws you into a project, and it is what will continue to command your attention as more and more projects enter the space. When you do your research on a brand, make sure you like the brand and support what they stand for. Also, you should ensure that you thoroughly enjoy the products and services that the brand offers to its consumers, such as yourself. Once you have determined these three important aspects of research check-out, you are one step closer to discovering the best NFT for you and your long-term investment goals. Remember, ALWAYS do your own research.

3. Don’t invest more money than you can afford to lose

The final piece to uncovering the best NFT for your personal situation and interests should not only be considered a rule but an absolute must! Do not invest more money than you can afford to lose. In my opinion, there should be no exception to this rule.

If you invest all your savings into a project with no money to fall back on, you may be putting yourself and your family in a hard spot. Especially if you were to lose all your hard-earned money on an NFT project that ultimately ended up having less value than you had originally thought.

Personally, I try to buy into every project with the thought that the project could go to zero. I know, nobody wants to think that the project they are investing in could go to zero, but that is just the reality of the market.

In my experience, if you follow these three rules, then you will be on the right path to finding the best NFT project for you. The greatest part about following these rules is that you will feel confident and happy with your investments, and you’ll know that you have made the best choice for yourself.

Will NFTs hold their value when investing long term?

When thinking about investing in non-fungible tokens to add to your long-term investment portfolio, you may be contemplating the longevity of NFTs in the macro—rightfully so. This brings us to one of the most commonly asked questions regarding these tokens: are NFTs here to stay for the long term?

NFTs are digital assets that are minted on the blockchain, where they remain indefinitely. These digital assets are exploding in growth and utility across various industries. Social media platforms, influencers, and even big-name brands such as Budweiser, are all beginning to incorporate NFTs into their business.

In my opinion, the fact that these reputable brands are utilizing non-fungible tokens to their advantage is a huge sign pointing towards the continuance of use across all the different industries. Moreover, I believe that the market has already proven that NFTs will remain valuable for the long haul.

The number of people who are aware of NFTs and their potential value is still very minimal. I bet if you were to ask anyone within your inner circle about NFTs, they would look at you like you are crazy. That’s not to take away from the fact that NFTs are here to stay.

My point being: even though many folks are unfamiliar with this technology as of right now, the market is still booming with sales. Not to mention, many of these sales are from unknown individuals who don’t have a reputable brand backing their work, so imagine what will happen when these large companies who have unlimited resources begin integrating non-fungible tokens into their businesses.

In time, it is very likely that more and more people will look to invest in digital assets. As NFTs begin to prove their worth in the business world, the demand to collect these assets will also increase as a result.

In conclusion, finding the right NFT for you and your long-term investment portfolio is important. Remember, before choosing which NFT is best for you, make sure to follow the three simple rules: find what you like, do your research, and never spend more money than you can afford to lose.

Categories
Art NFT

Christie’s Post-War to Present Auction: Blurring the NFT and Art Worlds

As part of the October 1st, Post War to Present sale at Christie’s, an all-new lineup of art and currency for bidding will be implemented as the auction commences. 

The auction house boasts some of the highest-quality artwork spanning the last several decades, representing some of the most contemporary concepts and visual creations throughout the art world; this auction is accompanied by an all-new art form that is breaking its way into the upper-echelon of fine art: The NFT.

Art Blocks, My Curio Cards, and VeeFriends creator Gary Vaynerchuck will be amongst some of the most well-known names in the art world including Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, George Condo, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Wayne Thiebaud, and Yoshitomo Nara.

NFTs debuting at auction houses is becoming increasingly common ever since the massive milestone of the Beeple’s “Everydays — The First 5000 Days” selling for record-breaking $69.3 million. The October 1st auction will be another milestone for the Art Blocks and My Curio Cards NFT collections since they will be the first-ever auctions to be conducted in ETH. 

Between My Curio Cards being launching in May 2017 and becoming the first Art NFT project on Ethereum, Art Blocks creating a die-hard community and curating some of the best generative art ever seen, and Gary Vaynerchuk innovating the way we embrace community, imagination, and the union of the two — there is no doubting their placement next to some of history’s most influential artists. 

My Curio Cards – The Full Set

My Curio Cards represent the innovative minds who saw a vision where the metaverse plays a role in our everyday lives. Featuring 30 unique series of cards from seven different artists, the complete set that is on sale represents the visionary artwork that captures a moment in history that had the foresight of the current internet revolution being sparked by web3 and NFTs. The cards are numbered 1-30 and each has its own edition size. There are 30,000 in total, with an estimated 4,000 lost. Looking at the art on each card throughout the collection, there is a comfortable feeling to the variety of styles on display — calling back to the aesthetics of internet art and the wide variety of experimentation that can be found across digital art galleries and forums.

Art Blocks Curated – Full set of Gen 1, 2 and 3

Generative art is nothing new in the art world. It emerged in the 1960s right after Cubism, Dadaism, and surrealism. However, the new wave of on-chain generative art that has emerged on the Art Blocks platform may be the most refined form that the art world has ever seen. The crazy part is that this is just the dawn of a new era.

Founded in 2020 by SnowFro, who is also the creator of the first Art Blocks Chromie Squiggles, the platform quickly rose to the top of the most desired NFTs to collect. Since the inception of Art Blocks, a range of talented artists have joined the Art Blocks Curated roster including the iconic Fidenzas creator Tyler Hobbs. The factor that make the new wave of generative art on-chain so compelling is that nobody knows what will be generated when the script is run—the code performs its range of outputs and generates something completely unique. The level of quality of each project is dictated by the programmer who runs thousands of tests to create the perfect rules for each unique output. For something so random, there is a lot of restrictions the artist must deploy in order to generate a visually consistent, yet diverse body of work. 

The Christie’s Art Blocks lot includes a full set of Gen 1, 2, and 3, which currently has a total estimated floor price of about 600 ETH.

Gary Vaynerchuk – VeeFriends

Whether it is Marchel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ from 1917, or more recently ‘Comedian’ which was the Banana duct-taped to a wall that sold for $120,000 in Miami by artist Maurizio Cattelan, there will always be moments in art history where people question the integrity of the art. Artworks like ‘Fountain’ or ‘Comedian’ are important for broadening the expanse of what art can be, and this is why it is so exciting to see the VeeFriends artist and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk debut his coffee table style drawings amongst some of the most celebrated artists of the past century. The artwork that Gary Vaynerchuk is auctioning for sale is not the actual NFTs that are part of the VeeFriends collection, but instead the original one-of-one drawings that have the same aesthetic and energy as the artwork portrayed throughout the NFT collection. VeeFriends have gained their recognition through the community that has upheld the vision that the art represents. Similar to the success of My Curio Cards and Art Blocks, VeeFriends—like many other NFT projects—are creating a new form of expression through the community that embodies the creator’s vision. Each artwork represents a bastion of individual personalities who support each other, along with the vision that Gary Vaynerchuk spreads as an influencer of culture, relevance, and the internet. To discount the artwork that Gary Vaynerchuk has put up for auction as being out of its element when placed alongside some of the greatest artists of the last century is to discount the importance that art has in influencing culture and capturing the world around it.

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Art NFT

Understanding and Identifying Upcoming NFT Projects

Mainstream news outlets clamored to cover Christie’s online auction of Beeple’s “Everydays — The First 5000 Days,” which sold for 69 million dollars. While this event should be applauded for introducing NFTs to the general public, the massive news coverage included tons of misinformation — for instance, titles like “JEPG File Sells for $69 Million, as ‘NFT Mania’ Gathers Pace,” from the New York Times is misleading.

The NFT community understands the culture-changing capabilities behind this wave of technology. Chances are that if you are reading this article, you do too, so we’ve answered common questions that will help you start your journey as an early adopter:

What is an NFT?

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a one-of-a-kind digital asset that uses blockchain technology to facilitate ownership, buying, and selling. Some essential qualities that make them unique from other tokens or forms of digital art include:

Uniqueness: NFTs cannot be duplicated after their original minting. While derivative sets may pop up with modifications to an original digital asset, your NFT, say CryptoPunk #9, is the only one in existence.

Verifiable: Existing on a blockchain and using smart contracts, the transaction history and ownership of an on-chain NFT is visible, simple to locate, and allows for ownership to be traced back to the original owner. An NFT owner or creator can set a price and place their NFT for sale in a secondary market. 

Indivisibility: Your digital asset cannot be fractionalized; You own it in its entirety and cannot own 1/10 of a Bored Ape Yacht Club #9. This is an immutable quality and cannot be altered by the originator of the asset. 

The properties that make a digital asset an NFT can be assigned to tickets, art, domain names, music, trading cards, etc. — the possibilities are endless.

Why Would I Buy an NFT?

Digital tokens, cards, and coins have been around since the creation of blockchain technology that also included gaming and virtual world concepts. NFTs, as we know them now, first appeared in 2017 when Larva Labs dropped CryptoPunks. The 10,000 algorithmically generated pixelated PFPs were free to mint and currently have a floor of around 250K when this article was written. 

In the “NFT Summer” of 2021, there has been an explosion of PFP (profile picture) NFT sets. Starting off as simple images, many evolved into projects that build community, airdrop incentives, offer staking, IP ownership, metaverse meetups, and allow owners to directly participate with the company leadership. The popular projects are developing ‘real world’ tie-ins and a strong sense of community. Well-known “blue chip” projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club has had in-person gatherings, while VeeFriends holders have access to VeeCon, a four-day conference held in Minnesota next year. 

Whether you are looking to invest in the early stages of a new brand, support an artist, or day flip, everyone has their own motivation for getting in the NFT game.

How Do I Research NFTs?

Marketplace data showed sales of NFTs surged into the billions this summer with the number of projects dropping daily skyrocketing. An intuitive question emerges— how do I decipher between projects with legs and potential rug pulls? 

The Dev Team

First and foremost, you are investing in the team behind the project. Art is subjective, what is visually appealing to one person can be a hard pass to the next person. However, the people behind the project have a history of industry wins or losses— or they may be anonymous (which should be a red flag). Inexperience doesn’t mean the project can’t be a potential blue-chip, but more risk can be involved. Jump on their social media, discord, and website to learn more about the capabilities of the people behind the project.

Intellectual Property: Stoner Cats and DeadHeads

Do you actually have any ownership over the intellectual property (IP) of your NFT? In terms of IP, let’s compare two projects that have produced an animated series around their project— DeadHeads and Stoner Cats

Stoner Cats — an adult animated series with some big-name celebrities behind it, dropped their NFTs with buyers having no IP rights. 

Checking out the DeadHeads website statement on their IP plans:

“When you own a DeadHead, you own the NFT and the intellectual property of the underlying art itself. You own a character in the multi-media universe, with commercial and non-commercial rights.”

This may or may not be of importance to their communities, but it is worth being aware of as a consumer and community member.

Roadmaps and Utility

What are you actually purchasing when you buy an NFT? It could solely be the face value — the art. However, the concept of utility is essential to consider when researching NFTs. 

Wicked Craniums is a strong example of creators striving to develop utility around their NFTs. In addition to airdrops and collaborations, this project is the first to provide staking opportunities to their community. Users can stake a Wicked Cranium and a Wicked Stallion to receive additional NFTs, comparable to the concept of a dividend.  Staking wasn’t included in their original roadmap and suggests a dedicated and capable team.

The world of NFTs is new and quickly evolving. After you have your questions answered, actually going through the motions — converting your fiat to crypto, setting up a wallet like MetaMask, and connecting to a secondary market to purchase your first NFT, provides the best learning experience.

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Art NFT

Christie’s Noah Davis Talks NFT Auctions and the Blurring of Art Worlds

This past March, Christie’s auction house set a world record sale for an NFT with a price tag of $69,346.250. It was the first auction of an NFT at Christie’s, and it goes without saying that it was a smashing success. 

The sale created a lot of buzz and put a spotlight on NFTs. It was validation that digital art could be bought and sold at high valuations from respected auction houses that deal with high-end clientele. 

With the success of its first NFT sale, Christie’s decided to auction more tokens in May. This time, they went with CryptoPunks, a project that was released in 2017. 9 assets from the project were sold as a bundle and hit a price of $17 million, providing even more validation for the NFT space. 

As we enter the fall, Christie’s has selected a few other promising NFT projects to be included in two separate auctions: Bored Ape Yacht Club, The Meebits, Curio Cards, Art Blocks Curated and more CryptoPunks. It’s exciting to see the continued interest and commitment of Christie’s to sell even more NFT projects. 

I had the chance to catch up with Noah Davis, who leads up NFTs for Christie’s Auction House; this article details our conversation, including how Christie’s got into NFTs in the first place, how he selects projects for the auction and what he makes of the impact on the NFT space with the upcoming auctions.

How Christie’s Auction House Got into Selling NFTs

“The idea of selling an NFT is not crazy. We sell dinosaur bones.”

 — Noah Davis, Christie’s Auction House

Noah has been at Christie’s for 6–7 years and explained that he was in the “right place and right time” to become the lead on Christie’s NFT sales. He runs online sales for the auction house, so selling digital art seemed to be the perfect fit. 

The historic first NFT sale in March was set in motion back in January because, as Noah explained, Christie’s “had done a lot of new things for the first time; we really experimented and were willing to take risks.”

The global pandemic had ushered in a mindset that would create the perfect storm to lay the groundwork for entry into NFT sales. He and co-worker Meghan Doyle didn’t meet resistance from executives regarding the idea, as there was excitement to try out something new.

It wasn’t just Noah who was in the right place and right time, it was also the NFT market that was in the right place and right time. In the Spring of 2020, our world changed overnight, and digital interactions ramped up as we tried to address a pandemic that required social distancing and shutting down much of our everyday activities. By early January of 2021, the news started to break that a vaccine was on the way, and the light at the end of the tunnel was shining brighter. It was perfect timing for Christie’s to introduce a paradigm-shifting art as the world started to emerge from the pandemic.

The Process for Selecting and Curating NFT Sales at Christie’s:

Noah described his day-to-day to me, and it felt like a scene straight out of a movie: 

  • Morning calls with folks in Hong Kong 
  • Lunch with experienced art curator Kenny Schachter
  • Spending time on NFT Twitter and in NFT Discord Groups 
  • Talking with “whales” (a term used to describe people with a lot of ETH who are ready to spend it) 
  • Making connections with people in the space on and off-line to build relationships
  • Taking an evening call with executives in Japan

Noah is in the center of all the action and spends time with communities in these projects, active buyers familiar with NFTs and potential buyers who are still learning about the new space. 

This means that there are a lot of people who come to him in hopes that assets from their NFT project can be sold at Christie’s. 

Ultimately, he is responsible for sifting through the many requests of NFT projects in order to make sure only the best of the best bubble up and are approved for an auction. It’s no small responsibility either, as he said that it would be “irresponsible to throw up art without a track record. That’s not the role Christie’s plays in the ecosystem.” 

So how does he select and curate the projects to be featured in a Christie’s auction? 

“The most important thing is the community. If there’s a Discord that’s engaged, plugged in, and present. That’s the most compelling thing that you can possibly have going for you.”

 — Noah Davis, Christie’s Auction House

What I found unique about Noah is that he is in the Discord groups of various projects and interacts with members. He gets a feel for the community, the history of the project and makes sure there is an established price point before moving forward. 

He is dedicated to his craft and has done a great job of being a bridge between the “old world” and “new world” of art sales. While many in the NFT community worry about what may happen as renowned auction houses get more involved to sell NFT art, Noah has proven that he inherently understands the spirit of this paradigm shift: community. 

Noah Davis, Christie’s Auction House

My goal is to showcase the cream of the crop, the top of the top NFTs. Curio Cards was a no-brainer, CryptoPunks was a no-brainer. They’re obvious choices.

Community is a term that is sometimes oversold, but not in the way Noah uses it to identify projects. It’s common to see new NFT projects market their follower count and Discord members, but it’s another thing to observe a strong base of community members for months at a time who are consistently passionate about their project.

Curio Cards, for example, has a rich history in the NFT space as the first-ever digital art sold on Ethereum. It was rediscovered in March of this year and the community has steadily grown and stayed active during that time period. It’s clear that many members are involved in it in the long run. 

There are also experienced NFT collectors in the Curio Cards Discord group who spend time educating others on the significance of the project and what it means for the modern NFT environment. This is similar to other projects that have been selected to go up for auction on September 17th and October 1st.

Upcoming NFT Auctions and Their Impact on the NFT Evolution

Both Noah and I agreed that no one has a crystal ball and it’s too bold to make any predictions about the NFT space with any degree of certainty. Both of us, as well as many others, are optimistic about the future, but it’s always important to be patient and never spend money you can’t afford to lose. 

With that said, Noah has found himself in a position where he has the chance to make a lasting impact on the NFT community: 

“My main goal beyond getting great results is to induct people into crypto. I want people to be so enthralled by this. I want them to take the same leap I did. I bought my first Ethereum in April. This has been the most amazing transition of my life and I do see a lot of promise and utopia in decentralization and blockchain.” 

For many of us, NFTs have been life-changing and it’s not just about the money. It truly is about the community — the friends, the innovation, the creativity. The spirit of the blockchain is decentralization and the enablement of people to come together and build great things. 

Noah summed this up perfectly when he explained that it’s no longer “If you build it, they will come.” It’s now “If you invite them, they will build it.” 

Despite the headlines and eye-popping sales numbers, there were still just 412,388 active buyers on the top 4 Ethereum marketplaces from August 1st  – August 30th. 

This is just a fraction of the population many think NFTs will reach, and Noah explained that the old guard of the art world is starting to catch onto the phenomenon. The record Beeple NFT sale “blew their minds” and many are now in the role of an “invested skeptic”: 

“I am seeing now, certain art collecting dynasties getting involved in NFTs and hiring people to help them with their endeavors. We’re on the verge of a new wave of investment .” 

These upcoming auctions will introduce people to new “cream of the crop” projects and likely will provide more validation for the invested skeptics. Many of them still can’t get over the intangibility of the assets, but some are starting to recognize that it’s a strength in the fact that it removes some of the things that make contemporary art “cumbersome”. 

Noah referenced that it’s tough to drop everything and go on a vacation when you have a $100 million painting sitting in your home. 

At this point in the evolution of NFTs, people are watching. They’re learning. They’re cautiously optimistic. Noah and the team at Christie’s are bridging the gap and keeping the communities of people who have built up the space top of mind while doing so. 

How Will The Auctions Work?

The October 1st Christie’s Auction in New York City will be another step forward in the evolution of their NFT sales. 

Lots A and Z (the first sale and the final sale) of that auction will be Curio Cards and Art Blocks. It’s significant that NFT projects will book-end the auctions and is a statement about the belief in how well they will perform. 

Bidding for these lots will also be conducted in Ethereum for the first time ever. 

The auction will be done live, with an auctioneer. People will be able to view it online, bid on the phone, bid online, and (hopefully) bid in person. 

Perhaps the most exciting feature of this auction is that it will be done in 1 day, whereas other auctions have taken weeks; the energy and intensity will be condensed into a smaller time frame. 

It will be fun to watch what happens on both September 17th and October 1st as well as after the auctions. Some new projects will get much broader exposure and there will be more opportunity for the continued validation of NFTs as a viable high-end collector’s item.

Categories
Art NFT

Sotheby’s Announces Collaboration With Digital Artist Pak

Hot off the heels of the closing of digital artist Beeple’s auction with Christie’s last week, Sotheby’s is getting in on the action. In a tweet early Tuesday morning, the legendary auction house announced that they would be teaming up with Pak, a leading digital artist in the NFT space. Details about the collaboration are still fairly scarce, but it’s fair to assume that they’ll be offering some sort of drop with the mysterious artist.

Pak has been one of the highest-selling NFT artists, with numerous record-breaking sales on the platform SuperRare. It’s unclear exactly what form his collaboration with Sotheby’s will take, but the announcement signals what’s to come for digital artists. The line between digital art and traditional visual art is blurring; major auction houses getting in on the action shows that even members of the art world’s old guard are coming around to the potential of digital art.

Pak is an artist who is still pretty shrouded in mystery. According to Sotheby’s website announcement, “Pak is now exploring uncharted territories, experimenting with new forms of creation and communication.” The announcement was coupled with a deeply cryptic video, a 24-second clip of a black screen briefly emboldened with a circle, accompanied by an eerie soundscape.

It’s unclear what kind of pieces Pak will release through Sotheby’s, but we’ll be waiting patiently to see what happens. Keep your eyes on the Sotheby’s social and Pak’s Twitter to stay up to date.