Beyond Hic et Nunc, Part 2: The Community Recovers, Rebuilds… and Disperses?

14th January 2022

As discussed in Beyond Hic et Nunc, Part 1: A Community Emerges, a broad range of artists, collectors, and coders came together to form an ad hoc community around the original Hic et Nunc platform (hicetnunc.xyz). Over much of 2021, this community turned the technical creation of Rafael Lima into a huge social and business success, yet, in a surprise move, the founder decided to pull the plug on the front end of his creation. Though the original Hic et Nunc site was gone, the smart contracts remained, and a number of key players worked together to smooth the transition to other interfaces and platforms. Now, in 2022, with Hic et Nunc contracts still powering a great deal of NFT activity on Tezos, it seems that the community has dispersed without the common ground of the original website.

 

By November 2021, Hic et Nunc, known by a variety of abbreviations, including “HEN” and “H=N,” was a seemingly unequivocal success. It was not only the leading NFT marketplace on Tezos by active wallets but also the leading overall Dapp on Tezos. Objkt.com was a growing challenger, but even its success seemed partly due to H=N attracting crypto artists to Tezos. 

 

For more on those early days, a H=N timeline reveals the extensive development prior to its March 2021 launch and further aspects of the community that came together through its demise in November of 2021. A related though now outdated document, “Tools made by the community,” indicates the emergence of an ecosystem around H=N that was quite powerful.

 

The Sudden Disappearance of Hic et Nunc


On November 11th, the surprising news of the end of Hic et Nunc was communicated by a simple message on H=N’s Twitter profile, “Discontinued,” and a smart contract address as its final message. Given many users’ understanding that the founder was not enthralled by all aspects of H=N’s development, the message was read as the end of H=N and the response by some was to “post ‘RIP HicEtNunc’ updates and NFTs.”

 

However, this initial response was, at least partially, incorrect. H=N’s contracts were designed to continue regardless of the state of the frontend known as Hic et Nunc. And, quite quickly, a list of mirror sites shared by Twitter users @hen_community revealed that the art was not lost, and only the initial interface was no more. However, there was still much work to be done as folks came together to develop alternatives to the original H=N frontend while using its contracts to further secure pinned images, and to begin the process of transitioning from ad hoc action to community governance.

 

 

As Twitter user @quasimondo’s thread recounts, what was going on was a bunch of community members springing into action, teaming up, and building on what others were doing. Fortunately, some of them shared details of what happened.

 

Meet HicEtNunc.art

HicEtNunc.art was one of the first alternatives based on the original Hic et Nunc through the efforts of DNS and TezTools.

 

A Technical Deep Dive on How HicEtNunc Was Recovered

DNS digs into what was happening in those first few days after the disappearance of the H=N website and discusses technical concerns that they began to address at that time.

 

ClubNFT Agrees to Pay to Pin All NFT Content From Discontinued Hic et Nunc Marketplace

ClubNFT’s initial post featured their generous offer to fund and lead the process of making sure all H=N images continue to be accessible.

 

How ClubNFT & Infura helped protect artists and collectors from losing their work with IPFS

The process of pinning images ultimately included many independent efforts, but ClubNFT’s initiative eventually involved a wide range of participants including Infura, Protocol Labs, and NFT.storage.

 

As of this writing, on January 13th, 2022, the original H=N contracts are still supporting a great deal of activity. In the last 24 hours, Hic et Nunc is the 7th most active NFT marketplace (in contract form) based on active wallets. Objkt.com is close behind as the 8th most active by wallets- yet Objkt.com has over 4 times the sales volume. It would be interesting to see where the original Hic et Nunc would be now if it had continued on its previous path.

 

With Hic et Nunc now taking a variety of forms and interfaces, the sense of H=N as something specific around which artists could gather seems to have disappeared. At the same time, NFT activity on Tezos is on the rise. Hic et Nunc played a crucial role in making that happen as did the CleanNFT movement’s promotion of Proof-of-Stake blockchains. So Hic et Nunc’s story to date encompasses many themes from the creation of a unique community, to the transformation of that community using Web 3 tech, and its dispersal back into an NFT Land strengthened by the Tezos blockchain.

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