SuperRare’s New Smart Contracts Will Give Artists Control of NFT Minting and Sales

The NFT space has hit a point where so much is happening that important news does not always get the attention it deserves. Even when significant announcements spark attention, some of the critical details get lost in the shuffle. In the case of SuperRare’s plans to introduce custom NFT minting contracts and enable imports of art from other platforms, features of long-term value to crypto artists, the news was buried beneath excitement over the $RARE airdrop and the launch of DAO governance. SuperRare’s Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, Jonathan Perkins, in an interview for NFTs WTF, discussed the new minting contracts and their implications for crypto artists.


Too Much News


It’s not surprising that responses to the rich announcement on August 17 of SuperRare’s $RARE token drop, its introduction of DAO governance, and immediate plans to expand curation with “SuperRare Spaces” and introduce “Sovereign Smart Contracts” focused on the money and the power. And who wouldn’t celebrate an unexpected windfall and the opportunity to help guide the future of a leading crypto art platform?


It’s also no surprise that opening up possibilities for minting contracts did not receive much attention in the media or, as I observed, in the excited discussions on Twitter regarding the $RARE token airdrop. But the introduction of what SuperRare terms Sovereign Smart Contracts is a move with long-term implications for NFT creators and collectors.


A Brief History of SuperRare Minting Contracts


Jonathan Perkins filled me in on the details behind the contract news- including the history of SuperRare minting contracts. SuperRare’s first minting contracts, dubbed “V1 contracts,” which minted the recently popular V1 tokens, were utilized from April 2018 to September 2019. These were launched before the ERC-721 NFT token standard was adopted.


SuperRare then created V2 minting contracts that produce ERC-721 compliant tokens or “V2 tokens.” These NFTs have a “SUPR token” ticker and are the current option. Perkins explained the backstory to the shift to new minting contracts:


“[Currently] there’s this shared collection of SuperRare tokens, and if you look at them on OpenSea, they’re called ‘SuperRare,’ but we’ve noticed through the years that artists love to experiment and create different collections and mint things under different namespaces [on] SuperRare competitors and different minting platforms.”


Our team actually built a platform [called Pixura] and launched it in 2019 that allows artists to create bespoke series of NFTs and deploy their own minting contracts. It enables anyone to declare the properties of a new minting contract, create the contract, and then mint NFTs. So we’re just bringing this concept into SuperRare.”


The Introduction of Sovereign Smart Contracts


SuperRare will begin rolling out new options in phases. In Phase 1, sometime in September, their new minting contract will be introduced, and artists will be able to create one new minting contract. Eventually, they will be able to create one new contract a day. 


“So for advanced artists who want to experiment and create a contract that is named after themselves, it could be an artist-specific contract. So, I can have the Perkins token. [Or I can decide to] create 5,000 artworks, all related to cocktails, and it’s gonna be called the Cocktail Contract, and [I can define] the parameters of it. If you look at it on OpenSea, for example, it will say ‘Cocktails,’ it won’t say ‘SuperRare.’”


In Phase 2, sometime in November, artists will be able to “start indexing contracts not deployed on SuperRare. So that would include contracts using Pixura or OpenSea or basically any other compliant ERC-721 contract which you deployed and are the person who can mint under it.”


In Phase 3, which is TBD, but hopefully, by the end of the year, artists will be able to index NFTs created on other platforms so that they will show up on SuperRare in artist’s creations. Perkins shared the example of the well-known artist Mattia Cuttini who has a collection of NFT art minted on Pixura.


“When we get to the later stage of this rollout, we can basically index this [collection] so all [of] these artworks show up [on SuperRare] as artworks that he’s created, and he can continue to use the SuperRare interface to mint new ones if he wants.”


“So he basically used the Pixura interface to mint all these under his contract and then he used OpenSea’s interface to sell them. So when we get done, collectors can see them in their SuperRare account. They’ll show up as under his creations, and then he can mint new ones and sell them through SuperRare.”


The Implications for Artists and Collectors


The ultimate goal is to “give artists more optionality, more control. [And also] to broaden out the footprint of SuperRare so it’s not just single tokens. We’re becoming an aggregator of different contracts that artists use, [while offering] more collections to peruse for collectors.”


Though it’s understandable that minting contract news did not rise to the top of conversations focused on a surprise airdrop of $RARE, this contract news represents a move by SuperRare to address the concerns of knowledgeable artists. Such artists generally seem to desire more control over the minting process and an ability to use multiple platforms as needed without their creations being walled off in a closed world.


In that sense, SuperRare’s new minting contracts are part of a more significant movement to allow flexibility in the creation, and sales across platforms, using agreed-upon industry standards. For its part, SuperRare is contributing to that movement by relinquishing control to $RARE token holders, opening the platform up to new curators, and providing needed options for minting contracts and NFT sales. And that’s news to be excited about at a crucial stage of development in the NFT ecosystem as new platforms and players continue to enter NFT Land.


Featured Image: Detail of SuperRare Facebook Banner

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