On June 2nd, this past Tuesday, a virtual art show took place in parallel with a number of events happening in Miami this week.  What set this show apart from most of the physical events happening across Bitcoin Conference Miami, Shitcoin 2021, and a number of NTFS.tips events – this show was presented entirely virtually. Curated by Trish Reda, as per the commission of JenJoy Roybal of Ntfs.tips curation team, this show featured over two dozen diverse photographers and image-makers from around the world. Displayed in a virtual world constructed by the talented Roger Kenny, called “Road Gallery,” the space evoked a midnight drive across a desert. Except, in which, either side of the road was featuring beautiful billboard-sized renderings of photographic NFTs. The experience is truly unique, as one enters the space, you feel the need to speed up and get through the show. However, the user’s character moves slowly with intentionality, lingering on each piece in order to give it the time and appreciation that it deserves.  As the viewer moves through a star-lit desert vista, new pieces of art emerge in the distance, each one entirely unique and striking in and of itself. 



The show featured a healthy mix of established voices and exciting new talent. Including staples in the NFT photography space such as Matthew Neubauer, Sean Bonner, and John Knopf (the current highest-selling photographer in the NFT space).  At the same time, featuring a number of fresh/up-and-coming voices, handpicked by Reda herself, including Raven “50mm,” Dariush Raad, Amat Toussaint, and many others. This diverse and decentralized blend of talent from all over the world spans a vast array of practices and styles within the confines of photographic work. From analogue to digital, unprocessed to heavily manipulated, traditional images to animated ones. This virtual art show displayed the near full palette of options that have been made available to photographers active in the space today. In fact, the cavalcade of styles and processes exhibited in such a new-age format gave the show quite a futuristic feel. Though this could simply be my personal bias as I, the writer, was one of the artists featured and this was my personal first ever purely digital gallery exhibition. 


Screen Capture by: @shakenbakespear ft image by @nft_ish
Screen Capture by: @shakenbakespear ft image by @nft_ish




However, my own involvement aside, there are three key aspects I’d like to take away from this experience as a viewer.  1) The virtual space that this was held in was, and is, constructed beautifully.  If you haven’t yet – please make sure to click the first embedded tweet and follow the link directly to the show.  It’s a custom gallery created in Mozilla hubs, and while it may not be the most realistic virtual experience I have ever had, it was definitely one of the most visually appealing.  2) The diversity and range in artists from all different styles and backgrounds all within the confines of one specific medium were extremely encouraging.  In a time where companies and individuals alike find excuses for lacking diversity on a daily basis – Trish Reda came into this space as a fresh curator and, intentionally or not, truly acted as a champion of diversity and representation.  From representing artists all over the world to a healthy mix of race and gender expressions to purposefully highlighting several queer artists (such as my partner and myself) in celebration of Pride Month – Trish truly went above and beyond.  3) Finally, just because I’m so impressed, I need to mention the time frame.  Trish reached out to me only 5 days before the exhibit.  So, in a matter of about a week, Trish Reda was able to coordinate with over two dozen artists and promote an extremely well-received event and corresponding clubhouse room.  While I’m not surprised, as both Trish and the NTFS.tips team are absolute powerhouses, I am nonetheless extremely impressed.  Most established galleries would struggle to do the same and Trish, more or less independently, pulled off the impossible in just one week!


A wholehearted BRAVA to Trish and all of the artists involved!


Screen Capture by: @shakenbakespear ft image by @lindseybyrnes

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The gaming retailer that took over the news media during its recent Wall Street bets fiasco, that saw major hedge funds short its stock after being squeezed by retail investors on reddit, is now doing exactly what I had hoped they would.

They have quietly revealed that they are currently working on a new non-fungible token (NFT) platform.


The ‘reveal page’ is cryptic, but there are a number of details that can already be seen. For instance, we know that they are currently assembling a team

“We welcome exceptional engineers (solidity, react, python), designers, gamers, marketers, and community leaders. If you want to join our team, send your profile or something you’ve built to: nfteam@gamestop.com.”

There is also a smart contract address that you can look at on etherscan, that hints at additional details.  Most notably, the contract suggests that GameStop NFTs will use Ethereum’s ERC-721 non-fungible token standard with further evidence of a GME token implementation.

Details around this project are in stealth mode, however we are seeing activity on Twitter where some additional insights can already be gleaned. 

This project is exciting to me personally, as I remember during the Wallstreet Bets fiasco the level of energy and excitement in GameStop as a company, and what they could potentially do to reinvigorate their brand. With new energy and capital being raised on the backs of Hedge funds, the sky’s the limit.  I had only wished I had the opportunity to present to someone at GameStop myself.  I would share that they should get into NFTs ASAP, and incorporate non-fungible technology into their mainstream gaming ecosystem.

GameStop NFT Platform in the Works
A GameStop NFT Platform is in the Works

I thought that being able to resell old games, one of GameStops’ main revenue streams, would benefit greatly from being on the blockchain. Allowing game developers to continue to receive royalties from secondary sales which could create increased longevity for development studios. I immediately saw so many potential applications and possibilities. GameStop with this kind of new capital, being pointed toward the Blockchain and Non-fungible token technology, could be revolutionary for the entire crypto ecosystem. Fast forward to May 2021, and it seems as if GameStop has figured it all out without me. Maybe I should have minted a non-fungible token with my idea at the time to prove I had these ideas about NFTs and GameStop first.

The underdog energy that fuels the ‘Wall Street Bets’ movement paired with the incredibly passionate gaming community and the fanatics of  crypto culture is a clear recipe for explosive growth in my opinion.  I am very interested in seeing how this team begins to form up, and what additional details we can discover in regards to what GameStop has up its sleeves. In the meantime, I would expect a new injection of hype and interest all over the interwebs around a GameStop NFT entry. GameStonks NFTs here we come!

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Maxwell Step is a 27 year old Canadian artist that plays with pixels to create stunning portraits. His work displays inspirational images in detailed, yet pixelated, form and is listed for sale on the blockchain via several high profile NFT art platforms. “I draw with squares that capture the essence of people.” This mantra adorns his many NFT galleries, simple, yet powerful, just like his art. The portraits definitely capture the essence of people in a fun and eye-catching way.


As a child he always had a love for cartoons and manga, drawing them whenever he could. He admits he wasn’t very skilled in the beginning, but a trip to Wal-Mart one December would change that forever. Maxwell’s’ father Moses passed away when he was young, and his mother Burneise Stephenson, had to overcome and find a way to take care of her boys. The budget was tight one Christmas, but she still took them to the store and told them they could pick a gift that was reasonably priced. Maxwell headed straight for the manga section and chose Tsubasa, a story that he had set his sights on long before that day. This marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for art and creation. Manga and animation were a huge source of inspiration and served as entertainment, as well as a creative outlet, for the young designer. As time went on his brother and sister would always see him drawing, and his mother was incredibly supportive of his artistic abilities.

When Maxwell was 15 his mother passed away from cancer, a devastating blow to the budding artist. As tribute to her he began going by the last name Step, an abbreviated version of her last name Stephenson. When asked why, he says, “My mother used to always say ‘Stay Thinking Eternally Positive’ so I wanted to commemorate that.”


Maxwell Step and his wife

Positivity is definitely the air that surrounds the beautiful family that Maxwell has created with his adoring wife Aisha. His family may be the best work of art he’s done yet! Their sweet toddler Indya is already doing art with Daddy, and their newest edition Cairo is sure to be creatively inclined given her genetics. Aisha is an exquisite photographer and fully embraces her artistic husbands’ endeavors. Together the canvas of their story paints a picture of inspiration, love, and creation.

Maxwell credits his mother as a crucial part of his early inspiration, but it wasn’t until her passing that he really became disciplined with his practice. Being 100% self-taught, Maxwell gathered photos and studied them to learn angles and perspectives, practicing over and over until he got it right. He remembers the voice of a camp counselor emphatically pleading with him, “If you have a talent do not hide it! It is your responsibility to cultivate it and share it with the world.” Cultivate he did, as he is now quickly becoming a prominent artist in the NFT space, currently displaying timeless portraits of BIPOC with fun and elegant style. With pieces already sold for almost 3 Ethereum the future is looking bright for the young artist, especially when you consider royalties! It’s clear that if there’s one consistent thing about him it’s his desire to learn and grow, and he doesn’t allow excuses to stand in the way.


From drawing mangas, to tirelessly researching ways of monetizing his art, he has taught himself everything on his own. You can even find his extensive portfolio of merchandise, web content, and album art online, culminated by a life full of creativity. Maxwell proudly displays the rewards of realizing that no matter where you start, hard work and persistence pays off, and if no one else will teach you, teach yourself. “If my mother were here today I think she would be proud of my art and my family, and the man I’ve become,” he assumes with sentiment. Undoubtedly her reasons to be proud are just getting started, as Maxwell plans to keep learning and sharing his creations with us all.


Maxwell Step

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On Saturday, May 22, 2021, PizzaDAO will be giving away over $200,000 worth of free pizza in over 100 communities around the world. Why May 22nd? In 2010 Laszlo Hanyecz made the first bitcoin transaction and paid 10,000 Bitcoins for 2 slices of pizza, now legendary, it’s been deemed Bitcoin Pizza Day ever since. Fast forward, this story inspired a conversation in a Clubhouse room ironically called The Room About Nothing, and sparked a simple idea to make and sell NFT art that can pay for actual pizza. On February 18, 2021, Rare Pizzas was born. The goals became about supporting small businesses affected by the pandemic and providing free pizza to the masses to address hunger. As more people got on-boarded the project exploded.




The group started off with reservations for a Rare Pizza Box (1 of 100 designs) with a “fully cooked” digital Rare Pizza NFT and raised approximately $1.25 million. The pizzas, once released, will be randomly generated and programmed to give the appearance of having been “cooked”. For instance, attention was given to the curl of basel in the oven over time. The group also created 30 flavors of Pizza Pop and a wide range of pizza sticks with special sauces, which continue to sell. 


Over 300 artists from around the world have collaborated on the project to create hundreds of unique pizza toppings. A team of more than 100 developers, managers and marketing people have contributed to creating the website, programing the NFTS, and creating content on social media. It’s been a busy couple of months and interest continues to grow. There are more than 2,200 people on their discord.

Want Free Pizza?
Want free Pizza?


For the big day PizzaDAO partnered with Slice to distribute over $55,000 worth of pizza to customers across the country. Another partnership is with World Pizza Champions, supporting 80 different pizza shops. Mostly, the group reached out to local places through their global artists network. In one instance an artist in India took the time to scout street pizza vendors and taste tested them to ensure the best ones were considered. The group spent the last month calling to order $500 worth of pizza with a $125 tip for staff. Many of the calls took place live on Clubhouse. Half the time they were met with disbelief, until they honed their pitch and then the list grew rapidly.


The biggest challenge was actually trying to give the money away. PizzaDAO had to form an LLC in Wyoming, get a bank account, a paypal account and an American Express card in order to pay some of the vendors, since most of them aren’t accepting crypto currency yet. Fortunately, the financial  gymnastics was figured out and the party is on! Check out their website and discord and consider jumping in to buy some NFTs at their store. You can also find a Rare Pizza Box NFT, soon to be populated with Rare Pizza, on the secondary market on OpenSea.


Rare Pizzas Pizza Party

You can redeem a free pizza from your local pizzeria by downloading the Slice app and using the code FREEPIZZADAY on May 22nd. 

Follow #RarePizzas and  #FreePizzaDay on social media

Website: RarePizzas.com

Twitter: @Pizza_DAO and @RarePizzas

Instagram: @RarePizzasNFT

Discord: Join

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Sotheby’s, is one of the world’s oldest and most trusted auction houses for art. Established in 1744, the Sotheby brand has a long standing reputation within the physical art world, and are now turning their attention to the rapidly growing digital art scene. For many in the crypto art world of non-fungible tokens, there is a mixed sense that these large legacy art establishments are at odds with the new NFT renaissance.  The technology that underpins non-fungible tokens, removes the need for trusted third parties, like auction houses to facilitate the sale of digital art.

With Christie’s recent Cryptopunk NFT auction going for over $16.9 million dollars and Beeple’s $69 million auction Sotheby’s is throwing their hat into the digital NFT ring, despite the criticisms that crypto twitter has lobbied at Christies and how they handled the latest NFT auction.

Sotheby’s is attempting to bridge the gap between the old world and the new one, in a way that is inclusive of the NFT community.


How NFT artists can participate

From now until May 20th 2021 at 12:00 pm ET they are accepting nominations from the community for inclusion into the Natively Digital Online Auction.  This curated NFT sale will take place from June 3-10 2021 as an online auction.


The official twitter post and rules can be seen here below.

The collection of artists already being showcased includes some of the earliest NFTs that predate even the Ethereum blockchain, alongside newer works that demonstrate the more advanced technical innovations enabled by NFTs.

Robert Alice, a London based artist and trailblazer in the crypto art and NFT space is co-curating this collection along with other partners spanning the art and technology ecosystem.

Sotheby's Natively Digital: To the Young Artists of Cyberspace by Robert Alice x Alethea AI
To the Young Artists of Cyberspace by Robert Alice x Alethea AI


Some notable partners in this collection include the non profit Sevens Foundation, which is dedicated to elevating artists. 

The Mint Foundation, which helps international creators mint their first digital art NFTs and has already had over 33 Ether donated to provide gas fees for artists. 

The Regen Network that is working to align economics with ecology, to reverse climate change.


Who are the artist? 

The lots will include Larva Labs Cryptopunk 7523, works from Kevin Mccoy, Rhea Myers, Art blocks, Pak, Robert Alice, Ryoji Ikeda, Simon Denny, Anna Ridler, Mario Kingemann, LaJune McMillan, Sarah Zucker, Lethabo Huma, Serwah Attafuah, FVCKRENDER, Oseanworld, Xcopy, Mad Dog Jones, Ikaro Cavalcante, Brendan Dawes, Casey Reas, Sara Ludy, Addie Wagenknecht, Terrao, Matt Kane, Don Diablo and several others to be announced soon. 

If you are reading this before May 20th 2021, then you too, could possibly be included.

Be sure to check out the official rules posted on Twitter that are embedded at the top of this article.

Looking to the Future

Needless to say there are some very well known names and prolific creators taking part in this Digital Native NFT Sotheby’s collection. It will be exciting to see who else from the community gets nominated to join, as there is already a flurry of  interesting names being mentioned all over Twitter.

Taking into account the current volatility of the crypto markets, time will tell how well Sotheby’s will execute this online auction in terms of total sales. The real aspect to watch is, how well the old art establishment can build this new digital bridge into the NFT and crypto art world. Soethebys will be sure to draw mainstream media attention and lend additional credibility to digital art and NFTs in general, for the physical art collector community. 

Sotheby’s CEO, Charles Stewart was asked about the future of the art market and non-fungible token technology stating “This potentially has implications for physical art as well as digital art.”  Many in the NFT and blockchain community have been saying this for years now, and it must feel like validation for the pioneers who have been blazing the non-fungible trail. 

Sotheby’s NFT auction, will inevitably lead to further mainstream adoption and growth for this rapidly evolving and promising technology. 

Sotheby's Natively Digital : Shift by Fvckrender
Shift by Fvckrender

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We often hear the refrain, on Twitter and elsewhere, “We need more women in cryptoart!” or “Why aren’t there more women in NFTs?” and while well meaning statements and questions, the answer underlies an issue with farther reaching consequences.

The response, of course, is:  “We are here.”

That same answer is also true for other ‘under-represented’ groups that people deserve to hear more about.   More diversity would be good, and anything that we can do to encourage more diversity in the people joining the NFT community the stronger that community will be  – and the more resilient it will become as a result.

One possible view is that these groups are just not being seen and we can begin to ask ourselves why that is.  So let’s pick apart both the question and the answer.  Let’s go deeper and look at both what the question assumes, (there aren’t any, or not enough, already) and what the answer presents as a challenge.

So, the first question to ask is: is it genuine?  I believe in most cases it is.  Most of the people I see asking this question genuinely believe that there aren’t many women in cryptoart already.  So kudos to them for speaking up and wanting to try to address the issue as they see it.

There are lots of things that can be done to raise visibility of a diverse range of artists and artworks.  But there are other things we can also do that allows this diversity to be seen.  We can make the community feel less overwhelming and less intimidating to newcomers.  That in itself is a monumental feat that goes well beyond just the NFT community to the crypto community as a whole.  Signposting relevant and useful information is another easy to do step which can assist people in finding each other.

Being welcoming and helping people to navigate the volume of information is also key.  Helping people find their community within the community is a key part of helping people navigate.  NFTs.WTF can help in this regard by being that signpost to information that will help people find what they need and find the community they are looking for.

That, then, brings us to the larger question of “Why do people believe the NFT space is *not* diverse?”

One answer is that social media is structured in such a way that it creates bubbles, and you just don’t easily see anything outside of your bubble, unless you actively seek it out.  An interesting tool I found that analyses your Twitter for gender diversity, for example, is Proporti.onl

Angie Taylor
Img by Angie Taylor: https://angietaylor.co.uk/portfolio/


Another way to look at it is through the lens of what gets promoted – not just by the artists themselves – but by the platforms, podcasts, projects, and other campaigns in and around NFTs.  Who are they searching for, finding, and promoting to their audiences?  This would be a great data analysis project if anyone was interested in digging deeper into this.  I think it would reveal some interesting discoveries.  I’d love to see the actual data.

Another issue that affects visibility is language. The entire social media ecosystem is delivered in English. This means that anyone who doesn’t use English as a native language is immediately at a disadvantage in terms of communicating their ideas and being understood. Not only this, some attitudes towards non-English speakers can be patronizing, impatient and, at times, cruel. This makes people feel insecure and frightened to speak up for fear of being bullied or ridiculed.

Online translation services and AI advancements can help in the translation of articles from one language to another. Real-time translation tools are being developed as we speak. We, as digital pioneers should be at the forefront of these advancements in communication. Lets utilize what’s available to really open up discussions and make this a truly global movement.

NFTs.WTF itself has made a decision – and has already begun to take steps towards this, as it is a core belief of the project – to ensure that all voices are presented and given equal ‘visibility’ within the publication.  I am certain that reflecting the actual diversity of NFTs – not just from a gender, sexual orientation, color, or religion aspect – but most importantly in the actual diversity of viewpoints within the community of NFT creators, collectors, and platforms will be one of the key strengths that ensures this project stands out.  The structure put in place for NFTs.WTF ensures that it is not just one person’s viewpoint, it is not just one voice, but many.

Going deeper, I think we can find evidence of structural issues that have carried over from the ‘old world’ of brick and mortar (so called “meat space”) dynamics that are built into this new system, regardless of the initial intentions of those who built the ecosystem we are now all a part of.

Angie Taylor
Img by Angie Taylor: https://angietaylor.co.uk/portfolio/


For me, that leads to the question of “Who has the power?”

In our society – and being on blockchain doesn’t change this – the individuals with the power are typically the individuals who have most of the money.  So, who are the collectors of NFTs?  How diverse a group are they? Who are the curators? The business owners? The individuals making the decisions on various platforms?  Who decides who is whitelisted on the curated platforms? Who decides which artists get promoted by each of the  platforms? And how diverse are the teams making decisions like these?  Who are the investors in these platforms and which demographics do they represent? All important questions for anyone starting to put together project teams as well as people embarking on using services provided by these organizations.

Several of the most successful female artists have gender-ambiguous pseudonyms. There are several that are not “out” as being female. For some, this is because they don’t feel like  gender is important to them, perhaps they see themselves as non-binary and dream of a world where gender really doesn’t matter. But for many this is a conscious decision, made to perhaps avoid trolling, to make it easier to sell work or to be able to say things that women would often be criticised for talking about.

We often hear people say “stop drawing attention to gender differences, we are all the same, nobody should get special treatment?” – this would be great in an ideal world where everyone really was equal – and that’s what WOCA (Women of Crypto Art) are working towards: equal representation. But until there is equal representation between all minorities, the only way is to draw attention to the issues, open discussion about the differences we do see, and to try to affect change in any way we can. If we simply ignore it, old paradigms and prejudices will sadly remain. It shouldn’t matter what gender an artist is but in a world where we feel we can be more successful if we pretend to be male, we are not there yet. And till we are, WOCA will continue helping to promote, support, advise and educate all artists who are brave enough, and proud to, identify as women.

NFTs.WTF has the opportunity to assist in this mission and WOCA are happy to partner with them to achieve some of the ideals this community, built around NFTs, was founded on.

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