A modern-day zen garden opened this past Friday, October 1st, at the Fort York Historic Site in Toronto, Canada. Contemporary artist Krista Kim brings her vision of wellness to the world via CONTINUUM: a meditative 20-minute generated animation aimed at improving mental health through active self-care participation.
A freestanding 100-foot video wall will showcase the magnificent video installation that was part of an exhibit curated by Steve Aoki; and sold through Sotheby’s auction house the night before its debut as an NFT for $113,400 USD. The large-scale piece is a collaboration between Kim, Efren Mur, and American rock musician and guitarist for the Smashing PumpkinsJeff Schroeder. Shroeder brought the art to life with soothing, melodic acoustics, and also performed live intermittently throughout the 4-day exhibition.
The project was born in 2017 as a result of Kim’s three-year Japanese sojourn. According to Kim:
“I would visit a Ryōan-ji temple garden in Kyoto three or four times a year because this is the place where I had my artistic epiphany. In this space I learned that art and the environment become a mirror of the mind. What you see becomes a part of you. It was beautifully manicured, very minimalist with lots of negative space between the stones and so you realize that the negative space imbues consciousness into the viewer. And I knew, in that moment, that I wanted to create zen consciousness through my art.”
Kim, who practices meditation herself and says she is, “sensitive to matters of mental health and wellness,” admits it’s a natural extension of her practice. In this way it was always her vision to bring this concept to individuals and their communities at large through a movement she has coined “techism”- promoting the confluence of art and technology as a medium to further the development of digital humanism during this unique period of technological innovation, adaptation, and disruption.
According to Kim:, “I wrote the manifesto because I was feeling my attention span dissipate. I was always distracted by my digital devices and social media. And if Iwas experiencing this constant disruption of focus and energy, then billions of people around the world must be feeling the same way. I thought it was important for art and philosophy to enter the realm of technology in order to create balance and make it more humane.”
With her Digital Consciousness series, Kim gathers massive walls of LED lights to digitally paint and manifest her artworks. The immersive experience sets out to facilitate the feeling of meditativeness by producing an effect of decompression and calm through colour and sound. Kim says she was stunned and surprised by the outpouring of support for the project, “People spent hours in our space because they were given permission to be vulnerable and to heal. They would actually say to me, ‘I needed this.’”
As to the role NFTs played with the project and the future of the rapidly evolving space, Kim is quick to point out that they can provide a much greater benefit than most people realize. She references the fact that in our modern-day society we have very little connection to community:
“The functionality NFTs provide in terms of giving the control and dominion back to the artists will be a game-changer because we will see artists start to reinvest back into the communities that they are a part of. This project is a wonderful example of how we can start a movement through that power. I’d like to demonstrate and showcase to the world that NFTs can actually lift humanity up in this way.”
This is just the start of what Kim hopes to accomplish. Even though someone now owns the celebrated video as an NFT, as the artist she owns the copyright and says she never sells the usage rights for her works. The exhibit returns to Aranya China on October 15th, then on to Art Basel in Miami, Florida in December. Then who knows… She is planning a world tour of zen.
For more information or to view livestream, visit:
The piece was live in Toronto, Canada, at the Fort York Historic Site, located at 250 Fort York Blvd., from October 1st to 4th, 2021.
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The Blockchain Games Conference (CGC) hosted its 9th virtual conferencing platform, Pine, from September 23rd to 24th. It is the blockchain equivalent of the annual Games Developers Conference (GDC), and their sponsors included key players, including DappRadar, Epik, Polygon, and many more. The CGC invites luminaries in the space to share their projects, debate the most up-to-date developments in the industry, and network with like-minded individuals on all things related to DeFi, NFTs, and blockchain games.
There was a golden thread of discussion that ran through the various panels and presentations of the two-day conference. NFT-based ownership of virtual assets in games is giving rise to social and economic growth in an open metaverse. It is evident that the community of blockchain gamers holds a purist view that a truly “open” metaverse must be decentralized and built on a Web3 foundation where true ownership is possible.
NFTs and blockchain games
The conference was largely covering how these two titans of technomancy – blockchain and NFTs – dovetail as defining factors for the future of the metaverse. In Part 1 we explore how NFTs act as catalysts for creating communities that populate the metaverse. Part 2 considers how NFTs are shaping metaverse economies that are increasingly impacting the overall gaming industry.
“NFTs are the keys to the metaverse,” says Amartya Pilaka, NFT lead at Polygon and Polygon Studios: the $100 million investment arm started by Polygon to bring games from Web2 to Web3 and help grow the NFT world in general. “NFTs are revolutionary for gaming and the metaverse because of how closely they are tied together. The lines between these concepts are starting to blur and [are] translating into real money.”
Apart from the renaissance in digital art caused by NFTs in 2021, blockchain games such as Axie Infinity and Gods Unchained have used NFTs to create a new genre of game design known as “play-to-earn.” While this model has been implemented in traditional video games, the concept of ownership of in-game assets as NFTs on a blockchain ledger that allows players to generate value that is transferable and immutable is revolutionary. Ownership does not vest in the users of traditional video games and value invested by a player such as time and/or money remains tied to a specific game or gaming platform.
In Diablo 2, for example, this type of trading community was only achievable through third-party websites like d2jsp.org that use forum gold to facilitate trading. Unfortunately, these trading sites are legal grey areas and often require intermediaries to avoid scams. Blockchains allow users to have a distributed peer-to-peer network where non-trusting members can verifiably interact with each other without the need for a trusted authority. It’s all done through smart contracts in a trustless way. This model has proven successful for Axie Infinity, with secondary market sales already exceeding $2 billion.
“I got involved in the NFT space at the start of the year, and what made me want to stay was actually the community,” Amartya Pilaka continued. “It’s a compelling narrative for artists, creators, and game developers to rally around great ideas and to have their community rally around them.”
Who comprises a gaming metaverse’s community? “There are five categories of people who can participate in a metaverse economy,” says Derek Lau, game director for Immutable. “Players, investors, content creators, developers, and people that integrate the virtual with the physical world.”
Does this mean that a generation of gamers will achieve financial emancipation by grinding for gear? “What NFTs allow games to do,” Derek Lau suggests, “is enable everyone, not just players, to be part of the gaming experience. We’re beginning to see some people playing these games full-time, but we will also see people invest and build a business within the game as owners of NFTs.” Axie Infinity’s scholarship programs have been very successful in allowing people to be investors in the game.
There are various ways apart from playing to get involved with blockchain games. Projects like Loot, where the NFTs are mere strings of words that represent possible in-game items, show just how interested people are in getting involved with the game development aspect of NFT projects. By owning a Loot NFT or AGLD (the underlying currency of the game), individuals can provide input towards the game’s creative direction, creating a sense of accountability between the players and the developers, which ideally leads to a sustainable ecosystem.
How can you get involved as a content creator? Co-founder and CEO at Alien Worlds, Sarojini McKenna, stated that “content creators can provide services into the metaverse, whether that be technical like data and analytics, distribution, art, lore, music or writing. New users need to realize that they need to contribute to the ecosystem to be part of it for the long term.”
While it’s still early for NFTs, the blockchain gaming scene is playing an integral role in the mass adoption of NFTs into mainstream media. Blockchain games claim to scratch the itch left by the traditional video game industry, but onboarding non-crypto native users remains a barrier to entry for many companies. As the technologies and communities develop around these nascent metaverses, we can look forward to CyberKongz in Sandbox and many other NFT projects with gaming utilities on the horizon.
Opensea, the largest NFT platform by volume, has been failing in its responsibility to pay royalties for secondary sales on its platform. Similar reports from many reputable artists have become commonplace, indicating a pattern propagating on a wide scale. Claims from these artists have been verified with evidence. This failure on Opensea’s behalf spotlights a major issue in Opensea’s smart contract not distributing royalties automatically and, as a result, the unnecessary centralization that arises.
Royalty payments for secondary sales on Opensea are not paid out automatically. Their help center confirms this, stating payments happen on a monthly basis when an artist has “accumulated more than ~$60.00 worth of fees.” There are many instances of artists with balances far exceeding this minimum, many of which have been outstanding for months. This issue seems to have become more common recently, with reports of royalties not being received growing especially since August.
Royalties are one of the cornerstone benefits of NFTs. The ability for sales to provide a continuous income to artists is revolutionary, enabling passive income for artists where none had existed before. This is not a functionality that Opensea innovated; it is a feature of the blockchain itself. Despite this, Opensea has chosen to undertake the process of paying royalties manually. Their smart contract does not address royalties at all, indicating that they are managed off-chain by the platform itself.
Managing royalties off-chain is an unnecessary implementation of centralization. The only benefit the system offers is to hold payments in order to send them in batches to avoid paying gas on too many occasions. However, this is something that could be managed more seamlessly by a smart contract. Instead, Opensea chooses to take the burden upon it’s shoulders manually, leading to situations like the one we are currently facing.
An artist by the name of Lance Ren was in a Clubhouse room discussing this particular issue when Jen Stein pinged the CEO of Opensea into the room, Devin Finzer. He reportedly faced the group of angry users, and offered them his apologies in regards to the situation. According to Lance, Devin mentioned two reasons for the lack of forthcoming royalty payments: high gas fees and old architecture that has not scaled yet.
Assuming Devin’s response is truthful, this indicates a major failure on Opensea’s behalf. They have been quick to brag about the billions in sales they facilitate every month, but being the largest NFT marketplace comes with its responsibilities. This situation indicates that they are quick to relish in their successes, but lack the foresight to prepare for them. Did they not expect to become the biggest NFT marketplace?
This is an issue that must be addressed by Opensea immediately. Funds are being withheld from artists who worked hard for them. The platform does not lack in resources; the 2.5% it collects on sales on its platform equates to a $100 million profit for the month of August alone on its $3.4 billion in sales. Why a company so profitable would be so concerned with gas fees is difficult to envision.
Meanwhile, artists are missing out on funds they could use to improve their lives or their communities. This limits innovation and growth in the NFT space, as artists rely on their royalty payments; only to get them inconsistently, if at all. Commitments can be made that may be difficult to keep without this important revenue source, as is the case for EpicThunderCat, who was owed 1.1916 ETH over 109 secondary transactions.
“I’ve been doing a mental health game basically, and have some super intense plans, but I need them to pay me and it’s negatively impacting my community that they haven’t. I am going to pay my mods with the up front money this weekend because they shouldn’t be punished if Opensea doesn’t do their job; but it’s hard. My collectors and I have all voted on getting a decentraland property. I can’t do it unless they pay me.” – EpicThunderCat
EpicThunderCat was finally paid while we had been speaking to gather information for this article. This long-overdue payment corresponds to substantially lower gas fees this week than the week prior and lends to the case made by Devin. Many other artists we spoke to have received their long-awaited payments in the past week.
Collectible art projects are also experiencing these issues. Rich Beeman from NiftyCastle says that their Deebies project has only ever received a single royalty payment – that was 7 weeks ago at the time of writing. The fact that this issue impacts high-volume projects, as well as individual artists, means that this is both a pattern and a systemic problem.
Most people do not believe it is out of malice that Opensea withholds payments. High gas fees would be a valid excuse if the system itself were acceptable, but the decision not to include royalties in the smart contract is a decision made entirely by Opensea, placing the burden of responsibility on their shoulders. If they choose to go against the ethos of the NFT space and centralize operations unnecessarily, the least they can do is bite the bullet when gas fees are high, and balance it out when they’re low.
This serves as a reminder of the value decentralization offers: without a single point of failure, a system can continue to operate and overcome issues as a collective. Opensea’s decision to centralize their royalty payments creates a major dependency for NFTs minted on their platform. What if a major bullish announcement is made causing gas fees to spike and never go back down? If current behavior continues, payments may continue to be delayed, or even require fees from artists to be collected.
Furthermore, if Opensea ever fails for any reason, artists’ continued royalty payments may not be guaranteed. This is unnecessary and is by design. Artists and upcoming projects should consider this before minting directly on the platform, and consider the benefits a custom smart contract provides. We like NFTs for the permanence they offer. And if Opensea is going to detract from that permanence, we should at least be aware of it.
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Today, NFT firm RECUR announced a $50M Series A raise at a $333M USD valuation and the launch of a new NFT college sports platform. The platform, NFTU, will initially feature PAC-12 moments from all available sports. In addition, RECUR is deep into hiring mode with plans to add over 150 employees across departments, up from previous plans to hire 100. And, in more long-term news, RECUR claims to be developing an NFT standard that will allow for secondary royalties across blockchains.
RECUR shared its shift into a higher level of scaling in a company announcement after previously announcing in March a record-breaking seed round for an NFT startup of $5 million. Investors in the seed round included Gary Vaynerchuk, Courtside VC, Joseph Lubin, Gemini, and Behance’s Scott Belsky. RECUR’s Series A round of $50M, and post-money valuation of $333M, is led by a “metaverse investment platform” called DIGITAL. The platform is backed by the family office of Steve Cohen, who is also joining RECUR’s board.
The funding appears to have caused RECUR to up its recent hiring estimate of 100 openings to 150+. These openings are not just for engineers, though there will be plenty of those. The current job list also features a large number of open community, design, and marketing positions. This may be the largest single effort to hire employees with so-called soft skills in the current NFT industry. It also reveals RECUR’s intent to build offices nationwide in major U.S. cities.
The announcement of their new college sports platform, NFTU, is more big news. To enable this platform, RECUR has partnered with AI tech company Veritone, which licenses content for the Pac-12 Networks of television and digital outlets. Veritone will help RECUR obtain “moments” from all possible Pac-12 sporting efforts. Together, they will also connect with student-athletes for approved video highlights in keeping with the new Pac-12 Networks NIL Licensing Program. In addition, RECUR is partnering with CLC, which licenses college trademarks, to add marks and mascots to the NFTU platform.
RECUR’s only previous NFT project was the minting of an NFT featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room. This NFT was presented to corporate partners of the Cavs at a special event. However, today’s announcement of NFTU opens up a whole new level of the game.
In longer-term news, RECUR previously revealed that it is working on a new ERC standard for NFTs that will enable secondary royalties to be generated on sales across blockchains. If successful, this effort will be a considerable he achievement for the company, especially given that even on Ethereum, major NFT platforms have yet to successfully initiate such royalties across all platforms.
RECUR is clearly at a major point in its development which means it has potentially crushing challenges ahead. It’s one thing to announce plans for 150 new hires and to successfully make those hires and integrate them into new operations. That is not to speak of the challenge of working with major brands, a process with many pitfalls, and the technical challenges of emerging technologies that sometimes seem duct-taped together.
How RECUR navigates these challenges will be worth watching. And how established platforms respond will also be worth considering. The NFT industry is moving into a new phase of corporate engagement and outreach to mainstream collectors. Newer companies like RECUR and new platforms like NFTU will certainly face challenges but also present serious competition to incumbents.
Featured Image Courtesy RECUR
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I would not have been overly surprised if you had told me a year ago that I’d be writing an article about Dolce & Gabbana. But if you’d have told me that I would be writing an article about D&G’s first major crypto play, I would have been far more skeptical. However, this is indeed today’s headline, and I have to say they are taking a significant step in the right direction in terms of their integration of web3, the metaverse, and the DeFi community with their latest “Collezione Genesi” FW2021 collection. Presented across three of the top events in Italian Fashion- Alta Moda (the Italian equivalent of Haute Couture week), Alta Sartoria (the premier event for formal wear in Italy), and Alta Gioiellleria (featuring the best of fine jewelry), D&G announced their latest collection and NFT integration, via their first runway show in Venice on the 28th of this past August.
WTF Dao member, Jamie Burke, had the opportunity to join the D&G team in Venice to get an exclusive preview of the collection alongside representatives from Polygon According to Burke, “Having met their head of digital and their CEO- this is not a PR exercise- this is their first step into the metaverse, and they are very committed to it. So, it was interesting that there were some crypto people there, to the Polygon team, to me.” This group of tastemakers was comprised of top-tier representatives from the world of DeFi, placed together at the same table as a ‘genre’ along with other tables representing Music, Film, Art, and other traditional creative industries. According to Burke, he felt as if his table “represented a new class, a new group of culture makers coming from the technical metaverse perspective.” It’s fantastic to hear that a brand as significant as D&G is properly embracing this new space and the people who make it all happen.
This NFT project is a collaboration with UNXD- the latest play into the NFT/Web 3 space from a Conde Nast affiliate. According to the UNXD website, their team believes that “culture is currency, and NFTs have revolutionized the market around digital culture.” This platform is a logical next step after Conde Nast’s global digital advertising agency CNX launched in 2018. This new organization has brought together some of the leading minds from “the luxury/culture and physical world,” intending to create NFTs that “bring ‘tangibility’ into the NFT space with a mission to “intertwine the digital and physical worlds.”
According to the COO of UNXD, Nick Gonzalez, “With this collection, Dolce & Gabbana [is] creating NFTs that bridge their creative work from the physical to the metaphysical.” Bringing “the metaphysical” into some of the longest-running mainstay fashion events in the world is, at the very least, provocative. However, the house managed to pull off their genesis collection poignantly and effectively. The collection itself pays homage to the city of Venice, where this season’s shows took place. After D&G’s first NFT offering launched this past June, with a sneaker release in collaboration with basketball player P.J. Tucker, the brand decided to launch itself full force into the metaverse.
Sold using Ethereum, transacted on layer two solution Matic (AKA Polygon), UNXD is helping D&G take a massive step forward into the future. The show and collection are the embodiment of “phygital” AKA “digiphizzy,” AKA whatever you might prefer to call it. In this web3 world, several big brands are beginning to make their marks in the metaverse, yet D&G has managed to produce a unique series of offerings that go beyond the realm of possibility.
According to our man on the ground, Jamie Burke:
“[Dolce & Gabbana] very carefully thought about what can look good both physically and what will render well in gaming engines. I particularly like the idea because they want the digital version to be experienced in as high-end of a manner as possible. Also, the fact that they let their purchasers, the winners of the auction, have two years to decide which virtual environment they want it realized in, so rather than force somebody to have to put it into Somnium or Decentraland now, where the quality is reduced, they have the option.
This is quite a step forward compared to other luxury brands attempting to make wearable plays, such as Gucci’s NFT sneakers. It seems as if the UNXD team has successfully taken pages out of the playbooks of other prominent luxury projects in the space. Similar to Damien Hirst and his “Currency” drop on Henny Leviathan, those who buy need to apply to do so. According to UNXD, “Due to the historic nature of the collection, bidding for Collezione Genesi is open only to approved bidders in crypto or fiat.” This worked quite well for Hirst, who received over 60,000 applications for his 10,000 buyer slots, and will no doubt work well for D&G. Furthermore, similar to Hirst, who gave buyers one year in which to chose to keep the piece as an NFT or claim it as a physical, D&G is giving their buyers two years to decide where they would like their wearables to live.
This is quite progressive and an excellent response to many critics finding issues with compromised quality of most early-stage metaverses. Without a doubt, numerous metaverse platforms will be created and vastly improved in the coming years. It will be interesting to see what buyers choose to do with their virtual fashion pieces. On top of the metaverse component, D&G sought to create pieces that existed outside of the confines of reality. In an arguably superior model to Hirst- five of the nine inaugural D&G NFTs will be claimable as both bespoke digital and physical garments.
Furthermore, in addition to being incredible phygital garments wearable in both reality and the metaverse, these NFTs will act as access tokens to what they are calling the “D&G Family.” According to Jamie Burke, “Those who buy will gain access to both physical and virtual experiences; Catwalks, Front Row Seats, and the like.”
If you are interested in throwing your hat into this high fashion ring, you can apply here to bid. According to UNXD, “Approved bidders will receive customized service including a personalized walkthrough of the collection and help with account setup and bidding.” And, as is the new norm with NFT projects, the buyer experience will not end there. According to the team, “Winning collectors/hodlers can also be assured there will be more exclusive surprises for them in the future.”
It basically grants the ultimate perpetual VIP to the holder 🎟 and to be quite frank I will be amazed if it’s an individual that ends up owning it all..
likely a DAO (either custom or existing)
This is pretty much fashion history in the making and a major step for #NFTs
Clubhouse has birthed many breakout projects in the NFT space, but few have attained such a whirlwind launch as 0N1 FORCE. This new-age avatar project includes 100 hand-drawn attributes custom illustrated by IMCMPLX.
After weeks of anticipation, the project sold out in a matter of minutes – crashing the Open Sea platform. It also sparked a collection fervor with Singapore-based The NFTer buying 101 of the 7,777 0N1 FORCE collectibles before the floor shot up.
In the past few weeks, Visa has bought a Cryptopunk, and Arizona Iced Tea has created a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Comic. While much of the early skepticism around NFTs might remain for the general public, it’s clear that, whether we like it or not, significant brands are rapidly entering the space, following behind mainstay art auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips, among others. Some luxury brands, including industry giant Louis Vuitton, are even choosing to launch their own web-3 games and develop their own blockchains.
Of all the newer projects, my favorite is @0n1Force. The artwork on my 0n1s is so thorough. I can envision the story that's being designed around them. If you're an illustrator, artist, writer, this is an ideal opportunity to build your worlds. pic.twitter.com/MY3YeSt8EC
While more and more new faces enter into the NFT space, the importance of community continues to become increasingly evident. And that’s what makes the 0N1 FORCE project special. Through giveaways, collaborative storytelling, strategic use of Discord, and a derivative contest, ON1 Force leveraged the community to build and activate an even larger community. Many future NFT projects will likely leverage some of the magic that led to the success of 0N1 FORCE (as they should).
Here are my top three takeaways from the 0N1 FORCE project:
1- It’s all about the story:
Storytelling is critical in any artistic project, and 0N1 FORCE crafted a compelling narrative from its inception. The story of a fallen kingdom and its citizens who must now fight for survival created conflict and a sense of urgency that allowed people to invest in something bigger than just another NFT drop.
By building out the “why” from the beginning, the 0N1 FORCE project was also able to create rarity paired with intention. The 0N1 FORCE clan contains three distinct groups, The YOK-A1 Ghost Spirits (of which there are 5,278), which possess common or rare traits; the B4K3M0-N0 Monster Form ( of which there are 2,100); and the 0N1 elite (of which there are only 392), which are rare demons.
2- Discord is more than shilling
Before launch, the 0N1 FORCE Discord had more than 15,000 active community members rearing to buy. Discord was initially built for gaming, but it plays a pivotal role in launching new NFT projects. The 0N1 team incorporated elements of the project (such as anime, manga, and RPGs) into its Discord programming, allowing the team to tap into a host of pre-existing communities.
One notable feature of the Discord is the 0N1 Daily Living section, where inventive stories about the 0N1 clan were developed before launch and continue to be shared regularly. A space for creation by community members helped to spawn organic growth while simultaneously empowering people to share their unique storytelling voice.
The team also utilized a wide range of Discord’s built-in features to engage their community. The “radio feature” was used to lean into the project’s lo-fi aesthetic, featuring lo-fi beats and guest DJ sets. Anime movie nights were held, and an 0N1 arcade was also built. Even after launch, programming relevant to the project (such as Japanese lessons) continues.
The success of the 0N1 Discord was largely due to Community Relations/Discord Manager, LinkedEM, and an active moderator squad, which are divided into two groups: “The Favoured” and “The Supreme.”
According to Linked Em, nostalgia was a heavy focus at the initial stages of building out their community in Discord. Many of the early adopters in the NFT space are tech natives, and there are many games and references the team utilized that resonate with this community.
3- It’s all in the details
Attention to detail also helped set this project apart. This included incorporating traits that promote representation (such as hearing aids) which made the 0N1 FORCE universe accessible and diverse from the start.
0N1 FORCE includes many clever nods to other NFT projects. One’s that are easy to spot include the strawberry pin (a rare trait of the elites), which is a nod to Strawberry.WTF (who serves as the project’s front-end designer). These small details helped shine a light on other projects in the NFT eco-system and the 10,000 genesis project from Strawberry.WTF, which sold out the same day as 0N1 FORCE.
Additional project nods include “cool cat ears” to honour the Cool Cats and the “banana pin,” which was included to celebrate the Bored Apes. There are also traits to celebrate 0N1 Force’s community members, including the canary and the rose (in honour of two of the project’s lead Discord moderators).
The 0N1 FORCE project is full of too many easter eggs to mention in one article, in addition to numerous hidden traits that weren’t revealed until mint (such as “the Gods,” which are facing the opposite direction than the other 0N1’s). By adding so many additional layers to the project, 0N1 FORCE has a wealth of fascinating details which they can return to as the 0N1 universe grows.
While we are sure to see many generative projects over the following months, it seems that factors such as attention to detail, elevated art, and a deliberate mint number are becoming more critical. And this is only the beginning for the 0N1 universe, and the team continues to be approached by both brands and celebrities who want to participate in the 0N1 world. Project manager JR Artspace also continues to lead a series of other exciting and multi-dimensional NFT projects, including Ethereals.
The 0N1 FORCE team includes JR Artspace, EM, IMCMPLX, CryptoSpaces, and Strawberry.
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Raven Trammell is a Los Angeles-based photographer and visual storyteller, originally from Holland, Michigan. From documenting protests to capturing some of the most prominent artists in the world on stage, her portfolio varies in subjects and compositions. Raven recently began minting her documentary photography series on the blockchain in 2021.
Where did your passion for documentary photography come from?
I’ve been taking photos since I was a kid. I bought my first camera when I was nine from a garage sale. I loved documenting the fishing trips I would take with my Grandpa. As I started playing basketball, aiming to get a full scholarship, my creative interests kind of fell to the side. I ended up getting that full scholarship and played four years of basketball at Lake Superior State University. In my sophomore year, I had back-to-back concussions, one of the major symptoms was memory loss. I got back into photography as a way to preserve my memories. Ever since then, I haven’t put the camera down. Freezing moments in time has become extremely important to me.
You have a unique story in that you pursued photography at an early age as well as sports. What was that journey like, and what did you glean from your experiences with both?
Each journey has their own paths but also find ways to intertwine. I think photography, to me when I was a kid, was a fun way to document the fishing trips I’d go on with my Grandpa. I love him so much, and he’s always been so supportive. He still has photos I took from those trips.
I started playing AAU basketball when I was nine years old. So many hours of passion and dedication were put into the game. My Dad, Shawn, got me into hooping and took me to every practice and every game. He helped me discover a drive within myself I wouldn’t have found otherwise. “Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great?” he would say during workouts. I apply a lot of the perseverance, dedication, and grit I had on the basketball court to how I approach the NFT space. Good isn’t enough for me, I want to be great.
In the past, documentary photography was prominently driven by white male artists. As we see the culture shifting to inclusivity concerning women and artists of colour, how do you feel the collective consciousness will relate to the history of picture-making?
I think as people connect with the photos, they naturally form a connection with the photographer. If you see an image that stops you in your tracks, you’re naturally going to want to learn more. I also think every photographer shoots from a different perspective. Having more diversity within any space allows for many different perspectives, which I think is necessary for growth.
When I think about compelling documentary photography, I think of photographers like the work of Susan Meiselas and Andres Serrano’s Residents of New York series. Are there contemporary documentary photographers that you align your work with, and if so, do you think it would be interesting to see them minting their photography as NFT’s? Do you think their work would find success in this space, given the interest has traditionally been in the intrinsic value of their physical prints?
Before NFTs, I thought I had to be shooting portraits in order to make a living. So most of the photographers I keep up with are portrait photographers. Kennedi Carter, Dana Scruggs, and Gunner Stahl are a couple who really inspire me just because they’re doing the work they want, it’s powerful, and they continue to push their craft. I would love to see some of their work in the NFT space. I think their work would do well.
There is an intersection happening with activism, art, and NFTs? How do you reconcile the three?
I really love seeing projects that incorporate activism and giving back. It’s important. Some people have been in the space for a long time, but for the most part, a lot of us entered at the beginning of this year. We’ve discovered this new tool to not only get our artwork out there but also another way to generate, potentially, a substantial amount of income. It feels right to be giving some back.
There’s so much incredible art in the space. With a lot of beautiful colours and images, you can feel like you’re out of the real world when you step into some of these VR Metaverses. This is incredible but I also think we need some realness and humanity in the Metaverse. Balance is always important. I like to think my protest work adds that bit to the space.
What projects are you currently working on, both on or offline? Any new drops coming?
I recently dropped HUSSLE AND MOTIVATE, a collection dedicated to Nipsey Hussle. This collection is on Opensea and is made up of 33 1/1 documentary photographs paired with a subcollection of 19 collectible 3D Polaroids that I made from the 1/1s. I was overwhelmed, and still am honestly, from the response the collection had. The 1/1s sold out in 12 fricken hours…I still can’t believe it. I’m really focused on continuing to push this project out there. It’s really close to my heart, and I’ll be donating 20% of the 1/1 primary and secondary sales to Crete Academy, which I’m super proud of. Crete Academy is a school in South Los Angeles, dedicated to serving students experiencing homelessness and/or extreme poverty. There are a few 1/1s available on the secondary market! There are also some of the 3D Polaroids available.
To learn more about Raven, check out her NFTs on Foundation, visit her website, and follow her online:
If you’re old enough to remember or have ever heard about warehouse parties of the late 80s and 90s, you probably know about the rise of the modern-day VJ in nightclubs, raves, and art events. These were the cultural tastemakers of real-time visual performance art; their manipulation of imagery in sync with techno and acid house music was enabled by the technological invention. Dutch painter, punk rocker, and skateboarder Micha Klein was an early trendsetter of this movement in Amsterdam, where his talent for rhythmic editing and computer graphics propelled him to the forefront of his craft. Klein’s work has been widely acclaimed and exhibited in art galleries internationally, including a10-year retrospective of digital art and video work at the Groninger Museum. That was nearly 25 years ago, so it’s no surprise that he continues to innovate, this time on the blockchain. Klein’s foray intoNFT crypto art is a throwback to a computer animation he made popular before the turn of the century. His iconic character “Pillman,” that inspired Rapper Eminem to use Klein’s background projections on hisAnger Management tour, is returning to the global stage. Designed by one of the early pioneers of digital 3D animation, Crypto-Pills is the latest and arguably the greatest generative fine art collection of our time.
“As an artist, it’s been really frustrating to see a lot of NFT art really just skate by, while quantity and demand control the market,”Margaret Cleary laments. “It is so enthralling to have an artist who is actually a fucking artist by trade and profession release something of this magnitude, so thank you,” she said.
Pillman is one of the firstoptical ray tracing animations, a technique that works by simulating actual light rays, using an algorithm to trace the path that a beam of light would take in the physical world. What makes each Crypto-Pill NFT unique is the artwork itself and the fact that this NFT project has been 30 years in the making (3 years before Pixar and Toy Story were introduced). More than two decades beforeRare Pepes,Cryptopunks, andCryptoKitties, Klein’s personified capsule danced on stages with arms and legs and dilated pupils. “I was playing in the clubs from Ibiza to Miami, and everywhere,” Klein mused. “Pillman built quite a name for itself, this character,” he recalls. Pillman was relatable to partygoers everywhere Klein performed, largely due toMDMA culture, also called Ecstacy and later known as Molly.
“I love hip hop, and the rave scene in London, and all the acid and all the drugs, and that was all part of music,”Q the collector reminisces. “And the way that Micha is launchingCrypto-Pills with the gallery at the same time, he’s mixing physical and digital. People in China and Hong Kong are really into Micha’s work, so I think this is the perfect project,” Q noted. Crypto-Pills is the first major NFT avatar collection to be launched in Hong Kong and Klein’s first major project in Asia.Start Art Gallery will leverage its physical venue to exhibit diverse NFT artworks from global artists; positioning itself as a new type of gallery aimed at building a “Chain Art” community. The gallery is committed to connecting leading NFT artists and collectors and creating new art with future growth potential. Start Art gallery will officially open in Hong Kong on September 5th, 2021.
The nostalgic Pillman has been remixed and reimagined in a myriad of forms as NFT collectibles, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. “I felt a digital renaissance going on, and I had to be in this space,” Klein insisted. “My Genesis drop is based on a huge variety of different Pillman characters and personalities,” he explains.Crypto-Pills are multi-gender, multi-colour avatars that are algorithmically generated from 37 categories and 504 traits. Each of 10,000 collectible tokens is a unique work of art that will be revealed at the time of minting. Having delivered projects for the likes of Disney and Coca-Cola, Klein’s vector artwork is remarkably detailed, with 3000×3000 pixel depth
resolution. To generate his collection, Micha created 500 illustrations by hand. Crypto-Pills are stored as ERC-721 tokens on theEthereum blockchain and hosted onIPFS. Crypto-Pills costs 0.07Ξ, with no bonding curves, and fair distribution.
A Solidity Solution: Presale Distribution
The NFT artist community has become painfully aware that ETH-laden opportunists are violating the fair minting process at the contract level in clandestine collaboration with savvy code pirates.Solidity contract breaches aren’t considered theft in the literal sense—simply because each bundle of expropriated NFTs is nonetheless paid for. However, each inciting incident erodes project developers’ public trust and credibility, who some suspect are in cahoots. Cracking the contract code prevents hundreds of artists and collectors from ever obtaining the most coveted collectibles.
The way Klein decided to solve this—and there are certainly different ways, including intermittent supply drops etc., was to create a whitelist of presale commitments directly from supporters in hisDiscord community. The process was simple: DM and state your request to purchase up to 20 Crypto-Pills by late evening PST August 25th. EachMetamask address was added to thesmart contract to enable the collector to initiate their own minting during a 12-hour presale window of opportunity created by Klein. Presale minting will occur at 11:11 pm Hong Kong standard time on August 27, which is exactly 12 hours before the official sale of Crypto-Pills at 11:11 am EST on the very same day. This affords each presale collector plenty of time to mint theirCrypto-Pills while gas is relatively low within that 12-hour win. In addition, the random generator assures each collector has a fair and equal opportunity to experience rarity, no matter when they decide to mint.
“If you really love your community, give us early access to the presale,”David Koroma urged. “I’ve been in discord groups for certain projects that go on later to blow up after I was there for a couple of months loving their stuff, and if I had that early opportunity, I would have bought in for sure,” Koroma emphasized.
“If bots get them, and collectors have to pay 4x the price to get in, there’s a whole heap of people who miss out on buying three,”CryptoWizard77 warned. “Flipping between friends at the low levels to get the ones they really like is healthy for the community and the project. It creates a solid floor to kickstart the secondary market rather than just a massive jump,” he explained.
The obvious upside to pre-sales is that even if nefarious crypto pirates seize an unauthorized quantity ofCrypto-Pills during the official minting, nearly 500 collectors have already spoken for 45% of the Crypto-Pills available supply. This is a huge win for the crypto community, which has felt powerless to leverage its ability to acquire NFTs from any of the high-profile drops.FUD andFOMO have undoubtedly raised a level of anxiety and tension that discourages newcomers from attempting to become collectors, and Klein’s thankless efforts to defend his intellectual property is a noteworthy act of empathy and equity. It’s important to note that Klein and his team are inputting each wallet address manually. It was suggested Klein usecollab.lab in the future because it offers an automated solution for developers who are considering pre-sales as an alternative offering to avoid the backlash they may inevitably face.
Pushing Pills for Good
“These pills are going to do some good in the world,” Klein assured. I am donating 5% of proceeds toSave The Children, a charity that helps disadvantaged children in desperate need of medication, shelter, and food worldwide. This is my personal donation that will be written into the smart contract for full transparency,” he added.
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The NFT space is getting hotter and hotter by the day. Just 124 days ago, you could have bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for around $189.57 USD plus around $40 in gas on the Ethereum blockchain. Today that single NFT is worth over $120,000 with the current floor price of around 38 ETH. That is fucking astronomical! That is a life-changing amount of money for most people. With astronomical gains comes the irresistible call to the darkest parts of the interwebs who want to take everything they can get from you, and they will.
Blockchain technology and removing the middle man makes YOU responsible for your own security. There is no customer service you can call to reverse a mistake you made so pay attention. I am going to go through some of the top scams I have identified and share some common sense tips to hopefully help you stay safe from the spider’s web of scams just waiting for you.
1. Never FUCKING EVER share your seed phrase with anyone, EVER!
Metamask support will NEVER ask you for your seed phrase. I don’t care if Jesus Christ himself comes down and asks you for your seed phrase, thou shalt NOT tell Jesus, Mary, Joseph Jehovah, Gandhi, Buddha, your therapist, or your favorite rapper any of those 12 or 24 words included in your seed phrase. Do I make myself clear? Anyone with that set of words has full access to all of your assets. Anyone asking for that seed phase is 11,999% going to steal any money or assets you have associated with that wallet.
WRITE DOWN your seed phrase and keep it in a safe place, write it down twice and keep it in two separate places
DO NOT take pictures of your seed phrase, private keys, or mobile sync QR code and store this on your phone or worse than that send it to yourself via email, text, or save it on your computer if it’s connected to the internet and in digital form, it is liable to be sniffed out in some way.
WRITE. IT. DOWN. Seriously, do not be lazy this could cost you millions of dollars in the future.
Consider the enhanced security of a hardware wallet connected to your Metamask like a Trezor or Ledger Wallet but ONLY buy them from their official websites NEVER buy from Amazon or some other third party, because wallets can come tampered with from untrusted sources.
Do NOT EVER share your screen and click on sync with mobile under your Metamask Settings!
A newer social engineering exploit that has been very successful for scammers is they prey on people looking for help with Metamask, especially on Discord or Telegram groups. They will pose as the admins of the group as they are able to spoof or fake the usernames in those applications so you think you are speaking with someone trustworthy, but you are not and they are about to rob you while you help them do it. If you click on your Metamask settings > Advanced > and then “Sync with Mobile” while sharing your screen, congratulations you have just been robbed, and you helped them.
The scammers now have full control of your funds and assets and will remove them as quickly as possible maybe even right there in front of your face during the screen share. They may even be more clever and wait till later while you are sleeping and siphon everything of value out of your account.
Sync with mobile is supposed to be a convenient way to sync your Metamask wallet with your phone, but if someone else is watching and gets even just a millisecond glimpse at the QR code that comes up on the screen, that account is now fully compromised, and you just got robbed. Metamask needs to do a better job of WARNING people before they press the sync with a mobile button instead of showing the warning with the QR code already on the screen. Big RED Flashing screen that says can anyone see your screen right now? If so, DO NOT click this button; this could be solved with a better user interface.
Read this awful story below of how this just happened to someone. They stole over 250 ETH in valuable NFTs worth nearly $1,000,000…
I know 2 other people personally who have fallen for this as well. The worst part is that they were experienced and knew how important security is in this space, but still fell for it. Often times during a moment of panic, or frustration, or trying to solve some problem with a transaction is when you don’t catch the tiny little detail that ends up costing you dearly.
How to Spot Possible Scam NFT Projects
To understand this part I will need to explain a few things that may sound nerdy but could save you THOUSANDS of dollars in fake NFTs. There are two main types of smart contracts on popular NFT marketplaces. They are:
One is superior to the other HANDS down, don’t let ANYONE at any marketplace tell you any differently, no matter how smart they sound. It’s all about transparency.
Shared contracts are inferior to custom / verified contracts in almost every way.
Opensea is the largest NFT marketplace and everything minted on Opensea is done so in a shared contract and while there are some cost benefits to dumping all the NFTs into one single large collection in one contract, there are some serious downsides for artists and collectors to consider.
This is what a shared non verified open sea contract looks like in Etherscan:
This is how you find the contract link on Opensea:
Where you see “editable,” or it will say “centralized,” this means it is an Opensea Shared Storefront contract. You can click on the contract address, and it will take you to Etherscan.
Custom Contracts are Better and the Details are different:
When you click the contract address it will take you to Etherscan, and on the right-hand side of Etherscan, after clicking on the contract address again, you will see the token tracker name of the custom contract.
Here is what a custom contract that is verified looks like. (Green check means verified):
Now, do you see some of the major differences? For one, a custom verified contract can be read by a human. People a lot smarter than you and I can read through them and verify what the smart contract actually says. Although with just a little digging, you can learn to read even just basic things in a smart contract as well. The ability to lazy mint into shared contracts is one of the reasons they are so widespread. However, that free minting comes at a cost to you as the artist, and to your collectors. For the minting of derivative projects where you have the rights to another NFT you hold such as a Bored Ape or any of the number of avatar NFT projects using a shared contract could be okay to use. However, if you are building a more serious project or buying into one, especially for collectibles, you should definitely insist on using a custom contract. For projects that use custom contracts, that is the number one easiest way to spot a fake NFT because the fakes use shared contracts. For every major NFT drop there are always fakes being uploaded as soon as the project drops on Opensea and they almost always exclusively use OpenSea Shared Storefront contracts to create the fakes.
This is one of the many reasons why any serious collectible NFT project should be using a custom contract so that your collectors can quickly identify the authenticity of your project. There are additional benefits to having your own custom contract for you and your collectors to include full visibility into the holders and token distribution of that NFT. This is very important for serious collectors and a good way to spot if an NFT project team is telling the truth about certain things that can be proven or disproven on the blockchain.
4. Always verify an NFT projects Contract address from an official source such as their website or in the announcement channel of their discord
If you click on the contract (red arrow on the right side) you will see where it says, token tracker as shown below:
Verify Opensea Collection links from OFFICIAL SOURCES and TRIPLE CHECK THEM
You should be getting the OpenSea collection links only from the official website of the project and the announcement channels in the discord servers where ONLY Moderators can post.
There will often be a number of scammers in the discord server sharing fake links to get unsuspecting people to click and buy fake NFTs from fake collections. This is why checking the details section and seeing a custom contract versus an opensea Shared contract matters, and why if you are serious about collecting a project ensure they understand the difference between shared contracts and that they are building their project on its own custom contract.
This is how sneaky these scammers are, look at these two opensea collection links below:
One is real and one is fake can you spot which one is fake?
I’ll give you a hint look at how the word “battle” is spelled in the first link, that’s the fake one. What makes this even worse is that I found this in an NFT bundle where someone was selling 5 of these Baby Battle Bot NFTs for .88 ETH which seems like a steal because each one was going for around .24 ETH right after the drop and, in my excitement, I shared this link to the bundle below with friends who were looking to buy several because the project looks so promising.
Only if you knew to look at each of the 5 NFTS in the bundle would you have spotted the above difference in the links and seen that someone paid .88 ETH for 4 FAKE NFTS and only 1 real one, this could have been one of my friends had I not checked each NFT in the bundle and spotted the fakes and told them immediately.
Assume everyone you don’t know is a potential adversary looking to take something from you, so proceed with caution.
Here are some basic tips
Don’t click on links from people you don’t know
Don’t open files and attachments from people you don’t know.
Discord Server Mod usernames can be faked easily (DISCORD GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND FIX THIS)
Don’t leave the discord server you are in to go to a “support server” this is most likely a scam and they will socially engineer your money away from you.
Don’t send funds or NFTs without using a trusted service like NFTtrader.io, SudoSwap.xyz , swap.kiwi, or on Opensea where you can list an NFT for sale for super expensive (so no one accidentally buys it) and give the person looking to buy the NFT from you the link where you accept an offer they make for that specific NFT. In this process, you will need to know their address or Opensea username in recognizing the offer.
Use common sense
If you don’t know or are not sure, don’t be shy and ASK someone you trust that knows more than you do.
This concludes today’s lesson on how to spot scams in the NFT Space, your welcome! I hope this helps you keep your money and assets just a little bit safer. I made this video walkthrough below for you all who are too lazy to read this all the way through and don’t pay attention to the details. I will say, the number one way you will get scammed is not paying attention to the details. So learn to pay attention because the details matter very much in this space.
Remember only you can prevent the theft of your Metamask wallet assets.
If at any point your seed phrase is exposed, consider that wallet fully compromised. You can never use that wallet ever again. And if they haven’t already robbed you, then you will need to remove all valuable assets from this wallet as soon as possible.
The problem is that the scammer could be waiting for you to transfer funds into the wallet or see the movement of the assets before making a move. For example, if you have a lot of NFTs it will cost gas to move those NFTs. If you transfer in a lump sum of money to try to transfer them out, they could be waiting for that, and swipe those funds. You do not want to be in this situation trust me. Paying attention to security and understanding the details is important to staying safe in this crazy NFT space.
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The Rarible Protocol was officially announced less than two weeks ago but received relatively little coverage considering it heralds a new phase for NFT platforms and marketplaces. Though primarily discussed in terms of its impact on developers, the Rarible Protocol only comes into full view when one considers its possible effect on creators. Taken as a whole, the development of the Protocol and the resulting ecosystem represents a model that addresses many of the current needs and desires of NFT creators.
On August 12, in a Medium post co-authored by Rarible‘s CTO and NFTS WTF DAO member Alex Salnikov and Rarible DAO‘s Head of Ecosystem Eric Arsenault, Rarible announced the availability of the Rarible Protocol. More recently, I interviewed both Salnikov and Arsenault. They clarified that Rarible and Rarible.com remain independent and that the Rarible DAO, sometimes referenced as the Rarible Protocol DAO, is now in charge of the Protocol built by Rarible. Rarible.com has fully transitioned to the protocol and intends to ultimately come under the governance of the DAO at a later date.
An Emerging NFT Ecosystem
Given that numerous Web 3 companies and independent groups are exploring DAOs and token-based governance, the biggest news here is that the protocol is the beginning of an NFT ecosystem that is poised to take advantage of a surprisingly disordered terrain. For example, standardized artist royalties for NFT secondary sales across major Ethereum chain marketplaces remain an unrealized promise.
By this point, the reality that an artist cannot sell an NFT on any major platform and receive secondary royalties on every other major platform is a conscious choice made by executives and a glaring failure across the board.
The Rarible Protocol takes advantage of the industry’s failures in a number of ways. But rather than reiterating features and future developments as outlined in the Medium announcement, here is a look at how Rarible is addressing the needs of NFT creators and crypto artists with the protocol which “at the core…is a decentralized [NFT] exchange.”
It should be noted that there are additional features and related initiatives of great interest to developers, such as the Protocol App Mining Program, which distributes $RARI for NFT app projects, and funding for proposals presented to the Rarible DAO. In addition, the benefits of the Rarible Protocol for NFT creators is a selling point for new projects seeking creator participation, no minor issue for businesses building two-sided marketplaces.
Minting Costs and Energy Concerns
The Rarible Protocol currently enables lazy minting on Ethereum with minting transaction fees being paid by buyers at the time of purchase. This feature is particularly important to lower-income artists and newcomers to the space looking to experiment.
In addition, widespread concerns about energy usage associated with minting NFTs has sparked interest in Proof-of-Stake blockchains. The Rarible Protocol is expected soon on both the Flow and Polygon blockchains where transaction fees are much lower.
Beyond the Ethereum Blockchain
Projects on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, with which Rarible announced a partnership in late June, may also open up new pathways for NFT creators and marketplaces to reach mainstream users onboarded by NBA Top Shot.
In addition, interest in and uptake of Polygon by such creator-centric projects as NFT Hub is growing.
Fee Splitting for Creators and Developers
Automated fee-splitting is an option often requested by crypto artists, a wide number of whom collaborate regularly with other artists. Given the collaborative nature of the space, this opens up possibilities for developers as well.
Appear Across the Protocol With One Account
The Rarible Protocol’s shared order book means that “when an NFT is listed for sale, it is listed for sale across all applications built on the protocol.” Rather than having to set up multiple accounts on different platforms, NFT creators can streamline their workflow.
In fact, customizable storefronts are an option for creators opening up the possibility of minting and displaying one’s NFTs on one’s own website while appearing on storefronts throughout the ecosystem. This feature may help bridge the legitimacy gap between creators wishing to control their own operations and collectors unsure of what to think of a solo operation without the validation of an established platform.
Standard Secondary Royalties
Crypto artists are largely responsible for the institution of secondary royalties in some markets and creating a mindset in which such royalties are considered a best practice for NFT marketplaces. The heel-dragging of many platforms has been a massive disappointment to a large number of artists. In contrast:
“The Rarible Protocol implements a royalty standard for protocol-minted NFTs, as well as for externally minted NFTs. This enables NFTs sold on protocol applications to adhere to creator and platform royalties regardless of their provenance.”
For NFT creators, this approach not only means there will be secondary royalties inside the Protocol ecosystem as a standard. It also offers a concrete example of what creators desire and creates competitive pressure on platforms and marketplaces outside the Protocol’s ecosystem to fulfill such desires.
NFTs and Web 3 Values
As I learned from founding CryptoArtNet, many crypto artists accept that Web 3 solutions are still under development but hope, for example, to see less proprietary approaches to NFT marketplaces. So it seems fitting to close with Alex Salnikov’s take on NFTs and Web 3:
“NFTs can only live in the web 3 world. And that’s where we all exist…Web 3 is the world built on the principles of openness, neutrality, and self-sovereignty. When the user has the wallet that connects to the website and not the website temporarily giving the user access to things that the website owns.”
For more on the Rarible Protocol and the future of Rarible, please consider the following resources:
If you’ve ever tried to get in on a highly anticipated NFT drop, you may have experienced a large spike in transaction fees and, probably, a failed transaction; welcome to your first gas war. Gas wars are one of Game Theory’s unfortunate consequences; a side effect of human decision making. They’re natural, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be managed. The solution starts with defining the problem.
Firstly, let’s understand gas fees:
A gas fee is a transaction fee that is paid whenever an action happens on the blockchain, and it depends on two things: the type of transaction and the activity on the network.
The type of transaction
Sometimes this fee is small, like when you’re sending crypto to someone else. This is because sending crypto doesn’t involve putting a lot of data on the blockchain. Minting an NFT, on the other hand, requires more data to be placed on the blockchain, so it costs more; roughly by about a factor of ten. The basic reason for this is that the space available for data on the blockchain is limited. So the larger the transaction, the more of that limited space it occupies. This scarcity of space brings us to the second reason: the demand for it.
Activity on the network
When there are many people trying to occupy the same space, people can increase their gas fee to try to ensure that their transactions go through. The increase in gas fee goes to the miner to incentivize them to pick up your transaction. Miners will receive a bevy of transactions and are understandably motivated to go with those that will pay them the most.
If a transaction is submitted but ends up not having enough gas, then it may not go through. There are a few courses of action available. Either double down on the transaction by speeding it up and adding gas to it, an option your wallet should allow, or cancel the transaction entirely, which will return your gas. Otherwise, your transaction may fail and return the amount you were trying to send, but the gas paid for the transaction will be completely lost.
These days, most people have come to understand that paying higher gas fees is necessary to participate in most drops. If one doesn’t pay enough, they may not get in on the drop at all and will be relegated to scouring the secondary market beyond losing the gas that they did pay.
Game Theory ( + Obligatory Diagram)
Mary Bids Low
Mary Bids High
Mike Bids Low
Both pay low gas fees
& Both have a chance to get NFTs
Mary gets the NFT
Mike Bids High
Mike gets the NFT
Both pay high gas fees
& Both have a chance to get NFTs
Game Theory says that the ideal circumstance is the one that benefits the individual regardless of what the other person does. So, either person may lose to the other if they pay a lower gas fee than someone else. This motivates people to ensure their best interests and allocate as high a gas fee as they are willing to spend, because of what the other might do.
Examples from the Wild
As projects look for long-term success, they must be able to establish strong communities that care about the project and not just the price. This happens by ensuring passionate and early supporters are not made to match gas fees with some of the largest whales.
Speaking on the subject, Link from the0N1FORCE project said, “It takes a lot of creativity to overcome gas wars, and a lot of other projects had to fail for us to succeed.” 0N1FORCE’s early adopter program was provided to those who positively engaged with the community and cultivated a great atmosphere of positivity as a result.
A pre-sale mechanic enables actual community engagement and, if implemented in a clever way, could be the best method to decentralize a project, enable true price discovery, and mass participation. Other projects to implement this include Space Poggers and Monster Blocks by allowing limited early access to community members, enabling them to buy 1 and 3 NFTs, respectively.
In the Space Poggers’ case specifically, the pre-sale enabled just over 850 owners to claim a single Pogger. They claimed 850/12000 and the floor price was 3x the cost at 0.21Ξ ahead of the public sale. As soon as minting opened to the public, a ridiculous gas war ensued, and prices went as high as ~800 gwei, or ~$400 to mint. Approximately 11,000 more NFTs were sold, but distributed amongst only an additional 1,500 owners. The total owner count has held at 2.3k ever since, and the price floor is at .18Ξ, up from the 0.07Ξ cost but down from the high of 0.21Ξ.
A Tried and Tested Solution
Allowing early community members to mint an NFT by incorporating a pre-sale mechanic ensures that it’s earliest supporters aren’t left biting the dust. Often, these are the people most dedicated to a project’s vision and are those that would contribute most to its ability to achieve that vision. They are the ones who tell their friends and family about these projects, excited at the prospect of being part of a welcoming community. These supporters would be the ones representing the NFT and the project to the fullest.
NFT projects should not neglect the power of this force, and it’s counter; whales may buy up many NFTs from a project, and lead to a quick sell-out. More often than not though, these whales will trickle their supply onto the secondary market whenever the price rises, hurting its ability to do so. In contrast, community members purchasing a single NFT often plan on holding it for a while.
Gas wars can be remedied with community focused-planning, so it’s up to the community to ensure that future projects understand the true value of community. We all participate in projects we buy into, and we can influence the direction these projects go. That direction should bring us together, not pit us against each other.
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WTF is a Fluf? Bad-ass 3D bunnies on the blockchain are positioning themselves organically to become one of the top NFT projects in the space. As soon as I saw this super cool 3d rabbit bobbing his head on Fluf.world, I immediately knew something special was being made with this project. I knew nothing about the team, or the project, only that what I saw was intuitively many levels above what I have seen so far in the space. So I have personally been waiting patiently for this project to drop.
Initially, they were set to launch on Aug 5th, on the same day as the EIP1559 update to the Ethereum blockchain, and due to some issues with gas spikes on the network, the team let the community vote on whether to delay the launch for 2 days or not- and the community voted in discord to delay the drop. Much to my frustration because I just wanted my damn rabbits.
The Fluf world project has set a new bar when it comes to avatar collectible projects in every aspect of what great execution looks like. The team handled challenges and issues that came up during the launch with transparency and a level of care for their community that was impressive to me as an observer. I spent my Saturday night on Clubhouse with the team and some other excited future Fluf owners waiting for technical smart contract issues to be worked out. They spoke about the issues in real-time and were very transparent during the entire drop. Within 40 minutes of the public launch, they were completely sold out. And the project immediately climbed in value as the eyes on this project understood something was special about Fluf World in fact, before public minting was initiated, some of the limited presales for early supporters were being sold on the secondary market for nearly .5 ETH, this was another indicator of what was to come.
Within just a few hours of the project launch, there was a 25 ETH sale on the secondary market for the single rarest fluff which, at the time, was nearly $75,000 USD. This was yet another indicator for me that there was some serious energy behind this project.
Alex and the team over at Fluf world have built something incredible. The next level for avatar-themed projects has arrived. There is much more than meets the eye with this project and the road map is absolutely insane: from breeding, NFT staking, full access to 3d files, music, and multiple metaverse file formats; there is so much to be excited about. It is important to note that anyone can write a good roadmap, and many teams can create some super dope art. But the combination of all the right elements has come together with this project in a particular and very organic manner.
Within 24 hours, the floor price of Flufs jumped up to 1.78 ETH at one point on the Sunday after launch at a mint cost of .09 ETH. They have blown past nearly every other project on the charts in just 2 days and the momentum does not seem to be letting up. While this is not financial advice It would not be a bad idea to take a deeper look at this project, as I personally believe there is something special going on here. You can see everything transparently on the blockchain using Etherscan where I was able to see in realtime during the launch what commands the team was sending to the smart contract, how many flufs were being minted during the presale, and even tracked how many till they were sold out after the public launch. You can also see how many wallets have over 100 flufs, which at the time of this article’s release is only 4. Learning how to read Etherscan is a highly underrated skill for looking at what’s really going on with a project. Another good resource is Opensea’s Stats page where Fluf has climbed into the top 5 projects in record time selling over 6.8K ETH in volume in just a few days.
It’s important to pay attention to different aspects of a project, like how they respond to their community and handle unforeseen issues, from my observations I have a high level of confidence that this team can continue to execute and do what they say they will do though this is always subject to change- so remaining involved in the community as a collector is always a good idea. Aside from the massive success of this launch that has many whispering, that this is the next Bored Apes level moment in the NFT space, I absolutely love the artwork, the animations, the music, the energy, and the community. I am admitting my complete bias here and my support for this project, however, I do believe there is much to be learned from this launch and this project in general.
There is a new standard for how to execute, what the community wants, and how to treat that community for other creatives in this space. For collectors, you now also have a record of what kind of things can signal or indicate that a project will potentially be successful after a launch. In my opinion, nine times out of ten it boils down to the community. If I have learned anything about successful NFT projects, I believe that creators who can shift from acquiring customers to creating community will win in the long term. The bonds being formed human to human are very real and this level of connection to the various NFT project communities is one of my favorite aspects of NFTs in general, outside of the game-changing societal shifts non-fungible tokens will power into the near and long term future. Show me your Fluf!