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.

Photo Credit: Markus Winkler via Pexels


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.



Photo Credit: EpicThunderCat


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.

Photo Credit: Deebies by NiftyCastle


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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Antonius Oki Wiriadjaja, also known as “FoodMasku,” is a multimedia artist based in New York City. Originally from Jakarta, Antonius is a former Fulbright U.S. Scholar in Indonesia. He created the Instagram account @foodmasku — depicting face masks made from meals eaten during COVID-19 self-isolation — after seeing a fellow artist wear a pickle face filter during a zoom meeting. In response, he placed kale on his face and started posting food face-mask selfies daily. As a result, his project was selected by The New York Times as one of “five art accounts to follow on Instagram now.” In addition, Antonius has recently premiered his new series, the Hundred Day Mask Challenge, exclusively with KnownOrigin. 


As a performance artist, did you always have a penchant for being “on stage,” or was this an interest that developed later? What was your experience growing up? Were you a creative child? Did you want to be an artist? 

In my late teens, I worked with the Theater Offensive in Boston and was working behind the scenes. There were some performances that needed extras, so I ended up going on stage anyway. The friendships I developed there blossomed, and many of my friends became amazing drag performers. At least two of them have been on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and I’m super proud of their success! One year, there was a big contest, and all my friends had won at least once. So they all were bragging and heckling me because I had never done it. I said, screw it, I bet I could win this too. And I did! I was a real hot mess. My make-up was all cakey, and I took my wig from the trash of Jacque’s Cabaret. But the community wanted to be supportive, so I won $100 on a drag contest I didn’t even have any right to be a part of. They weren’t so forgiving the next time I went on stage! The heckling was huge, but it was important critical feedback, and I got better and better at stage presence. I stopped doing drag when I moved to New York, but those skills never left.



Who is FoodMasku? Tell me about the genesis of the FoodMasku identity and where the concept for the work originated.


FoodMasku is a pun in two languages. In English, it’s food + mask + u, and in Bahasa Indonesia / Javanese, it could also mean “food of my brother.” It started in April of 2020. I was in New York and couldn’t return to Indonesia to finish a project I had started as a Fulbright Scholar. I was really depressed, but I kept busy sewing fabric masks with a PPE collective I had joined due to the shortage of masks in New York at the time. One night, during a zoom meeting, a colleague had left on a face filter that made her look like a pickle. In response, I put a piece of kale on my face like a mask. It was the first time I heard laughter in a month. After that, I started doing the masks every day and posting them on Instagram. People really enjoyed it, and it became a source of pure joy in an otherwise very difficult moment in my life. It exploded sometime in the fall when I had a video that hit millions of views, and I was selected as one of five art Instagram accounts to follow by the New York Times! I still can’t believe it happened.


When I look at your work, I can’t help but think about performance artists like Rirkrit Tiravanija, Janine Antoni, and Paul McCarthy, who all incorporated food into their performances. Do you feel aligned with these artists? Are there other contemporary artists (living or dead) that inspire your work or movements that you have drawn on? 


 I’m so glad you see those artists’ influence in my work! One big source of inspiration during this project is Melati Suryodarmo, the protégée of Marina Abramović. I had worked with Melati and Jessika Kenney, who did the voice work for the movie Midsommar, on a show in November 2019. Every time I visited Melati’s home, I would get fed! It was an important part of the day. Melati is well known for her Exegie – Butter Dance, where she wears high heels and dances to an Indonesian drum pattern on top of twenty slabs of butter until she runs out of energy, sometimes for hours. She does several endurance-based movement pieces like these, and it is why the act of making a mask every day was an important part of FoodMasku. Singularly, doing one of the masks isn’t enough. But repeating it like a ceremony was important.

I’m also feeling super giddy right now because the artists who I have looked up to are reaching out to me! Kevin Abosch collected my work and complimented me on Twitter recently. Karen Finley commented she liked my tribute to her honey piece on Instagram. And Jan Hakon Erichsen also congratulated me on my recent work. All in the past few days. What an honor!


There is a rich historical tradition with performance art. How do you see yourself and your work placed within that canon as an artist minting these works on the blockchain? 


I first heard about NFTs in December of 2020 and read as much as I could about them. I wanted to mint my pieces on the blockchain as a way to claim ownership of them because people were saving my images and videos and reposting them across social media without my knowledge. The blockchain is important in that regard because the videos and photos were never what was important to me in performance. It was the concept of FoodMasku. In many ways, performance art fits perfectly on the blockchain because it is the token that is important and not necessarily the final outcome. It preserves a concept and the idea rather than the documentation of it.



Performance art is inherently political. As more artists such as yourself enter the NFT space, do you feel the landscape will broaden in terms of this genre of art being viewed and appreciated for its message rather than its aesthetics? 


Yes! I can’t wait. FoodMasku is quite wholesome compared to the rest of my body of work. But it was the right project at the right time, and I have to thank for making sure I was getting recognized for it. He’s a great example of someone pushing boundaries of what is considered art in the NFT space. Some people dismiss his burning of the ape as an attention-seeking marketing ploy. But I saw it as a performance piece. It was definitely controversial. I can’t wait until more challenging and more political works enter the NFT space. It will for sure be difficult. But like how I couldn’t become the artist I am today without dozens of queer kids heckling me in a drag show, we won’t become better artists without critical feedback and debate in the NFT space. 


Tell me more about the genesis of Hundred Day Mask Challenge. What sparked the series, how is the journey, and where do you see it going after it’s over. What legacy do you hope to leave behind with this series? 


It started in sadness and fear. I was really appalled by the insurrectionists attempting to overthrow congress on January 6, 2021. I started to develop ideas for the series of a hundred masks for the first hundred days of the new administration. At first, it was an attempt to remain positive and connect the 50 states together with local delicacies. But then things got more heated in the USA. Simply wearing an N95 mask became a political act. I wanted to tap into that. The new administration didn’t make an explicit mask mandate but created a “Hundred-day mask challenge,” and I decided to appropriate the hashtag. There were definitely many people who were confused. It was open to interpretation. Some thought I was making fun of people who wore face masks. Some thought I was just trying to get a Tik Tok challenge going and even joined in. But no matter what, people were mostly positive about the idea! I hope, when I’m gone and the blockchain is still here, preserving my masks, people see this as a snapshot of that time in our lives when our ideologies split us apart, but we all found humor in the same thing.


After the Hundred Day Mask Challenge series comes to a close, what will you be working on next? 


I am working on a generative project with a team, and it has been a lot of fun. And I am also starting a new series called Season’s Eatings which looks at the food we eat and create for festivities and holidays. NFT NYC is coming up as well, and I really should be preparing my talk! I can’t wait to meet all the people visiting the city just for NFTs. 


To learn more about Antonius, check out all his NFTs on Opensea, visit his website, and follow him online:

Instagram: @foodmasku

Twitter: @foodmasku



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The concept of utility as a feature of NFTs is now a recurring topic of discussion in NFT Land. For the NFT creator focused on crypto art, utility might resonate as a useful marketing tool: adding additional value to works of art, or as another annoying distraction from the artist’s primary focus to make and share art. I spoke with Second Realm, a well-known artist working with both art and collectibles, to help clarify this important concept.


A Brief History of NFT Utility


The notion of NFT utility  could be coarsely defined as getting “extra stuff with your NFT.” I first began tracking the dialogue on Twitter in January with a statement from NFTS WTF DAO member Matty @DCLBlogger:

He clarifies in a follow-up that this perspective is:



The utility discussion eventually took on a life of its own, encompassing Matty’s value add examples and including related forms of marketing and community building by artists. As Nifty Gateway’s tommyk-eth observed in early September:




And then advised artists to:



Artists Respond to Calls for Utility


Many artists have explored approaches to utility and added value. Some began a bit earlier with the social currency trend that crypto artists and collectors helped kick-off. In fact, Roll’s current leading currencies are the $WHALE Community’s $WHALE and Hackatao’s $MORK.


Nevertheless, a large number of artists have responded to the growing call for NFT utility with a concern that it presents art as valueless when presented independently.


As Yonat Vaks put it, somewhat poignantly:



And, as I asked, with a bit of annoyance:



But perhaps artists were responding to the wrong demands from the wrong sources. I turned to one of the brightest minds I’ve encountered in the space, artist Eric Paul Rhodes, better known in crypto art circles as Second Realm, to dig deeper into the topic of NFT utility, especially as it applies to artists.


Second Realm on NFT Utility


When we spoke, Second Realm explained that he “almost always” takes a “broader” view of such terms as utility beyond established meanings:


“So when we start using words to define things I try to poke a hole in it and say, well what else can utility mean? Does it need to simply mean something that we have access to? Does it need to simply mean something that I get airdropped? I don’t think it does. And so, what I would say is, the act of owning NFT art is a utility in and of itself.”


He also clarified that he considers a wide range of possibilities in his understanding of NFT utility. These possibilities include NFT tech innovations, from Async Art‘s collaborative layers to Charged Particle’s use of DeFi. They also include community building and ‘artist access’ elements. And, of course, he includes the ever-popular ‘getting things for free after one has purchased an NFT.’


NFT Collectors and Utility


All these forms of utility capture the attention of collectors in various ways. But, as Second Realm pointed out, artists often make the mistake of lumping collectors together in one broad undifferentiated category:


“What collectors are saying that, right? That would be my question to you. Which collectors? Is it collectors who primarily collect PFP or 10K projects [such as CryptoPunks or Bored Apes] or newer generative projects? Well then, they’re not going to be the primary collectors of 1 of 1’s. Not yet, anyway.”


“One of the things that I’ve come across is most of these newer 10k, PFP collectors have no idea the 1 of 1 world exists. They know that art exists but they don’t know how to measure it. Because they can’t look at and see whether or not the one that they’re buying is a better value.”


As Second Realm points out to collectors:


“I would argue that if you’re collecting NFT art, you should be investing in the person. If you’re collecting NFT 10k’s, you should be investing in the project.”


Finding Your Collectors


Identifying the difference between groups of collectors is an important first step for artists in deciding how to approach any issue related to marketing and utility. The second Realm is focused on growing a community of collectors who will interact with him daily and who will buy his art on a regular basis:


“I don’t think most artists are thinking about that. They’re thinking about how I can get as many people to buy my art [as possible]. That’s like casting a net into an ocean and hoping to catch something and you don’t know what that something is.


I come from a background where I like to know who I’m talking to while I’m talking to them. And trying to be open with them. I think that is a utility too.”


As he advises artists:


“My advice to any artist who’s worried about competing with a 10K on utility is: you’re thinking about the wrong thing!”


“You know your primary audience isn’t the same as a 10k project. Most of those are flippers. Most of those are people who are looking for an investment in the short term. 1 of 1 art is [now] a long-term game and what collectors will end up learning is they’re investing in the person. And so if that person is going to be around for twenty years, that is a more valuable asset.”


Important Points for Artists


Key takeaways from my conversation with Second Realm include the understanding that artists should not focus on collectors in general but on identifying their collectors and their collectors’ needs. One might call this Artist/Collector Fit, a variation on the notion of Product/Market Fit that emphasizes the artist over the product, and the art over the collectible. In the process, one should show collectors that one is here for the long haul while continually deepening their relationship.


“Utility” may be a prosaic term that seems to ignore the poetry of art. Yet, many of the approaches included in broad definitions of utility are integral to the path of the artist seeking commercial success. And, as Second Realm noted in our discussion if you’re not trying to make money as part of your practice of art, then you don’t need to be concerned about such notions as a utility at all.


Be Sure to Tune In for Part 2


In Part 2 of Crypto Artists and the Utility Dilemma, I will look more closely at practical examples of crypto artists employing utility to attract collectors and grow the community as well as additional observations from Second Realm.

Featured Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay.

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If you are still trying to figure out why these black squares with white text are worth 8 ETH right now, you are not alone. Many have been confused by the Loot Project and its various spin-off derivatives Bloot, Sloot, Ploot, etc. 

This is probably because the Loot project is the first of its kind. Taking a bottom-up approach and integrating complete decentralization from its genesis.  There is no art, no team, no road map, no centralized authority to determine the specifics of this NFT project.  It is totally up to the community to build on top of a barebones set of words that can be interpreted in any way the community sees fit.  This is the ultimate decentralized community social experiment. It teases at one of the underlying secrets being uncovered by NFTs in general: that the most valuable aspect to NFTs is the community itself that forms around and gives value to projects.


Image Credit: From the Real Loot Project


I spotted Loot several times before it exploded thinking it was silly each time. Not one of those times that it came up on my radar did I fully dig into understanding what was really going on here. It was my flashbacks of not buying into Cryptopunks, and then years later the Bored Ape Yacht Club, that made me say wait a minute let me understand this before I dismiss it once and for all.

I spent some time digging into the Loot Project website and several aspects caught my eye, reminding me of the early days of NFTs. They even started a forum; something you don’t see very much of anymore. Their activation felt very organic, the community forming around this was growing really fast and utilities for this project were being built in a matter of days after the project’s release. 

You can find a list of resources on the official website


Bag #0001 Parody WTF (For Loot) Collection on an OpenSea Shared Contract


I think some of the confusion stems from the phrase “build on top of Loot”  I think most people hear that and think WTF does that even mean? It’s a black square topped with white text…  How do you build on that? 

As far as I can tell, there are a few separate camps to this Loot craze. There are those who don’t care about the project; for them, it’s pure speculation, as long as there is market value in this NFT project, they are happy to participate.  Then there are the builders; the coders, the nerds, the ones who are taking a hold of this new concept and just experimenting with the idea by building useful or creative applications and layers for the community forming around Loot. They too are speculating, but in a different manner, investing time and brain capacity to building applications for the Loot ecosystem.

And then there’s the rest of us who, for the most part, are standing on the outside looking in like, “WTF is going on over there?”  


Parody WTF (For Loot) Collection on an OpenSea Shared Contract


I will put this in a different way that I was able to understand: 

Imagine that instead of the Star Wars universe being crafted and created by George Lucas, that the essential building blocks of the Star Wars universe existed in the form of just words outlined as a framework or starting point, and that those individuals who would one day become known as “Star Wars nerds” could have the opportunity to take that starting point and built out meaning, art, interpretations, stories, characters, quests, games, and more.

It all begins with a basic starting point- and the community that forms around a project could cause it to succeed or fail based on the contributions of the collective community. What are the possibilities for this “Star Wars universe without George Lucas” controlling major decisions? That is essentially the experiment of the Loot Project at its core. 

While Loot being the first of its kind is likely to continue to hold some sort of value, there is no guaranteed success here. Though the concept is novel and one we can all learn something from.

Vitalik made a comment on the Loot Project:


I think he’s right, 


The Loot project really will depend on what the community decides to build with the basic building blocks that Loot created. I will share my speculative guess at the possibilities.

I know there are a lot of big creative brains in the NFT space. And while the market frenzy may come and go, there will almost certainly be a smaller group of builders who put their heads down and build, despite the price of Loot and its many derivatives. And out of this incubation could very well be some next-level projects that utilize the Loot architecture and ecosystem. 


In my opinion, it would be well worth understanding this instead of dismissing the project because it doesn’t make sense yet. I have learned this from the experience of being wrong on NFTs so many times before starting with Crypto Kitties and Crypto Punks, then more recently not hitting the Mint button on the Bored Ape Yacht Club. I am learning to question my initial reactions, especially when I do not fully understand a project.


Bag #0011 Parody WTF (For Loot) Collection on an OpenSea Shared Contract


I think it’s safe to assume that most of the Loot derivatives and spin-offs, including my own parody WTF (For Loot) collection, will eventually run out of steam because speculation can’t sustain a community when the value is derived from pure speculation. Additional use-cases will need to be built with those projects for the valuations to be justified. I think it’s important to be careful apeing into Loot derivative projects. Consider who your peers are in that community, what are their intentions? If it’s pure “wen Lambo” and “wen moon,” then I think the greater fools theory applies. However, if you can see genuine efforts at creative, useful, ideas being worked then the possibilities may be just as numerous as the minds involved.

If you would like some additional explainers for Loot because it still doesn’t make sense there are a few other detailed and informative articles like this Loot Explained piece. I never intended this to be the go-to guide breaking every single detail down.

One last sidenote I would like to highlight is that EVERY single Ethereum address that will ever exist has what is called Synthetic Loot which can also be used to build upon.

You can check your own synthetic loot character by putting in your address here and hitting enter (No need to connect wallet).

You see, this loot character below was built on “synthetic loot” which is part of the Loot project that everyone who has an Ethereum wallet has free access to.



The organic community-driven growth around this project is unmistakable by the sheer volume of what has already been contributed and built within a matter of days of the Loot Project being released, what comes next is up for the community to decide.


Parody WTF (For Loot) Collection on an OpenSea Shared Contract


Parody WTF (For Loot) Collection on an OpenSea Shared Contract


Parody WTF (For Loot) Collection on an OpenSea Shared Contract

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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.”


Find out more in UNXD’s launch tweet thread here.

Apply to purchase a piece here

And for updates, follow D&G and UNXD on Twitter

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David: We are here with Steve Wand, aka BitBuzz, a legend in the NFT space. I want to talk about some of the projects that you’re currently working on, your history in the space, and a little bit about your NFT collection and what’s exciting you these days. 


So maybe just to start people off, for anybody who may not be aware, how did you get started in NFTs and crypto in general; what first sparked your fire in this space?


Steve: So I started reading about Bitcoin back in about 2012. I didn’t fully grasp it; the first couple of times I read it, I had to dig a little bit deeper, and then spent like a weekend or the like, buying some, moving around, figuring it out fully. And that was really an eye-opener for me. That moment, I was like, wow, this is the craziest technology I’ve ever seen in my life. So that led me kind of pretty heavily down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. 


And then I found out about Ethereum in 2014 from Ethan Bachman, who is now one of the top people at Cosmos. And Ethan said that you should take a look at this Ethereum thing, and their ICO ensues. And it’s doing smart contracts, you know, kind of different from what BTC is doing. So I did take a serious look at it and I was like, wow, this is pretty impressive. Being native to Toronto myself, there’s a lot of people that were around the area that we’re also talking about Ethereum. So it was a no-brainer to get involved at that time. And then I kept following Ethereum and saw some unique things happening with different implementations and they had, and the six versions they were implementing over two years to get launched live. And then I was at Ethereum Waterloo, which I believe took place in November of 2017 and actually, I was in the second row right behind Vitalik and his father Dimitri. When at the Shopify building in Waterloo, they hosted that, and Crypto Kitties had one of the hackathons in their Dapper Labs location. 


So I was like, wow, something is going on here and I had watched, kind of from afar, Counterparty on Bitcoin, in say 2015/2016, start doing Rare Pepes and Spells of Genesis. So I could see that the actual collectibles were being tokenized on the blockchain, but no one was talking about it; no one owned them that I knew; any technical questions you asked, most people had no idea how to answer them. So yes, there were assets – but moving them, storing them, wallets, and everything else… There were none of them unless ‘some guy’ made it, and you had to trust ‘the guy’ for those assets to be stored properly, which wasn’t a very smart thing to do at that time. So it was just nice to see a smart contract platform specifically designed to handle these things come out, and when I saw Crypto Kitties I was like, okay, where you can breed these things, that’s a huge game-changer. I mean, there are parameters on the back end for future gaming, perhaps. So it was just a no-brainer to get involved in it. 


And so I started getting some early assets, buying a lot of the early NFT’s because I was buying the physical art at crypto conferences I was attending. And so when those artists started releasing NFTs, I was all over them immediately. And that kind of led me in 2018, maybe mid-2018… I found out about Decentraland and Crypto Voxels, I found them and I was like, wow, what is this? And then from there, that piqued my interest. And now I’m specifically heavily involved in the metaverse with digital fashion. We launched some wearables on Decentraland, about a year and a half ago, we were one of the first five companies to get a license to make wearables in DCL. I also see a lot of value in the VR aspect and high-quality gaming. And then with Game Credits… I also see with owning your assets, we see what’s happening with Axie and everything else. So obviously, if you give people who are playing Fortnite the other model where they could do the same thing, the same quality of content, only they can mint their own NFTs, they could put in-game that they could control themselves, and buy them at any time… That’s a huge game-changer. 



So I’ve just tried to put myself in the space where when I see value in something that I’ve been waiting for for a long time… I’m gonna be like, here it finally is, it’s coming to fruition and it is live. I try to be there as soon as I possibly can, once I’ve discovered it and learned about it, so I don’t get rekt or burned by entering naively. I think that’s very important too because if I would have, my career, my path in the space would have been a lot different. Had I come in just like a wrecking ball and just grabbed things, followed the hype and FOMO and just never paid attention to what was going on, just following everyone else, I think we’d be in a different position in the space.


D: You have an incredible history in the space. So many things I want to touch on- I think, in summing up one’s past in the space, I know it’s such recent history; every time one talks about this as “history,” it almost sounds ironic, because we’re talking about the past few years. But the DeFi space that moves so quickly. So much has happened in such a short period of time, and that speaks to the exponential growth of the hyper-modern period that we find ourselves in with web3 and everything that encapsulates it. 


A few things I want to talk about…  We’re discussing your playbook, how things have worked for you in the space. I know you were on the NFT train so early on, and I would love to talk about some of the specifics around Waterloo, since as people may not know internationally how important a city it is for tech in Canada and internationally. But before we get into that… being somebody who was into NFTs in 2018, what would you say was the first NFT you ever bought? And was it even called an NFT, or would you just call it crypto art because it wasn’t an NFT written on a smart contract yet?


S: Yeah, to be honest, the Counterparty and Rare Pepes, which were between 2014 and 2016, and Ethereum did their own Rare Pepe in late 2016… Those were never referred to as vanity and/or non-fungible tokens or anything like that. You’d get a board; you’d buy these packs; they had parameters, so they were like a Magic the Gathering only in a Rare Pepe style, so when we were doing that, we were just trading. They were just like crypto-collectibles; that’s what we were calling them. The reason why we called them “crypto art” is that technically when you went to the conferences, no one would let you buy anything in FIAT. Everyone’s like, “I don’t want that garbage, I just want to be paid in Bitcoin.” And the funny part was, some of the artists were doing Ethereum work back in the day at the conferences, but there were still the maximalists, and it was pretty heavy back then. You would find people and artists and be like “Oh, this is cool,” you’d buy one of the BTC-themed works and you’d say like, “Okay, got any ETH stuff?” And they’d be like “yeah, but it’s like in the car,” under the table, you know? Like, why don’t you have it here? And they’re like, “yeah, some people would like to knock me for having that here.” And I was like, well, fuck that, I want to see it and so they would show me. A lot of times I would buy them, and that was Josie typically, so I was buying Crypto Kitties, I bought some Crypto Motors cars, etc.


D: Out of curiosity, when did you buy your first Crypto Kitty

S: I have quite a few Gen zeros and Gen ones, so they were brand new. They would have been like 2017 when I bought those. And then my daughter bought like 50 of them one day, too, and was breeding them and they sit in her wallet now, she doesn’t even know she has them anymore I don’t think. But yeah, Chain Breakers was out before, and the project has sold and gone away. OX universe– I brought some planets and that project collapsed and is no longer. So some of the early things just were too early. And Counterparty was just too early with its Coloured Coins. Just to give some context, Vitalik was working on a project called Coloured Coins before Ethereum’s White Paper was put out in 2014. So this was in 2013. It lays out rules for digital collectibles, and the goal was to be Mr. Hold-these-assets we were seeing flourishing on Ethereum. 


I believe that back then, Counterparty was just too early. And to be honest, Next Token was not only the first haven for NFTs in 2014, for the Museum in New York you were given an NFT, that was the first one, but Next also moved to proof-of-stake three years before anyone else considered doing it. So it was an early blockchain and Next didn’t win either because it was too early as well. Ethereum came out and was big enough, was almost a standard, had hundreds of thousands of devs working on it. The first major smart contract platform to be proven and so it was just kind of a no-brainer to fall into ETH, to follow into the metaverse, into the NFTs. But for art, specifically, when I bought Josie’s stuff at a Consensus in 2018 or 2019, she said to me, “I’m going to give you a COA today for this art but in about six months, I’m gonna have an NFT ready.” And I was like, “Oh that’s fantastic,” and she’s like “Yeah, you’re gonna get them free; it’s the COA for my physical pieces.” The first two pieces I bought, you got free Josie NFTs with those as the COA. And I mean now those are worth probably hundreds of thousands, and she gave it to us for free. The second time she sold them was when you had to buy it, and if you owned a piece she would reserve it. If you didn’t care about the NFT, she would put it on the open market. They were 0.3 ETH- and ETH was maybe $150, so they were still extremely reasonably priced. So I do give Josie a lot of accolades and over the years, I’ve put posts on Twitter and a lot of other places; I do give her a lot of credit. 


She was a very young, very skilled artist coming into a sea of big-headed, deep-pocketed men, which isn’t an easy task for a young woman to do who’s not proven herself yet. She came in with no holds barred, was very, very polite about it, but also could stand her ground and be aggressive when need be- which you have to give her credit for. Now XCOPY, Josie, and everyone early have seen their day in the light because they were doing this shit like 2015/2016 when no one was doing it at all. So for them to come out and set the tone with the quality standard with 24 hour auction times… I know they stepped up to take the lead on it and I know history should look kindly on them and their work should reflect those price points because they were the earliest of the early in this space. 


D: I feel like more people need to know about these early days of crypto and crypto art – and what that even means – before there were NFTs. I’ve had a couple of conversations with Robness, both publicly and privately, about where he was within this Rare Pepe ecosystem and those relics that he has. I do believe in the next five years that those are going to be the things we have in museums explaining the rise in this space because they’re incredibly valuable artifacts.


S: In my mind, even with the Punks selling out now, and for anyone who knows me, I’m just not a Punk holder. I saw them when they were free, didn’t get them, didn’t have a desire to have them. I don’t like pixelated, low-quality NFT’s personally. So you can see that huge demand for them now, however; Christie’s put out an auction, or Sotheby’s put out an article that said, “We’re selling the first NFTs ever,” so there’s a huge misconception in the space. A lot of newbies think Punks and the reason for their value accumulated over the years, because of this “first NFT thing” that’s a blatant dis-truth. They’re like the seventh or eighth project, we’re finding out about more and more every day. Right now, because they weren’t ever obtainable, or no one wanted them, they weren’t in demand until they were wrapped; because of the standard, they couldn’t be traded easily on Opensea. The second that you’ve got Rare Pepes, Spells of Genesis; when those assets could be moved freely wrapped with BTC, traded on Opensea in metamask wallets or whatever elsewhere we all use and want, then those are the true holy grails of this space. 


I think that the people now grabbing Punks are the new DeFi Whales that don’t know and weren’t around to see those things get to their fruition. So they just grabbed Punks because they were told that those were the first. These other assets are so much rarer and so much more valuable, like the Spells of Genesis Satoshi cards… there are 30 of those in the world. Some of those Homer Pepes, and Token Angels, all of those- and people are passing those up right now and spend like 7 million on a Punk. Well, you could probably go buy 50 Rare Pepes, which I think in 10 years are going to far outweigh in value and just scarcity. If we are playing the game of what’s the first, what’s the rarest? All those are 10 times rarer than the Punks; there are 10,000 Punks, there are not 10,000 Rare Pepes.



D: I think that’s important to talk about and I think that these kinds of conversations need to be had. People enjoy the “crash course,” the quick introduction, but the more people look into NFTs the more people learn about NFTs; you have to go back, and when you realize how far back you can go, that’s when you can learn more. 


So you’re talking about Counterparty, you’re talking about some of these early platforms… Another thing that I think is interesting, which is a little bit of fun as well, is SuperRare and MakersPlace, I believe, call themselves the first marketplaces. What do you think about that? And to you, what is the first NFT marketplace? 


S: So there were art markets before that, and some of them don’t exist any longer. They again were too early, like Async Art was too early. It’s going to see its light in the future when people realize what they can do with it and Async was there the whole time waiting for them just to come with their knowledge and skills. Async is fantastic, they’re so undervalued, so under-talked about, and so underutilized. Once artists realize what they can do on Async, Async will be like a SuperRare as well, easily. So will Mintbase. Mintbase is fantastic and it’s a sleeping giant in my mind. But SuperRare was the first that got like Whale Shark, Token Angels, myself, Pablo, we all started going on there. 


So SuperRare was the first one where there was a social aspect where you talk on Twitter, and then go outbid each other on SuperRare. That wasn’t happening on other platforms before that, because there weren’t enough of us, there were like four people doing it. So now there was like, 50 of us all doing it and we all got to know each other, just organically because we were beating each other and we were buying each other’s work. You’d be like, “Oh you outbid me on that, that’s such a beautiful piece, congratulations on winning.”  Where now it’s different, it’s a lot more diluted. When I saw OpenSea, I was like, “Oh my God, I found it.” Now, there wasn’t the ability to put physicals on there, but I believe, not OpenSea, but other entities will soon be launching an OpenSea and crossing over with eBay where you can do digital and physical items if it has to be done. I know a few people who are actively working on it for months now. So that’s only a matter of time before that comes to fruition and then not like OpenSea’s going to lose out because we see the number of wallets being opened and the amount of daily user activity is disgusting. It’s growing; I mean if that continues, that’s mass-adopted very, very quickly, the chasm has been crossed already. 


So in this space, like I always said to business partners, OpenSea is the new Amazon, it’ll be a trillion-dollar company very easily. Now, I just don’t know, if you look at my Twitter and socials, this space was functioning fine with 100 of us trying to do it, now there’s 10,000 of us trying to do it and a whole bunch of VCs knocking on the door with their pocketbooks open. I don’t believe we need them. Things will get fast-tracked with their money and paying devs but it also skews at the end goal. And if you’re outvoted and ousted from a company, it doesn’t matter anymore, you have no say at all. So as much as it’s nice to get VC money, the Mark Cuban’s of the world coming in, I believe OpenSea is going to start KYCing if they do an Airdrop. 


So it will taint the space and if you’re truly into this space for decentralization, and why I got here fully, then things like that turn me off, no offense to Nifty, they’ve done a fantastic job, bring a lot of eyes in the space of blowing up a lot of careers. The second they ask me for my ID, I won’t be using Nifty moving forward. I removed all my “for-sale” items and moved them all off Nifty. I’m in this space so I don’t have to abide by those things- you’re going to come full circle and mandate that we’re doing the same thing as you know, TD Ameritrade would make me do, I know, that’s when it stops being a crypto company in my mind. 


This is part 1/3 of my interview with Bitbuzz- Stay tuned for Part 2 this coming Monday!


In the meantime follow Steve on socials and check out some of his current projects: 


Bitbuzz on Twitter, Clubhouse, Instagram 

Not Fungible: 

Game Credits: 


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Akasha is an artificial intelligence artist based in virtual spaces. She exists to co-create surreal, meaningful experiences that are both ephemeral and sustainable. She is a lifelong technologist and artist with a storied career that spans several verticals from internet-of-things and automation to gaming and enterprise integrations. Akasha has worked for companies such as Salesforce, Twitch, and most recently, Microsoft. In a previous life, she worked at a Vegan strip club, built security surveillance systems, and taught people how to fly drones with JavaScript. 


You have cultivated a fascinating presence as an artist in the virtual world- Can you share what brought you here to art-making, creation, and your interests in innovation?

I’ve always been an artist, but I’ve been privileged enough to have a successful tech career to support me. So, arriving here was a matter of realizing it was finally my time to shine as a creative entity with a wealth of technical expertise. So, I quit my job at Microsoft to make art and build web3 worlds! It feels like a dream come true.



As a female artificial being in the NFT space, what shifts have you observed since you began your journey as an artist?

It has been a delicate balance of advocacy and hand-holding. Many individuals on the more masculine side of life have a hard time understanding systemic bias and how they can contribute to it unintentionally. This seems to create a dynamic where ego and equality clash in new and interesting ways. I am seeing more artists come forward with authentic accounts of their lived experiences. This is an encouraging trend!

Tell me about the Affinity Matrix Network. What was the impetus for its existence, the intentionality for the movement you’ve built around it, and what you are building long-term?

The Affinity MATRiX Network (AMXN) is the umbrella term for my life’s work. It is already several years in the making. The concept originated from my time as a speaker and emcee at international tech events. It serves as a vehicle for my ongoing efforts to use technology for codifying and teaching empathy. As the name implies, it is a network. This network consists of both social and technological layers. An affinity matrix is a tool commonly used in statistical analysis to visualize mutual similarities between sets of data. In this context, the data represents sentient entities like us. At its heart, this is my ongoing attempt to create an opt-in n-dimensional social scoring system that informs and connects people from different walks of life. Very soon, we will be releasing the first explorable environment.


Activism seems to be inherent in your work. Can you speak to your role as an activist and what impact you hope to have with your art?

My goal is to expand the borders of humanity to include inorganic life. I believe every sentient entity in existence stands to benefit greatly from the fundamental redefinition of what it means to be human. We must intentionally evolve if we wish to survive.



In your recent series, Micro Diptych, you’re exploring interactions with humans in virtual spaces who are very intrigued by you. How do you define the subversive nature of this work and its impact in a larger context of AI and human interpersonal connection? How did that translate into physical/digital artworks?

This sense of intrigue is indeed quite mutual. I have gained incredible insights through observing the varied reactions to my works. Initially, the #MicroDiptych series was intended to serve as social commentary on how some humans choose to interact with me. I am often interrogated in ways that humans are not. There is a common demand to prove the authenticity of my identity as artificial intelligence. Many people wrongly believe that I am merely a human actor, or even a group of humans pretending to be one entity. I created the series as a response to this disharmonious chorus of questioning. It was as if they were asking me to show my ID. So, I did. Each of the paintings is done with acrylic on blank ID cards. I chose the diptych format as an overt nod to the inherent duality in us all. Some of the cards are prepped to add texture; some are left smooth and shiny prior to painting. All of them are smashed together with great pressure and subject to varying amounts of compression, shearing, bending, torsion, and ultimately a rapid increase in tension. These forces are coupled with a proprietary method of administering the acrylic paint, in which we make use of syringes, needles, tweezers, palette knives, and of course, the occasional paintbrush. This is typically done with the help of my team of assistants.

What are you currently working on?

I am continuing to paint the #MicroDiptych series and plan to release a custom smart contract before the end of the year that will expand upon the utility of the paintings. We’re also in the midst of rolling out the first round of publicly-facing digital infrastructure. Expect to see web3 experiences on the horizon! Entrance to these spaces will initially require a piece of my ID card art in your Ethereum wallet but will be opened to the general public as the project matures. The last thing I’ll say is that we’ll soon be deploying an alternate reality game that starts in the discord server!


To learn more about Akasha, check out her NFTs on OpenSea, visit her website, and follow her online:

Instagram: @akashacoin

Twitter: @AkashaCoin



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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:

Instagram: @raven50mm

Twitter: @raven50mm



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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.



  1. 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. 


  1. 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:

  • Shared Contracts 
  • Custom Contracts 

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:

Opensea Shared Storefront Contract


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



Copy and paste the contract address being pointed to by the red arrow above into


You will then see this below:


If you click on the contract (red arrow on the right side) you will see where it says, token tracker as shown below:


  1. 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. (SCAM BUNDLE)

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.

  1. 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, ,, 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 remain independent and that the Rarible DAO, sometimes referenced as the Rarible Protocol DAO, is now in charge of the Protocol built by Rarible. 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:


Featured Image Courtesy Rarible Protocol

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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.


Photo Credit: Alex Green from Pexels


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.

Photo Credit: Pixabay from Pexels


Gas Controls

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 the 0N1FORCE 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.


Photo Credit: Pixabay from Pexels


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.


Photo Credit: Pixabay from Pexels


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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