Popular NFT brand, Bored Ape Yacht Club, is in talks with venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, to lead a funding round of about $5 billion to raise their valuation, according to the Financial Times. The deal is still a work in progress as no terms have been agreed upon but will surely be one to watch out for.


Although BAYC has yet to comment on the negotiations officially, they have previously said they plan to create a strong brand and hand it over to the community. Another source, NFTNick.eth, told his Twitter followers that this would likely be huge for the NFT industry as it will validate the NFT business model if this deal comes to life and the news gets out.


Crypto companies generally utilize funding to expand their businesses and scale their operations globally. For example, back in 2013, When Coinbase was valued at $143 million, it received about $20 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz. It is currently valued at $86 billion. Even successful brands like BAYC require external funding to grow faster than what investments from their own profits can achieve. BAYC receiving VC funding will allow the brand to expand its business, and you will expect its valuation to increase in the future as the demand for BAYC NFTs continues to grow.


Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 uniquely generated cartoon images of ape NFTs, went viral in 2021 even before prominent celebrities like Eminem, Stephen Curry, and Jimmy Fallon, amongst others, bought them. The frenzy does not end with merely acquiring a Bored Ape NFT, as ownership connects you to many celebrities and popular influencers who are members of this club. The number of celebrities ‘aping in’ is increasing every week.


Bored Ape NFTs, which were minted on the Ethereum blockchain, has recorded more than 393,000 in trading volume and have at least 6300 owners on OpenSea, with the lowest priced Bored Apes selling for about 18.5 ETH at the time of writing. Yuga labs, the team behind BAYC, has remained committed to growing the BAYC brand even further, and this potential deal with Andreessen Horowitz is a testament to their resolve.



Who is Andreessen Horowitz?


Andreessen Horowitz is an investment company based in Silicon Valley, California, founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz in 2009, commonly known as A16z. The company has more than $28b in assets, with investments spanning from Crypto and Fintech to Healthcare.


A16z invests in companies across different stages of growth, from seed to startups, mid and late stages. They boast of a strong track record of having backed highbrow companies like Coinbase, Airbnb, Github, and Slack, transforming the then small businesses into giants.


A16z are not newcomers in the crypto space. In June 2021, the company announced a $2.2 billion fund to invest in crypto founders, teams, and networks. In addition, the Financial Times reported on plans by Andreessen Horowitz to raise more than $4.5 billion for crypto investments this year, doubling last year’s figures. A16z has been investing in crypto since 2013 and has shown interest in decentralized finance, Web3, creator funds, and the next-generation payment methods.

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Imagine accidentally selling an NFT worth over $1 million for only $26. That is precisely what has happened to Timothy McKimmy, who owned Bored Ape #3475 from OpenSea’s Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection.


Because of this, he is now suing OpenSea—whose legal identity is Ozone Networks—claiming they knew of a glitch that made the sale possible. So what does this mean for NFT buyers and sellers? Let’s take a look.


About the OpenSea Lawsuit


The claim being made by McKimmy is that OpenSea knew of a bug that allows people to purchase NFTs when they’re unlisted on their platform. De-listing an NFT from OpenSea’s platform with their “transfer” feature doesn’t necessarily remove listings on the blockchain’s back end, making it possible for hackers to purchase tokens for far less than their floor price.


Previous Victims

Others have fallen victim to this glitch already, and OpenSea has since added a feature that allows users to see their current listings, including those they may have believed were cancelled. From there, users can fully de-list their NFTs by paying Ethereum gas fees. However, those who have already fallen victim to the bug aren’t at all helped by this.


The Damages

McKimmy is demanding that OpenSea either return his Bored Ape NFT—which was shortly after resold for 99 ETH (about a quarter of a million dollars)—or pay him damages of over $1 million. He claims the Ape was worth $1.3 million, comparing it to one of lower rarity bought by Justin Bieber for a similar price.


Negligence Charges

McKimmy claims that OpenSea was negligent in that they knew about the vulnerabilities in their code but did nothing to fix it. Instead, they continued sales on their platform rather than pausing to rectify the problem despite knowing this.



Does McKimmy Have a Case?


The claims made do seem to have some weight. It’s true that OpenSea had been in communication with other victims of their platform’s exploit and had even made some settlements (though for less than the tokens in question may have been worth at the time), so it seems reasonable to believe that they were aware of the exploit and had done little to repair it.


On the other hand, OpenSea did recently add their “Listings” feature, allowing users to see their current listings, including those that they might have previously believed to have been de-listed. This may prevent future incidents but does not satisfy the damages against McKimmy and others in similar circumstances.


There seems to be a good chance that McKimmy’s negligence charges could secure a reward from OpenSea, even if his lawsuit, as it currently stands, has some errors (such as naming OpenSea as defendant instead of Ozone Networks, listing the incorrect address, etc.).



Lessons and Preventive Measures for NFT Holders

In terms of lessons that can be learned from this case, here are a few preventive measures NFT holders can put into place:


1. Know the Platform

It’s generally best to deal with platforms that already have a solid reputation in place. OpenSea has been at the center of multiple controversies in addition to this lawsuit, and that should be a warning to buyers to proceed with caution.


2. Keep an Eye on Listings

Just because you use a platform’s tool to de-list something doesn’t mean it’s completely gone. Rarible provides a tool where you can check on all current and previous listings, as does OpenSea with its new “Listings” tab, so it’s easy to keep an eye on what’s actually on the market. You may have to pay a fee to completely de-list your token, but that’s a small price compared to the value of a highly appreciated NFT.


3. Get Your Legal Stuff Right

The errors in McKimmy’s lawsuit may not altogether avert his efforts to recover damages, but they can still be an obstacle. Make sure you know which company you’re dealing with (not just the first name that pops up on their platform) and the jurisdiction in which they operate. Having some legal help on your side isn’t a bad idea either.



Lessons and Preventive Measures for NFT Sellers


There are some lessons to be gleaned for sellers as well. Even if you don’t lose a lawsuit, it’s still expensive to resolve it, making the following preventive measures invaluable.


1. Know Your Customer

While many value blockchain technology for its potential to protect anonymity, it’s still a good idea to know your customers. Doing so can help you avoid dealing with hackers and keep you more secure against liabilities that might result from exploits or illicit activity.


2. Review Your Code

To further shield yourself and your users against exploits, it can be worthwhile to review your code and platform activity every so often. Doing so can reveal potential bugs that could open you up to liability. If you find anything, correct it quickly. It may mean taking your system down, but expensive lawsuits can be far more costly.


3. Give Users Visibility

One of the issues with OpenSea appears to be the fact that users didn’t have much visibility over their listings. They used the platform’s “transfer” feature, believing that it would completely de-list their tokens when it, in fact, did not. If they had had more visibility, these errors might not have occurred (or at least wouldn’t have been OpenSea’s responsibility). As such, it’s worthwhile to implement functionality that gives your users plenty of visibility over their assets.


The Takeaway


It will be interesting to see what happens over the course of this lawsuit. The nature of blockchain technology and the various forces at work, in this case, could present some unique challenges when it comes to presenting the case to a jury, and the courtroom proceedings that follow could well shape the case law for future NFT-related suits. But, for now, it’s advisable to play things on the safe side.

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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. 


For more on CGC and their sponsors:


CGC Official: https://www.cgc.one/


Polygon Studios: https://polygonstudios.com/


Epik Official: https://www.epik.gg/


DappRadar: https://dappradar.com/



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Parin Heidari is a multidisciplinary artist based in Italy. She draws single-line portraits ambidextrously. Before creating NFT art full-time, Parin worked as a creative director and graphic designer for 10 years in The Netherlands, Italy, and Iran. Parin studied painting in Iran and holds a BA in Industrial Design and Visual Communication from the Polytechnic University of Turin. She has been a featured artist on the front page of Opensea and has recently been announced as one of 40 artists included in TIME Magazines “Build a Better Future” NFT drop.


How did you make your start in the world as an artist? Did it begin with drawing? Were you formally trained or self-taught? 


I was born in Tehran in 1986. I have been an artist for 30 years. When I was three I started drawing and painting- and since then I have never stopped! I loved fantasy books and Sci-fi movies and I started going to art classes before going to school. I remember I loved telling stories full of robots and UFOs with my paintings. My mother’s cousin, who is an Iranian illustrator, was my first teacher- and when I was a kid, I always wanted to illustrate a children’s book like her. When I was 11 years old I continued my art journey by going to caricature courses and learned how to draw cartoons. I went to NODET (National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents) school in Tehran, Iran, which was a more scientific school. Almost all of the students were interested in science, but I always wanted to be an artist. Therefore I studied Fine Arts and later went on to study at Politecnico di Torino in Italy, graduating with a BA in Industrial Design and Visual Communication. I have lived a multicultural life which has always inspired my art. 



There is a simplicity to your drawings although they are bold and very sophisticated. What is your process in achieving this unique aesthetic? How/where did you develop this style and how do you approach a single drawing versus a series of drawings?


My online drawing journey started when I was in high school. I carried my sketchbook with me and became very fond of drawing daily from my surroundings. One-line drawings for me were the quickest way to capture my environment and the people in it, whether I was at a cafe, or on the bus, or even at a party; I was recording. Sometimes the pieces that I worked more on became the ones that are 1 of 1, but I really wanted to give the opportunity for anyone who wanted to collect my pieces the chance to own these works as well by creating editions of my series. It’s a maturation process that can be hurtful as it consists of letting go of something which I have created. However, it is also very demanding as the minimalism of one-line art requires a certain level of perfection and precision. Every element must have its place and its own intrinsic beauty.


There is so much passion and life behind each line in your portraits. Can you speak to the role poetry and emotion play in how you capture a human likeness with your technique? 


I use a single line with simple elements and colors to convey my own visualization of the deepest emotions we can feel as humans to make complex problems simple. The minimalist nature of a ‘one-line’ drawing requires a lot of precision and is a perfectionist’s nightmare. Every element has its own place and intrinsic visual authority within the image. Crafting a ‘one-line’ drawing is a visually rich and rather complex experience. It’s a process that can be painful sometimes though as I have to ultimately give something away that’s so close to my heart.



Who were some of your earlier influences and artists you admire now? Tell me how their work speaks to you and influenced yours? 


Egon Schiele has been my biggest inspiration. I love the simplicity yet boldness in his drawings. Hamid Bahrami has always been a big inspiration to me, the technique and creativity of his pieces always surprises me. I love Chantel Martin’s work as well, she is great at showing the most meaningful concepts so simple yet stunning. Martin is a fellow one-liner and ambidextrous. I really like how delicate and strong his lines are. Donald Robertson is a great painter, I am amazed by the way he plays with colors and shapes. His humor and intelligence which can be seen both in his art and personal life is something that always amazes me. Heather Day is my other inspiration, she has an incredible approach to shapes and forms. I love the courage she has in the combination of colors, she never stops creating. 


When you brought your work into the NFT space did you anticipate your work would be so well received? You were a trending artist on Opensea and I imagine that was very exciting! 


[The] NFT space made me believe more in myself and my art. I have never experienced the potential of art, as I have seen in this space, it’s nothing like any other work experience. There’s no client work or deadlines. Because of the multicultural nature of NFTs, I have also connected with so many amazing artists from all over the world. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to be able to share the art they love and grow in it as well. I can finally be who I always wanted to be and I’ve finally become a full-time artist, and I’m so thankful for that. 



What are you currently working on?


I am working on some new drops and collaborations with some amazing artists in the NFT space, and I am going to be included in the FOMOLAND exhibition in Switzerland in October and a couple of other huge projects that I will announcing very soon.


To learn more about Parin, check out all her NFTs on TryShowtime, visit her website and follow her online:

Instagram: @parindesigns

Twitter: @ParinHeidari

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David Cash: Welcome, everybody. This is NFTS.WTF, my name is David Cash- I’m the editor in chief, and I am here with the one and only Dan Carr, creator of NiftyKit. Dan, Would you like to introduce yourself and for anybody living under a rock, what is NiftyKit


Dan: Thank you for having me. I’m Dan, and I am the co-founder and CEO of NiftyKit. It’s a subscription-based app that allows you to create smart contracts and NFTs, and sell them on your marketplace. We are heavily focused on creators, so we wanted to provide a tool that makes it easy for people to get in and not be super frustrated with all of the unknowns in there. So we want to help you go from zero to one and get your smart contract, and NFT’s out there so that your fans can start collecting. 


Cash: Awesome, a very noble cause- we need more people like you. I think a lot of artists lately have had growing pains. Our audience members are people who have been in the space a little while, be that five months or five years, encompassing a whole range of experiences. And I think almost everybody who is reading this right now has tried to mint something on Opensea or another platform that has given them a less than ideal result, to put that very nicely. Or have had a situation where they’ve minted NFTs, and a collector would have liked something different in their smart contract, something not so generic. Then on the other side of things, you also have people paying thousands of dollars for front-end and back-end devs to develop something custom, even when what they’re working on doesn’t require such a custom solution. 


So I love your solution, and I think it exists somewhere in that nice sweet spot in the middle of those two places. So from a Degen perspective or an insider community perspective, why would you recommend somebody choose NiftyKit over hiring devs as a turnkey solution?


Dan: So we focus mainly on two things: saving time and money. The space is moving super fast, and if time equals money, we want to be the shortcut to get your project launched. There are tons of ideas, and sadly, some of these great ideas never see the light of day because the project owners get stuck overthinking things. I’ve been in clubhouse rooms where people are looking to get into the space and are being recommended to pick up solidity…  Like, “Hey, it’s fine if you had a MySpace or you’ve done some HTML before, then you should be able to pick it up.” It shouldn’t be like that… So we created this service to be able to help you channel all the energy in those ideas and make minting and smart contract creation really the least of your problems. If you get stuck and hung up on all that technical stuff under the hood, you’re taking away from what you’re going to need to market your product and get it out there. So we want to just [be a] shortcut for people.


In addition to the time, there’s saving money on devs, like you were alluding to. Why would you want to go out and hire devs, I think you would not want to use NiftyKit if you need something more custom. There are a lot more projects coming out with generative aspects that need a little bit more utility baked in. But what NiftyKit does is provide that base layer of NFT support to give you your smart contract. And it’s an ERC 721 smart contract that’s interoperable with Rarible and OpenSea. So we wanted to give you something that gives you the flexibility on creating NFTs and sell them in different ways. Whether you’re listing them on your storefront on NiftyKit, or you’re taking them over to Rarible and OpenSea, listing them there as well. Or we even have people who just do private sales outside of any of these platforms and just transfer it if you trust people that much. So we wanted to just get you past this part zero to one, all in the same day without having to spend weeks trying to figure out what one does with a smart contract.


Cash: For anybody who’s reading this, we have a very special offer. If you’ve made it this far, you’ll be one of the first to hear about it but I’m sure we’re also going to be posting this on their social media. Dan, would you like to tell the folks reading your very generous offer?


Dan: We want to offer a free Ethereum main net smart contract and 10 NFTs for someone to do their next drop, free of charge, gas on us. So yeah, definitely stay tuned and we want to give that away to just show our appreciation and thanks for everyone supporting us and definitely will be plenty more fun giveaways and things that we’ll be doing so we just wanted to kick it off and offer that to you guys.


Cash: Guys, that is a crazy deal; you are too kind. Everybody that’s a $250 value USD, smart contract plus 10 NFTmints, gas included, That’s insane and you guys know what gas is like right now so that’s a big offer. Dan, thank you so much. I appreciate you all taking the time to read to the end!

So how can you go about winning this? You’ll need to follow us on Twitter, Follow NiftyKit on Twitter, quote-retweet our pinned tweet, tag three friends, and subscribe to our newsletter.  After the response to our Fluf giveaway, we thought that it was time to come back with yet another.  And since gas fees have been so fickle lately, we hope one lucky community member appreciates ten free mints and a free custom smart contract, courtesy of Niftykit.

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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 Taylor.wtf 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

Website: http://work.antoni.us/


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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 rarity.tools 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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“We’ve all grown in the digital era so seeing it not being appreciated in a fine art context is almost ludicrous”

 – Robness on Digital Art



My name is Lisa Leggz and as an infant in the crypto/NFT space I was immensely honored with the task of documenting David Cash’s interview with “Robness” in the INSTITUT clubhouse. I listened and learned about the pre-dawn of NFTs before they even had a name. Robness delved into the history of  when crypto was added to the formula adding value perspective, which gave digital art the room to shift into being recognized as an official art form as host David Cash sets it off with the first question…


David: How did you get started as a digital artist?


Robness: “Digital art has been in my blood ever since I was a kid…” Robness shares how expressing himself using photo applications has been a mainstay incorporated into his creative expression alongside his love for music since his childhood. “Luckily I was at the right place at the right time.  In 2014 I was in the Bitcoin space and mostly it was just trying the technology out. And at the time it was more so, everybody trying to make a go and trying out experiments, seeing what we can do with the blockchain.”


He went on to share that, as the years went on, there were many ups and downs with different bitcoin experiments- some taking flight and some falling flat. When the tokenization concept came about, for Robness, it was hard to stomach back then. With Bitcoin still grappling with the modalities of how the currency could be accepted worldwide, everyone else was in something of a frenzy until it evolved into the networks and organizations that came to be what we know now to be the NFTfi space.


David: Considering your mentality around art and the controversial and influential moves you made that paved your way from the very beginning, legitimizing  the NFT art space; how would you describe your relationship towards the term “Trash Art” now and do you still consider yourself a “Trash Artist?”


Robness: “O yea! Honestly most of the credit I give to pretty much everybody else that held some sort of symbiotic connection to it. For me it’s more trying to keep promoting artistic freedom in the space; and I think that’s the most important. To be honest, philosophically, I say it all the time but, seeing Bitcoin take off and be open source I think is one of the most important things that we should probably keep in our heart of hearts around this whole thing. Because if it was closed source, we wouldn’t have Ethereum, we wouldn’t have Tezos, we wouldn’t have Polkadot, or any of these offshoots.


So for me I consider myself an ‘open source artist,’ which is really radical. I’m not saying everybody should do it, but I just think for me it seems proper to do so, because I feel like keeping the information free and keeping art free. I mean it IS a remix culture and besides electronic music, hip hop is the biggest catalyst for that and I really like in terms of remix culture in the digital art format.


Saying all these things, I guess the trash thing is kind of a reaction to that, And even though it was a trash can that was the catalyst for the art piece, I think people understood… The artists actually understood. They understood what I meant with that, and they felt like they needed to express themselves in that light, and I’m totally indebted to them for that- they’re all family to me now… It’s wild to see something like that grow. And almost every day I’ll see someone do a Trash Can Glitch art type of thing, and their own interpretation of it, and it’s wonderful to see.”


David: What are a couple of things some artists/creatives listening can do to be more open sourced as creatives from you, the Robness?


Robness: “On the controversial side I’ve made some artistic statements about people asking for permission for artwork and stuff like that. But for me, the trash concept is kinda like proof in the pudding. If you just go to Opensea and type in ‘trash,’ you’ll see all these remixes. I could’ve easily said to  ‘not make any more of these’ or ‘this is my intellectual property,’ but why? So for me, that’s kinda the way that I look at things.


Be a little bit more open in the space. The digital art medium is so provocative. With just the transfer of the artwork- memes are a perfect example of that. And going back to my history- using the ‘meme’ as a context of spreading artwork is a very powerful thing. And that may be one of the reasons we use the infamous Pepe… Because that’s one of the most iconic internet memes probably in the world.”



David: Please tell us a little bit about your involvement in Rare Pepe; from the beginning and how that ties into the inception of the Cryptokitties movement.


Robness: “My introduction to tokenization was when the Counterparty network came out. That was actually the first time I came across the burning concept,  because the way they did their token sale was you had to burn itcoins to generate XEP tokens, and you needed XEP tokens to create assets. So at first I was burning tokens- and honestly they burned 2000 bitcoin and generated 2 Million XEP tokens… And from that point on then you could burn those tokens to create assets.


At the time there were a couple of blockchain games that were messing around with the itemization- SaruTobi is one of the more infamous ones. so I was beta testing those at the time and, as I’m surfing through the exchange, you could see assets pop up. And so I finally see the Rare Pepe asset, and I’m like what is this? And one of the internet jokes is to make Rare Pepe assets rare- like TRULY rare. So I obviously had to investigate- and all of a sudden- I found a Pepe chat with like 30 people in there- and I inquired to see what’s going on. And then I’m like *audible gasp* it’s happening- people are making their own artwork and tokenizing. That’s when I knew, I was like: I’m here, let’s do this. From that point on we went from 30 members to like 2000. It went worldwide and thousands of cards were made. There’s a huge book, this woman made a book and she minted only 300 copies of all the artwork made within that year. It went worldwide andit was the first real worldwide crypto art movement. It’s just wild to think about right now. Just seeing how big it’s grown now is insane.


“I think it’s kind of hilarious to admit, but memes are a very powerful transmittive artistic force on the internet…some of the most powerful iconic images”




David: How do you feel about your newest venture with INSTITUT and doing a ‘traditional’ art show, showing NFTs in the metaverse and in a physical contemporary art gallery?


Robness: “It’s been great- I say why not! I don’t want to deny art in certain areas, and to be honest, in the final context the pieces I submitted- I actually really love those. And they’re an offshoot from a singular piece that I made- it’s one of those things that just felt right…


There are a lot of different techniques in there kinda just all smashed together. Like I’m using Blender, Artificial Intelligence renderings, the art reader, large glitch art thrown in there as well on the ‘mannequin’ so to speak.

With these pieces, for me, it’s like surrealism, but l a more modern type of surreal. I notice in the Blender world, the 3D there is like a surreal element. Whether it’ll be pieces that defy gravity- it seems like in the 3D world there’s a real passion for doing things that you can’t do in the physical world. And people love to see that. So the closest to reality that you can get to it… surreality gets pretty close.”


Photos courtesy of: 


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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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