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: https://notfungible.com/ 

Game Credits: https://gamecredits.org/ 

Digitible: https://digitible.com/

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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

Website: https://affinitymatrix.network/


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Clubhouse has birthed many breakout projects in the NFT space, but few have attained such a whirlwind launch as 0N1 FORCE. This new-age avatar project includes 100 hand-drawn attributes custom illustrated by IMCMPLX.



After weeks of anticipation, the project sold out in a matter of minutes – crashing the Open Sea platform. It also sparked a collection fervor with Singapore-based The NFTer buying 101 of the 7,777 0N1 FORCE collectibles before the floor shot up.


As of August 30th, the 0N1 floor price was at 3.75 ETH, quickly making the project one of the top 10 collectible projects of all time in terms of sales volume. In addition, members of the “eternal society of the damned” now include influencers such as Logan Paul and Gary Vee and, without a doubt, will bring more mainstream attention to the NFT space.


In the past few weeks, Visa has bought a Cryptopunk, and Arizona Iced Tea has created a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Comic. While much of the early skepticism around NFTs might remain for the general public, it’s clear that, whether we like it or not, significant brands are rapidly entering the space, following behind mainstay art auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips, among others. Some luxury brands, including industry giant Louis Vuitton, are even choosing to launch their own web-3 games and develop their own blockchains.


While more and more new faces enter into the NFT space, the importance of community continues to become increasingly evident. And that’s what makes the 0N1 FORCE project special. Through giveaways, collaborative storytelling, strategic use of Discord, and a derivative contest, ON1 Force leveraged the community to build and activate an even larger community. Many future NFT projects will likely leverage some of the magic that led to the success of 0N1 FORCE (as they should).  


Here are my top three takeaways from the 0N1 FORCE project:


1- It’s all about the story:


Storytelling is critical in any artistic project, and 0N1 FORCE crafted a compelling narrative from its inception. The story of a fallen kingdom and its citizens who must now fight for survival created conflict and a sense of urgency that allowed people to invest in something bigger than just another NFT drop.


By building out the “why” from the beginning, the 0N1 FORCE project was also able to create rarity paired with intention. The 0N1 FORCE clan contains three distinct groups, The YOK-A1 Ghost Spirits (of which there are 5,278), which possess common or rare traits; the B4K3M0-N0 Monster Form ( of which there are 2,100); and the 0N1 elite (of which there are only 392), which are rare demons. 


2- Discord is more than shilling


Before launch, the 0N1 FORCE Discord had more than 15,000 active community members rearing to buy. Discord was initially built for gaming, but it plays a pivotal role in launching new NFT projects. The 0N1 team incorporated elements of the project (such as anime, manga, and RPGs) into its Discord programming, allowing the team to tap into a host of pre-existing communities.


One notable feature of the Discord is the 0N1 Daily Living section, where inventive stories about the 0N1 clan were developed before launch and continue to be shared regularly. A space for creation by community members helped to spawn organic growth while simultaneously empowering people to share their unique storytelling voice.


The team also utilized a wide range of Discord’s built-in features to engage their community. The “radio feature” was used to lean into the project’s lo-fi aesthetic, featuring lo-fi beats and guest DJ sets. Anime movie nights were held, and an 0N1 arcade was also built. Even after launch, programming relevant to the project (such as Japanese lessons) continues.


The success of the 0N1 Discord was largely due to Community Relations/Discord Manager, LinkedEM, and an active moderator squad, which are divided into two groups: “The Favoured” and “The Supreme.” 


According to Linked Em, nostalgia was a heavy focus at the initial stages of building out their community in Discord. Many of the early adopters in the NFT space are tech natives, and there are many games and references the team utilized that resonate with this community. 

3- It’s all in the details


Attention to detail also helped set this project apart. This included incorporating traits that promote representation (such as hearing aids) which made the 0N1 FORCE universe accessible and diverse from the start. 


0N1 FORCE includes many clever nods to other NFT projects. One’s that are easy to spot include the strawberry pin (a rare trait of the elites), which is a nod to Strawberry.WTF (who serves as the project’s front-end designer). These small details helped shine a light on other projects in the NFT eco-system and the 10,000 genesis project from Strawberry.WTF, which sold out the same day as 0N1 FORCE.




Additional project nods include “cool cat ears” to honour the Cool Cats and the “banana pin,” which was included to celebrate the Bored Apes. There are also traits to celebrate 0N1 Force’s community members, including the canary and the rose (in honour of two of the project’s lead Discord moderators).


The 0N1 FORCE project is full of too many easter eggs to mention in one article, in addition to numerous hidden traits that weren’t revealed until mint (such as “the Gods,” which are facing the opposite direction than the other 0N1’s). By adding so many additional layers to the project, 0N1 FORCE has a wealth of fascinating details which they can return to as the 0N1 universe grows.



While we are sure to see many generative projects over the following months, it seems that factors such as attention to detail, elevated art, and a deliberate mint number are becoming more critical. And this is only the beginning for the 0N1 universe, and the team continues to be approached by both brands and celebrities who want to participate in the 0N1 world. Project manager JR Artspace also continues to lead a series of other exciting and multi-dimensional NFT projects, including Ethereals. 

The 0N1 FORCE team includes JR Artspace, EM, IMCMPLX, CryptoSpaces, and Strawberry.

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If you’re old enough to remember or have ever heard about warehouse parties of the late 80s and 90s, you probably know about the rise of the modern-day VJ in nightclubs, raves, and art events. These were the cultural tastemakers of real-time visual performance art; their manipulation of imagery in sync with techno and acid house music was enabled by the technological invention. Dutch painter, punk rocker, and skateboarder Micha Klein was an early trendsetter of this movement in Amsterdam, where his talent for rhythmic editing and computer graphics propelled him to the forefront of his craft. Klein’s work has been widely acclaimed and exhibited in art galleries internationally, including a 10-year retrospective of digital art and video work at the Groninger Museum. That was nearly 25 years ago, so it’s no surprise that he continues to innovate, this time on the blockchain. Klein’s foray into NFT crypto art is a throwback to a computer animation he made popular before the turn of the century. His iconic character “Pillman,” that inspired Rapper Eminem to use Klein’s background projections on his Anger Management tour, is returning to the global stage. Designed by one of the early pioneers of digital 3D animation, Crypto-Pills is the latest and arguably the greatest generative fine art collection of our time.



“As an artist, it’s been really frustrating to see a lot of NFT art really just skate by, while quantity and demand control the market,” Margaret Cleary laments. “It is so enthralling to have an artist who is actually a fucking artist by trade and profession release something of this magnitude, so thank you,” she said. 


Pillman is one of the first optical ray tracing animations, a technique that works by simulating actual light rays, using an algorithm to trace the path that a beam of light would take in the physical world. What makes each Crypto-Pill NFT unique is the artwork itself and the fact that this NFT project has been 30 years in the making (3 years before Pixar and Toy Story were introduced). More than two decades before Rare Pepes, Cryptopunks, and CryptoKitties, Klein’s personified capsule danced on stages with arms and legs and dilated pupils. “I was playing in the clubs from Ibiza to Miami, and everywhere,” Klein mused. “Pillman built quite a name for itself, this character,” he recalls. Pillman was relatable to partygoers everywhere Klein performed, largely due to MDMA culture, also called Ecstacy and later known as Molly.



“I love hip hop, and the rave scene in London, and all the acid and all the drugs, and that was all part of music,” Q the collector reminisces. “And the way that Micha is launching Crypto-Pills with the gallery at the same time, he’s mixing physical and digital. People in China and Hong Kong are really into Micha’s work, so I think this is the perfect project,” Q noted. Crypto-Pills is the first major NFT avatar collection to be launched in Hong Kong and Klein’s first major project in Asia. Start Art Gallery will leverage its physical venue to exhibit diverse NFT artworks from global artists; positioning itself as a new type of gallery aimed at building a “Chain Art” community. The gallery is committed to connecting leading NFT artists and collectors and creating new art with future growth potential. Start Art gallery will officially open in Hong Kong on September 5th, 2021.


The nostalgic Pillman has been remixed and reimagined in a myriad of forms as NFT collectibles, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. “I felt a digital renaissance going on, and I had to be in this space,” Klein insisted. “My Genesis drop is based on a huge variety of different Pillman characters and personalities,” he explains. Crypto-Pills are multi-gender, multi-colour avatars that are algorithmically generated from 37 categories and 504 traits. Each of 10,000 collectible tokens is a unique work of art that will be revealed at the time of minting. Having delivered projects for the likes of Disney and Coca-Cola, Klein’s vector artwork is remarkably detailed, with 3000×3000 pixel depth

resolution. To generate his collection, Micha created 500 illustrations by hand. Crypto-Pills are stored as ERC-721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and hosted on IPFS. Crypto-Pills costs 0.07Ξ, with no bonding curves, and fair distribution.



A Solidity Solution: Presale Distribution

The NFT artist community has become painfully aware that ETH-laden opportunists are violating the fair minting process at the contract level in clandestine collaboration with savvy code pirates. Solidity contract breaches aren’t considered theft in the literal sense—simply because each bundle of expropriated NFTs is nonetheless paid for. However, each inciting incident erodes project developers’ public trust and credibility, who some suspect are in cahoots. Cracking the contract code prevents hundreds of artists and collectors from ever obtaining the most coveted collectibles.


The way Klein decided to solve this—and there are certainly different ways, including intermittent supply drops etc., was to create a whitelist of presale commitments directly from supporters in his Discord community. The process was simple: DM and state your request to purchase up to 20 Crypto-Pills by late evening PST August 25th. Each Metamask address was added to the smart contract to enable the collector to initiate their own minting during a 12-hour presale window of opportunity created by Klein. Presale minting will occur at 11:11 pm Hong Kong standard time on August 27, which is exactly 12 hours before the official sale of Crypto-Pills at 11:11 am EST on the very same day. This affords each presale collector plenty of time to mint their Crypto-Pills while gas is relatively low within that 12-hour win. In addition, the random generator assures each collector has a fair and equal opportunity to experience rarity, no matter when they decide to mint.


“If you really love your community, give us early access to the presale,” David Koroma urged. “I’ve been in discord groups for certain projects that go on later to blow up after I was there for a couple of months loving their stuff, and if I had that early opportunity, I would have bought in for sure,” Koroma emphasized.

“If bots get them, and collectors have to pay 4x the price to get in, there’s a whole heap of people who miss out on buying three,” CryptoWizard77 warned. “Flipping between friends at the low levels to get the ones they really like is healthy for the community and the project. It creates a solid floor to kickstart the secondary market rather than just a massive jump,” he explained.



The obvious upside to pre-sales is that even if nefarious crypto pirates seize an unauthorized quantity of Crypto-Pills during the official minting, nearly 500 collectors have already spoken for 45% of the Crypto-Pills available supply. This is a huge win for the crypto community, which has felt powerless to leverage its ability to acquire NFTs from any of the high-profile drops. FUD and FOMO have undoubtedly raised a level of anxiety and tension that discourages newcomers from attempting to become collectors, and Klein’s thankless efforts to defend his intellectual property is a noteworthy act of empathy and equity. It’s important to note that Klein and his team are inputting each wallet address manually. It was suggested Klein use collab.lab in the future because it offers an automated solution for developers who are considering pre-sales as an alternative offering to avoid the backlash they may inevitably face.


Pushing Pills for Good

“These pills are going to do some good in the world,” Klein assured. I am donating 5% of proceeds to Save The Children, a charity that helps disadvantaged children in desperate need of medication, shelter, and food worldwide. This is my personal donation that will be written into the smart contract for full transparency,” he added.


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The heist of the Chiptopunks began with one of the most anticipated generative art drops in recent memory. Last Friday afternoon, Chiptopunks was poised to reveal their remarkably unique 3D animated NFTs for a frantic fanbase of anxious collectors.


On its official site, the countdown clock to start minting Chiptopunks expired without incident. That’s when chaos erupted, and within that very minute, an angry mob of crypto town-criers descended upon the Discord group. With their tiki torches ablaze and their knives out, they stormed the ChiptoStage, hurling insults and accusations at a pair of disoriented developers.


Even accidents can become art on the blockchain. The Chiptopunks Discord prophesied controversy before the drop ever happened. Unlike most generative art projects touting 10,000 collectibles, only 512 Chiptopunks NFTs were minted, with at least 8 Chiptopunks spoken for before the drop went live. Bored Apes and Cryptopunks accounts were tweeting about the Chiptopunks at least a week beforehand, while the Chiptopunks Discord grew 4x more members than the number of NFTs minted. This didn’t discourage countless collectors who were ready to chip in, knowing they had little or no chance of getting one. Everyone in the drop party was ready and waiting to rush the secondary market before the floor rose too high.


“How many people are pissed when they’re standing outside a Supreme store waiting for a t-shirt drop?” LordNefty ranted. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an inside job—it’s not, and I know that for a fact,” he emphasized. Although LordNefty claims to have exploited a weakness in the Solidity contract and absconded 150 Chiptopunks by “accident,” proof he owns the transacting wallet has yet to be provided. 


So what really happened? How is it that so few collectors managed to secure a Chiptopunk? And how did a single wallet bag 150 NFTs when a single transaction limit was set for 3-mint max?




“I can say without a doubt they made an error in their code,” says Ryan Satterfield, owner of Planet Zuda, a cyber-security company specializing in information security and hacking the internet of things (IoT). “I would love to applaud them on the work they put into security, but, in this space, every character matters,” Satterfield emphasized. “I would not make such a statement without having fully reviewed their contract that’s publicly available.”


A Solidity contract is a collection of code (its functions) and data (its state) that resides at a specific address on the Ethereum blockchain. You can think of it as single slots in a database that can be queried and altered by calling functions of the code that manages the database. “Solidity looks deceptively simple, but it’s much much harder than it looks,” says Dimitrios Kouzis-Loukas, Fintech Senior Engineer/Architect at Bloomberg LP. Kouzis-Loukas is responsible for leading teams of engineers that develop tools and infrastructure to ensure that Bloomberg’s systems are up and stable. “Don’t get me wrong,” he continued. “People do an excellent job, but still. Smart contracts and solidity are so new, and people are still trying to figure them out.”



“The NFT contract for Chiptopunks was published 6 hours before the drop, and someone was able to write a custom contract,” says 0xFloop. “The way the Ethereum blockchain works is when you’re calling internal functions from a contract, you don’t have to wait for each one to go through. Someone did 33 buys of 3 each, and that goes through in one transaction. That’s what knowing how to code and actually understanding Solidity allows you to do.”


“The contract is vanilla,” claims LordNefty. “They copied and pasted their contract, and filled in the blanks,” he asserts. “This project has been on my radar for some time, knowing I was going to use the contract to buy more than 3,” he claims. Yet and still, there’s no proof that LordNefty actually did the ‘bundling’. “One by one, I’m going to send them to the burn wallet,” he said.


Burning them all doesn’t affect the current market as it exists; there would be no market dump or supply-side disruption. It was suggested that LordNefty raffle them all at a set price. He could also make a contract that allows a re-drop of 150 NFTs and set the mid-price like an auction, but that could result in thousands of people attempting to buy 150 NFTs, with no guarantee the same thing wouldn’t happen again. However it is yet to be verified that LordNefty is in fact the owner of 150 Chiptopunks, so all of this may still be speculative by the time this article is published.

GaperArt could potentially use the Ethereum self-destruct function to dynamically update the code, or use it to make the current contract non-operable in the future while transferring everything to another contract,” Satterfield suggests. “The opcode SelfDestruct can be used to update contracts already on the blockchain or redirect the contract to a new contract. However, SelfDestruct in itself is also dangerous to most contracts on the blockchain because anyone can update or delete the code of any project if it isn’t protected against SelfDestruct.” This is because the opcode doesn’t require consent to be used against a contract. However, you can use SelfDestruct to update patching contracts from being exploited by SelfDestruct, as long as that function hasn’t been removed from the Ethereum version you’re using. “Vitalik” Buterin, the Russian-Canadian programmer and co-founder of Ethereum, wants to remove this opcode.



“I’m an artist at heart,” Cam Taylor professed. “Gaper.eth wrote the code. Our intention was to provide something unique and special, something different from a lot of the stuff that’s out there right now and we’re fucking bummed,” he apologizes. We didn’t want it to go this way. All the comments saying we know it’s a scam like we’re in on it couldn’t be further from the truth. We care deeply about this project. Honestly, I just wanted to create the most badass fucking 3D punk heads possible for y’all, and we’re fucking pissed that this happened,” Taylor said.


“This is not how we intended the drop to go,” says gaper.eth. “All we wanted was to build community and to have a solid drop. We had no intention of one whale buying 150 of the supply.” 


“This isn’t even how you build community, though,” ab7#5635 lamented on Discord. “Building a community would start at a really low price to give people the opportunity to get into your project. The art is really fucking good. Chances are they’re gonna hold. It really sucks there’s a lot of people that were priced out, to begin with,” she regrets. 


Adding insult to injury, OpenSea initially verified the wrong contract, leading some collectors, including myself, to purchase illegitimate NFTs. One such collector purchased at least 5 of them. So when you search for Chiptopunks NFT on OpenSea, be sure it’s the collection with 512 items. Some of them are available on the secondary market, and despite everything that went wrong, there’s always an upside.


“We haven’t settled on the exact percentage or amount yet, but we are going to take a portion of the profits, and we are going to be purchasing iPads with Procreate, or possibly laptops. We’re giving them to underprivileged children who would like to be able to make art,” Taylor promised. “We’re gonna figure out the right organization to work with, and we want to make it transparent to show that we believe in art and technology. We want to give back in some way.”

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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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First of all, let me start by saying that I’m not a “Journalist.” I’m a Blockchain Evangelical. And I’m here for my people and our culture. Idgaf who you are or what you’re promising on the back end, we kick the tires and check under the hood of every project. Calling balls and strikes and keeping it a buck with the NFT/Crypto community. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s talk about the elephant in the room.


Tory Lanez is suspected of going platinum in 57 seconds.


Uhm yeah, that’s it, that’s all I can say for sure about this drop. They say he sold x amount of tokens which grant access to some kind of blockchain Spotify/YouTube type platform where you can stream this music exclusively. I have so many problems with this drop, and I’m not getting paid enough to do this to list every single issue I had. Still, I will say that not being able to get a straight answer on how many unique wallet addresses were used in the sale and the total lack of transparency in the way the platform moves have dashed almost all of the hopes I had for it when I initially heard about the release. After spending 2-3 hours grilling a high up from the platform who will remain nameless, the conclusion I came to was that there’s just nothing here to be excited about from an independent artist’s perspective or as an NFT artist.  


Ok, cool, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to say that Tory Lanez and everyone involved should take a bow. Because he’s probably done more to onboard people that look like him into the crypto-NFT space than anyone, period. Kudos to you bro, get ya bag; I ain’t mad.



What I will say is the drop is more significant than the dropper. It’s not about Tory anymore; it’s about NFT’s. The nature of this drop only concerns those of us native to the NFT community. On Reddit, the usual wishful thinking and speculative analysis are going on. IRL, more and more people are researching NFT’s every day, discovering not only this drop but how hot the market is overall. And for the layperson just finding out about NFTs, it’s a cool and innovative product from a familiar face. Whether or not cancel culture and a backlash to it played a part in the success of this NFT is not only impossible to quantify, it’s irrelevant. 


Nobody cares. All they care about is the bag. That million dollars he keeps telling them they get to make something off of. Cool, I appreciate you spotlighting elements of Decentralized Finance and screaming from the rooftops that the NFTs are the future. I can’t knock it since It’s my calling in life. But like I’ve said before and I will say again: the ethos of this community is grounded in transparency and immutability. And this ain’t that. 


Now whatever this is will shake itself out in the secondary market- which is set to open up on the 24th of August, if the demand is there and the tech is sound we will come back here to the blockchain pulpit and sing their praises till the cows come home. But if they think that we’re gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe again, guess who’s got another thing coming. Either way, I’ll be back with a follow-up to this story in a few days.



“The NFT World takes all of the knowledge, information, and experiences we have from every industry and flips it on its head by adding layers of true transparency while providing an opportunity of maintaining anonymity. 


While this poses great problems and solutions, in the case of Tory’s Album, it’s a problem —  because there’s no proof or receipts. Not to mention being hosted on a standalone, seemingly fly-by-night platform that any middle schooler who knows even basic web design, HTML, and/or CSS could produce. 


There’s no mnemonic code to keep your wallet safe and secure; you don’t own the actual copyright to the music. The list goes on and on. Having worked in the music industry for a decade-plus. I’ve seen my fair share of lipstick on a pig, smoke in mirror rollouts alongside labels & individuals buying their own records to inflate the image and perpetuate the lie of popularity/interest in a specific project, brand, or product. This is no different, and I feel like watching how the money moves would show us how fugazi this whole drop was.


If you want a Case Study of What Not To Do in the NFT space, 

this is your poster child.”  — Eric Spivak / Motivate



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The Sad Frogs District collection has been delisted from Opensea following a copyright claim from the original creator of the Pepe meme, Matt Furie. This has consequences for NFT projects to consider and may have far-reaching legal consequences. It also forces the consideration of the centralization of marketplaces in the decentralized NFT space.

The Sad Frogs District (SFD) project launched somewhat controversially on August 9th, selling out 7000 Sad Frogs each priced at 0.05 ETH in less than 5 minutes. Central to the artwork was a frog character. The project saw success and was verified by Opensea on the 12th of August, and things seemed to be going well enough. Enter: Matt Furie.

Furie has been in the NFT space for a while, he is the creator of the successful PEGZ NFT project. He is also no stranger to DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claims, having filed copyright claims multiple times in the past, having won a lawsuit for $150,000 from Infowars, the show hosted by Alex Jones. Matt has become proficient at hunting down uses of his caricature and filing claims against them. Claims that often stretch the limits of intellectual property law. Initially, Furie targeted exact replications of his meme, but with his pursuit of SFD, Furie is attempting to lay claim to the artwork of frogs that bear very little resemblance to his own.



US copyright law allows for the “fair use” of intellectual property such as “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research,” among other things. Furthermore, works that are considered “transformative” in that they recreate the original work in a substantially different way are often not considered infringements of copyright at all. Copyright owners are allowed to submit DMCA claims which centralized organizations tend to comply with. This marks the beginning of a potentially long and expensive legal process.

Opensea has been known to comply with the DMCA in the same fashion most legacy companies would. They have delisted several projects imitating the famed CryptoPunks collection to varying degrees, even without known DMCA claims against them. As the largest NFT marketplace, Opensea has a lot of power, all of which appears centralized contrary to the tagline on their homepage. Their motivation is to be as compliant as possible to appease existing and future shareholders.

SFD may or may not be an infringement of Furie’s copyright, and the SFD team has reportedly already submitted a counter-DMCA, beginning the process of appealing the decision. While this process continues, SFD token holders aren’t able to sell their NFTs as freely, with the main option left available being risky private sales (which can be overcome with p2p trades). This obviously has negative repercussions on token holders pending the resolution of the dispute.


Photo Credit Sad Frog District


Beyond reducing liquidity for the project and making it difficult to buy and sell, such actions on behalf of Opensea can seriously impact a project’s reputation. Opensea are seen as arbitrators of the NFT space, deciding on no firm basis which projects receive their blue verification check (which SFD did). These actions impact thousands of people and should not be taken likely by Opensea. Considering the livelihoods involved, the very least Opensea could do is stop enforcing DMCA claims automatically.


In the SFD case, Furie has ten to fourteen days upon receipt of the appeal to hire legal counsel and respond with a lawsuit if he so chooses. This choice could have far-reaching consequences. If Furie chooses to go to court, any determinations made as part of the ruling could impact copyright law generally and the NFT space specifically, and may be used as precedent in future rulings.


Photo Credit: TylerOSU

Asked for comment, SFD stated that their work is substantially different from Pepe the Frog. Their belief is that Furie’s actions represent a grave overreaching on behalf of Furie, and that he is not entitled to lay claim to every frog on the internet. They have voiced concerns over their community and ~1900 token holders, and are not looking for further escalation. 


There is also a fair chance that a court will concede that their artwork is sufficiently transformative, invalidating Furie’s claim. Nonetheless, this will be a long legal battle for which Furie is far better financially equipped, indicating a settlement or personal benefit could be the intention behind this claim. Furie can spend more on legal fees to get a deal out of the SFD team, putting them at a disadvantage.


Photo Credit: Sad Frogs District

On the bright side, Furie may choose to advance and allow freedom of expression and not press charges. It would not detract from the value of his PEGZ collection. There can be more than one frog on the internet, and the advances of an original creation only add value to that original creation. Just look at the value of Cryptopunks as an example; it increases with each variation that spreads its legend further. 


NFTs are all about circumventing gatekeepers and allowing equality of opportunity and expression. Copyright is not in conflict with these ideas and should certainly be respected, but should not be applied so strictly as to infringe on our core values. Furthermore, centralization of a decentralized space enables legacy systems and automatic DMCA responses to significantly hurt growing initiatives. These systems need to be rethought to nurture innovation in the NFT space.

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The NFT explosion, which began in March 2021, was driven, in part, by mainstream media coverage of NFTs: from high-priced sales to brands experimenting in the space. But mainstream media outlets also jumped into the world of NFTs themselves with a variety of news-related releases, from classic covers to historical news items. A recent effort by Fortune included a group of NFTs based on digital artist Pplpleasr‘s cover for its August/September issue. Though noteworthy for combined sales of 429 ETH, currently valued at $1.3 million, Fortune‘s success with NFTs is also representative of what can happen when mainstream media embraces rather than ridicules emergent cultural efforts.


Magazine Covers as NFTs

Magazine covers offer one particularly ripe area of exploration. For example, TIME drew on and updated its history with a series of three NFTs released in March, “including one of the most iconic covers in TIME’s 98-year history, and the first-ever cover designed exclusively as an NFT.” The total take from the three NFTs was $446,000 worth of ETH and became a relatively early indicator that NFTs could be more than a marketing tool and might well become a significant revenue source.


Of course, mistakes were made. Forbes claimed in April to be the first to turn a magazine cover into an NFT, reminding one that TIME could have put out a “Fact-Checking Is Dead” cover as well. Such failures during this period were quite common, with many “first-ever” claims from media outlets, pr firms and corporate tweeters that were readily dismissed with a simple Google search.


Oddly enough, SPIN, which is now all-digital, announced NFTs in March that “classic covers” were coming soon but it has yet to follow through. It seems to have gotten stuck at the collecting emails stage.


Fortune Goes All In

Some media outlet experiments, such as that of the NY Times, were presented with a somewhat baffled “Why Did Someone Pay $560,000 for a Picture of My Column?” perspective. In contrast, Fortune seems to be embracing not only NFTs but the world of blockchain as well. In a recent package of articles covering NFTs, crypto, and DeFi, Fortune showed that a very mainstream media outlet could, in fact, find writers who can understand what’s happening in this new world and can communicate it without the need to crack jokes.


Signaling buy-in from the very top, Fortune CEO Alan Murray titled his daily newsletter discussing the package, “Fortune is all in on blockchain.” Fortune‘s approach, and this collection of articles, is an impressive move, and one hopes this quality of coverage continues. But, ironically, its ranking of the NFTy50, which we will probably now see annually, is strongly off the mark, including numerous famous people who would be best described as dabblers in NFT Land.


Nevertheless, many key players in the space are included, and the questionable entries are more than balanced out by folks playing essential roles that predate the 2021 boom. One artist on the list, pplpleasr, was commissioned by Fortune to do a striking cover which was subsequently released as an NFT. Fortune also included an autobiographical piece by pplpleasr sharing her journey into the land of crypto, DeFi and NFTs.


Fortune‘s NFT Cover Art Sales

Outside of Playboy‘s work with Slimesunday, pplpleasr’s Fortune cover is one of the very few mainstream media NFT projects involving an actual crypto artist. In addition, while the published magazine cover designed by pplpleasr is a static image, the NFTs themselves include livelier variations. 


The sale on OpenSea occurred in two parts, with an initial offering of 256 images priced at 1 ETH each, followed by a three-day set of auctions of “three special edition NFTs featuring more in-depth graphics.” Though the auctions encountered a variety of difficulties, including denial of service attacks, the combined sales ultimately totalled 429 ETH, currently valued at $1.3 million.


Despite the obstacles to the auctions, Fortune‘s NFT sales were more than a financial success. The effort demonstrated that NFT artists and mainstream media can work together quite productively, especially since many NFT artists now come from commercial backgrounds in such fields as animation and visual effects, as did pplpleasr. It also revealed that mainstream media outlets can indeed cover NFTs and related topics without condescension and tedious attempts at humour.


However, once such coverage becomes mundane, the lasting lesson may be that NFTs offer media companies an opportunity to take a marketing cost center and transform it into a unique revenue center of its own. Given many major media outlets’ successful entry into affiliate content marketing, such as the NY TimesWirecutter, creating NFT commerce operations does not seem much of a stretch. And, in the end, if the often struggling world of media can establish a lucrative new revenue stream, even reluctant editorial staff members are more likely to come around.

Featured Image: Screenshot of Fortune NFTs on OpenSea


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Today we are joined by none other than Superchief Gallery’s Ed Zipco! We’re excited to talk with Ed about our ongoing NFTS.WTF interview series about traditional art galleries entering the NFT sphere. Today’s article, transcribed from a fabulous interview via Zoom, will be the first of three parts with Superchief NYC, so please check back to gain more valuable insights from the gallerist leading the way. Ed, Thank you so much for your time and for allowing us to bring your insights on the NFT market at large, specifically about galleries that have traditionally shown artists pre-NFT world.


Rebecca: You’ve been working with digital artists for six years already and launched the first NFT art gallery, which is pretty amazing! Your first NFT exhibition involved major traditional artists like Logan Hicks, Alex Schafer, Ron English, etc. From a gallerists’ perspective, what was the onboarding process like for traditional artists entering the NFT sphere? Did you have to set up a Metamask wallet for each artist and talk with them about minting?


Ed: Across the board, in March, many artists were unaware of the crypto and NFT world, and their experience ran the gambit. Our first exhibition was about introducing NFTs to our community and then our community to the NFT market, so I feel calling our first show “Season One Starter Pack” was really accurate. For that first group show, we worked with artists to mint for them where the minted works actually say Superchief Gallery as the creator, and we had paper contracts and emails going back and forth to make it known that it was official. I was concerned that artists might rush into the world of crypto and then lose their seed phrase or do something that would damage them long term. We have a long relationship with these artists, some going back ten years, so for me, the most important thing was that their entrance to NFTs was safe, and we’d be giving them a positive experience acting as a custodian in that first wave. Since that is also how Nifty Gateway approaches it, I realized that the creator is always Nifty Gateway. It gave us a little more confidence that we were entering the market in a way that was already happening. After which we’d be able to talk to artists from that point to slowly teach them how to create their wallets, build different relationships with the marketplaces that we curate for or interact with in addition to our own marketplace, and try to find the best and right audience for them online. 


Rebecca: That’s interesting that the minting initially originated from the SuperChief wallet.


Ed: For that first exhibition, it was really about us creating an account on OpenSea and bringing our artists’ artwork through that with their information, artwork details and descriptions, and making it, so we have a long relationship with our artist base and our collector base in the art world as a whole. The idea that we would be able to be a trusted, check-verified existence on OpenSea would allow people to feel that they’re getting the real deal. It was a big responsibility to run the accounting for that, and I see what marketplaces go through on a larger scale. It was really important to safely onboard our artists and guide them through the early stages of it. There’s still a lot where our guidance and strategy are a priority today, but at this point, the majority of our artists are starting to make their wallets and be a little more ready. 


Rebecca: Yet for the “Cicada and Tymbal” show, which opened at the end of July, Swoon minted those works, right? And then transferred the NFTs to the Superchief Gallery wallet, so you became the custodian until the works find their collectors, is that the second approach you guys have?


Ed: Yes, we worked with her team to teach them the good practices of how to actually have their own wallet and how to get their Coinbase so they can get their money out of crypto when they want to. All of those steps were the beginning of phase two that we’ve been doing, which is encouraging artists to have their autonomy now that they’re ready for it.



Rebecca: The crypto and NFT art world is a black and white issue for many gallerists, yet some galleries in the crossover are intrigued by it but have no footing as to where to start. So knowing what you know now, would you suggest that galleries having their first NFT exhibition mint the artists’ genesis works, help guide them into safe practices, help onboard them into crypto art, and later transitioning towards showing works that are then minted from the artists’ wallets? Is there anything you would have done differently or changed knowing how to help other galleries get into the space?


Ed: For us, it was a bit of a time-specific moment. With the amount of education that everyone has gone through in the last four months, I feel that a much larger percentage of artists are starting to become familiar with it, and in practice, I will be transparent. Many artists are still just learning about it, and they could need that sort of help from their galleries. There’s an important responsibility on a gallery that has real relationships to their artists, that will walk step by step with their artists into this world. I think that for the traditional art world, it’s still so new. There are many ways for people to guide their artists through it. 


We actually opened up a consultant arm of our gallery, so now we can properly consult artists that we work with as well as artists that we don’t work with. We also consult for several different galleries now, and there are other people that we’ve signed NDAs with that we can’t discuss who we’ve consulted with also. It’s been really wonderful. Strategy is still super important -how you roll things out, how you talk about those things you’re rolling out, but above all, these are opportunities to connect with your community and connect with your audience as an artist. Encouraging artists and guiding them to a place where they can take that really seriously and embrace the opportunities that are being laid out, that’s our highest and best use.



Rebecca: The consulting arm that you’re building to go along with the Superchief brand will even more solidify your leadership in the space, so that’s great to hear.


Ed: It’s really about information sharing. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with other CEOs and tech firms that are really doing incredible work. It’s those types of conversations that get us from A to Z. Like sharing information, market trends, strategies on the day in and day out, but even more so really dialing it into the relationships in the community is the core of it all.


Rebecca: It’s the core, not to overuse the buzzword of decentralization, but it’s also the decentralization of knowledge.


Ed: Exactly.


Rebecca: Another thing that galleries are worried about when talking about artist autonomy and decentralization is that galleries don’t want to enter the space because they’re worried they’re going to get cut out of revenue or proceeds from artists’ sales, which is a valid concern. There’s a big enough pie for artists to succeed with or without galleries, and brick and mortar IRL galleries showing NFTs is going to be essential for mainstream, widespread adoption.   



Ed: Absolutely.


Rebecca: But not all galleries understand that there are ways to split revenues between artist and gallery through smart contracts, the concept of royalties after the sale on secondary, or talking about who the original creator of the wallet is and why that difference is matters. It’s not just a one time sale where the work is bought from a gallery, and the transaction is done, and the sale is split between them and the artist, but when you roll into secondary markets and revenues, it’s interesting that a lot of gallerists whom I’ve spoken with have no idea how to navigate being able to still get a slice of that initial sale as well as portions of recurring sales on works they’ve helped place in collections, not being a part of secondary, which could all be solved with smart contracts that specify those parameters to each gallery’s and artist’s liking. Every gallery may need to get a dev to write a smart contract just like they’d need to get legal support to write a paper contract specifying all the details. As a gallerist in the space that’s helping pave the way and lay the groundwork for other galleries to follow suit and learn from, do you think that’s it’s going to be essential that galleries show NFTs if it fits with their programming and how much of a percentage should they take? Should it be 50/50?


Ed: Absolutely not. First of all, I think galleries who don’t want to engage with this is because they’re afraid that the democratization of access to artists is going to put them out of business. If that is their fear, they didn’t have a business model to begin with. I think if they’re afraid that suddenly being the doorway to purchase the artwork from them is closed if that’s the only thing they’re bringing to the table, then they should be afraid. I think that’s very accurate. But those are the same fears they put on Instagram; the fact that people can directly talk to their audience, although muted by the algorithm, but can still have a direct conversation to their audience through DMs with their collector base. And those are really selfish responses to an opportunity for artists to be able to support themselves. Artists spend a lot of time and effort building those audiences and making those connections, and to stand between those opportunities and the artist is bullshit. 


We as a gallery have always worked hard to step it up and provide value to the artists we choose to support; we work really hard to get them press, their work photographed, to get exhibitions where the community can gather and celebrate that moment, fostering that community and beyond that really having a defined vision for your curatorial style and what you’re trying to push into the world is really where that value comes from. Why we’re involved in the first place, is to support an aesthetic that’s a Venn diagram of our interests and of the artists, and I think that’s holy work, you know? That effort on our part is proving our value to our artists. We have a strongly built relationship with our community that we bring to artists, and trying to always earn it is a healthy way to have a business relationship. It’s the responsibility of the gallery to prove that value. Being forward-thinking when there are new technological advances that could support and benefit our artist base is worth looking into. The opportunity that artists could finally get royalties off their work is worth putting everything into. That’s a complete paradigm shift and watershed moment, and there’s a far better chance of our artists surviving and continuing to make work, which is our highest goal: that these artists can continue to create work and don’t have to compromise or don’t have to stop so they can really follow that career path, which we all want to see as fans. And for those that invest in and believe in artists, we want to enable them resources that are beyond us. That is really important. 


In a year, I would be very shocked if every website wasn’t already on Web 3.0 and had their own metamask integration on Chrome which allows people to buy NFTs from the artist website directly; I think that’s a no brainer, just like how people can buy things via Shopify. 



Rebecca: Shopify just announced they’ll allow selling NFts!


Ed: Yeah, the access is there. The importance of being a gallery and being a cultural center is that we really embrace and support the artists we believe in, the ones that speak to us, and the ones we really want to get behind. There will always be a purpose in supporting that and a value that we can bring to the table by bringing a community together and showing them something we love. That has its own inherent value. 


Certain models may shift as the digital becomes brick and mortar and as more physical galleries begin to engage and work with NFTs. Since the model is really built off a “no overhead” scenario where there is no physical location -you don’t have lights, you don’t have gallery staff to install the works- a 50% cut doesn’t seem as reasonable. Why would you get the higher percentage if you don’t have the general costs associated with running a gallery? So the 15% approach makes a lot of sense, but as that relationship enters the physical gallery again, it would be interesting to see how it shifts and how physical time is considered in that. But I think that’s a future problem; right now, it’s about engaging with the artists we love and with the NFT community and cross-legitimize them in each other’s eyes to boost this moment for the art world. 


(End of Part 1 in the Series)


Superchief Gallery NYC is a pioneer in the NFT gallery sphere and is located at 56 East 11th Street in NYC. They have worked with digital artists for six years and recently committed to the digital art frontier by opening the world’s first physical NFT gallery in NYC in March.

Please visit www.superchiefgallerynft.com

Featured Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/superchiefgallery/

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Hermine Bourdin is a Self-taught sculptor based in Paris, France. Hermine creates works inspired by the feminine lines of the female body. In her work, Hermine seeks to represent full, proud sensual women. Her work is currently on view in various galleries in Paris, Nice, Berlin, NYC, Copenhagen & Hangzhou. Hermine is currently designing a metaverse where she will premiere her work alongside a group of collaborators in the space. 


Your practice is a very formal art form. When did you begin sculpting and why? 


I was passionate about sculpture from a very young age. Being a sculptor was a crazy dream I had read and I studied the work of many great sculptors but I had never acted on it. It was only after a big loss in my family that something clicked in my mind and it dawned on me that time goes by so fast…I decided to make the jump and turn this passion into a full-time practice. I had many sketches and ideas of shapes so I started to test various materials to find which medium could work the best for me. I started to take lessons in stone carving, metal welding, plaster moulding, etc. I didn’t know if this envy to sculpt was just a whim or if I was able to produce anything exchangeable for real, I had never sculpted in my life. But the more I was putting energy and time into it the more this envy became stronger and I knew it was it.


What artists do you admire and are there masters you studied that moved you to become an artist?


There are so many artists I admire. I would put Camille Claudel at the top of the list and August Rodin, their work is so alive and intense. The Rodin museum is by far one of my favourite places in Paris. I also admire a lot Constantin Brancusi and Barbara Hepworth, Louise Bourgeois Marisol Escobar and Fernand Léger, the list is endless! I also had the chance to meet Laurence Brice in Biot who was the daughter-in-law of Roland Brice, the ceramist of Fernand Léger himself and I learned a lot from her. 


Are there personal experiences from your life that you draw on that influence your work?


Cinema has been a big source of inspiration for me. My parents made me watch many classical black and white movies and I remember loving the Italian films of the Cinecittà, especially Fellini and Visconti. I recall seeing the figures and shapes of Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita and thinking ‘Wow, that is a real woman.’ I’ve always admired curvy actresses like Sophia Lauren, Claudia Cardinale, Josephine Baker, Maryline Monroe, those ladies still inspire me today. I’ve always admired curves rather than sharp angles and that’s what made me want to sculpt this way using plump sensual feminine lines. 


When I started to sculpt, it was instinctive. It felt very natural to show feminine forms because to me this was the feminine shape is perfection. I think a sculptor always tries to sculpt perfection, at least to their eyes. Some see perfection in angles, squares, or geometric forms, some see perfection in imperfection like with Wabi-Sabi for instance. To me, perfection is found in full, voluptuous, curvy feminine shapes. My women are proud, generous, and protective, at least that’s what I try to portray in my work. 


Could you expand on your inspiration to work in the medium of sculpture? Was there a moment you felt called to pursue this passion for working with your hands?


When I was a kid I lived with my aunt and uncle who were craftsmen and farmers, they would do everything themselves, everything was handmade. Living with them for several years I developed the skills of the art of how to use my hands through making cheese, farming, gardening, winemaking, etc! At Christmas time my aunt would make us sculpt figurines using clay. That’s when I first encountered this material that I loved so much. This medium remained dear to me but it was only later that I went back to it. I had the idea that clay wouldn’t work for the shapes I had in mind, that it was too soft and saggy but, it turned out to be the best material for me, a very familiar warm medium related to my childhood. So after trying out stone carving and metal welding I returned to clay and I found it was a very sensual medium, very feminine moreover. I recall a specific instance when I was a teenager having just moved to Paris, I had a friend whose father was a sculptor and I remember being in awe visiting his studio, it felt like this weird déjà vu.


How did you arrive at these unique figurative shapes? What was and what is your process from conception to completion?

I spent hours sketching the sculptures of Rodin and Zadkine or the abstract work of Brancusi, they inspired me a lot. I realize that it’s by sketching that I started to want to sculpt and give life to these drawings. Sketching is a key part of my work.

Every piece starts with an idea and once imagined, the shape is drawn before beginning a long dialogue with the material, doing and undoing the work until each piece comes to life into a perfect balance of curves and movements. Then I start the meticulous process of adding the finishing touches giving each piece its unique sensual texture. 

Can you elaborate on your choice of materials and how you decide to use a particular material and its significance in your pieces?

To sculpt in sandstone is very related to what I try to represent, thriving free voluptuous women. I see every woman as a potential sculptor or shaper of life, one can distinguish a womb within the opening of the pieces, but one can also see Earth, homogeneous to my material of choice, and how this same Earth that nourishes us.  

I’m also working with plaster, wood and I want to do some bronze casting as well, I want to explore many new materials but sandstone will always remain first. 


Your pieces feel evocative in the sense that they can elicit an emotional response to the way we view the female body, fertility, beauty, and sexuality. How do you view your work through this lens? 

Since I’ve always been inspired by feminine forms and shapes it was very natural to represent them in my work, and that’s how I wanted to communicate these ideas without words. The message I put forth in my work is my ode to all women. I want to show the beauty of women’s shapes and curves, I want each of my pieces to be very sensual and thriving. I think women should be proud and free, and that’s what makes them glowing and beautiful. Sex is of course an important part as well. I wouldn’t find any pleasure in sculpting very dry and thin figures because to me love, beauty and voluptuousness are synonymous.



Because your sculptures are modeled off of and celebrate the female form do you consider your work as an expression of female empowerment?

I think that’s why women often relate to my work because there is a female empowerment message. I hope my work inspires women to feel more proud, and beautiful. Everything starts with this state of mind. 


One of my recent works is a series of 3 pieces together called Sisters where I address sisterhood between women. In this work, I revisited The 3 Graces, this three callipygian Mythological sisters –  goddesses of charm, beauty, and fertility. I created each piece in a different hue to stress the beauty of every skin colour and they are exhibited at the König Galerie in Berlin as part of the Messe 3 this August 2021. 


You recently brought your physical sculptures into the digital realm. What was your interest in creating NFTs from your sculptures?


It first started when I began issuing Certificates of Authenticity registered on the blockchain with Verisart. That’s when I fell into the rabbit hole of this amazing universe that is NFTs. I quickly wanted to try creating my own and started to 3D scan my work. 


I think NFTs are creating brand new opportunities for sculpture. That enables me to animate and play with my physical works. The result of a piece as a traditional sculptor is static and cannot be changed once done whereas NFTs allow me to play between static and kinetic, giving motion to stillness. 


I also love this idea of making an NFT for each of my pieces, it’s like capturing the soul of each physical work and giving it another life that I find very interesting. It’s also a way to put my sculptures in different environments, change the colour, etc. I find it very exciting. Learning how to properly use software to achieve these results is challenging but worth the struggle! I mainly mint on Hicetnunc because the Tezos blockchain is quite green and that’s important to me. 


Tell me more about what you’ve been doing in the metaverse!


I’m very passionate about the metaverse and I decided recently to create a virtual world together in collaboration with Alissia Spaces.  It’s all happening on an island where you can see the sculptures in bigger sizes, scattered here and there. The idea is to give another scale to my work.  I like the fact that you can enter this world from your computer without having to download anything, you just visit my website and can access it from there. 



When entering the world, you’ll find yourself at the top of the island, inside the gallery I showcase NFT and 3D renders of my sculptures. You’ll be able to teleport at different locations of the island if you wish to see those huge sculptures closer. I am in love with Land Art and my biggest dream would be to make public art one day. I think art shouldn’t be only in galleries or in a luxurious apartment but should be outside, available to everybody and dressing up our streets, parks, and public squares. For instance, some of my favorite monumental sculptors are Jaume Plensa or Alicja Kwade, Manolo Valdes, Prune Nourry. I admire their creations. So this virtual world is a way to share a version that is fun and limitless.


This virtual world is also a place where I can show my latest collaborations with other artists. I am now working on a series of physical and NFT work with a French tattoo artist, she will tattoo several of my physical plasters and we will create a series of limited edition NFTs that I’m very excited about.


To learn more about Hermine, check out her NFTs on Hicetnunc, visit her website, and follow him online:


Instagram: @herminebourdin

Twitter: @BourdinHermine

Website: https://herminebourdin.com


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A great deal of what may be valuable in the future will be understood best by those most familiar with digital culture. “Digital Natives” are nothing new, and surely some of us here are “Digital Natives.” Those who grew up with access to the internet have inevitably become the tech-savvy generations.

There’s no sign that technology will stop, and I doubt that it will go away. The young generation is growing up right in the middle of the technological revolution. It will be possible to collect rare digital art pieces, just as one might collect sports cards growing up in decades prior. 

While engaging with this emerging trend early is crucial, the top priority is to learn more about future potential and not just make money. This is rather an exploration of diverse areas impacted by technological innovation previously regarded as unachievable or considered unrealistic.

The NFT revolution will impact countless industries in an unprecedented way. There will be many deep dives exploring what NFTs can be, the least of which is as a fun way for brands to interact with their consumers. A physiotherapist from New York, understanding the concept of ‘NFTs’ and ‘Smart Contracts,’ Dr. Kellen became the first medical practitioner to employ NFTs and Smart Contracts for the benefit of his patients (source: NFT Kids Magazine).

As the world enters the era of digital arts for kids, a new magazine highlights today’s youngest and most promising digital artists and explains how parents can navigate the recent craze of NFTs.



The ‘NFT Kids Magazine’ 

On August 31st, 2021, NFT Kids Magazine released its first issue – an online flipbook. Original art and exclusive content from successful kid artists make up the first issue of NFT Kids Magazine: including Nyla Hayes, a 12-year-old Twitter sensation who has now sold more than 65ETH ($172 000) worth of artwork from her ‘Long Neckie Ladies’ collection. Bruno Urli, also featured, is a 16-year-old from Germany who recently sold his first 3rd art piece as an NFT for 1.5ETH ($4k).

“For the newcomers in the NFT scene, NFT Kids Magazine is the new gateway guiding parents and novices on how to navigate and understand their 1st NFT baby steps.”

Claira Soazandge

The Founder

Founder and editor-in-chief of NFT Kids Magazine, Claira Soazandge, is a French-born British author from Madagascar, based in Seoul, South Korea. She was previously co-editor of a youth publication in London. Claira started the magazine after seeing her son who was a 12-year-old photographer build an online following. He became the magazine’s co-founder.

In addition to Claira’s work as the first children’s story published in an NFT form, she is also one of the first magazine publishers offering NFT advertising on Opensea.io.

“Twenty years on, it is incredible that I can now tap into the knowledge and experience I learned as a teenage editor and share them with my son and other children to help showcase their art. NFTs will change the self-publishing game and how we view copyrighting. Now, artists can take control of their creations and find another way to reach the masses. We plan on having fun with NFTs in different ways so our readers can enjoy discovering our content.” 

  • Claira Soazandge


Meet Some Of The NFT Kids: The Artists

Sevi  – “The exceptional work of Baby Banksy, the 9-year-old autistic prodigy Sevi from the Philippines, who is rapidly being compared to the street legend and has sold art for 1ETH ($2.6k).“ -NFT Kids Magazine

Nine-year-old Sevi is an autistic boy from the Philippines that discovered a love for art. At the age of 2 years old, Sevi, one of four kids from a family in Manila, was diagnosed with autism. 


As early as January 2018, he attended weekly art therapy classes and loved them so much that he has since painted every week. In addition to being in therapy regularly, Sevi’s focus, attention, patience, comprehension, verbal communication, and other abilities have improved since starting to paint. Sevi took part in his first art exhibition in March 2018. As a crypto artist, he gained fame three years later, in March 2021, and he has since sold NFTs to collectors from Asia, North America, and Europe.


Since then, he has participated in several exhibitions, both on-site and online, and some of his art has been sold, including some commissioned pieces which are used to fund his therapy.


Laya & Eli – Laya from India is already displaying advanced 3D tech design abilities, and three-year-old Eli showcases his collaboration with Diverse, a well-known female DJ from London.


Christopher – Christopher, 12 years old, an NFT Kids Magazine dropper, a young Spacepreneur, and an aspiring astronaut. Christopher has worked on campaigns with Nasa, Airbus Space, and Defense; and represented the US as a diplomat. Christopher has even interviewed Sir Richard Branson regarding recent travels in space in July 2021 for NBC News.


Children today are growing up digitally. That is a fact. Thus it’s imperative that they learn the importance of digital use and citizenship early in a world where technology is an everyday part of life while having fun creating art. 



Links to NFTkidsmag: https://linktr.ee/nftkidsmag 

Publisher: wonderwillowtales.com

NFT Opensea: https://opensea.io/collection/nftkidsmagfroncover


Instagram: @nftkidsmag 

Twitter: @nftkidsmag

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