NFTs are Back 🌊: Sitting Down with the NFTsDAO DAO Lead & Artist

NFTs are Back 🌊: Sitting Down with the NFTsDAO DAO Lead & Artist

By Rekt | DAO | 13 Aug 2021


The non-fungible tokens "NFTs" market tsunami of early 2021, which captured the imagination of the worldwide mainstream media with an 8-figure NFT Christie's art sale, making Mike Winkelmann, known as "Beeple," a top 10 living contemporary artist by auction records, is back with comparable numbers for the often opaque NFT space.

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OpenSea is the de facto home for many of the largest NFT projects.

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The denomination in the "volume" category is in the cryptocurrency Ethereum, presently priced at $3,245.40 each, so 41,850.79 Ethereum cryptocurrency coins is a 9-figure, in USD, volume total for 7 days. These volume numbers rival that of active stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.

This is not puffed up volume, as has been the knock on many overseas crypto trading exchanges that have tried to game the exchange rankings by trading with bots amongst themselves internally, to trick volume aggregators to broadcast the impression that a particular exchange is as traded and organically popular as Binance or FTX.

By default, OpenSea has a 2.5% fee so when you see a 9-figure volume number, OpenSea is pulling $2.5 million plus, just from this project on a 7-day basis. This provides better context when one might read in the venture capital news that OpenSea, itself, as achieved the "unicorn" status as a north of $1 billion dollar blockchain project. When you're growing this swiftly and taking in this level of fees on your platform, with a brand moat as strong as OpenSea enjoys in the blockchain ecosystem, it's not too much of a surprise why they were able to have a16z and other well-regarded blockchain funds to go in and give them the lofty valuation they did.

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Detractors like to speak to how NFTs are just a JPG image file wrapped-up in a blockchain bow as a ruse to repurpose digital art. A long-standing joke in Twitter is blockchain bears proudly printing out the image of a Beeple NFT, taping it to their wall, and condescendingly declaring it that this printer copy is as important as a 1/1 NFT. The defined scarcity does not define value, they say, but, it actuality, it really comes down to supply and demand, like any asset in any market sector.

For digital artists, there is no original canvas where an artist, like Picasso, might put pen to paper, making a work a true original. Rather, works are done using computer software and so, other than having the original mouse or keyboard of the artist, there is no true original. NFTs are useful to the extend that an artist can stamp a digital signature, verified by the blockchain, that a particular digital work of art is uniquely 1/1. A signature on a lithograph proves, if the signature is not a forgery, that an artist looked at a particular copy of a work for 3 seconds and scribbled down his name, but little else. NFTs afford artists the ability to define the scarcity of a work, cut out the middle-man of a printing company to stamp out copies, and saves their wrist with an icepack-worthy level of soreness associated with signing 2500 lithograph signatures.

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To jump back to basics, a non-fungible token is data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique. This simple function is also wildly powerful. NFTs can be used to represent real-world assets, intellectual property rights, identities, real estate title rights, and royalty split agreements between artists and producers. The utility is largely only defined by the imagination of the market participants and the jurisdictional laws regulating law and commerce.

What few people appreciate is that NFTs can also be made into smart contracts, of sorts, with royalty splits, or other binary actions that is codified in code. The applicability for this is just as wide as the much talked about applicability of smart contracts as a whole. It could be that the smart contracts we thought would be on some platform that just made the rapid deployment of these agreements seamless is not a smart contract platform after all, but, rather, an NFT platform that integrates smart contract functionalities--royalty splits, relaying of value after liquidity events, etc--into each NFT minted.

For the wide-reaching implications of NFTs and smart contracts, it's important to keep an eye on companies that are embracing these pushes. One such organization, also with an eye on decentralized autonomous organizations and community tokens, is the NFTsDAO.

This organization largely collaborates on a B-to-B basis, with already established organizations, to help them with their NFT-focused initiatives. They've helped xDAI DAO with their NFTs linked with underlying tokens initiatives.

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They're also helping authors and artists simplify the integration of an NFT-prong to their business plan, through bringing in the community to get in on the experience of holding NFTs and allowing the artist to profit in the process. We sat down with one of the lead developers at NFTsDAO to further expound upon this innovation blockchain studio/DAO's vision.

Q: What is the Who, What, Where, When, Why & How for NFTsDAO.com?

A: We're an open organization of blockchain and art-enthusiasts committed to helping digital artists gain the ability to self-sustain their art, allowing them to focus full-time on their artistic endeavors and hone their craft to the best of their abilities. We're largely located in Europe and the Americas. We were founded, outside of planning stages, in March 2021. The goal of the DAO is to facilitate the growth of important artists of several different digital art niches, all under one roof, and nurture their growth alongside other contemporaries. Royalties from in-house artists goes into building value for the DAO and continuing to help talented digital artists hit their stride.

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Q: What does NFTsDAO's success look like in terms of milestones?

A: - 10+ talented digital artists crafting skillful works of art and minting them on the blockchain, through NFTs on OpenSea, BitClout, or the NFT platform of their choice, and having these NFTs actively traded as a result of this artist's continued media events and publicity, building their brand as an artist.

- 10+ talented authors penning popular pieces, in book or article form, for the community, and having these contributions be rewarded with, instead of purchasing a Patreon, having users buy their NFTs, allowing them to devote their full-time efforts to their writing craft and niches they're passionate about, facilitating their redoubling of efforts. 

- 10+ musical artists, within EDM, pop, or any form of music, that are minting NFTs for songs that shares royalties with their community token, allowing users to not only be fans, but also budding angel investors, of sorts, by being able to earn a profit from having a savvy eye for talent, a digital type of Rick Rubin, Quincy Jones, or Dr. Dre. 

Having a representative stake in the growth of any of these three prongs, the residue of facilitating the scaling operations for these artists, should bode well for the DAO. This growth hopefully will bring in more talented artists and developers committed to making the DAO an increasingly influential change-agent in the burgeoning NFT space. 

NFTsDAO.com Website

Q: What do you see as NFTsDAO's unique contribution to the DAO community being?

A: If we can materialize the type of traction that we hope to with helping artists get sales for their NFTs and integrate their general population-sourced fan base and on-board them into the NFT community, this greases the wheels of facilitating mass adoption for any number of blockchain projects after we've introduced them to the space. We pride ourselves at helping on-board both non-technical artists/author as well as crafting copy that can cement in the minds of individuals why this NFT, that an artist is offering, represents value beyond a Patreon contribution or virtual ticket they are accustomed to doling out to artists that speak to their values, interests, and sensibilities.

We aim to be the first to scale complicated, but worthwhile, use cases, like the push we're doing with xDAI DAO for crypto-linked NFTs, allowing participants in the meme economy to transact in a crypto without having to jump through seven hoops to open a position and have a defined loss profile.

We enjoy having discussions with ambitious, smart DAO or crypto organization leadership teams that are attempting to craft something great, and helping to put the puzzle pieces of their vision together. We judge our own success on the extent that we can help non-technical organizations traverse the intimidating waters of blockchain and come out the other side with a campaign that is well-received by non-technical participants.

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We also hope to show that that same type of blockchain-esque collaboration, characteristic of the ecosystem, can extend to NFT creators. Having a peer network of accomplished contemporaries encouraging one other's work is a valuable function that can ignite a level of creativity and piece production that one might not have expected. This spirit of mutual support around other individuals also 100% committed to their artistic career path, even through the drudgery of building a modest audience and foundational fan base, is designed to be refreshing and help those who feel emotionally spent or frustrated to ensure that they don't give-up unnecessarily and continue to fuel their visions en route into making them a reality.

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As a writer, I appreciate the efforts that NFTsDAO is making to encourage creative individuals to stick with their passion, even when it seems mind numbingly boring to do the 4th round of edits. They've building a solid community, and are scaling an undoubtedly important DAO. In addition to one of the DAO leads, I caught-up with the artist behind the Kings of Crypto series.

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Q: What's the inspiration for this series you've crafted?

A: While we like to see blockchain projects as technological monoliths, they are really living-breathing entities headed by often known crypto personalities that are exceptionally interesting and beautifully complex people. Individuals like Sam Bankman-Fried, Vitalik Buterin, Andre Cronje, and others in our forthcoming series define figures who have compelling stories to tell that can, and often has, captured the imagination of the public. SBF's starting out as a math genius, with two Stanford Law Professors as parents, going to MIT, and had an epiphany when he recognized that his best contribution to society might just be in the form of charitable givings from a profitable endeavor that he hoped to build in FTX, so he would be most useful to that end, is striking and poignant.

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We look at the underlying tech first, but it's really these personalities, and how they feel about their core or tangential projects, that defines how we often invest our own crypto holdings. 

Q: What do you hope to convey with your art?

A: That engineers are artists. Toiling away in an unrelenting battle with Solidity or other complex code represents a romantic notion, in my eyes, especially if the spoils of this battle yields a king's fortune, as it seemingly often does in crypto these days. It also facilitates the creation of jobs for professionals who are living their best live doing that which they love. These are the stories in tech that I enjoy to tell through featuring these personalities. Visual imagery is oftentimes the most powerful, and certainly the swiftest, way of beginning this storytelling journey. 

Q: What are your ambitions for this NFT series?

A: To highlight not only the CZs, SBF, or other individuals that enjoy 10-figure blockchain-sourced net worths, but also talented engineers and strategic blockchain visionaries that are delivering considerable value to the space. There's a beauty and romanticism in their evangelizing a technology that seeks to remedy many of society and the economy's ills.

Q: What do you see as the scaled use case for this Kings of Crypto series?

A: In the style of the Stoner Cats NFT project, championed by Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, I see our NFT holders as being able to gain access to a discord of other NFT enthusiasts and using this artistic platform as a means to highlight people and projects that are doing objective good for the space.

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Q: Where is the backdrop of your NFT trading cards series?

A: The interior of the Palace of Versailles, France. 

Q: What do you believe defines a successful NFT project or series?

A: Community. With so much of blockchain tech forked, materializing essentially an exact copy of the technical architecture underlying a project, the cornerstone of success is being able to materialize and nurture a community of like-minded NFT collectors that share your vision and collect to encourage this vision. The Bored Ape Yacht Club, Art Blocks Curated, Pudgy Penguins, Zed Run, and Party Penguins all enjoy tremendous volumes of discussion on Twitter from brand devotees. These are top-level NFT enthusiasts who also use their powerful, and influential, voice to trumpet their support for a project, leading to further demand for an often defined, small supply, leading to massive price appreciation. We hope to gain an increasingly vocal contingent of influencers who may look favorably upon our series and proceed to trumpet our efforts. 

Q: How can I, as an NFT enthusiast, get involved and plant my flag in this space, or your art, in a meaningful way?

A: Bid on an NFT from our Kings of Crypto 1/1 collection on OpenSea or BitClout. If you're a digital artist, writer, recording artist, podcaster, or other creative type, then perhaps join the NFTsDAO, and we'll collaborate.

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Thanks to the good folks at the NFTsDAO for sitting down and discussing their slice of the NFT ecosystem.

If there's someone that you think would be a compelling interview for my tech-savvy & blockchain enthusiast audience, feel free to message me here on LinkedIn with an introduction to that individual. Life's great pleasures include meaning new, interesting people, traveling to fascinating destinations, and learning new things. I enjoy embracing all facets of this life fulfillment trifecta.

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