Welcome to the first edition of CryptoArtNet’s CryptoArt News Roundup. I start with acknowledging our own launch and then dive a bit into the growing social currency and personal token scene powered primarily by Roll. This isn’t limited to cryptoart and I stray a bit in covering the phenomenon.
Generally speaking it’s tough to focus on cryptoart news alone because it overlaps with a lot of developments. But I’ve mostly cut out cryptocollectibles including those cats and stars even though they are pretty darn relevant to the future of cryptoart markets.
I also managed to almost completely ignore the growing Decentraland/Cryptovoxels scene which is very important to cryptoart and is also quite hot right now. No disrespect intended!
Biggest News of the Month!
What’s newsworthy is a matter of perception. I saw one new art-oriented NFT marketplace announced widely this week in secondary crypto media outlets and it looked like it was basically a paid press release distro. The Block covered it but didn’t link to a site and I can’t find one nor a Twitter account so I’m treating is as not yet happening.
But CryptoArtNet launched this month and that’s big news to me!
I blogged about it on the CryptoArtNet blog with one of my typically prosaic headlines:
CryptoArtNet Launches Directory of Artists Making CryptoArt
Sacks of $CRAC
I also connected with Roll, which is powering a number of personal token releases at the moment, and CryptoArtNet now has its own social currency called CryptoArtCoin or $CRAC. This token is meant as incentive for signups and for promoting the site and will primarily be used to participate in monetization opportunities on the site. More on that topic in a month or so!
Each one of these is a bit different and I’m probably going to write a couple more. Usually I post the same thing everywhere but I guess I’ve been on a roll this week, so to speak!
Are Social Currencies and Personal Tokens Securities?
The more I think about it, the more I’m concerned about how the SEC is going to view personal tokens and social currencies. I’m treating $CRAC as a utility token akin to loyalty points that can be exchanged for future services. That’s why I will not be involved with secondary market activity of any kind until I see how the SEC weighs in on this topic. But what about those tokens that literally offer shares in an individual’s future production of wealth and are already trading on Uniswap?
As with most legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” Aaron Wright shared some tweets on the topic (via Jake Chervinsky) from the perspective of personal tokens whose contracts are somewhat ambiguous and mostly about finding a “way to organize and incentivize a network around an individual, brand, group, etc.”
Wright initially mentions Alex Masmej’s $ALEX token which has been getting a lot of the attention as one that is “just meaningful between the parties in a purposefully amorphous way.” However, his initial perception was not the case, people informed him of that and he backpedaled on $ALEX which does look a lot like a security and may ultimately catch the attention of the SEC which is my biggest concern about such tokens.
WhaleShark.Pro Launches $WHALE
Noted cryptoart collector WhaleShark.Pro released a unique Roll token this month called $WHALE. It’s both a personal token, due to its partial reliance on the WhaleShark.Pro brand and community, and whatever you’d call an opportunity to buy shares in a basket of assets.
Cooper Turley’s piece for DeFi Rate has a nice overview.
While I wasn’t that surprised that $CRAC raised little interest from the media outlets I contacted, one would think the unique nature of the $WHALE offering would have generated more response. This is an innovative offering but WhaleShark.Pro’s celebrity seems to be primarily based in the cryptoart scene rather than the larger tech and media scene in which swim those releasing more highly visible personal tokens.
Then again $WHALE is backed by a bunch of art while the more media-worthy personal tokens are from young guys with bright futures aka the usual tech media darlings.
Ben Elliot: First at Being Ben Elliot
Apparently he considered releasing it via Roll, which uses the Ethereum blockchain, and is now talking Stellar, which has its own blockchain. He’s also claiming a first though I doubt it will be a first of any kind by late 2020 except to have Elliot’s name attached. At least that gives him some time to release actual cryptoart!
Tokenized Cassette Tapes!
Wish I had more time to talk about $TAPE. Cool project and the coverage gets into what’s happening in the music scene a bit as well some news of Zora. Definitely worth checking out for artists making physical product:
Crypto Duo Hackatao on Nifty Gateway
Celebrity NFT platform Nifty Gateway included Hackatao in Drop 5. Blue chip former street artist Kenny Scharf also made the drop.
As Nifty Gateway notes, Hackatao are known as actual cryptoartists:
“Their involvement in the crypto art scene and their contribution to its community – one of the most remarkable and special aspects of the space – are crucial.”
Of course, all artists releasing cryptoart can be considered cryptoartists. I’m not as interested in the celebrity space but I am hoping such activity will spur more mainstream adoption without undermining the grassroots community of cryptoartists. At least, not too much since that process is inevitable. Everything that’s happening to date is fairly predictable except for the personal token aspect though that’s already falling into a narrative arc.
Hackatao was also recently featured on Josie Bellini’s Behind the Art with Josie podcast on Twitch.
Josie’s been on a tear this month with all sorts of great artists including Skeenee, Coldie and Katy Arrington as well as Conlan from Async Art.
CryptoArt as a New Asset Class
Speaking of narrative arcs, we’re seeing more CryptoArt 101 coverage that recognizes a new asset class is emerging. Daniel Kuhn has a nice piece at Coindesk that uses Nifty Gateway as a jumping off point for a discussion of various aspects of the emerging market. Cryptoartists Max Osiris and Coldie both make brief appearances but the piece largely sidesteps the cryptoart community to focus on everybody else that’s getting in on the action.
Yonatan Ben Shiman of Virtual Humans tries to reframe the growing cryptoart movement as Virtual Art since that fits the site’s Virtual Influencer focus and business model. My only problem with the use of the word virtual is that it has become a stand-in for digital. The reality is cryptoart is not virtual. It’s real digital art. Beyond that, frame it however you need to make that money!
Speaking of Virtual, L’Atelier has a stylish and relevant report on the Virtual Economy. Much of it is about adjacent territory but it’s worth a look and definitely worth passing on as a form of legitimation for the space.
Turner Wright has a bit about the cryptoart market from the perspective of artist Vesa Kivinen. It would be nice if the piece linked out to Kivinen’s web presence however that’s an ongoing issue with crypto media outlets just like it is with mainstream and tech media outlets. But, hey, plenty of internal links to strengthen SEO!
So Much More CryptoArt News
Honestly, I’m running out of time for creating this post. That’s what I get for sharing my opinion and being good at gathering news. Here are some links out to various happenings from the month which has been quite rich. There’s much more of note that I don’t get to in this post.
Over at Cent
Decentraland and Cryptovoxels
There’s a Virtual Billboard/Cryptoart Convergence Happening – More on that next time!
Platforms and Galleries
Virtual Rare Art Festival