Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?


Starting from the origin of generative art, understand the investment boom of Art Blocks.

Original title: “What is Generative Art NFT, and why can Art Blocks continue to dominate the list? 》
Written by: DADA

The latest OpenSea transaction data on September 2 shows that the total transaction volume of Art Blocks so far has exceeded 233.8K ETH (approximately US$860 million), a record high, and the number of traders exceeded 20,000. On August 27, the artwork Ringer #879 minted by Art Blocks was sold for 1.8K ETH (approximately US$5.685 million), the third-highest NFT collection in history.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

The rankings on OpenSea show that in the top ten projects with the largest total transaction volume in the past 30 days, Art Blocks occupies three positions, of which Art Blocks Curated is second only to Cryptopunks.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

These dazzling data make Art Blocks deservedly become the No. 1 art stock of NFT in terms of sales and popularity.

What is Art Blocks and how did it gain a place in the popular NFT market?

“What is Art Blocks?”

Art Blocks is a platform that focuses on curating programmable generated art works. These works are usually programmed using p5.js, which is a JavaScript library that allows creative coding, and the scripts are stored on the chain. When casting a new artwork, a unique “seed” is randomly generated using a script to generate a unique artwork.

So what is generative art, and is it a new concept?

In the early 1950s, Herbert Franke, a pioneer of generative art, conducted unique photographic experiments in his laboratory. His works were free from the combination of light, motion, and randomness. In “9 analogue graphics (1956/1957)”, Franke uses a friend’s computer to generate an image on an oscilloscope, and then takes the image from a moving camera with an open aperture.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

Franke’s shooting results are fascinating.

Later, Vera Molnár, one of the first artists to use computers in art, began to play with the theme of “disorder”. She often studied the changes of geometric shapes and lines. Her works are generated using the early programming languages ​​Fortran and BASIC, and are often displayed on original printing paper. She even chooses to include the graphics of the perforated edges on each page of the book in her creations.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

With the popularity of computers in the 1960s, more artists began to experiment in the intersection of computer science and art, creating generated works of curved lines. New programming languages ​​allow artists to advance digital boundaries in interesting ways and redefine how computers process ordered inputs into unique outputs.

At the same time, despite the growing influence of digital art works, many digital art creators do not have the same profit potential compared with the creators of physical works. In the course of history, material scarcity based on specific items reflects the value of creative works, which seems to run counter to generative art.

“The Generative Art Attached to the Blockchain”

In the past ten years, blockchain has changed the rules of the game for digital files. The success of Bitcoin shows that digital scarcity is possible in the currency field. The arrival of the Ethereum smart contract ERC 721 extends the concept of digital scarcity beyond the commodity currency. It enables the information of any digital commodity to be bound to a unique non-homogeneous token NFT. With NFT, creative digital works enjoy verifiable scarcity for the first time.

The emergence of CryptoPunks has completely ignited the generation of artistic avatars based on blockchain this year.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

According to Larva Labs’ groundbreaking algorithm, 10,000 unique, randomly generated, 24×24 pixel art images blend the characteristics of species, hairstyles, and accessories to present humans, zombies, apes, and aliens. form. Then create a random combination of visual output.

In March 2021, out of the community’s groundbreaking recognition of CryptoPunks, 2 of the 9 CryptoPunks “aliens” were purchased by 4200 ETH (approximately US$7.5 million). After that, it brought the double high of Cryptopunks volume and recognition.

“The Birth of Art Blocks”

The birth of Art Blocks has a deep connection with CryptoPunks. Erick Calderon, a generative artist and technologist born in Mexico City, participated in the original CryptoPunks request event in 2017. In the early days, he personally owned more than 60 CryptoPunks, including 7 zombies, 2 apes, and one of 9 aliens. He is also one of the few CryptoPunks moderators designated by Larva Labs. He is well-known in the crypto community for his rare zombie Punk avatar.

There are not many old CryptoPunks players like Erick Calderon, and even fewer people share their technical expertise and appreciation of generative art.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

After the release of CryptoPunks, Erick Calderon kept asking himself a few questions: Can there be a complete set of generative art, from the artist algorithm to each unique output that is 100% completed on the chain? Is it possible that a blockchain can be used as an artist’s creative process instead of a digital recording method?

With these questions in mind, he sold 15 of his most cherished CryptoPunks zombies to fund early development work. In November 2020, Erick Calderon launched Art Blocks, the first on-demand, on-chain generated art market on the Internet. . During the release of CryptoPunks and Art Blocks, pioneering on-chain art projects such as Autoglyphs proved that artists can store more art “on the chain”, which verifies that Erick Calderon has been advocating NFT-generated art platforms to maintain persistent design decisions.

Chromie Squiggles, a generative project that Erick Calderon has produced for many years, became the first generative art project listed on Art Blocks (Art Blocks Project #0).

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

In each unique Squiggle, the hexadecimal in the hash controls the starting color, the rate of change of the gradient, the number of points, and some surprising characteristics, which make some Chromie Squiggles rarer than others (such as ” Super” Squiggles). When it comes to generative art, these “controllable” hexadecimal pairs are called parameters.

Squiggles was launched in November last year. Erick signed and sold these series of works under his online name Snowfro, each selling for about US$78. 200 pieces were sold in the first few hours. This result made Erick have some surprises, but he was also expected.

So far, the Squiggle series has cast more than 9,000 similar color graffiti.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

Until the arrival of the Fidenza series of works by the generation artist Tyler Hobbs from Austin, and the rise of the NFT trading platform OpenSea, the Art Blocks market has undergone a huge turning point.

As a well-known generative artist in the circle, Hobbs spent several months adjusting the code to produce standards for his unique artwork. For example, Hobbs may change his code to reduce the appearance of red. This is because he believes that red is not suitable for large shapes. So in this case blue will usually become Hobbs’s choice.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

The Fidenza series sold a total of 999 works, and it only took 28 minutes to be sold out by eager buyers.

As of now, the total value of the series has soared to between 55 to 90 million US dollars. The average selling price of each piece is between 100,000 and 150,000 US dollars. Such results surprised Hobbs himself.

Art Blocks even caught the attention of Sotheby’s auction house, which sold 19 art blocks from the Art Blocks Curated series of artists in June as part of the “Natively Digital” auction (Natively Digital is A series of extraordinary and unique artworks jointly curated by Sotheby’s and Robert Alice. The exhibits present the earliest NFT built on the Ethereum chain to the sophisticated NFT that showcases cutting-edge technology innovation). The lot was finally sold for US$81,900.

From his Fidenza proceeds, Hobbs donated $21,000 worth of ETH to the Visual Arts Literacy Non-profit Organization Processing Foundation; donated $21,000 in cash to “Coding Girls”; and donated AGE, an elderly care center in central Texas. He also purchased 250 tons of carbon offsets to offset the environmental cost of energy consumption of blockchain used to create and verify collections.

So far, Art Blocks has held collection sales activities for generation artists including Cherniak, Hobbs, Hideki Tsukamoto and Stina Jones. Although they are not household names in the traditional art world, they have a large following in generative art. Some artists have even been creating since the 1960s, when most generative artists were scientists and engineers who could use early computers.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

“Who bought Art Blocks?”

In the auction that just ended in late August, Ringers #879 became the most expensive Art Blocks work on the market for 1,800 ETH, or about 5.8 million U.S. dollars.

The buyer is San Arrow Capital, a well-known investment company in the blockchain field.

The Singapore-headquartered company has accumulated a large number of Art Blocks NFTs this year, including no less than 10 items from the “Fidenza” series by generative artist Tyler Hobbs-each priced at up to 320 ETH (slightly more than $1 million) ). A publicly known OpenSea wallet address (0x2e675eeae4747c248bfddbafaa3a8a2fdddaa44b) shows that Three Arrow Capital holds 109 Art Blocks NFTs. And 1800 ETH purchased another wallet address of Ringers #879 (0x75e1c2493136a2d62888615d53382ac3116861fe) holding 35 Art Blocks NFTs.

“We believe that we are at the forefront of the decades-long generative art movement led by Art Blocks, and we believe that the best way to understand this trend is to collect defining works from the most respected series, such as Ringers, Fidenzas,” Su Zhu, CEO of Three Arrow Capital, said in an interview.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

The NFT trader under the pseudonym Vincent Van Dough is a mysterious collector. He once completed a purchase of millions of dollars in a short period of time. From the art gallery he established on oncyber.io, we saw Art Blocks. The charm of online display.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

According to Vincent Van Dough’s tweet on August 30, he will launch an NFT fund-Starry Night Capital, together with the founders of Three Arrows Capital, Su Zhu and Kyle Davies. The goal of the fund is to raise $100 million.

As can be seen from the published address on OpenSea, they hold more than 900 Art Blocks works in total.

“Our argument is simple. We believe that the best way to get in touch with the cultural paradigm shift brought about by NFT is to have the top works in the most ideal portfolio.” Dough said.

As part of its plan, Starry Night Capital also hopes to open physical galleries in “big cities” before the end of this year. It also plans to launch an NFT education portal and explore how to bring more exposure to budding artists.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

Meet Charley, the first collector to complete a full set of the first 100 Art Blocks projects. These assets currently have at least more than 1,000 ETH, about 3.5 million US dollars.

Charley heard about Art Blocks for the first time in the Cryptopunks discord community at the beginning of this year. At that time, people began to cast Squiggles in large quantities. At that time Snowfro still had time to wander around the community. After understanding the concept of Art Blocks, Charley was deeply attracted.

Similarly, Charley also represents the true love of Art Blocks from members of the community.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea? Image: Ringers #56 Charley’s Collection

“Is Art Blocks investment or speculation?”

Are the collectors who snapped up Art Blocks true art lovers, or are they mainly NFT speculators hoping to make money? Snowfro thinks they are both.

The most recent project of Art Blocks Curated, Geometry Runners, caused a gas war due to a large number of investors. The casting price of 5 ETH (about US$17,500), 1,000 works with a total value of US$17.5 million, were swept away in a few minutes. null. After seeing this item, buyers and followers directly called for relief and comfort.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

Looking back at the recent Christie’s New York auction, the artists sold were mainly globally-renowned art icons such as Kaws, Banksy, Yoshitomo Nara, and Takashi Murakami. The total turnover of 92 lots was US$2.51 million. This result is quite satisfactory, but compared with the total value of Art Blocks’ first-level sales worth $17.5 million in a few minutes and quickly doubled in the secondary market, it seems insignificant.

Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

Similarly, some people have expressed concern amidst the overheated market sentiment. They believe that excellent works of art need to have sufficient value consensus, which comes from “difficult to replicate” and “precipitating high-density human creativity.” Generative art has become a subjective value judgment because the information density is highly homogenized and does not require too much investment in creation time. Without more emotionally injected generative art, it is also difficult to bear more of the charm displayed by traditional excellent works of art.

But on the contrary, Snowfro believes that the biggest goal of Art Blocks is still to help generative artists expand their scope of work. For decades, the works of generative artists have been underestimated in the traditional art world, and they can only be misunderstood through the creation of coding. “For me, this is the brilliance of automation.” Snowfro said in an interview.

As an investor who is participating or wants to participate, he still has to buy art works he admires and likes as the original intention, and guide his own collection and investment behavior according to the disposable amount of his funds.

“How to get Art Blocks artwork?”

Art Blocks is composed of three sections, and there is no distinction between good and bad. Curated “curated” represents the orthodox works that are officially created by Art Blocks in the strict sense. Playground represents a more personal and playful expression of artists who have already collaborated. Factory “Factory” gives more capable newcomers more opportunities, so that good works can be released faster through Art Blocks.

Curated “Curatorial Exhibition”: These are the works of great Art Blocks artists, carefully selected by the Art Blocks curatorial team, with the most orthodox genes of Art Blocks. The project will be released quarterly.

Playground “Playground”: This series is designed for artists who have already had “curated” works to further demonstrate their skills. This series is not as thoroughly censored as the “Curatorial” series, but it is not Means lack of quality. This part allows artists to experiment and unleash their creativity, hence the name “Playground”.

Factory “Factory”: Due to the large number of applications, “curated” projects usually require a waiting period of 2 years. Therefore, the Art Blocks team created the “Factory” section to allow new creators to participate. The artworks released by it are still The team chooses and releases as planned, but usually only checks whether they are worthy of release, rather than blatantly copying another artwork. These works will not be strongly promoted by Art Blocks, so it is up to the artists to promote their works.

There are two ways to obtain works of art:

Initial casting: enter the official website of Art Blocks for casting. For the newly released “curated series” projects, the hot NFT will definitely mean entering the gas war (paying high gas fees or failing the transaction).

Since all the previous curatorial and playground series have been sold out, the next best way to obtain them is to buy them from the secondary market: buying NFTs from the holders on OpenSea is the choice of many people.

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Why does Art Blocks, the NFT platform of Generative Art, continue to dominate OpenSea?

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