ZenCaps: Edition #39
Your weekly NFT recap to cut through the noise
The NFT space can feel like information overload at times, so we’ve cut through the noise to deliver you a curated dose of what matters most. Your all-in-one weekly companion.
Headline News - New Updates To ConsenSys' API tool Infura Sparks Controversy Whilst Edward Snowden Calls Coinbase Over-Compliance ‘Toxic and Embarrassing’
Despite two mammoth Bored Ape Yacht Club sales of 780ETH and 800ETH, CryptoPunks managed to top the 7-day volume charts. BAYC was in second spot, Valhalla in third, MAYC in fourth and Otherdeed was in fifth.
RarePass: Genesis has seen its floor move from 27.5ETH to 42.42ETH in the past 48hrs, new collection Cel Mates Crime Reports saw over 1,100ETH in secondary sales placing it 6th in the weekly volume charts and 3D Invisible Friends saw reasonable volume with over 500ETH traded.
As the FTX saga continues to unfold, Amazon announced a mini-series based on the story, with "Avengers: Endgame" directors the Russo brothers as producers.
The TL;DR is that when you use Infura as your default remote procedure call (RPC) provider in MetaMask, it will now collect your IP address and your Ethereum wallet address whenever you make a transaction. Unsurprisingly, this was met considerable backlash from the NFT/crypto community.
Uniswap also announced it now collects data from users, but made it clear that it doesn’t collect personal data like names and IP addresses.
Are these kind of updates a necessity for industry growth and user safety, or are the foundational constructs of our decentralized ideals being torn down amidst the depths of a bear market? The debate continues to unravel. We’ll be following it closely.
If you enjoy ZenCaps, don’t miss out on ZenDaily. It’s published Monday to Friday and provides a short recap of the past 24hrs in the NFT space. Subscribe for free here.
Curated News - the biggest stories of the past week
BIGGEST NFT Sale: Bored Ape Yacht Club #232 sold for 800WETH
Educational: Quantum: The First Piece of NFT Art Ever Created
A word from our Founder: Welcome to ZenAcademy! and why to join
Project news & things we’re keeping an eye on
Pharrell’s GODA completes Hilma af Klint NFT art auction amid family complaints: https://tinyurl.com/5b6dwenf
Rogue Interviews - Sebastián Brocher
Sebastián Brocher is an entrepreneur, CEO, founder, engineer and artist, originally from Argentina. He refers to himself as an engineer by career and an artist by heart. He’s most notably known as the creator of the pioneering and innovative NFT project CryptoArte. CryptoArte is an NFT art collection which launched in July 2018 and is comprised of visualisations of the Ethereum blockchain.
Each NFT is made up of 576 Ethereum blocks which represent a part of the blockchain through different colours and icons. This collection is arguably the first off-chain generative NFT collection in existence, and predates Autoglyphs on being the first tokenized generative art.
The project was “rediscovered” in the bull run of 2021 which is when the collection finally minted out, some 3 years after its initial launch date. There was a lot of hype around the project at the time and Sebastian was most certainly in the spotlight during this period. But today we’re here to find out what’s been happening since then, and in particular, what’s been his inspiration behind his new projects Palabras and Frases, both of which launched on his artist platform StudioUno. Let’s jump in.
What have you been doing since the dust settled after the CryptoArte rediscovery?
Obviously after the rediscovery I was super invigorated and excited having had that collection mint out. We had a very vibrant community and still have a lot of collectors around today. It was an amazing feeling and that inspired me a lot. It made me understand, wow, I can maybe dedicate more of my time to art. It was always a hobby. I have my software development business, so art was always something I did for fun, because it’s just so hard to make it into a job.
In the meantime I’ve done work on Ethereum, with Rotor on Art Blocks probably being the biggest project. I also did some 1/1’s on both Tezos and Ethereum, which were commissioned works, as well a project which combined both imagery and music, which was super fun as I love music as well.
So the CryptoArte experience inspired me to want to do more, and ultimately that’s how I came to the idea of StudioUno.
So what exactly is StudioUno?
I wanted to use some of the funds (from CryptoArte) to create a community platform for artists that’s bigger than just myself. It was a mix of my artistic side, my entrepreneurial side and my engineering side which led me to create StudioUno.
Helping emerging artists is one of the primary driving forces behind StudioUno. I started to meet amazing artists who were extremely talented, but maybe didn’t have much funds or aren’t technologically minded, which makes it super hard to get involved (in the NFT space). To go through the learning process, the minting the marketing and everything else with no certainty is a big thing to take on, so that’s where I felt emerging artists needed a supportive platform.
Can you tell us a bit more about the platforms model, how it works and what differentiates it from existing platforms?
My idea was to bring more established artists in, who have their own audiences and might be able to help us get more attention on the drops, and then spend a percentage of the funds raised from these drops on helping emerging artists with their projects.
So this is the idea behind Palabras. We use some of the funds from this to commission works of emerging artists, to help them raise their profile. And we don’t charge a minting fee for these artists either.
The other element of StudioUno is how our business model differs. There are a lot of cookie-cutter platforms, which certainly have their place, but we wanted to allow for more creativity. In this respect, we give artists an empty warehouse in a technological sense, providing them with customized contracts, custom user interfaces, custom backend and custom infrastructure.
What this enables from an artistic perspective is to allow the concept of the art to bleed into the technology itself. Instead of telling you here’s a canvas, do what you want, we let you create the canvas. In terms of a business model it’s very challenging, but this was the inspiration, being able to explore the artistic technological boundaries more so than on most platforms. All whilst helping emerging artists.
What kind of artists are you trying to attract to the platform?
Simply high-quality emerging artists. In the instance of Palabras and Frases, it was a project about positivity, so in this case we needed artists who were aligned with this theme.
StudioUno means “one studio for all”, so as much as we can we’re trying to make it as inclusive as possible.
What was the inspiration behind the platforms inaugural project, Norte?
Norte was launched in December last year. I wanted to explore the idea of co-creation and continuing to push that boundary between technology and art. I wanted to co-create the collection with the community. I also wanted to reward collectors by building different tiers, related to their status as a CryptoArte holder. So essentially the highest tier collectors of CryptoArte were able to create the rarest works from Norte. This was a way to reward collectors with different experiences, not just a monetary difference.
Someone once told me everyone is an artist, and I wanted to help explore this. If we think when we’re kids, we draw and explore, but as we grow up, we lose a bit of this as adults, so I wanted to give back some of this joy. So this was a way to provide the opportunity to create but without the pressure of doing it alone.
And what has been the inspiration behind your current NFT offerings, Palabras and Frases?
They were the evolution of Norte. NFTs became more and more about culture, but I felt like PFPs are failing us a little bit there, and I felt with generative art it’s sometimes hard to convey feelings. Obviously the best generative art does, but it’s tough right? So I thought, well, we have words too. So I thought how I might use words to help convey the positivity I wanted to put across. This is how Palabras came about.
And then I started thinking “how can I leverage that to work with other artists?”. You don’t really see much collabs in generative art, except folks working on the same algorithms. But not collaborating with other types of art/artists. So that’s where I came up with the idea of having Frases.
These are titles of other people’s artwork, made up from words in the Palabras collection, which ties the pieces together. But the artists don’t have to understand generative art, as long as the art they produce can be put on an mp4 or jpeg etc., then it can be an NFT. And as long as there’s the strong link between the Frases and the meaning of them for their artwork, it works. And as long as we have this cohesive positivity NFT culture theme, everything works well together.
How did you go about choosing the pool of artists you used for the Frases collaboration?
The first experience was through artists whose work I collect myself, real life artwork, such as AbstractArtist.eth. She’d been doing a lot of work with emerging artists too. She’s now on the team and helps identify artists and build their audiences. Most relationships with the collaborative artists have developed in a similar way, essentially organically, through our network of friends, artists and collectors.
Why did you opt to price all the Palabras NFTs the same despite them having different supplies?
The project dynamics are very complex. Initially we wanted to have different prices for different words, in accordance with their rarity. But when combined with the Frases project it seemed like it became overly complicated, so we opted to choose one flat price for all the Palabras words (irrespective of supply). There’s some fun mechanics too though, as there’s some words which might look less desirable now, but in the future may have utility in other Frases, so there’s that too.
I feel timing hasn’t been on your side thus far, so I have to ask, how do you feel about the timings with regard to your project launches? The space simply wasn’t ready for CryptoArte and now Palabras and Frases are launching in the depths of a bear market.
(laughter) Yes, if you want to accumulate, just follow my project launches and buy around that time (laughter). Yeah, it’s terrible, and Rotor, my Art Blocks collection was also in the bear. I started working on the concept for Palabras & Frases around May of last year, so it’s taken about a year and 4 months. The concept changed quite a bit over time, but yeah, it’s just the time it took to build the team, build the tech and the company. Plus the fact it’s self funded doesn’t afford the luxury of a large engineering team or anything like that, and the art itself took a long time too. We actually had an art script for the generative piece, and we were showing it to some advisors and some fans and collectors, and I had very divided feedback. A lot did not like the concept at all, and so I went back to the drawing board which threw us off by another few months too.
What would be your words of advice for any upcoming or emerging artists?
My favourite advice is just “don’t be shy”. I think most artists are introverts, and art is a way to externalize their feelings. So I think some artists miss out by maybe being shy, and are not making the connections they could do. So I’d say don’t be shy, don’t be afraid to reach out, reach out to me, reach out to other artists you like. If you reach out to 10 people and 2 of them help, then that’s great. Ask for help, try to connect to others, get out there, go to spaces, try to talk, that type of stuff.
The other thing to realize is that most of what you need to succeed in the NFT space as an artist is out there. The information is out there, the knowledge is out there. And it’s free. You need to invest the time and the effort. If you’re really going to go for it, you can do it, it’s just a matter of having the energy, intent, focus and resilience. You have to fight for it, it’s not going to be easy, but don’t be shy, go do it, go for it.
And finally, any words of caution for new artists?
Yes, the space is full of bad actors, so be careful. There are folks who will tell you “Hey, I’ll commission a piece from you”, and you do it and they run away and never pay you. It hasn’t happened to me personally but I’ve heard of stories so be careful. We use professional contracts with any artists, and this is how we think it should be done. And also be careful on the security aspect of things as a new artist. Beware of things such as phishing scams etc. This is all too common and can be difficult for new artists to navigate.
You can learn more about Norte, Palabras and Frases by visiting the StudioUno website, where the mint is currently live. There’s also free mints for certain collab communities such as Moonbirds, PROOF and of course CryptoArte.
Tip Of The Week - Watch more Swombat
Community member Swombat has produced another great video called ‘Make money in the NFT bear market: 3 Strategies’. Check it out below.
ZenAcademy & 333 Club Noticeboard
ZenAcademy Community News
The Summoning is approaching. A reminder that the only way to guarantee a chest is to have a ZenAcademy Genesis or 333 Club token. We will announce the official date and details shortly— it will not be sprung on you and please be careful with malicious links from now until then.
We've secured a discount for our community on two excellent NFT analytic tools. The first is NFTNerds, a tool that gives you a competitive advantage in the market by providing features such as alerts with buy auto-triggers, sales & listing graphs, rarity ranking, and much more. The second tool is NFTFlip, which has many of the same functions as the first but is more affordable. 20-30% discounts apply. See full details on how to claim here.
There’s a new ZenAcademy Twitter banner for you all. Check it out on Zeneca’s Twitter here and feel free to use it on your profiles.
The ZenCoaching initiative has sourced additional coaches to support more community members. All successful applicants will be contacted within approximately 72hrs and the program will get underway.
ZenAcademy Additional Free Content
YouTube Video: ZenAcademy Town Hall (PFP, our future, and much more!)
YouTube Video: Onboarding Millions Into NFTs And Web3
YouTube Video: Swombat’s ‘Make money in the NFT bear market: 3 Strategies’
YouTube Shorts: FREE COURSE to learn everything about NFTs and Web3
ZenAcademy Regular Events
Don’t miss the 333 Club’s weekly ‘This Week in NFTs’ Twitter Spaces, each and every Sunday. Follow the 333 Club Twitter page here for more info.
Don’t forget to keep across the Giveaways Discord channel, with plenty of allowlist spots up for grabs on a regular basis.
There’s a new ‘global-events’ forum in the ZA Discord to help facilitate IRL meet-ups amongst the community. Find more details here.
Look out for our weekly community events in the Discord Announcements channel. Each and every one of us has something to offer and through interaction, learning and networking as a group, we undoubtedly level up both on an individual level, but on a community level too. Come get involved.
Follow RogueRaven on Twitter here: @RogueRavenNFT
Nothing in this or any other ZenCaps publication should be construed as financial or investment advice. The views and opinions expressed in ZenCaps publications do not reflect those of Zeneca_33 or the ZenAcademy.
Always exercise caution within the NFT space and adhere to best practices when it comes to making any investments. There is plenty of potential, but this comes with inherent risks.
Stay safe, and as always, good luck.