If you're interested in NFTs, you may already be familiar with Art Blocks. It's an Ethereum-based platform that offers unique and programmable generative art NFTs for collectors to invest in. A distinctive feature of Art Blocks is the generative mining technology, which allows each product to appear individually and randomly.
Since its launch in November 2020, Art Blocks has made quite an impression, amassing over $1.4 billion in secondary market sales. Most of these sales happened on OpenSea, one of the most popular secondary NFT marketplaces. But, to ensure that Art Blocks can fully benefit from its success, the company has now integrated its very own secondary marketplace into its existing platform.
With the new marketplace, art enthusiasts can browse all Art Blocks collections, whether they are published natively on the marketplace or aggregated from other large platforms like OpenSea or X2Y2.
In addition, the new secondary marketplace offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work after the mint, addressing the need expressed by many Art Blocks executives to share their work without relying on broader NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.
It is worth pointing out that artists can create custom algorithms on the Ethereum blockchain and generate unique pieces of tokenized artwork with each new coin. Among Art Blocks' main projects are 'Chromie Squiggles' by its founder and CEO, Erick 'Snowfro' Calderon, 'Fidenza' by Tyler Hobbs, and 'Ringers' by Dmitri Cherniak.
One unique feature of this marketplace is that it allows for free secondary exchanges and respects the creator’s royalty settings. This sets it apart from other Ethereum NFT platforms, such as Blur and OpenSea, which make creator royalties optional for operators with holdings above 0.5%. When set up, the creator of an NFT receives 5-10% of the secondary sales price as a royalty.
However, the company had a low total of $6.5 million in sales in April, the lowest since May 2021. Despite this setback, the CEO of Art Blocks is standing firm on its stance on creator royalties, which is one of the reasons for this decline.
Calderon believes that artists can produce higher quality work and engage better with their audiences when royalties are maintained. Plus, Art Blocks' marketplace focuses on respecting copyright and highlighting designs and individual coins while ensuring a secure platform free of fraudulent designs and counterfeits.
The platform also goes against the grain when it comes to the token: it does not sell tokens. Calderon firmly opposes having tokens just because they are shiny objects and can lead to a cash grab when a new platform emerges.
Despite the recent challenges, Art Blocks is showing no signs of slowing down on the innovation front. There are potential use cases of its on-demand minting technology - at the heart of which is the 1-of-1 concept of X - in other industries, such as fashion or even ceramic tiles.
Tyler Hobbs, for his mentioned collection Fidenza, made quite a splash in October last year, generating an impressive $17 million by selling passes that gave buyers control over the appearance of the NFTs from his QQL collection. This successful venture highlights the potential for Art Blocks to expand beyond generative art NFTs and into other innovative areas that could lead to significant profits.
The platform plans to introduce a new minting mechanism in the next quarter but with less manual involvement. Calderon recognizes that they need to find a way to access a wider market, and the industry must also support its efforts.