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The NEARverse is expanding at a head-spinning rate making it difficult to identify truly innovative and cutting-edge projects. The mission of NEARWEEK’s Perspective is to give informed and thorough coverage on the projects we believe will make a long-lasting mark on the NEAR ecosystem and its community. Every week will pick a different project after reviewing their value proposition, execution, and roadmap, and help spread the good news through the NEAR ecosystem and beyond.

This week, NEARWEEK had the pleasure to interview Jordan Gray, co-founder of TENKBay, a new NFT incubator and project promoter on NEAR. Among other things, Jordan is also the co-founder of CODAME ART+TECH, and AstroDAO, making him one of the most active personalities in the NEAR ecosystem. His dedication to creating innovative platforms that help creators benefit from what Web3 has to offer is what makes Jordan one of the most beloved members of the NEAR community. In this interview, Jordan will touch upon the TENKBay inception, core mission, and vision, and share some valuable insights to navigate the world of NFTs.

TENKBay: The NEAR Protocol’s NFT Incubator

Some of TENKBay backed NFT projects

TENKBay is a new NFT incubator and project promoter on NEAR Protocol, that helps artists launch their generative art projects. The idea of a platform that can provide artists with the support they need to launch their NFT projects was born just six months ago, when Jordan and Willem, the second co-founder of TENK, identified the need for such a platform on NEAR Protocol. After putting their brains together, Jordan and Wilhem participated in a cross-chain hackathon.

After reaching the second position in the hackathon, and having generated the first collection, Jordan and Wilhem decided to optimize their concept and focus more heavily on helping artists build their communities — the backbone of any successful NFT project:

“As we were exploring the collections we had the feeling that it’s cool to launch projects but without the community, the hype around it, it didn’t actually make sense to do the launch.”

While initially, TENK focused on helping artists with the technical aspects of launching a generative art project, the team soon realized that creating a solid community base is one of the core challenges that artists face. Being able to help them build thriving communities and a long-term vision then became a fundamental part of TENK’s work.

“We help projects get out the door but ultimately the technical part is easy, we can turn a crank on that but what we really like is to see projects with a mission, a vision, and a roadmap and we help incubate that if the project comes without it. We will make community introductions to basically help them find their place in the ecosystem.”

TENK has already helped fourteen NFT projects to launch, including, NEAR Misfits, Tiger Academy, NEAR Meerkat Kingdom, and Mr. Brown, some of the most beloved NFT projects in the NEAR ecosystem.

TENK, however, hasn’t only helped artists but also a series of launchpads that forked TENK’s contract and mint page:

“It’s what we wanted to happen (enable artists) but happened in a slightly different way than we expected. Instead of individual artist-dev teams working together, devs took the TENK open source code and set themselves up as profitable launchpads”

The Jungle, Utopia, Astrogen, Enleap (coming soon), and Juno, are some of the launchpads that forked TENK, and that went off to support artists in their own way.

TEKNBay Philosophy

TENKBay team features exceptional individuals with decades of experience in digital art curation, marketing, and web development. Jordan has also been running CODAME ART+TECH, a tech NGO that brings art and technology together for the past years and is passionate about creating new opportunities for artists:

“I’m all about enabling folks. I ran a tech Non-profit for the past 11 years, it’s called CODAME ART+TECH. That’s been a great platform for just giving digital art a place to be and the fans to come as we create. It’s always been about supporting artists and helping folks see technology as means of expression”.

TENK is a continuation of this mission towards empowering artists through technology and allowing them to gain more freedom of expression and access to resources.

Starting a New Era of Digital Art on NEAR

Overview of TENK NFT partnership

Jordan determination to bridge art and technology to create and empower artists is what brought Jordan to discover NEAR Protocol, and acknowledge NEAR as the most fitting blockchain to achieve his mission:

“When CODAME started doing NFTs we were doing it on Ethereum we got feedback from our artists that although it was successful and artists were making a lot of sales there were complaints about how usable it was even to get on the blockchain, the large fees made it feel like a scam and then also there was the concern about the environmental impact and the difficulties in understanding the royalties and splits and how those worked. That’s what we were hearing from our artists. These were the sticking points for them and because of that I ended up doing a lot of research on blockchain protocols and minting platforms building on them and that’s how I ended up on NEAR.”

Being a carbon-neutral chain designed to be user-friendly and cheap, NEAR offered a solution to the challenges suffered by artists operating on Ethereum. With its human-readable wallet and the splits at the protocol level, NEAR suddenly opened up new avenues for NFT artists.

Looking Ahead

TENK is a living platform that evolves in synchrony with the community of artists it supports. Its main objective is to make generative art more accessible and open up the world of Web3 to a wider public. To this end, TENK will work towards putting in place a scalable model that will allow TENK to focus on incubation and acceleration of projects:

“The thing I’m most excited about is to get everything that we are doing is more automatically reproduced, automate a lot of what we do that’s hands-on, and make it self-service. So that people don’t need to come to us for simple things and that will allow us to really focus on the cases that people are interested in getting embedded in the ecosystem and will make more use of the incubator and accelerator aspect of what we are up to.”

The TENK team, however, is also heavily involved in exploring NFTs and constantly trying to push the boundaries of this new technology:

“We kind of set the standard for generative projects on NEAR with our contract, so we are looking into what NFTs can be next? What are we going to do next? We have a few fun ideas, we are just shaking out which one will be first.”

If you are an artist and would like to kickstart your generative art project, reach out to TENK: Website, Twitter, Application Form.

Don’t forget to follow NEARWEEK for more in-depth pieces and news from the NEAR ecosystem: Twitter, Website.



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La Devochka

La Devochka

Crypto scavenger and cypherpunk ally, writing on privacy, crypto projects, philosophy of technology and more.