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This Week’s NFT Outliers — April 6th, 2022

Since our last newsletter, I’ve had more than 40 cups of coffee. I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not, but it’s certainly kept my eyes bloodshot and my teeth chattering. And with that energy I bring you another injection of things happening in the NFT ecosystem.

FxTender — Curation on the fx(hash) platform

Have you ever been to the generative art platform fxhash and thought to yourself “what in the hell am I looking at?” Apparently a lot of people felt that way. fxhash is famously un-curated — indeed their entire raison d’etre is to let art be art and artists be artists and damn the torpedoes. While virtuous and invaluable to the ecosystem, it can also be a little overwhelming.

Much needed and deeply appreciated, fxtender.art

Allow me introduce you to FxTender, a site built specifically to apply a layer of curation curate on top of fxhash and bring you the creme de la creme of the generative art world. One quick hop across their home page and you’ll see some big names from the space — zancan, msoriaro, lunarean… a who’s who of the Tezos world. You’ll also find rare gems and wildly interesting outputs that jumped out to me from the likes of Cyril Diagne and Kim Asendorf.

Credit: Kim Asendorf on FxTender — Reading a book #3

They call them ICONS, and I think you’ll enjoy bookmarking and revisiting as they keep highlighting key projects of note. Recently, Tender has amplified its curatorial game by adding editorial from collectors and artists. We particularly enjoyed this piece on William Mapan’s legendary and now record-breaking “Dragons” project. We’re guessing @ajberni and Tender have more exciting stuff up their sleeves, so keep an eye on what they are building.

Behind Synesthesia

When I was a wee lad, a man who goes by co told me to check out the collection by an anonymous artist called Synesthesia. People have guessed that it’s everyone from Kanye to Paul McCartney to that YouTuber’s kid brother who turned out to be a really good boxer.

It was introduced to me as a fantastic starting point for NFTs, as one — the art is beautiful, but two — there is apparently some proposed future utility far beyond the art itself. The long and the short of the work itself is that music / sound is used to create the visuals (I think), and it’s incredible (I know).

I don’t care if your crazy uncle is behind the work, it’s cool work. But the speculation continues to rise, and for good reason. There is rumbling on the interweb that Synesthesia could be seeking to disrupt the music distribution industry. It’s almost as if this is the kind of thing that the blockchain and NFT are tailor-made to solve for us.

credit: G018 by Synesthesia

Our speculative understanding of the possibility here is that instead of individuals who own major labels that own music rights, that collectives of owners around music could own and have access to the catalogs. Effectively decentralizing and democratizing ownership. Want to bring in a new artist? Want to sell a certain album? Get enough votes and the world is your oyster. Again, I’m trying to piece together the story from someone with ADHD and what I can glean from Twitter. Our recommendation? Follow Synesthesia and get it from the source.

Highest Volume Project of the last week: Dragons by williamapan. Why?

Since we talked about “Dragons” earlier, we thought we might as well dig in again. The project’s editions originally sold for ~25xtz, are now trading for hundreds of tezzerinos (maybe thousands!) and the Dragons collection has been the highest volume collection for the past week. They originally dropped with 512 editions last year, and the secondary market has been relatively stable, but has exploded as of late. As a new collector in the NFT market, I am fascinated by the question, “what causes this to happen?”

An example of Dragons by williamapan

Maybe there is some rationale as to why interest has grown and prices have soared. Maybe some influential collector has been buying up editions. Maybe new collectors are coming over from artblocks and buying “iconic” fxhash projects and deeming Dragons one worthy of collecting. Maybe there’s an impending partnership with the “How to Train Your Dragon” movie franchise. I don’t know. Someone help me!

Anyway, more background. The five months from November ’21 through March ’22, fxhash’s infancy, is what we might now call the “vintage” era. They call it Genesis, I think. What I believe we’re seeing now are some of these vintage pieces being reconsidered and reevaluated for their originality, technical complexity, creativity and variability of outputs and the fact that they are part of an inaugural class of generative art in the Tezos ecosystem.

On the Ethereum blockchain over at Art Blocks, we see a similar situation with some of the early projects minted in their ecosystem. See Chromie Squiggles, first released in November of 2020, have enjoyed enormous success on the secondary market. Kevin Rose did a really interesting episode on Proof with guest Derek Edward Schloss about them, what makes them unique and rare and you can check that out here.

What’s next on this? What do we think are going to be big projects that make big runs and get some movement? No idea. But I like these three:

Aether : Astral Loom by Lisa Orth. These look really interesting and the code looks legit.

Soragna by Estienne. I would hang this on my wall.

Linhas y concreto, Babilonia by Marcelo Moura. These might not grab you at first glance, but take a closer look.

Review: Xer0x “trust” project

This project, art, and economic endeavor kind of blow my mind. So, I’ll write this section in bullets to drive the point home.

  • OG NFT artist Xer0x minted 10,000 of these.
  • They took offers for them, the bigger the better, but only told bidders they would have to trust them to do the right thing.
  • They picked the top 25 offers — some of which were for 2–3,000xtz ($7,500–$10,000+)
  • They air dropped (gave away for free) 25 editions to those top 25 offerers
  • They then told the top 25 to cancel their orders
  • Xer0x then burned 9,975 editions, leaving only 25 in the wild.
  • …. no money changed hands at all.
  • and like that… a grail was born. So it goes.

If you are following along, you are starting to realize that this person had cash in hand offers totaling possibly hundreds of thousands of United States Dollars, and instead of cashing in on any of it, gave the art away for free.

Talk about an exercise in trust — folks who offered 3,000xtz were putting money in the hand of the artist, and for that faith were rewarded with not only their money back, but a 1 of 25 piece by a top artist.

I can tell you that I am literally rattled to my core right now. I also wish I had 3,000 tezzitos or eths to trust Xer0x with!

That’s it for this week

Well that’s it for this week. We’d love your comments and oh, by the way — we have our first Outli3rs Collector Bootcamp coming up this May. Do you have an NFT Collector Thesis? You should. Join us and figure out how it might help! Or, if you know someone curious about learning NFTs — send them our way and we’ll give them a discount on the course. Just hit us up for a discount code.

Good luck out there!

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