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NFT Collector’s Insight with Zonted

Zonted is the founder of a premier digital art gallery, that goes by the same name. The gallery empowers the growing digital art movement through early support and backing of crypto artists. He popped in for a chat with the Whale Community on his Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collecting adventures.

How did you first become involved with the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) crypto art space?

Zonted: I actually learned about NFTs from this very community! I had a friend (who was very into crypto) tweet about $WHALE’s token release. I knew basically nothing, but I aped into it simply because of the name. It quickly doubled, tripled and quadrupled itself, which prompted me to start digging deeper into why this token was increasing in value so significantly. I followed Whaleshark after that — mad respect. This community has really kick-started a lot of awareness in the space and the support for early projects is amazing. And yeah, I basically fell into the NFT rabbit hole from there.

Why did you start an art gallery?

Zonted: Long story short — I bought some art on Makersplace, bought some CryptoPunks, and the natural progression from there was this feeling that I needed a space to put all my punks. I looked around and found a nice corner piece in Origin City in Crypto Voxels. After I put my punks up on the wall, I thought, wow, I have so much extra space that I need to keep filling with more art. So back I went to SuperRare and MakersPlace! Then of course, I had too much art and I needed a bigger space. With the assistance of a Voxel Architect, the gallery was crafted into what it is today.

As to the reason why I created this gallery, I feel that a lot of NFT collectors in the past were simply holding digital art in their vaults like they are bitcoin or something. While I see how that still helps the artists, I think it’s not necessarily creating exposure. So I focused on building a premier, boutique experience in the Metaverse along with a nice editorial-driven website. At the end of the day, exposure is how value will get created in this space.

What’s your investment thesis in terms of collecting art?

Zonted: When I first started, I would go to SuperRare, sort by lowest price, and pick up some “floor art.” Looking back now, I can see that that is not at all how you should think about art. It’s important to think about it on an artist’s level. I studied up on art history and the collecting styles of past collectors and I found that it’s really about collecting artists that are setting and defining trends that will come in the future. I think that is why O.G. crypto artists such as [Murat] Pak and Hackatao are so well-valued now. They have set the tone for the entire movement.

There are essentially two strategies that I like when collecting art. The first is being in the early stages of supporting an artist that could be the next biggest hit. Their first mints in the NFT world. As the artist progresses and puts out more pieces, I will continue to make bids on the new ones to build demand, exposure and snag a few extra pieces. With this sort of early stage bet, maybe only 5% or 10% become as valuable as you’re making them out to be, so this strategy requires a lot of patience.

The other approach that I think is very impactful is just straight up going for the artists’ cornerstone, s-tier pieces. Like going all out on a single piece. I think the grey middle area is the part I tend to avoid — where there are a lot of pieces that are fairly pricey, but they’re not the defining pieces of the artist and aren’t super liquid.

It’s also really important that the artist has an active social media presence. With digital art, we essentially disintermediate the middle man (Gallerists), who usually promote the artists and build their reputations. So a digital artist without a digital presence is not ideal in my opinion.

On correlations between the digital and physical art worlds:

Zonted: The more you read about the art game, the more you realise that it is a game of pure insider information, price manipulation and price fixing. Its a pure dog-eat-dog world. I recognized that this was likely to be the case in this industry as well, so I looked for the most optically sound way to execute and take advantage on what’s happening in this ecosystem. With the gallery and editorials from my website, I’m able to present a very well-manicured experience for people and the artists I collect, similar to galleries in the traditional art space.

What are your thoughts on purchasing editions or 1 of 1s?

Zonted: I’ve wobbled on this idea a lot. I started buying editions first because they were cheaper, then moved to only wanting 1/1s because I like the idea that I am the only person who owns this piece. So for a while, I had a rule that I would only buy 1/1s. I broke the rule consistently after Beeple changed the game with open editions on Nifty Gateway. However, I’m now back to buying 1/1s. I’d much rather have one $20,000 piece then 20 $1,000 pieces. While the editions will usually have greater returns on investments, the single edition generates more net dollar profits, and it’s less cumbersome to liquidate.

Tell us a little bit about bidding etiquette, and how you approach bidding wars.

Zonted: I think there are a lot of different opinions regarding this, especially with all the different approaches artists have in selling their work. Generally speaking, I would say that a 5% to 10% bid increment is good.

I have been sniped by last minute bids before and it’s always really irritating. It kind of forces you to then have this sort of vindictiveness that makes you want to also squeeze in last minute bids. These happen because of the popular “Coldie Method.” You know, where there is a 24-hour auction period and at the end, the timer extends with each bid. It’s tough sometimes to be always checking twitter to hear about these auctions. I really appreciate it when an artist reaches out and lets me know when I have been outbid during these auctions. That’s preferable to me so that I don’t have to constantly check Twitter.

I also think it isn’t great when someone always waits until the last second to submit a bid. That’s straight annoying. Just make your bid, and I’ll make mine and we’ll keep going until one of us taps out. For this reason, I’ve been avoiding SuperRare lately, because each bid is costing $10+ in Eth!

If you had to choose one NFT to be your favourite, which would it be?

Zonted: There’s a saying in the art world, that usually your most cherished piece is the one you spent the most on. For me, it would be this CryptoPunk, where I thought I was a little bit in-over-my-head. It’s a rare one, with an all-gold tiara and at the time, I got it for 49 Ethereum, which made me initially feel like, what? What am I doing? It was the second or third biggest sale for a CryptoPunk in terms of dollars at that point. I mean I could buy a car for that but instead I’m buying this. Regardless, I knew that NFTs were gonna go somewhere, and I needed a rare punk in my collection, so I’m satisfied.

Zonted’s favourite NFT.

You can find out more about Zonted and his journey through NFTs and the Metaverse here or on his Twitter. You can find the links to all of Zonted’s art gallery as follows:

Zonted north gallery: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3743

Zonted south gallery: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3764

Zonted park: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3734

Zonted art installation by Ogar: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3772

Zonted custom exhibition hall by Kristy Glas: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3795

Zonted Decentraland gallery: https://play.decentraland.org/?position=90,-22

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