Issue #30
Week 14 2021

Mainstream Punk

Even if you spend your fair share of time in the Larva Lab’s Discord, that’s not the only reason you’re likely seeing Punks throughout your days...

It’s not as though you couldn’t see this coming either. If you’ve been around Punk chat long enough you might have even joined in a discussion or two about just how cool a real-world crossover project showcasing everybody’s favorite 8-bit NFT art would be.. Well, thanks to the incredible initiative of Punk community members, the city of Miami will likely be going through a bit of an NFT awakening over the coming weeks. This is going to be good!

During the week of April 12, 2021, SaveArtSpace will launch 65 public art installations for each work on bus shelter and billboard ad spaces in Miami & Miami Beach. The public art will be on view for at least one month.

That’s right! CryptoPunks will be displayed for all to see during the month-long ‘Pixelated’ art exhibition in Miami Florida! Project coordinator Justin Aversano and curator gmoney.eth aim to showcase digital art to people moving about their everyday lives out there in the real world… Those who have never seen a Punk before might not take much note of one big Pixelated face way up above, it will not be easy to ignore close to 100 unique CryptoPunks! This is sure to create a lot of interesting buzz.

Justin Aversano even gave us a moment of his time, along with a quick glimpse of what Miami has in store!

Dr.Terminus: You could have chosen another early NFT project to showcase on Miami billboards, even a more recent one, but you chose to focus on CryptoPunks. Great choice, I won't bother asking why! So how about this instead:

1. What is your favorite thing about CryptoPunks?

justinaversano.eth: My favorite part of CryptoPunks is the community that backs it. Community is everything when it comes to the success of an art project. CryptoPunks are Warholian in their own right. The aesthetic is simple and generated by design. It is the perfect representation for the genesis of NFT art. From start to finish. It is as similar to cave paintings as you can get on the computer culture, which makes it such a bold and honorable project. We chose CryptoPunks because the people behind the project believe in us. Gave us their blessings to go ahead with a public art exhibition. We fundraised through the community itself. Everyone involved in CryptoPunks has faith in CryptoPunks. They are the world's top collectors in the NFT space. These are the people sharing ideas and thoughts on what the NFT space should feel and look like. They are indeed, good company as an artist to bond and create a future with. They listen and are open to artists to see what we are made of. Together, We made this public art project come to life to solidify digital art in the real world through SaveArtSpace.

Dr.Terminus: 2. Your collaboration is being done with the non-profit organization SaveArtSpace, which was founded in New York city. How did you decide upon them specifically to include in your project?(edited)

justinaversano.eth: I am the co-founder of SaveArtSpace. Founded in 2015, in Brooklyn, NY, SaveArtSpace is a non-profit organization that works to create an urban gallery experience, launching exhibitions that address intersectional themes and foster a progressive message of social change. By placing culture over commercialism, SaveArtSpace aims to empower artists from all walks of life and inspire a new generation of young creatives and activists.

We are thinking of creative new ways to utilize NFTs to fund our organization without relying on grants, brands, sponsorships, or partnerships. We aim to be self-sustainable through the sales and resales of these NFTs in perpetuity. So, we can support local artists around the world without worrying about funding through open calls.

Dr.Terminus: Very impressive!

3. Have you spotted a personal favorite CryptoPunk among the 96 included in the Miami Billboard event?

justinaversano.eth: #2890 and #8219. However, my favorite punk of all time is #15. Which I’m hoping Matt and John would trade me my last Twin Flames #49 for haha. (Not expecting that to happen, but open for it to happen!)

Punks-Billboard

There is going to be a lot of curiosity and chatter around town “What are those neat pixelated faces I keep seeing everywhere???”

It’s exciting to see the CryptoPunks, a primarily digital work, invade Miami with such a huge physical presence. We hope it sparks curiosity in a whole new audience for the punks, and in the amazing things happening in the world of digital art in general.

- Matt & John, Founders of Larva Labs

Though very exciting, this unique community driven outdoor Miami art exhibition isn’t the only Punk-focussed event happening in the coming weeks either…

Recent CryptoPunk news just keeps on coming! Matt Kalish, the co-founder and president of DraftKings recently sited CryptoPunks as being the ‘original' NFT product and purchased CryptoPunk #1871 to be awarded to the grand prize winner of their ‘PGA Putt for a Punk’ contest, which pooled 1,753 entrants at $50 each!

Punk-1871

The contest officially began Thursday April 8th, the first day of The Masters. What more could be expected than a city-wide Punk expo as well as a grand prize DraftKings contest?

“Taken together, the set represents both the rarest possible CryptoPunks and highlights from the variety of attributes that are the signature of the project” the creators told Christie’s.

Absolutely incredible. Nine CryptoPunks are being auctioned together in a single lot at the Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale on May 13. Believe it or not, the potential for a Punk-focussed event of this magnitude was indeed anticipated some time ago.

Three years ago, two software developers created a quirky art project called CryptoPunks that posed a serious and provocative question: Could a few lines of code translate to a feeling of meaningful ownership? It was a crazy idea that would require, in their words, ‘a conceptual leap.’ Three years later, that project is rightly regarded as the beginning of today’s CryptoArt movement.

Now, for the first time, a special sample of that groundbreaking work will be offered at a traditional auction house. A single lot of nine Punks, courtesy of Larva Labs — the project’s creators and pioneers — will appear in Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale on 13 May in New York.

‘The CryptoPunks are the alpha and omega of the CryptoArt movement,’ explains Noah Davis, specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s, New York. ‘This is a historic sale.’

As it turns out, this clearly definitive mainstream auction will be taking place during yet another SaveArtSpace event, one being held in New York city! ‘CryptoPunk’ is all but a household name already.

The Punk community is having a blast speculating how far and wide discussions of Punks will spread across Miami and beyond, and of course everyone is curious just how much Christie's auction will go for. It now seems assured, soon the masses will see what only a loyal Punk community has long since recognized. :)

Breaking: Christie’s auction news spurs big bidders to push for rare Punks!

5M-Punk-Bidder

Probably not the only high roller to take their shot before May 13th either…

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COINbase Listing Effect

Coinbase will be going public on the Nasdaq via a direct listing on April 14 under trading symbol COIN. This is rightfully being perceived as a significant achievement for the entire cryptocurrency space. Coinbase will be the first cryptocurrency exchange to go public in the United States.

The expansion of cryptocurrencies continues to collide with many core interests of traditional centralized financial services, but the upcoming Coinbase direct listing actual aligns interest of both of these parties once totally at odds. The user friendly centralized crypto trading platform reported revenue of $1.8 billion for Q1 2021, compared to $1.3 billion in revenue they produced in calendar 2020!

That’s right, not an IPO, but rather the direct listing of Coinbase is the latest extremely validating news for the entire crypto industry from a regulatory standpoint, not to mention further indicating mainstream adoption and continued acceptance of crypto in traditional finance. The collective digital asset industry stands to be bolstered by Wall Street and institutional investment access made possible by this listing. An incredibly affirming achievement for the future of decentralized finance as a whole. However, it is worth paying close attention to the recently released Coinbase Q1 financial earnings which the COIN valuation banks heavily upon. This most recent quarter has been perhaps the most bullish in crypto market history, one that can likely only maintain for so long. Accordingly, after careful consideration, not everyone is convinced the expected $100 billion valuation is totally realistic...

This is one investor’s take and there’s certainly an equal and opposite one to consider just as seriously. Regardless, it is undeniable that Coinbase now plays an evermore crucial role. Suddenly they bridge the gap between centralized and decentralized financial agendas. Plenty of crypto users keep funds on Coinbase, even if they know and practice cold storage of their own cryptocurrencies. Plenty more will likely utilize Coinbase services even further in a crypto-friendly future society in which day-to-day real-time decentralized financial settlement is happening everywhere.

Coinbase-Solutions

As things like crypto micro-payments become commonplace good record keeping will become evermore essential for personal and business financial prudence. A platform like Coinbase has the potential to become evermore convenient and appealing for businesses and users. New users and investors might be pleasantly surprised to find Coinbase is already poised to succeed as much more than just a FIAT on-ramp and crypto trading platform…

Coinbase-Homepage-01

To be clear, Coinbase announced their Q1 profits to be upwards of approximately $800 million, with revenue of approximately $1.8 billion. These heightened figures certainly most certainly do reflect the recent record setting crypto market interest from institutional investors as well as individuals contributing to the collective crypto market cap boom, which we might infer to be at least partly attributable to the unprecedented recent monetary policy seen worldwide in the wake of COVID. Clearly this most recent quarter’s performance being used as the primary basis for the COIN direct listing valuation is creating expectations which might be difficult to satisfy going forward...

"Crypto has the potential to be as revolutionary and widely adopted as the internet."

With such powerful statements made in the Coinbase S-1 filing, with the crypto space still being so young, I have to give pause.. Who is to say if the lofty valuation is really so unmerited?

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A Slow Week For DEFI

I’m not going to lie, this article was supposed to be about the sideways movement that occurred this week. That was until Saturday and Bitcoin price broke $60k and Ethereum hit new all-time highs. So, let’s go through the market and see what happened these past few weeks.

Bitcoin 

As mentioned previously, Bitcoin broke the $60k price resistance this week, capping out at $60,861. After multiple retest attempts, it finally broke the $60k barrier! The last time Bitcoin broke this barrier, it hit an ATH. So is this a sign of better things to come for Bitcoin?

Screen-Shot-2021-04-10-at-8.43.27-PM

Ethereum

On the same day Bitcoin broke the 60k resistance, ETH set an ATH at $2,198. ETH has been growing steadily these past two months, ever since dipping down to $1,349 back in February.

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The number of active wallets has also steadily increased due to the influx of people trying to get into this crypto and NFT boom.

glassnode-studio_ethereum-number-of-active-addresses

Another good sign for ETH and other alts is the Bitcoin dominance rate has notably fallen. This is a two-year low for BTC dominance and has made way for alts to grow. If this trend continues, we are in the midst of an excellent alt season.

There’s been crazy growth in alts. It will be interesting to see how many more coins will break their ATHs. Yesterday was a crazy day for the crypto world. Multiple coins continue to do it, but the question is now who is next and at what price?

What are your future predictions? Will Bitcoin hit a new ATH, or will ETH go to 5 digits? Let us know about our discord. All I know for sure is that I'll continue to HODL!!!

Interesting side note: 

Have you seen how low gas has been? Besides yesterday most coins were growing in a sideways trend; this resulted in low ETH usage. Mix that with a slowed market in NFTs and we get low gas. Gas fees are down by so much, and now nearly the whole day gas is below 100 gwei.  

Screen-Shot-2021-04-11-at-11.20.11-AM-1

Almost exactly a month ago, gas prices were through the roof. I was able to get a screenshot of when gas was up above 330 gwei. It’s insane how much ETH activity has stalled.

Screen-Shot-2021-03-16-at-9.48.28-AM

There seems to be a downward trend in gas prices over these past couple of weeks. Low gas fees make it easier for more people to buy NFTs or swap coins. But when there’s high swapping and buying, there are high gas fees. So, for now, let’s enjoy these lower fees.

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Let's Talk NFT Collections

 Did you know that the choice of Collection can be essential to your journey as an NFT Artist? When I started a short 4 month ago, I had no idea and learned very quickly that I chose wrong. 

So when new NFT artists contact me to show off their new work and tell me about their first sales, it is bittersweet to see them being successful and finding their first buyers to then find out that they are minting in a default collection. And many do not understand why this can be a problem. 

So let's talk about collections & contracts and why it is so important that every crypto artist owns their own. The big point being: second market royalties.

Twerky-Torch

Short side note before we dive more into this: like most NFT artists, I had to learn about NFT collections and smart contracts myself and I made some costly mistakes while doing so. This might not be perfect, but I tried my best to collect as much information on this topic so other artists don’t have to repeat my mistakes. Or at least be aware of them beforehand. 

Also - this is in no way a rant for or against any platform. We love them all. Here we go. 

In general, there are two types of NFT markets:

1. Open Markets like Rarible and OpenSea where you can just start releasing your art.

2. And selective Markets like SuperRare or Foundation that have some kind of gated access. 

In my experience, all of them fail to explain upfront how royalties would behave outside of their platforms - and that is the key. Remember, with tokens being released on the same blockchain, in this case, Ethereum, they can be resold on other platforms after your initial sale. 

OpenSea offers the most attractive and cheapest plan for new artists. Their "lazy minting" strategy option gives the artist the option to only pay one fee for the first mint and every NFT mint after that gets paid when the item/token gets bought. They do this because the actual minting only happens when the sale goes through. 

Once this happens, the item gets minted to an OpenSea collection, although on OpenSea it looks like it is in the artist’s collection. You might say - Twerky, what’s the problem with that? As long as you stay on OpenSea, there is none. But you cannot control where your collectors offer the item for the second market. Sure, Opensea is the most attractive market, but if the collectors sell this item on Rarible, you won’t have access to the royalties of the secondary market sale. They go to Opensea and not to you.

Twerky-Clay

Rarible on the other hand only offers the opportunity to mint in their default collection or to create one for yourself. The big difference to OpenSea is that the artists need to pay the minting right at the start. To avoid paying for minting might be attractive for some collectors but it is a risk for the artists.

Twerky-Bags

Before you decide which collection you create,  you have to know if your collection will only consist of 1/1 items or you will also include items that have multiple copies. 

For only 1/1 collections, you should choose the ERC-721, otherwise go with the ERC-1155. 

Be aware that some OG collectors do not buy NFTs from ERC-1155 not only because ERC-721 is more bougie, but because it is a guarantee that the whole collection hosts unique NFTs.

Twerky-Rari

Now let’s talk about Selective Markets 

As far as I know, most selective markets like SuperRare and MakersPlace only let the artists mint in their default collection - with one exception being Niftygateway, which seems to offer more options. This means that the artist can only see royalties if these sales happen inside the platform where they were minted and the artists need to pay for the minting as well. 

Considering the curated artists approach selective markets have, they should be the first ones to offer their artists the ability to mint their work in their collections. On the other hand, there is a point that having your work be part of the SuperRare Default collection being seen as a guarantee for special status. 

I want to give a quick shoutout to platforms like withFND that give artists the ability to invite fellow artists. That’s the best balance of quality vs the real purpose of blockchain.

You might ask me now “But Twerky, I am new and I do not want to risk money for an NFT that may not sell. What should I do?”

Well I can only talk about my own experience and I would recommend:

1. If you are just starting and don’t have a lot of money, start releasing in a default collection on either Rarible or Opensea and just evaluate the pros and cons.

2. Once you see some sales and can confirm interest in your collection, re-invest the money you made with your first sales back and buy your collection on Rarible. After you mint your first NFT it will be shown in your OpenSea account as well. Be aware that the first mint in your collection will be expensive so be ready.

Twerky-Collection

3. Right after your first mint in your collection, be sure to go to the collection page in Opensea and set the commission/royalty value to be sure your NFT will properly generate the fee no matter where it gets sold.

Twerky-Commission

As collections are not cheap, there are tools out there that monitor the current prices like https://tools.gravityenterprises.co.za/#/Cost by @FallenGrav1ty from Rarible

Once you made the transition from default to your own collection, be sure to show your NFTs in the easiest way for your collectors. I do it through my website that has helped me to keep my frens updated on the status of the collection and other side projects:

www.twerky.club

Mad love to you frens!

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encode-graphics

Shameless Shilling

ENCODE Graphics

The CryptoArt and NFT community has been changing rapidly, especially in the last few months. More and more artists have been connecting and causing a stir with various projects. In the field of comic literature, we almost saw a scandal. DC officially announced that its artists were no longer allowed to use their characters.

The comic book niche seemed to be threatened in one fell swoop. It was only a matter of time that this should be met with an answer… Since comic literature as well as comic art are really close to our hearts and we find joy and fulfillment in creating them as well as enriching the NFT field with them at the same time, we got together and wanted to be that answer to breathe more life back into this niche. The answer that we found and invented is: ENCODE Graphics.

What is ENCODE Graphics all about?

ENCODE Graphics is first and foremost a comics project that includes a variety of world-renowned creators and artists and, in addition to physical comics, has placed its primary focus on NFTs in various forms, combining both areas. 

Definitely, at the heart of ENCODE is the publication of stories that on the one hand take up the symbols and memes of crypto culture, but also the vision of the present that will be the reality of the future. This means the technical developments of modernity have a special significance and to what extent they can influence humanity. These scenarios are artfully depicted by various artists.

In this regard, ENCODE offers two impressively designed titles, the first of which is an ongoing series that has the legendary entity "Satoshi Nakamoto" as its main protagonist; called „2084“ 

The second title „METATALES“ is an anthology that will be black and white in the spirit of the old comic anthologies like „Caliber presents“. This collection of short stories features tales from well-known creators who have been working for publishers like DC and Marvel for decades: Eisner Award winner MIKE BARON (Nexus, Deadman, Action Comics...) or even CHUCK DIXON (Batman, The Punisher…) and many more.

Wonderful stories are combined with breathtaking visuals by comic artists such as MARK McKENNA, who is already well known in the NFT scene, or the ingenious illustrator WILL CONRAD, but also young and aspiring talents. ENCODE is still good for some surprises, because many of the already involved artists with rank and name currently remain under secrecy.

Our goals are high, because this universe with its beautifully designed characters offers a potential that goes far beyond the creation of comic literature and leads to subprojects such as its own trading card game. Also at the center are limited edition NFT artworks. You can expect some more announcements, official releases and partnerships on this!

Initial release of limited edition artworks

The production of our projects is expensive and even if we have a certain budget for the implementation, we want to expand it and also expand the artist fund for young talents. Therefore we will kick off our project with a special GENESIS NFT release, which will offer some of our works in limited form.

new-drop-dates@2x

The first GENESIS drop with some of the initial artworks will take place on April 17, 2021 on Nifty Gateway. If you are convinced, as we are, that comic literature definitely has its value in the art world, you like artistic creations of wonderful comic artists and you want to put your trust in this project, we would appreciate your support and invite you to find more information on our website:

www.encode.graphics

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