NFTs with Twobadour, one of the investor in Beeple’s artworks
2021. The world was taken by surprise when a “jpeg-image” was sold with a record price of $69 million at Christie’s auction, making the Beeple the third most expensive living artist!
Digital art was obviously not new, but wait…can you sell it for that much?
Journalists, critics, fine art specialists, curators started to comment about the new phenomenon – some obviously annoyed that the closed circle club of fine art was disrupted, others celebrating a renaissance of art. And a new word, reserved only for a few-geeks, entered our daily vocabulary: NFTs.
But, the NFTs phenomenon and the record sales did not happen overnight in an auction. It took a long-time for the ecosystem to be understood, to develop, to be recognized. And from whom else could we understand it better than from those who invested and believe in digital artists: Twobadour – one of investors in Beeple’s art, and steward of the Metapurse, the crypto-investment company.
|Twoubadour was the guest at the series of lectures ``The Metaverse and the Future of Work and Play” organised by Elizabeth Strickler from Xpand Studio.|
Twobadour is the Steward of Metapurse, the world’s largest NFT fund. The fund is estimated to be worth $189 million and owns the $69 million Beeple.
Follow the lecture series with the leading voices in the Metaverse hosted by Elizabeth Strickler at the Creative Media Industries Institute.
The goal is to deeply research, reflect on and understand the Metaverse and how we will work and play within it.
|First it was a Dream...|
Then came the Land...
The first Car…
And then… Artists…
In 2017: Decentraland started in the same period when crytokitties and crypto punk happened. And currently, they are one of the largest estate owners in Decentraland. But why? There are two main reasons, pointed out Twobadour.
- Firstly, it is about property rights that are important. “ Property rights are not the same all over the world () in many parts of the world, you can be pushed out of your land, cheated out of it, the government can take the land away from you. And the idea of ownership was extremely powerful to us”.
- The Second reason is the Metaverse, and the fact that “many activities will shift to the metaverse in some way or another , because it’s just more fun, it’s just more immersive”. He pointed out that just like websites are in unlimited numbers, but there are few of them that really matter to an individual, they are those websites that a person goes to everyday. With Metaverses, most probably will happen the same.
And after acquiring real estates in the Metaverse, the next question came: what to do with it? “Because, what you don’t want to do is to digitise two dimensional figures or conventional real estate, you need something else ()”.
And that’s where NFTs as assets start to enter the game.
The first digital NFT F1 car was produced in collaboration with Formula 1 and sold by Animoca Brands. That was the largest single NFT sale in 2019, for exactly: $111,911.
“The amount seems very small now, but at that time, it would be ridiculous to spend that kind of money,'' commented Twobadour. He admits that this sale made collecting digital assets a very serious business.
People realized that it can be value in something that is purely digital. There is also something else, added Twobadour:
“It’s not just the car, but it’s also the culture and historical significance of an asset. () This is the first car which was launched in the Metaverse that makes it hugely important and culturally significant”
The next important moment that happened was an influx of Artists started to come the NFT space.
One particular issue that artists have been fighting for centuries was finally very possible in the NFT space: the idea of royalties. “Royalties can now be programmed into smart contracts. ()
A lot of the art marketplaces starting with SuperRare have now made it the norm to award 10% royalties. With every work of art to the original artist, and I think if I’m not mistaken, as of this month, the amount that they have dispersed in terms of royalties alone, sort of exceeds a million dollars a month to the artists who started in this space barely know three or four years ago, which I think is incredible.
This does not exist in the conventional art market”. In addition, an artist can directly connect with collectors, there is no middleman dictating what art is or defining that this is art and this is not art. And all this aspect drew Metapurse to the world of NFT Art.
The First Supper by Async Art-programmable art platform, was the first art purchased. This is a collaboration between 13 artists. And the work of art has approximately 22 layers.
Each artist has basically taken on one layer. And each layer has a couple of states. What basically happens is every layer, including the master, can be owned by different people.
And every layer can have different states (for example sky can be day or night, etc – so every owner can love it. And the owner of every layer gets to control the state of that particular layer.
You can see here all layers : https://async.art/art/master/0xb6dae651468e9593e4581705a09c10a76ac1e0c8-0
“And instantly, a collector or an owner of a layer becomes part of the work of art itself. And this is part of the design. It’s not a gimmick. It is part of the process of this work of art. It is collaborative, which brings together the studying, artists, and also all of these multiple collectors suddenly become part of the work of art”.
. TVA RECCOMENDATIONS : You can read the amazing story of First Super on . The story told by one of the artists of the co-creation Connie Digital
Twobadour added one more important aspect related to the native aspect of this type of Art: “Async Art cannot exist outside of the blockchain, is a blockchain native on platform, the work of art that's created there cannot exist in any other place in the world, which is what makes it truly special”
“We haven’t sold a single NFT, and we’ve never profited off of these activities and I don’t mean that in any altruistic way. The reason we haven’t done it, is because we feel that leaving an empty space is completely unimaginative, it’s boring. () So once we decided that we wouldn’t flip out NF T’s or sell them., we started to ask ourselves what do we do with them. And the obvious answer is to create experiences”, said Twobadour. On December 11th, 2020. During a Nifty Gateway auction, THE metapurseR acquired the complete set of 20 1/1 artworks in the Beeple Everydays: The 2020 Collection, created by Beeple.
TVA RECCOMENDATIONS : More info about the Metapurse Viewpoint
In three newly built custom VR Museums in Cryptovoxels, Somnium Space, and Decentraland, experiences were conceived, while hosting all these artworks. “We threw a virtual party because COVID died, but for some reason it galvanised everybody that was in the NFT space. We had like 3000 people attend virtual as avatars floating around, you know, as people listening in the Zoom calls or discord channels. It turned out to be the biggest blockchain event in a virtual space.” So that led to a chain of events, again, which culminated I suppose in the Beeple incident of March
Building on the previous experiences and community enthusiasm for art and party, Metapurse and its collaborators are part of another big story.
This time an NFT Gallery in NYC, with speakers, art, and concerts from all over the world. Check out the program, 500 speakers and artists make sure you don’t miss the event in November 2021, in New York at Terminal Five.
In addition, Metapurse has plan for a Gallery to become a focal point for the Metaverse.
Twobadour mentioned three main Business Opportunities that come with NFTs
Website will become Metaverse. And this transformation is already visible with brands, living spaces, luxury fashion brands, gaming, and so on.
Selling Lands. Land sales are the first things you see as far as Metaverse is concerned.
Gaming. The Metaverse completely opens the gaming industry just like it has done with art, music. Gamers spend money on different assets: skins, a sword, and so on. But these assets stay with the central entity. In the Metaverse, if you buy an asset, it stays with the buyer in perpetuity, even if the game shuts down.
Cryptocurrency tokenomics is an interesting new field in gaming. And the Axie Infinity play-to-earn model was given as an example.
Axie Infinity is a blockchain game where players earn rewards in a form of cryptocurrency tokens (that can be exchanged for fiat money afterwards).
Troubadour highlighted that with this NFT game, a lot of people from the Philippines could “pull themselves out of poverty by playing, they didn’t have to know the language, just had to play a game”. He also mentioned that some might say that this is a bit exploitative, but “that’s a stepping stone to something else.
For somebody that doesn’t have any money today to be able to have enough money, to be able to think about something else, is very important. And that’s how these Metaverse are going to transform not just the gaming industry, but the idea of property, and property rights, and also the idea of digital real estate of the future”.
In the world, where definitions of who is an artist and what is art are constantly changed, challenged and new definitions are coming up, it was interesting to find out how the investor that launched Beeple into the history of both CryptoArt, but also the already established world of fine art, see ‘Art’.
Twobadour see that the question what is art is timeless and admits that they were thinking a lot of these aspects. “I know it sounds corny or cheesy but () anybody that makes his world a better place by what he does is an artist”.
He considers that the beauty of NFTS space is not just that brought in artists who are recognised as artists and create what we all recognise as art, but also sort of elevated all of the other abstract inflection points of crypto into art”.
Some artists were not recognised as artists, but they are now because of the NFTs, added Troubadour. Some marginal artists- podcasters, videographers, etc- were not in the charts, but now “they get to have a very pivotal role because of NFT’s, because everything they do, can be tokenized can become an NFT, can become an asset of value”.
Company or Artists, the question is how an investor is thinking when it comes to selecting who is in, what are the criteria behind his choices. And the answer was quite straightforward.
When it comes to Art, because Metapurse does not have to sell it, and does not flip artworks on the market, the decision is very personal: “does this connect with me, do I feel anything about this work of art?”. And his advice was that this is how the NFT space should be approached.
Investing in NFT companies. Decisions are made based on the problem the crypto company tries to solve: is it today’s problem or a problem that will sort of play out over the next 4-5 years, and “if it solves today’s problem, it’s really not worth it.
In other words, If we understand what that company is doing right away, it’s not worth it. If we don’t instantly understand it, if we take some time for it to dawn on us, then it’s worth investing”.