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Surprisingly, the genesis of Chromie Squiggles, Art Blocks’ most notable NFT collection — and arguably, the Art Blocks NFT marketplace itself — can be traced back to Coachella. When Art Blocks Founder Erick Calderon, better known as Snowfro, caught Amon Tobin’s set at Coachella 2012, he immediately fell in love with the art on display that night.
So how did Snowfro go from an awestruck fan at the Coachella festival grounds to an author of one of the most important generative art collections that NFT space has seen thus far?A squiggle and a keystroke
After discovering CryptoPunks in 2023 (back when it was just $35 per mint in gas fees), he realized that NFTs held the key to unlocking the full potential of generative art in a modern, democratized context. “When I claimed some CryptoPunks on that day, I realized that there was this moment where you have the ability, maybe for the first time in history, to prove ownership of something digital. And it got me really excited,” Snofro said in a video interview with nft now. “And all of a sudden, all of my previous history and creative coding and immersive art installations came together with this idea that you could own something digital. I just kind of had this moment where I was like, “Yeah, I think the blockchain would be a wonderful way for generative art to be distributed.””
Blending his desire to create a truly blockchain-native experience with his love for generative art, he started work on what eventually became Art Blocks — a mainstay today in hosting cutting-edge generative NFT art. Fittingly, funding this venture entailed selling 34 of the CryptoPunks he’d originally minted following Larva Labs’ launch.
However, Snowfro had another hurdle to overcome following the launch of Art Blocks. He needed a project to demonstrate its truly unique user experience. Unlike most NFT marketplaces, pieces sold on Art Blocks don’t technically exist until they’re purchased and minted. What collectors receive upon purchasing a piece on any collection hosted on Art Blocks is an unfiltered output corresponding to the generative script originally provided by the collection’s artist. That means pieces aren’t “pieces” per se, but the results of a script. Collection sizes are limited by the number of times a script is set to produce an output, and the rarity of each “piece” within can only truly be uncovered once minting has concluded.Unpacking the Chromie Squiggle NFTs
That’s how the Chromie Squiggles NFT collection came into being, which as of writing, is one of only two generative art collections created by Snowfro in existence. After all, who could better demonstrate Art Blocks’ capabilities than its founder himself? Ahead of Chromie Squiggles’ launch, Snowfro prepared the script for this collection himself, offering collectors 9,000 chances to claim an output from his script at launch. Initially, the collection was simply meant to serve as a proof of concept for the unique way in which Art Blocks approached generative art. But, down the line, the scope of Chromie Squiggles grew into something much more.
“It has completely disrupted my life,” Snowfro said. “It’s really interesting to see how people have embraced this as a symbol that represents generative art.” Despite how readily the NFT space’s generative art community embraced this unassuming collection of squiggles, Snowfro hopes generative artists looking to have their voices heard in the space won’t feel boxed into believing that Chromie Squiggles represents them entirely. An empathetic and fitting one, given the more intangible aspects of Chromie Squiggles’ legacy. “But it is nice that within the space this is like the sign of empathy. [It’s] a sign of compassion [and] general inclusivity within the space. I think the space yearns [for] a little bit of humanity, as well. So the way that people have embraced the Chromie Squiggles has been completely shocking to me. I’m really proud, and really excited to see where it goes from here.”
But if you want to mint a fresh new Chromie Squiggle, your only option is to go straight to its source. As of writing, there are only 756 Chromie Squiggle NFTs left to be minted, with all keys for mints currently in possession of Snowfro to “give out as he pleases,” according to the Chromie Squiggles website.
Thankfully, the Chromie Squiggles website also notes a healthy secondary market for these NFTs. They won’t come cheap, though. Although not every Squiggle will sell for anywhere close to the $2.44 million price tag one buyer bought Chromie Squiggle #3984 for, floor prices for the collection are north of 13.5 ETH as of writing (keep in mind, this doesn’t account for Chromie Squiggles’ rarity). At the highest end of the Chromie Squiggle value spectrum are the twenty “perfect spectrum Squiggles” that display exactly 256 hues. Despite the collection’s deceptively simple appearance, Snowfro’s code has enabled a litany of possibilities for would-be minters upon minting a Chromie Squiggle.
While even its website admits that Chromie Squiggles can’t always match the conventional (museum-based) artistic experience, this collection nevertheless spearheaded the development and recognition of one of the most important scenes in NFT art today. Through its DAO, users can opt-in to the Chromie Squiggles community via a fractional purchase of a Chromie Squiggle, joining the ranks of a community centered on guiding the generative artists of tomorrow to continue developing this growing subset of NFT art.
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In 2023, wildlife photographer Frank Liu took a shot of a spotted Zebra. The photo was covered in National Geographic, Forbes, Smithsonian Magazine, and featured on the cover of several South African publications. Today, Liu is trying to move beyond his Web2 legacy and traditional media. He’s traveling the world building a community of artists interested in facilitating wildlife conservation using Web3 technologies.
But there’s a problem.
A combination of blockchain fear-mongering and misunderstandings about NFTs and the environment have thwarted his conservation efforts — and what might be one of the greatest funding opportunities many small NGOs have ever seen.The journey into Web3
“I started taking photos in university,” Liu tells nft now. “In 2024, after my first trip to the Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya, my photos were published in The Sun, The Guardian, and The Daily Mail.”
Three years later, Liu took the now-famous shots of a spotted baby Zebra. If you Google “spotted Zebra,” the first five articles are all about Liu’s photo. Even ChatGPT knows the answer to the question, “Who took the photo of the spotted zebra in 2023?” Liu was in the running for the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award once or twice. But he only reached the top 300 — the competition attracts nearly 50,000 entries.
And then the pandemic happened.
Liu’s spotted Zebra photo. Credit: Frank Liu
Liu says it ended his livelihood. Two years of preparatory work with agencies, tour operators, guides, and safari lodges went up in smoke.
Then one of Liu’s former colleagues explained Web3 to him. The colleague had been working with a blockchain company called Empowa that was using DeFi to help remote communities get housing in Africa. At the time, Liu wasn’t a complete stranger to blockchain. He had bought his first bit of crypto in 2023, but he hadn’t paid it much mind since then. The pandemic changed matters.
Liu and his colleagues decided to put together a wildlife NFT project on the Cardano blockchain, both to support themselves and to raise funds for NGOs focused on wildlife conservation.
Liu says the team selected Cardano because it was more sustainable than some other chains. It also had its own fund, and users would vote on projects they wanted to see developed. Liu’s analysis indicated that the Cardano community tended to vote for projects with a real mission and impact, so it seemed like a natural fit.
But misinformation made executing the project an uphill battle.Troubled waters
Because of the royalty features embedded in smart contracts, NFTs can provide creators and the organizations they support with a recurring, reliable source of revenue. In this regard, Liu notes that NFTs “represent a more sustainable income source for these [smaller] NGOs than other sources.”
Liu’s idea was to create an NFT project akin to trading cards. Personally vetted artists would submit their photographs, and these would be turned into collectibles with icons on them. These icons would show the artist’s name, the animal’s scientific name, information on the animal’s habitat, whether the population is increasing or decreasing, and other key details that help raise awareness for that species.
The first challenge Liu experienced came from artists. Many of the creators he contacted said they were concerned about sustainability issues stemming from blockchain technologies. Despite his attempts to assuage their fears and explain how blockchains actually work, not everyone Liu approached agreed to help him. Several photographers remained unconvinced, positive that NFTs were damaging the environment, condemning the entire practice as unsustainable.
Likewise, the NGOs Liu approached cited concerns over sustainability. After speaking with them at length, Liu says it became clear that they didn’t understand the difference between chains or consensus models.
This poses a real problem.
Liu typically approached niche NGOs focused on a particular species or geographic zone. Because they are so niche, their work is vital. No one is there to take over if they don’t survive. According to Liu, these niche NGOs are also continually in survival mode — spread far too thin and desperate for funding. That’s precisely why NFTs could work so well for them.
An NFT project could bring them urgently needed funds in excess of social media campaigns and other slow-burn methods. In exchange, these NGOs could provide unique content for NFT holders because of their niche position. Liu explains that this value could be original footage, walkalongs around habitats, and other content that would otherwise cost tourists far more than the price of a single NFT. It’s a win-win.
But according to Liu, things are getting increasingly difficult and looking more and more bleak. People see sensationalist articles that lack any context and take them as truth.
And sadly, Liu isn’t the only one having problems. Many who have attempted to launch conservation efforts via NFTs have been met with contempt and watched as their projects floundered and failed due to bad information.A tale of two wildlife foundations
Nowhere is the mass misunderstanding of Web3 more apparent than in the NFT projects launched by the World Wildlife Foundations (WWF) in Germany and the UK. The first — Non-Fungible Animals — was a resounding success, raising nearly $300,000 for highly endangered species. The latter — Tokens for Nature — which ran on the same chain, was a bloodbath.
Non-Fungible Animals — named to represent how one animal and species can never be replaced by any other — is still going strong nearly one-and-a-half years after it’s launch. Each animal represented in the project — the Amur tiger, Baltic porpoise, Persian leopard, and others — had exactly the same number of NFTs created for it as there are members of its population. For example, the Giant Panda collection contained 1,864 NFTs because there are only 1,864 Giant Pandas in the world. The Giant Ibis had 290 NFTs. The rarer animals were more expensive.
On the sustainability side, the German WWF project chose Polygon. They also created their own marketplace so that it was possible to seamlessly pay with a credit card through MoonPay, which was “quite a hurdle” at the time, Graf says. Today, MoonPay integrates with OpenSea and other marketplaces. A year and a half ago, that wasn’t the case.
“For us, it was never about the funds,” a WWF Germany spokesperson told The Verge after the WWF UK debacle. “It was about raising awareness regarding the species’ extinction.”
Galápagos penguin NFT. Credit: WWF UK
In contrast to the success of Non-Fungible Animals, two days after launching its NFT project, WWF UK was backpedaling and offering nearly $50,000 worth of refunds to NFT purchasers. So why did it fail where it’s counterpart flourished? Misinformation.
“[WWF UK] totally failed,” says Graf, “because instead of focusing on the art, they told people that Polygon is a chain that is totally carbon neutral or needs less carbon than drinking a glass of water.” It’s impossible to accurately determine the cost of a single NFT transaction because they are processed in blocks. WWF’s statement wasn’t, therefore, entirely truthful. “So they were kind of lying, and this brought up a big discussion,” says Graf.
The WWF UK soap-boxing regarding the carbon emissions of NFTs takes on a bitter taste when you consider that WWF received a $400,000 grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 2023 — a family that grew fat on a century of oil production.The drumbeating helps no one
Small NGOs are dying. They are overwhelmed. They need funding now. Their loss would be a catastrophe for the environmental zone they cover. NFTs open a realistic door to that funding. While greenwashing the blockchain isn’t the solution, it’s important to promote accurate information and context about its energy usage in comparison to other environmental culprits.
To begin with, Netflix uses up to 36,000 times more energy than PoS Ethereum. PayPal uses 100 times more energy. Wherefore the outcries for NGOs accepting donations via PayPal? Global Data Centers are right up there with energy production — a massive 78,000 times more than PoS Ethereum.
You’d think that gold mining would be the worst culprit. But nope. And neither is Bitcoin. The greatest planet killer on the scale of energy consumption, coming in at 94,000 times more consumption than PoS Ethereum is YouTube. But where are the crowds demanding a takedown of the latest WWF YouTube video to raise funds?
And don’t forget to shut every bank down on earth. JPMorgan emitted 766 metric tons of CO2e in 2023, and Bank of America didn’t fare much better. By the logic of the Anti-NFTers, NGOs shouldn’t accept funds through banks, either.
Getting an NFT project off the ground is hard enough without all the anti-blockchain rhetoric. But such rhetoric — mainly, the misinformation that comes with it — cements any thoughtful hesitation into complete non-cooperation. “They just read the headlines,” Liu says of people who haven’t had much exposure to blockchain. “They say it has a lot of environmental impact, and so it goes against what they’re trying to do.”
“It’s still too early to get them on board,” Liu says. So he is focusing now on creating a worldwide collective of personally vetted artists called “Dreamxrs,” all with the similar wildlife conservation goals, that he can bring together for an NFT project in the future “when the time is right.”
Hopefully, when his team is ready, the world will be more informed on the subject and allow NGOs to be helped by one of the best solutions to come their way in years.
A misty mystic wonderland in a distant galaxy, reflections, evening, sunset, planets, beach, palms, ocean, 8k
Have you tried one of those AI art-generating tools but got an image as bad as this one?
And did you expect to get something of this caliber?
Image Credit: MidJourney Community Showcase
So what went wrong?
The main reason why your AI-generated art fails is because of poor input design.
When you use AI to generate images, you need to be very specific as to what kind of image you want to produce. It’s not enough to just say “Cat playing”. The powerful AI image generation models can’t save you if your inputs are bad.
This is a comprehensive guide to creating stunning art with AI. You will learn the basics of input design (also known as prompt engineering). I’ll also give you keyword lists associated with artistic styles, techniques, and more. You can use these to fine-tune the AI art.
I’m using Stable Diffusion 2.0 to generate the images in this guide.Input Design: How to Create Images with AI
To start generating images with AI, you need to choose an AI art generation model. The most notable models are:
But these models aren’t that impressive unless you learn how to use them.
Poor input design is the number one reason why you’re bad images from AI image generators. Luckily, learning input design (or prompt engineering) is easy.
And don’t get me wrong here. Sometimes you might be able to generate stunning AI art without thinking about the prompts at all!
There are also some tools that build prompts for you. There are even marketplaces that sell prompts that generate quality images with AI.
But because input design is such an easy skill to learn, it makes sense to spend some time drilling it. Some even say that input design is one of the careers of the future!
Let’s get started with input design to create those amazing AI-generated images.The 4 Steps of Input Design
AI image generation works by using simple text prompts.
The AI asks you for input, such as “An image of a cat”. Then it takes a couple of seconds to generate an image that best matches your input.
To make the most out of AI image generators, you need to know how to craft these inputs in the right way.
Obviously, there are different approaches and templates you can use to write inputs for AI. One simple way to construct a prompt is by using the following structure:
Category, Description, Style, Composition
Here’s an example input I gave to Stable Diffusion 2.0 image generation model:
As you can tell, I’ve carefully used specific terms to describe the output image best. Here’s what the AI gave me:
It is more or less exactly what I wanted!
Next, let’s take a closer look at the different parts of the input, how you can create those, and some keyword lists and names to include in the prompts.1. Category
To create a piece of art with AI, you need to decide what type of image you want to see.
Is it a photograph, painting or 3D render?
For example, if you want to create a painting, start with:
A painting of…2. Description
After deciding what art piece you want to generate, it’s time to describe the subject, its attributes, and the scene.
The better you describe your object, its attributes, and its environment, the better the output!
For example, let’s say we’re looking for a painting of a cat.
Let’s use a poorly descriptive prompt at first:
A painting of a cat
Here’s what the output might look like:
Well, it actually looks quite nice. But it’s also very basic.
Let’s see what happens when we fine-tune the input to be more descriptive:
A painting of a furry old cat in the middle of a field during sunset
Here’s the output:3. Style
The style of art you’re looking to generate is in a key role. Without specifying the style of art, detail, and lighting, the outputs will be quite arbitrary.
In this section, you learn how to affect the style of AI art. I’ve split this part into three sections:
In each section, you’ll find a bunch of keywords you can include in your inputs.3.1. Lighting
Here is a list of lighting-related terms you can use to specify the lighting of your scene. Don’t forget to be creative and add more lighting items to your list 🙂
💡 Accent Lighting, Ambient Lighting, Backlight, Blacklight, Blinding Light, Candlelight, Colored Lighting, Concert Lighting, Crepuscular Rays, Dark Lighting, Dimmer Lighting, Direct Sunlight, Dusk, Edison Bulb, Electric Arc, Filtered Lighting, Flood Lighting, Fire, Fluorescent, Glowing, Glowing Radioactively, Glow-Stick, LED Lighting, Lava Glow, Mood Lighting, Moonlight, Natural Lighting, Neon Lamp, Nightclub Lighting, Nuclear Waste Glow, Outdoor Lighting, Quantum Dot Display, Reflective Lighting, RGBW Led Lighting, Spotlight, Strobe, Sunlight, Task Lighting, Ultraviolet, Up Lighting, Vintage Lighting, Warm White Lighting, White Lighting, Wireless Lighting, X-Ray Lighting, Zonal Lighting, Dramatic Lighting, Soft Lighting, Laser Lighting, Moving Head Lighting, Architectural Lighting, Gobo Lighting, Pixel Lighting, Wash Lighting, Pixel Mapping Lighting
For example, let’s generate the cat painting in moonlight and firelight:
A painting of a furry old cat in the middle of a field during sunset, moonlight, fire
The detail seems obvious—you want to tell the AI to generate as sharp an image as possible.
But there are many factors that contribute to the detail of a photograph. The detail depends on the type of digital lens and rendering options.
Here are a bunch of detail-related keywords to use:
💡 8K UHD, Analog Photo, Arnold Render, Bokeh, CGSociety, CGI, Cinema4d, Depth Of Field (DOF), DSLR, Film Photography, 100mm, Grainy, Houdini Render, Highly Detailed, Lumen Reflections, Megascans, Overglaze, Octane Render, Polaroid, Realistic, Raytracing, Studio Quality, Ultra Realistic, UnReal Engine, Volumetric Fog, Vray.
For example, let’s turn the cat painting into an ultra-realistic painting with the following input:
A painting of a furry old cat in the middle of a field during sunset, ultra-realistic
Output:3.3. Art Style
One major part of proper input design is name-dropping. Knowing different artistic styles, techniques, or eras can help you control the output of the AI-generated art piece.
Here are some historical art styles:
💡 Abstract, Abstract Expressionism, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Art Povera, Baroque, Byzantine, Conceptual Art, Constructivism, Contemporary, Cubism, Dadaism, De Stijl, Fantasy, Fauvism, Fluxus, Futurism, Geometric Abstraction, Gothic, Hyperrealism, Impressionism, Kinetic Art, Land Art, Luminism, Medieval Art, Minimalism, Modernism, Neoclassicism, Op Art, Photorealism, Pointillism, Pop Art, Pop-Op, Post-Expressionism, Postmodernism, Pre-Raphaelites, Realism, Renaissance, Rococo, Romanticism, Surrealism, Symbolism, Suprematism.
And here’s a list of artistic techniques:
💡 Acrylic Painting, Airbrushing, Award Winning, Character Design, Collage, Color Page, Concept Art, Dry Brushing, Divine, Digital Art, Digital Painting, Encaustic Painting, Elegant, Evocative, Featured on Pixiv, Fine Art, Fresco Painting, Glazing, Gouache Painting, Golden Ratio, Lino-Cut Printmaking, Monotype Printmaking, Oil Pastel, Pastel Painting, Precise Line-Art, Printmaking, Relief Printing, Scratchboard, Sketching, Smooth, Soft, Stenciling, Surreal, Symmetry, Tarot Card, Tempera Painting, Tenebrism, Trending on Artstation, Watercolor Painting, Watercolor Sketch, Woodcut Printmaking, Zentangle.
You can of course specify the artistic materials being used:
💡 Acrylic Gesso, Acrylic Paint, Canvas, Canvas Board, Charcoal, Chalks, Clay, Colored Pencils, Ceramic, Cartridge Paper, Calligraphy Pens, Drawing Board, Fabric, Easel, Encaustic, Fixative Spray, Gels, Gold Leaf, Gouache, Graphite, Glass, Glazing Liquid, Gesso, Ink, Ink Pens, Linseed Oil, Markers, Mediums, Metal, Oil-Based Markers, Oil-Based Paint Sticks, Oil Paint, Oil Pastels, Pallet Knives, Paper, Pastel, Plaster, Sandpaper, Sketch Pad, Sketch Books, Spray Paint, Stone, Turpentine, Varish, Yarn, Wooden Panel.
For example, let’s take a cubistic approach to paint the image of a cat.
A painting of a furry old cat in the middle of a field during sunset, ultra-realistic, cubism
As another example, let’s make the painting both cubistic and pointillistic with the input:
A painting of a furry old cat in the middle of a field during sunset, ultra-realistic, cubism
Last but not least, you might want to specify the image composition for your art piece. This involves choosing the measurements of the output image, camera view, and resolution.4.1. Aspect Ratio
To specify the measurements of an AI-generated image, you need to choose an aspect ratio. The aspect ratio varies based on what kind of environment you want to generate the image.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, the aspect ratio is the proportion of an image’s width to its height. It is often represented as two numbers separated by a colon, such as 4:3 or 16:9.
For example, a 4:3 aspect ratio means that the width of the image is 4 units and the height is 3 units. A 16:9 aspect ratio, on the other hand, is a rectangle with a width of 16 units and a height of 9 units.
Here’s a list of common aspect ratios (with short explanations):4.2. Camera View
When taking or painting a picture, you need to choose the point of view. This is no different in input design.
To generate art with a specific camera view, you can use some of the following keywords:
💡 Aerial View, Bird’s Eye View, Bokeh, Close-Up, Crane Shot, Drone shot, Dutch Angle, Extreme Close-Up, Extreme Long-Shot, Fisheye, High-Angle Shot, Jib Shot, Landscape, Low Angle, Long Shot, Massive Scale, Mid-Shot, Over-The-Shoulder, Panoramic, Point-Of-View, Snapshot, Steady Cam, Stop-Motion, Street Level View, Tilt-Pan, Tilt-Shift, Time-Lapse, Tracking Pan, Tracking Shot, Ultra Wide-Angle, Worm’s Eye View, Wide-Angle, Zoom-In, Zoom-Out.4.3. Resolution
Last but not least, the image quality matters too. To consider this, tell the AI what kind of resolution you want.
You may have heard of resolutions of 4k, 8K, RGB, and such.
Here is a long list of keywords associated with image resolution. (Some terms overlap with the detail-related keywords from the detail section earlier).
💡 4K, 8K UHD, Bit-depth, Bitmap Images, Color Depth, Color Space, CMYK, Compression, Depth of Field (DOF), DPI, Gamma Correction, Gamma Compression, Grayscale, High Dynamic Range (HDR), High Resolution, H.264 Compression, H.265 Compression, Interpolated, Low Resolution, Metafile Image, Pixelated, PPI, RGB, Raster Image, Highly Detailed, Studio Quality, 2D Images, 3D Images, Lossless Compression, Lossy Compression, Ultra Realistic, Vector Image.
Let’s generate one more cat painting. This time, let’s choose a street-level view as the camera view in our composition.
A painting of a furry old cat in the middle of a field during sunset, ultra-realistic, cubism, pointillism, street-level view
AI is capable of generating stunning pieces of art in a matter of seconds. To do this, you can use models like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, or MidJourney.
But to truly harness the power of AI, you also need to know how to write the text inputs in the right way.
If you poorly describe your art piece, you (often) get a bad result. On the other hand, if you’re good at engineering the prompts, you can generate stunning pieces of art—similar to the ones you see in demos and community showcases.
When you generate images with AI, split your input into four parts:
Also, remember that AI understands the inputs quite well. AI art generation is not an exact science! If you specify aspect ratio before artistic style, you will probably end up with a good result.
Remember to experiment, read guides, watch tutorials, and more importantly, find prompts that best match your use cases!
Thanks for reading. Happy image-generating!Read Also
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If you follow the daily revelations of the internet, you might most definitely have heard either of these two terms this past week – NFT or “Nifties”. Some popular NFTs include the 10-second video that was created by Beeple and sold for $6.6 million, a music video by Grimes lasting 50 seconds that sold for $388,938 among other collectibles that have gone viral recently.
For those of you who are wondering where you can get your hands on your own unique NFTs, we’ve prepared the following post to help you find collectibles across various marketplaces online so that you may buy them with ease.
What is an NFT Marketplace?
Just like any other niche piece of art, NFTs hold their value for being unique and it’s impossible to exchange them with another item of their type. When you buy an NFT, you’ll get a unique digital token that’ll state that you own it and no one else can claim to have the exact same piece of the item with the same features and condition.
NFTs are created as part of a certain blockchain, most of them belonging to the Ethereum blockchain. A cryptocurrency on Ethereum can store additional information and thus, it supports NFTs, and similar to NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, there can be different versions of NFTs that can be created by other blockchains.
An NFT Art Marketplace is an online store that punches a unique NFT, creates a digital token for it carrying unique identifiers, and preserves it in its digital locker/wallet. It’s the common ground that connects an NFT creator to that of a buyer or collector.
The Best NFT Art Marketplaces in 2023
If you’re wondering where you can go through and search for NFTs to buy from or sell, then we’re listing the following marketplaces to help you accomplish it.
Founded by twin brothers Griffin and Duncan Cock Foster, Nifty Gateway is a blockchain-based platform where collectors can buy digital art from sought-after artists like Jon Burgerman, Trevor Jones, Cey Adams, and more. The platform works with artists and brands to create limited-edition collectibles that are dropped at a specific time with a limited purchase period.
When you purchase a token from Nifty Gateway, they will be listed under your profile and withdraw them to your wallet or an external account. The platform also allows you to import nifties from external wallets into your Nifty Gateway account. Between March and December 2023, Nifty Gateway was able to sell around $11 million+ in NFTs.
Considered the eBay of NFTs, OpenSea lets you buy and sell collectibles and NFTs using blockchain. It’s considered one of the largest marketplaces for digital items, having over 4 million products in its portal. The platform uses Ethereum and interoperable standards like ERC721 and ERC1155 to host your digital asset when you buy one.
OpenSea’s marketplaces are known to offer all types of user-owned digital goods like digital art, collectibles, domain names, gaming items, and other items that can be purchased with blockchain.
Founded by John Crain, SuperRare is a peer-to-peer marketplace as well as a crypto social space that deals in buying and selling single-edition digital artworks. The artworks are created by well-known artists and the digital collectible can be tracked using blockchain.
When selling your artwork firsthand as a creator, you will get 85% of what the buyer paid for the token with the remaining amount charged as a commission by SuperRare. For secondary sales, creators receive a 10% royalty as a form of passive revenue if the artwork continues to get traded in the market.
Just like others mentioned in this list, MakersPlace uses blockchain technology so that you possess proof of ownership for your creations and the items you purchase. You can issue limited editions of your digital creations so that others may purchase them and can personally control the scarcity of your creations.
MakersPlace offers creators a 10% royalty as commission every time your art is re-sold on its platform. For every sale, the platform has a 15% take on the value of the sale and there’s an additional 2.9% fee if you make a purchase using a credit card.
Rarible can be considered a toned-down and a more casual space than SuperRare. While artists are required to submit their creations for approval, Rarible allows anyone to be listed on its portal. The platform allows you to tokenize your work and create an NFT using an ERC-721 smart contract token hosted on Ethereum. You can create an NFT on chúng tôi without actually selling it.
The tokens you create on Rarible can also be managed on OpenSea and it’s also possible to list your collectibles on the latter in both $ETH and $RARI tokens. Unlike SuperRare, creators can specify their own percentage as royalty for secondary sales. However, it’s important to note that royalties that are set on OpenSea won’t yet be carried over when moving them to Rarible. The company says it’s working to implement a better system for cross-platform royalties.
Atomic Assets listings are hosted on WAX, meaning each user is required to sign up for a WAX cloud wallet to buy and sell NFTs. Assets on the platform are backed by EOS and WAX tokens which can only be freed by burning the asset. Well-known collectibles will be marked with a verified checkmark.
One highlight feature of the service is it involves a decentralized fee structure and no single account receives all the fees. Instead, the marketplaces where the item is listed and the one where they’re purchased both get 1% take each.
Decentraland claims to be the first fully decentralized virtual world where users can create and make money on the things they build and own. You can buy and sell virtual lands in Decentraland and personalize them using properties built on top of it and the assets you own will be stored in a smart contract based on Ethereum.
Lands in the platform are represented in non-fungible ERC-721 tokens and can be purchased in an ERC20-based MANA token.
To capitalize on all the hype around NFTs, NBA has started hosting a collectible marketplace of its own that stores player-based highlights. You can access these highlights by buying packs that can be considered as sports cards in video form and at any given time, there only a handful of limited editions of the same highlight.
When you buy a highlight from NBA Topshots, you’ll own that clip indefinitely as a collectible. You can purchase any pack from three tiers – Common, Rare, and Legendary and also sell them to make money off of them.
KnownOrigin is an artist-driven platform where you can showcase and make money from artworks made by you or the ones you own. Artists will need to create profiles of their own on the platform and all artworks created by them are tokenized and stored on an IPFS storage solution. Because of this, all artworks created by someone can be traced using blockchain by anyone.
When you make a sale as an artist on the platform, KnownOrigin will get 15% goes as commission and you will get to keep the remaining 85% of sale value with yourself. For sales after this primary sale, the artists will get a 10% take, KnownOrigin will get 3% of the transaction, and the seller will get 87% of the sale value.
TreasureLand is like any other NFT marketplace but it differs from the rest in the market for being based on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) instead of Ethereum. BSC-based NFTs offer low fees, more reliability and speed and can be tokenized with BEP-721, and BEP-1155 identifiers.
The service offers an open ecosystem where anyone can create an NFT, mine it, sell it firsthand, and then trade it. You also have the option to buy items using other cryptos.
NFT Showroom is a Hive blockchain-based NFT marketplace that claims to be easy to use and is an affordable alternative for creators, and collectors. This is because Hive is a fee-less blockchain system that is available globally and utilizes the chúng tôi token for creating smart contracts. The platform also gives creators two options to create tokens – Private and Limited Reproduction Rights.
When you create an NFT on NFT ShowRoom, you will be charged 5 chúng tôi + 1 chúng tôi per edition. NFT Showroom will charge you a 10% commission when you sell your art for the first time. For secondary sales, the platform collects a 5% commission and gives 5% to the original artist. You can also gift your NFT creation to anyone who has a HIVE account.
For the unestablished, Arkane Market is the very first Matic NFT marketplace and is different from others mentioned in this post. That’s because it’s primarily a marketplace for game creators who wish to monetize their game by converting assets in your game into NFTs.
Besides MATIC, Arkane Market also supports Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain-based tokens for transactions on its platform. The platform recently partnered with Altitude Games for the release of Battle Racers where you can build, design, race NFT cars, and manage its parts. As for the fees, Arkane is will charge you 2% per sale for all sales during the beta launch of the service. Post beta, you will be charged 4% by Arkane every time you sell your items primarily and 1% when sold in the secondary market.
Axie Marketplace is a store that’s created specifically for the Axie Infinity game, which is a virtual pet universe consisting of different pets or “Axies”. You can collect Axies, raise them, train them, and battle others’ Axies inside the game. Each Axie with different body parts that have their own battle power and combinations. Axie Marketplace charges a 4.25% marketplace fee from the seller during every sale.
Inside the Axie Marketplace, players can auction their Axies and sell them and all this data is stored on the Ethereum blockchain. There is an upcoming game mode on the platform labeled as “Land” that will unlock further features for Axie related assets. Axie says it isn’t just one game, but an entire universe of games where you can play, sell or trade your Axie NFTs.
To distinguish itself from others, YellowHeart is fully musical-centric allowing purchases of authentic digital tickets. The platform was recently in the news when Kings of Leon released their latest album “When You See Yourself” as an NFT.
YellowHeart says it will distribute vinyl in equal amounts to the NFTs you bought during the sale period. You can then redeem the NFT by downloading the song’s MP3 file and once redeemed, you won’t be able to sell it to someone else.
What do you need to know before buying at NFT Art Marketplace?
Before you attempt to buy an NFT across any marketplace we listed above, you will need to know the following things about it:
You need some kind of cryptocurrency to buy an NFT from a marketplace, in most cases, something that’s native to Ethereum.
For any purchases you make, you will be charged a transaction fee of the total amount you’re paying for the NFT item. A marketplace will levy different commission rates for primary and secondary sales of artwork.
For every item you purchase on a marketplace, you will receive a token that acts as a unique identifier.
You can transfer your NFTs between different marketplaces provided they’re based on the same blockchain.
When you sell an NFT you purchased you will be charged a royalty fee that you will pay to the original artist.
You can increase the value of your NFT by buying items from the same collection to cause scarcity.
How to buy on an NFT Art Marketplace
Buying NFTs is pretty similar to all the marketplaces we talked about in this post. For keeping it simple, we’ll explain how you can buy the desired NFT on Nifty Gateway. To purchase an NFT, you will need to create an account on an NFT Marketplace using your name, email address, and phone number.
Once you have created an NFT Marketplace account, you will need to validate it by confirming the details you entered.
Before making a purchase on a marketplace, you will need to fund your account by adding your credit card credentials or filing it up with Ethereum tokens. You can purchase Eth tokens from any one of these exchange providers – Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, or eToro.
An optional step before buying an NFT is getting your hands on an Ethereum wallet with ERC-721 token support. Wallets can either be physical or software-based and prevent your collectibles from getting hacked. Most marketplaces support digital wallets from MetaMask and TrustWallet, both of which support buying various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, TRON, XRP, and more.
Once you have set up your wallet, you can buy some Ethereum or relevant crypto using your debit card or other wallets.
After you have bought the necessary amount of ETH tokens, you can go ahead and shop at an NFT marketplace of your choice and buy your desired item using the Ethereum you have with you. When buying art, items, or assets, it’s important that you know when something you’re interested in is dropping at the chosen marketplace.
This is the most important step as it’s up to you to determine which NFT is valuable and should be purchased. Always look for items created by established artists and gather information over an item’s copyrights and royalty fees.
That’s it. You’re ll set to step over to the land of NFTs, so go ahead and buy one and trade them to maximize your earnings in the digital content realm.
Playing a duck is not as easy as it sounds — not when a duck, in rescue swimmer lingo, is a practice victim, and the water, off the southern coast of Alaska, is too damned cold for anything without feathers. But here I am, dangling in a rescue basket 30 feet below the thundering hulk of a Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter with an elite squad of lifesaving commandos 20 feet underfoot. “Everything OK?” yells one after I’m dunked in the drink. “Hell yeah,” I shout back. It’s all I can muster between mouthfuls of 120-knot rotor blast.
Since its inception in 1984, the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer program has grown to include nearly 300 swimmers at 25 air stations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. More often than not, they’re the only intermediaries between life and death for shipwrecked mariners, and here in Sitka, Alaska, they take on the additional responsibilities of rescuing sick inhabitants from remote villages and plucking lost hunters from Alaska’s vast southeastern archipelago. It’s a daunting job, and proficiency training, such as the sea and cliff rescues that are on today’s menu, ensures they keep their edge.
Before ever saving a life at sea, rescue swimmers must pass a grueling four-month course at the Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Students simulate helo jumps, practice rescue techniques and learn to service and maintain everything from pyrotechnics to life rafts. Only 50 percent graduate, and those who do maintain their certification as aviation survival technicians (ASTs) through a monthly exam that includes 50 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, five pull-ups, five chin-ups, a 500-yard swim, four 25-yard underwater swims and a similar set of buddy tows. And in Alaska, they’re also required to have EMT 2 certification, which means they can intubate patients and administer IVs — handy skills at Air Station Sitka, where half of the 140 annual missions are bush medevacs in extreme weather with low ceilings, poor visibility, high winds and mountainous terrain.
To put it mildly, things were different when I was a rescue swimmer in the mid-1980s aboard the USCGC Storis (a 61-year-old cutter now known as the Queen of the Fleet). We wore little more than a neoprene survival suit with a harness and a rope. Today’s dry suit is Mojave-like compared to the old leaky “gumby” one I wore, and the Trisar harness — which rescue swimmers use to attach themselves to the hoist cable — singlehandedly accomplishes what used to require two separate harnesses and a flotation device. Other modern amenities on their equipment list include a Uniden HH 940 waterproof radio, night vision goggles and a Benchmade switchblade that’s particularly useful for one-handed line cutting.
Browning makes it look easy, but most rescues in Sitka’s 300-mile mission radius are far more intricate and dangerous. Supporting the physical efforts of the helicopter crew — two pilots, a flight mechanic and the rescue swimmer — is a suite of high-tech gear that includes night-vision-compatible avionics for nighttime searching, a weather and surface radar, a forward-looking infrared sensor, GPS and inertial navigation systems, and an ultrapowerful Nightsun searchlight that must always point away from the helo lest it blister the paint. My hosts won’t even permit me to switch it on; instead, we rely on two small searchlights near the nose.
One mission always stands out, and for Schelin it began with a mayday call from a mariner stranded in Chatham Strait, a notoriously nasty stretch of water. The man’s engine had quit en route to Funter Bay, and 40-knot winds and 8-foot swells were pushing him toward a jagged outcropping. Hovering directly over the boat, Schelin yanked the man to safety seconds before his skiff splintered.
Such scenarios drive home the very real possibility of a rescuer being left behind, with or without the rescued. Anytime you deploy a swimmer, explains Baldessari, you’re talking about at least three live hoists: deploying the swimmer, pulling up the survivor and recapturing the Coastie. Should things turn sour, the flight mechanic would throw the swimmer an inflatable raft, which comes complete with a survival suit, flashing light and emergency position indicator beacon. “It drives you crazy if you think about it too much, but we’re all trained to do whatever it takes to survive,” says Schelin. “I’d put on the suit, get in the raft and deal with it.”
Rescue swimmers have the right to refuse any mission they deem beyond their capabilities, but it’s tough to imagine one dire enough to fit the bill. “We’ve stopped counting the number of people we’ve saved,” explains Baldessari. “In that respect, the swimmers are definitely heroes.”
(From top) No shark bait here; nighttime open water and cliff rescues are all in a day’s work. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer from Air Station Sitka in Alaska dangles below an HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter while practicing a cliff rescue on Biorka Island.
We’ve all been there – you’re looking to book a hotel in a prime vacation spot and see some great deals. A few days later, you come back, credit card in hand only to find out that the price of the hotel has tripled.
The reason? You’re vacationing at the same time a major music festival is scheduled to be in town and you’re now competing with perhaps hundreds of thousands of others all vying for the same space as you.
That said, this approach doesn’t just apply to the hospitality and travel industries.
This complex and evolving pricing strategy around the fundamental laws of supply and demand is aimed at generating the highest possible dollar for the provider in light of time of day, the number of competitive bids, and a myriad of other variables.PPC Yield Management: The Highest Returns at the Right Time
First, let’s define yield management.
At its core, yield management, also known as revenue management in the travel and hospitality industries, is a pricing strategy that essentially aims to predict and influence consumer buying behavior in an effort to maximize revenue – or yield – from industries that have limited offerings and time-sensitive bookings.
You’ve likely seen it in action without even realizing it.
Hotels, for example, employ this online booking practice when there’s a major event – such as a citywide conference, concert, or sporting event that might cause demand for hotel rooms to spike and availability to be scarce.
Similarly, the travel industry is notorious for leveraging this approach for online bookings, which can garner top dollar for vacation destinations during the frequently traveled summer months, but yield far less for those same places in other seasons.Here’s How It Works
During the bidding process, a lot of information is captured about a particular consumer regarding their digital engagement, which includes their device, location, and time of day, among other things.
This kind of information gathering, which is ostensibly non-invasive, can be paid for with keywords in order to place a value on how relevant that user is to a given business.Controlling the Yield: What’s Behind a PPC Management Platform
A PPC management platform saves countless man-hours and drastically reduces human and operational error, while generating opportunity, spiking ROI, and boosting bottom line profits.
These platforms integrate with customers’ data sources, whatever those may be, to capture the conversion information about their customers that they’re attempting to maximize or optimize.
That data is then paired with data from publishers to generate optimized keyword level bids dynamically and every day for every keyword that customer has.
The three components key to that optimization algorithm include:
Historical keyword level performance data.User data for purposes of bid modifier adjustments. Bid landscape data from the publishers.
Depending on the business and performance goals of the customer, these platforms offer a variety of bid solutions, which determine the algorithm that derives an optimal keyword level bid.
Both the keyword level and user demographic information are extremely relevant because they capture the competitive landscape for that keyword. Because these auctions are dynamic and involve multiple layers, what others are bidding should and does influence the success of the bid.
A customer utilizes their own unique bidding strategy, utilizing all of the available data and the sophisticated algorithms to achieve bidding performance greater than any manual or less sophisticated approach.
Customers’ bidding goals can vary greatly, ranging from:
Maximizing revenue given a target budget.Maximizing revenue given a target ROI level. Maximizing conversions given a target CPA level.
These all depend on their unique needs, business goals, and ROI objectives.Automating ROI: The Benefits of a PPC Management Tool
For customers, attempting to manage a PPC program without using all of the data at their disposal means that they are not operating a peak performance.
Similarly, attempting to manage a PPC program without an automated tool means that they are limited by the capacity of whatever person or persons are attempting to manage that program.
For example, Business X might have a paid search program, managed by two on-staff team members, and they do their best to make bid and bid adjustments to react to a changing business environment and a changing competitive landscape.
They might even attempt to review their higher volume keywords frequently. However, not surprisingly, they usually don’t have the time or resources to evaluate any of their longer tail keywords or to assess the impact of other bid adjustments.
If they attempt to make around 100 bid adjustments per week and adjust bid adjustments every few months to a program that could have around 50,000 keywords, it’s all but inevitable that they will fall behind on their PPC goals.
Simply put, humans are not as well-equipped as an automated system to recognize patterns, some of which are subtle, some of which take place over larger timeframes, and some of which are made within a program and will contribute to other segments of that program performing differently.
An automated tool, on the other hand, would calculate an optimal bid for all 50,000 keywords every day using new data dynamically and adjusting bid adjustments every day utilizing the same incoming data, regardless of the volume of interaction.
It also wouldn’t view keywords in a vacuum, instead of taking a portfolio bidding approach to optimization, attempting to maximize the marginal utility of each keyword depending on its relationship between bid level and volume.Summary
While PPC yield management might seem well-aligned with simple economic principles, the ability to optimize your keywords bids to the point where they generate your organization top dollar is a strategy that takes time, effort, and constant refining in order to get right.
It takes wisdom, experience, and even a little bit of luck.
Like almost anything else, however, organizations can’t expect to hone and master this skill on their own with a man-powered staff. Without help, it’s likely your PPC management strategy will be nothing more than a glorified guessing game.
For those who are serious about conquering this skill, automating this process and investing in a management tool will be critical to their PPC strategy going forward.
If leveraged correctly, it could fill critical knowledge gaps in your PPC program that historically have resulted in missed opportunity, and instead, accelerate performance, increase ROI and generate additional profits that could leave your team looking like rock stars.
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