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Weekly Recap

79AU | 8.6-8.12

ButterfliesinSpace, "Butterfly Space Opera -1"

Joseph Munisteri, aka Butterflies in Space Joe, is an artist, writer, and technologist based in New York. Each piece in Munisteri’s latest collection “Butterfly Space Opera” was created using various forms of Artificial Intelligence, inspired by classical modern artists and nature.

ButterfliesinSpace, "Butterfly Space Opera -3"
ButterfliesinSpace, "Butterfly Space Opera -7"

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing the rise of AI Art in the NFT Space. This week, our Community Manager shares an op-ed about the legal and ethical reasons people are opposed to the new art form. Check back next week for Part 2 where we will discuss why it could be considered a new part of the art canon. 

AI ART – CREATION OR REPLICATION?
PART 1 – REPLICATION

While fully computer generated art can be considered relatively new to the NFT Space, artists have been using functional algorithms to create art based on strict rules and artistic disciplines for the last half a century. Like any new medium, there has been a lot of pushback and debate surrounding AI art in the community. The argument is over whether or not these algorithms create art or simply replicate art based on their programming. This week, we dive into a brief history of AI and explore the opposing camp.

One of the earliest documented forms of utilizing computers to generate artistic images dates back to 1973, with the introduction of the AARON [non-acronym] project by prolific painter and engineer, Harold Cohen. This project is considered one of the longest standing and maintained AI algorithms in history. Around the time of the program’s inception, Cohen’s work was spreading internationally; his art focused on the abstract, biomorphic forms, and he frequently worked with colors that closely mirrored the pop art movement that was sweeping the creative world. 

AARON image created at the Computer Museum, Boston, MA, 1995.e

Cohen’s goal was to use AARON to produce drawings that followed a specific set of rules he had created, similar to the traditional artist studio assistants model. He continued to develop and refine AARON for the rest of his career, but the program maintained its core design of performing tasks as directed by him. While the early output of the system was rough in a primitive sense, over time Cohen would take the time to color select pieces by hand. Together, Cohen and AARON produced thousands of images at varying scales- from 8 ½ x 11 sheets, to massive murals. Notable to this method was Cohen’s constant input of rules, and involvement in rounding and personalizing the final works. This method keeps the artist in control, and allows for a sense of human creativity to blend with a mechanically reproduced image. This differs slightly from the more modern forms of AI art that are widespread and recognizable today. 

Most of the AI artworks that have emerged over the past few years have used a class of algorithms called generative adversarial networks, otherwise known as GANs. They’re considered to be “adversarial” because they are two sided functions. One generates a random image, and the other has been taught, in a manner of speaking, to judge the images based on specific inputs to assign it to specific categories. Another program, AICAN, takes the use of these adversarial networks a step further with the end goal of assessing how close a generated image is to its pre-curated reference pieces. The program has also been written to avoid creating images too similar to the assigned source. AICAN attempts to create unique art based on these guidelines, but it is limited by the constraints of the algorithm.

‘Alternative Facts: The Multi Faces of Untruth’ by AICAN

The works these programs generate are built upon predicated artworks that were influenced by the human condition. Without the existing art, these heterogenetic networks would be unable to create in the sense that we as humans understand creativity- computers lack the psychic structure necessary for such feats. There can be no assigned or understood meaning on behalf of the creator. In essence, the feelings and emotions that have inspired creatives are non-existent. Where do we draw the line without the element of human consciousness?

Instances of the ongoing battle to define the limitations of using other’s art as references and defining the protections associated with doing so are plentiful. As recently as 2019, the US Copyright Office handed down a ruling that an AI-created image lacked the human-authorship that could grant it the ability to be protected by copyright. As the law currently stands, only works created of intellectual labor can be provided such protections- and the USCO has continually maintained that non-human expression will remain ineligible based on case precedent. Similar suits have been brought to the US Patent and Trademark Office and the UK Intellectual Property Office with the rulings aligning with USCO standards. From a legal standing point, AI Art is recognized as the product of algorithmic input rather than the creative power of the human mind. 

Traditional art, independent of a specific medium, is typically valued based on knowledge of whether or not it was produced by a favorable artist, or using a specific technique that results in a desirable outcome to a collector. Economists and psychologists who work to define the value in art agree that this can be summed as the terms of a piece’s authenticity. Authenticity, much like the art itself, can also be perseverated subjectively as the rise of “motivational” authenticity (otherwise known as artistic integrity) often comes into play when assigning value to work. This concept focuses on the “why,” and this is where skeptics of AI art find a foothold in defining their argument. 

Museum Goers Admiring Art

Altering existing art and claiming the resulting expression is owned as intellectual property by the individual who used the original piece as reference calls the ideas of authenticity and integrity into question. Artwork can be devalued based on the motivation of the creator. Was a piece commissioned? Was the original influence used with permissions and given proper recognition?  Was the process influenced by a desire for money, fame, or social status? These abstract questions assist in the overall reception of art regardless of the quality of the final product. The intrinsic and extrinsic motivators must be evaluated with the rise of AI Technologies in art. As the programs themselves lack the ability to speak and act independently- the rationale of the programmers are what ultimately is called into question to consider moral and ethical ramifications of granting AI the credit of intellectual authorship. 

As AI art continues to leak into modern markets, and collectors interested in embracing emerging technologies create demand, the schools of thought opposing and supporting the rise will continue to clash. As humans travail to define and regulate the field, the works of AI artists will continue raising questions about the nature of art and the role of true human creativity in future societies. 

Check back next week to hear the affirmative side of the AI Art debate featuring a Q&A with artist and writer Joseph Munisteri who’s recent NFT collection features nine AI artworks. 

Want more Mint Gold Dust? Catch up on previous editions of 79Au here and check out new mints on our marketplace.

Weekly Recap

79Au | 7.30-8.5

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Rakkaus Art, "Nail Biter"

Rakkaus is an intuitive multimedia artist interested in creation, connection, compassion and storytelling. Constantly pushing boundaries and experimenting with various techniques and materials, each creation is vibrant and unique. with its own story.

“I create visual stories from the energy and experiences on my life journey, everything starts with a feeling.” – Rakkaus

This piece “Nail Biter” began as a mixed media digital abstract work and transformed into a figurative piece whose rich and vibrant colors create an interesting collision of textures and marks.

Diego Pimentel, "DOOM"

Portrait in memory of “Metal Face Doom.” This work was originally a mixed media painting on wood and was then animated by Cryptic Co.

MEMOIRS AT MINT GOLD DUST

At Mint Gold Dust, we believe that every NFT has a story, and our memoir feature is the place to do just that. The feature was created to bridge the gap between the artist and collector and track the artwork’s personal history through storytelling.

This week, we revisit our deep dive on how memoirs can benefit the artist and collector by building a provenance of commentary and discourse.

Nucara, “Monky Mint Gold Dust"
FOR ARTISTS

When an artist mints a new work on the platform, they are able to write a memoir entry that is attached to the work. This can be more info on what their inspiration was behind the piece, a story about the creation process, or even just their general feelings about the piece. It’s a place that allows artists to share their personal connection to the piece outside of the typical art description attached to the token.

FOR COLLECTORS

Once a collector buys a piece and holds the token, the memoir travels with it. The collector now has their own opportunity to add on to the story that was started by the artist and share their connection to the piece, why they collected it, or even why they support the artist. A collector and viewer’s connection to the piece might vary from the artist’s own point of view, so this allows the collector to share their side of the story.

In many ways, this feature takes the connectivity of Discord and Twitter into the platform itself.

PROVENANCE

As the piece travels hands, the memoir travels with it. The memoir becomes a written record of the ledger, not only sharing who owns the piece, but what attachment they had to it.

The memoirs make the artwork buying process less transactional and more personal, building a strong foundation between the artist and the collector. 

Want to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.

Last week, we chatted about Cryptic Gallery’s latest curation, “Murals on the Chain.” Check out the full article here and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust.

Weekly Recap

79AU | 7.22-29

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Chris Nacht, "Vitruvio Underground"
Joyce Korotkin, "Occurrence: Species 1/ Proliferation"
Allan Linder, "Universal Power"
MURALS ON THE CHAIN

Cryptic Gallery is a street art gallery and web3 studio based in Poughkeepsie, NY. For years, they have been hosting mural events in their backyard, but it was always a bittersweet moment to paint over older murals to make way for new ones. By documenting, animating, and minting these vibrant works on chain, they can now come alive on the walls of the metaverse.

Check out Cryptic’s first NFT collection, Murals on the Chain, available now. Preview the collection below, and be sure to check out each piece on Mint Gold Dust to see them come to life.

Want to learn more about the people behind the gallery? Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our Twitter Spaces with founder Ovid Forest.

Annabelle Popa, "Jungle King"

Jungle King was painted for the May 2021 Cryptic Mural Jam and measures 12 Feet x 22 Feet. The featured character, “Fex” is Annabelle’s signature monster who has many styles and transformations. Here he is in his Jungle form with a bright spotted pelt paired with a tiki totem and fire breathing capabilities.

John Breiner, "Fried Flights"

Fried Flights was created to harness the feeling, and freedom found in Breiner’s sketchbooks. Whereas most of his murals are thought out with a more direct narrative, Fried Flights celebrates all those lucid thoughts and dreams that inhabit Breiner’s mind when it is turned off and that rarely ever make it out of my sketchbooks.

Ramiro Davaro-Comas and Grace Lang, "LURKERS"

Painted for the Cryptic Mural Fest in May 2021. 

BoogieREZ, "Take it to the TOP"

“If you wanna make it to the top you have to stay hungry and hustle hard. But the journey there is all about Balance, so always be sure to have fun and do your best to impact and inspire those around you on the way.” – BoogieREZ

Heste Lauder, "HAL(P)"

“They told me just one voyage to jupiter…” – Heste Lauder

Want to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.

Check out last week’s edition of 79Au to read about the renaissance of free minting, and stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust by subscribing to our newsletter.

Weekly Recap

79AU | 7.14-21

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

SphericalArt, "Lunar Vibrations"

SphericalArt, aka Paul Petersen, is a geometric artist and poet who finds and creates his images inside of 3D polyhedral spheres. He looks for unique arrangements of polygons that hint at an emerging story. He overlays meaning onto the inherent beauty of polyhedral patterns. His artwork “Lunar Vibrations” depicts a broad vista with the moon’s tidal pulse filling the sky and landscape.

Dia al-Azzawi, "Freddie 1.0 #1"
Svccy, "Masks"

Over more than half a century, artist Dia al-Azzawi’s work has been shown in countless group and solo exhibitions worldwide, especially in Europe and across the Arab World. Freddie 1.0 is his genesis NFT collection, and was inspired by his grandson. Check out our interview with Dia here.

Matteo Succi, aka Svccy, is a digital artist and designer. His work is inspired by the Vaperwave Aesthetic, a genre that celebrates the technological nostalgia of the 80s and 90s. His work “Masks” is a commentary on the different masks we wear to survive in a modern day society. 

FREE MINTING: BEAR MARKET SAVIOR OR TEMPORARY FAD?

While investors and collectors navigate the new crypto ‘normal’ caused by another “Crypto Winter”, the rise of free-to-mint NTFs has been seemingly parabolic. Many recent and prospective projects are using this model to get the ever-popular genre of PFP generative series into the hands of eager collectors. Making NFTs free to mint has lowered the barrier to entry, and spurred demand for scarce tokens that demand less monetary commitment, but can still see exponential growth and profits. As this phenomena grips the crypto community, there are lingering questions about the sustainability of essentially giving away a collection with the promise of profit, through royalties from secondary market sales. 

Unlike most projects, Free-to-Mint NFT drops allow collectors to generate a piece for only the price of gas. Free launches create buzz and provide a way for collectors to obtain art and participate in a project which they might not have had the financial resources to get involved with.  It’s easy to see how this format appears attractive, the pay-to-play mindset that has dominated the NFT market no longer applies and instead tight-knit communities of early adopters create their own hype around exclusive collections. As scarcity sets in during the free for all minting events, collectors interested in the resale market benefit from the increase in floor prices.

These collections, while free to mint initially, have a history of being wildly successful. One of the most prolific projects that utilized this model is CryptoPunks in 2017. CryptoPunks centered around allowing whoever was both interested and already invested in the crypto space to claim their own. This set the groundwork for other offerings down the line as CryptoPunks skyrocketed to an 11 million dollar valuation at the very apex of the NFT craze.

Cryptopunks: 2, 532, 58, 30, 635, 602, 768, 603 and 757 | Sold at Christie's Auction House in 2021

In more recent history, Goblintown has seen similar success. Teased during a cryptic Twitter Space, with no roadmap or existing utility, Goblintown launched a 10,000 piece free-to-mint generative collection that quickly amassed 35,000 ETH in sales. The sales volume now sits at 44,500 ETH with 4,500 individual owners, most of which participated in the initial free minting event. 

Another project, For the Culture has met  a different kind of success through the free-to-mint model. Artchick toyed with the idea to pay collectors .01 ETH for every NFT they minted. The setup could ensure the creator would make their money back after 2,000 ETH of sales volume at 5% royalties. Sibel, an artist in the space, ran with the idea and brought the project to life with an OpenSea tagline stating:

“If you are reading this sh*t you came for the meme and stayed for the culture. Never underestimate the power of memes fcker. Fck u all! Roadmap? Fck that too!”

The colorful, simple sketches are easily recognizable in profile pictures and memes circling social media and have since led to the creation of derivative styles. 

FTC #617 | Owned by C016C0

The idea of paying collectors seems like a stretch in an already questionably sustainable minting process. And so the free-to-mint model and its variations beg the question: is this a long term option for creators and artists in the space? The pitfalls are evident. Giving away large amounts of NFT’s does not guarantee a profit, and generating hype can be a slow burn in a bear market. With this format, creators risk investing their time and effort into a project that won’t gain traction and get off the ground. In addition, smaller artists who already struggle to sell 1/1 pieces might not have the means or capability to create 10k drops which are the standard in the free-to-mint space. However, there are also notable positives associated with the free-to-mint market. The upside of gas-only projects is that they are inherently counterintuitive to those interested in securing a quick profit through flipping NFTs. Profit in these projects is determined by sales on the secondary market via royalties. If the scarcity/demand dynamic is not created during the “community hype” process, long term ROI will be unattainable. This provides a sense of security through both creator and collector accountability because of the slow set up process. In short, they typically don’t entice bad actors.

This is not to say that free minting doesn’t have its own set of safety and security risks. Risks for free-to-mint projects typically fall under the familiar categories in the crypto space of phishing, catfishing, fake airdrops, rugpulls and counterfeit projects, and a new contender to the scam list; sleep minting. In this new type of ruse, would-be scammers use another artist’s or creator’s account or wallet to generate a fake NFT. The wallet signature gives the NFT the appearance of authenticity, and collectors are none the wiser in paying for what they think is a verified work. We’ve seen these same types of malicious behavior in what have been typically known as scams in the Discord space via direct message requests and suspicious links. Smart contracts can be written to seemingly mint an NFT, but in doing so, a collector unwittingly signs a request allowing would-be unauthorized individuals access to their funds. However savvy collectors are already circumnavigating this issue by creating “burner wallets” to interact with these contracts, rather than use their main asset storage space.

With this in mind, there are precautions that every NFT Marketplace routinely advises their artists and collectors take, which also apply when participating in a free mint:

  • Protect your seed phrase
  • Choose verified creators
  • Avoid suspicious links
  • Utilize cold or burner wallets
  • Always verify signature requests
  • Revoke suspicious authorization when spotted
Mila Sketch, "Sophia the Robot"

Want to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide here.

Stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust by subscribing to our newsletter.

Weekly Recap

79AU | 7.11-14

Lady Pink, "Celtic Pink"
CloudNineShrine, "Gemineyes"
Chris Nacht, "Shadow Creatures #17"
The Decentralized Art World | Blockchain Provenance, Intellectual Property, and Patronage

PROVENANCE 

Something we hear a lot in the web3 space is provenance. But what is it and why should you care? Before the days of Blockchain and ledgers, provenance was a way for artists, collectors and subject matter experts to track the history of an artwork or artifact. That tracking traditionally included information such as artist info, point of origin, sale history, etc. Unfortunately, human error is inevitable and often pieces aren’t cataloged properly; or records are purposefully altered to inflate price, hide ownership, etc. 

Today with Blockchian and NFTs, the provenance of a smart contract cannot be altered. In the case of art NFTs, provenance not only protects an artwork’s history, it protects the artist’s intellectual property and future royalties.

In the past one way to identify an artist and authenticate a piece was through the artist’s unique signature on their artwork. However, today artists can  ensure their  provenance is ironclad by always minting from the same wallet. An artist or collector’s wallet can be seen as their unique signature for web3 and a way for collectors and other artists to know that the piece minted does indeed belong to them.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

When thinking about intellectual property, we envision legal battles with vulture corporations, but the truth is, software like social media platforms are a far bigger threat to creators .

In recent history, tools like Instagram have been a way for artists to share their work, but once work is posted, artists open themselves up to millions of users, making them vulnerable to imitators and copycats. 

Image theft is not just a web2 problem. ‘Lazy minting’ on platforms like OpenSea give artists the ability to sell their NFTs on demand, avoiding gas fees until the point of sale. However, until that piece is minted on chain, there is nothing stopping another creator from copying the image and minting it for themselves. 

CREATORS AND CUSTODY

So that’s intellectual property, but what about custody of an actual on-chain asset?

When choosing a minting platform, artists should always check to see if they are non-custodial. If they are custodial, the platform is effectively the middle-man for all transactions. It  holds on to the art and any proceeds from sales and these things are only released after a certain amount of time, which is decided by the platform. Furthermore if a platform runs into financial difficulty there is no guarantee that either NFTs or funds that are custodied with that platform will be returned to their rightful owner.

However, a non-custodial platform like Mint Gold Dust will never hold artwork or funds. A non-custodial platform can be seen as a window to the blockchain, rather than a broker. 

COLLECTORS AND PATRONAGE

The web3 ecosystem doesn’t start and end with artists; collectors are also an essential piece of the ecosystem. Taking a look back at the traditional art world, a collector couldn’t just walk into a blue chip gallery and buy a painting. If they were not invited to the gallery to purchase a piece or a part of the gallery’s collector list, it was almost always out of reach. Now, patronage lies in the hands of the collector, not a gatekeeper.

There is a lot of talk about the flipping economy in web3, but the NFT market is much larger than that and there are more incentives to buy than just short term ROI. Just like in the traditional art world, we see collectors buying pieces that they have an emotional connection with from artists they want to support. They are not buying to flip but are buying because of true appreciation of the art. And because of verified provenance, tracked through the Blockchain, collectors can verify prior owners and that the piece is authentic. 

With new display options, collectors can hang their NFT artwork in their homes like they would a painting. These frames connect with your wallet to showcase the actual file attached to the token, not just a jpeg saved from your computer. 

SECONDARY MARKET

It is important to consider the secondary market when discussing collecting. Just as there are best practices with minting NFT art, there are best practices for selling. An attractive element of NFTs for artists is the promise of royalties which can flow to the artist every time the piece is resold. However, if a piece is resold on a platform the artist did not originally sell on, there is no guarantee that these royalties will follow. This cross platform dilemma is an industry wide issue that many people are looking to solve. In the meantime, there are ways that a collector can ensure that the artist receives their proper royalties on the secondary market. The easiest way to do this is to resell on the same platform that the piece was minted on. When a collector buys a piece from an artist, they are welcomed into their community. It’s up to collectors to foster that relationship and be good stewards of the artwork they collect.

Want to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide here.

Stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust by subscribing to our newsletter.

Weekly Recap

79AU | 7.1-8

WELCOME TO THE NEW MINT GOLD DUST

We launched our marketplace in November 2021 with a strong ecosystem surrounding us, and 8 Genesis Crypto artists, including Hackatao and Giant Swan.

Giant Swan, "Metamorphosis"

We set out to create a platform for artists and collectors to transact seamlessly on-chain in a completely decentralized ecosystem. 

Eight months after our launch, our mission remains the same, but things are now looking a little different. We’re pleased to re-introduce you to Mint Gold Dust with a new look to our marketplace.

TECHNOLGY

Despite our aesthetic changes, we are still fully committed to being 100% decentralized on the Ethereum blockchain.

Being fully decentralized means we are a window to the blockchain, not a custodian. Mint Gold Dust never takes custody of an artist or collector’s artwork or funds. All assets and bids are held on chain and are released to their new owners at the time of transaction through our ERC 1155 smart contracts.

Artists and Collectors can still connect with Ethereum wallets such as Metamask, or the web based wallet, Portis, enabling collectors more ways to collect. 

MEET OUR ECOSYSTEM

We have worked hard to build an ecosystem that enriches the experience of our artists and collectors. 

Technology from our partner Illust Space enables artists and collectors to geo-drop their NFTs into AR and VR. 

Hackatao's "Primordial" geo-dropped at Art Basel 2021

Tokenframe is a seamless way for artists and collectors to showcase their artworks using their patented wallet connect technology.

Gilded Finance, our finance partner, provides a tax solution for cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

SmartSeal works with us to connect physical assets  to the blockchain using NFC technology.

Our partnership with REFASHIOND for fashion on demand, connects on chain creations to the physical fashion industry.

Fashion on demand in action

Finally, we have built relationships with brick and mortar galleries such as West Chelsea Contemporary and artist communities like Searchlight Art to help promote digital art and NFTs to the wider art community.

KEY FEATURES

With Mint Gold Dust, artists and collectors can tell their story with our Memoir feature, allowing collaborators to be the author of their own art history for future generations.

Artists can mint with up to 1GB of file size, expanding the boundaries of their creations. 

And with Curated Spaces, every artist can host their own digital gallery. And physical galleries can now have their own NFT marketplace.

Artists can also choose to mint with multiple collaborators in the Smart Contract, providing a solution for provenance and royalties for collaborative artworks. 

COMMUNITY

We built our community and ecosystem with the artists and collectors in mind for them to transact seamlessly in our new web3 economy.

We believe that every NFT has a story, every story has a creator, every creator has a collector, and every collector should have an NFT.

We’re proud to have you here, and we can’t wait to see what you create and what you find to collect!

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