The Art of the Work in Progress

In an age where digital creativity is flourishing, showing your work in progress has taken on a whole new meaning, especially in the realm of NFTs. These distinct digital footprints have created a thoughtful conversation for artists and collectors alike. But why should you be interested in sharing your work in progress, and how can this benefit both artists and collectors?

What is a Work in Progress?

Throughout the history of art, artists often shared their works in progress with close friends, patrons, or fellow artists to gather feedback or showcase their skills. Seeing an idea transform through multiple sketches has been a draw to art lovers for centuries, which is why exhibitions have sometimes featured an artist’s final works alongside the initial drafts. 

With social media’s dawn, this process has become increasingly social, allowing artists to share their evolving pieces with a global audience of friends, patrons, and strangers alike. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter have created opportunities for visual artists to engage with their followers by showing incremental progress of their work. They can also talk through their concepts and provide context and inspiration that adds even more value to the final works.

The Role of the WIP in NFTs

In the NFT world, as in the traditional art world, most of our attention goes to the final artwork. The journey from concept to completion is often lost. However, a work in progress can often be just as powerful and meaningful as the completed piece. 

And it is not always the end product that conveys the artist’s vision and creative process. Sometimes it is the steps taken along the way. “It’s a temporary oddity that the NFT world treats process like a secret formula while it’s a common discussion in contemporary arts,” Patrick Amadon, a painter and glitch artist wrote on Twitter. “Feel free to ask artists, it’s important information.” 

With NFTs revolutionizing digital art, the work in progress has become even more relevant. We can’t see brushstrokes, layers of paint, and other discernible details of craft. It takes time and effort to understand the difficulties that digital, generative, and AI artists overcome in the process of making art.

The work in progress can help bridge this gap, giving us a better understanding of the creative process and bringing us the full story behind an NFT. It helps strengthen trust between collectors and artists, with both sides seeing how much thought, research, and skill went into each piece. Showing artworks in progress allows us to appreciate how an artwork has evolved, giving insight into what inspired it and why certain decisions were made.

The artist duo MABLAB also expressed on Twitter the importance of sharing “your work process and how the medium plays a role in delivering your message, the ideas and influences behind your work, some of the technical and intellectual aspects that construct the concept of your work,” as an important part of being an artist.

And for many digital art creators, the WIP serves as an opportunity to engage with their audience. Some artists use polls to ask their communities for input on which version of a work they should mint.

Sharing Value with Collectors

A WIP provides artists with an opportunity to not only monetize their creative journey but also to create a sense of closeness with collectors. They can watch the art evolve and feel that they’re a part of it. It makes the artwork and artist more memorable, creating a greater emotional attachment with the collector.

At the same time, collectors can feel that they are receiving something of value in return for their purchase. They get to be part of the creative process, sharing in its success or failure as it develops. This provides them with a sense of ownership and helps build trust between creator and collector.

It Pays to do the Work

The life of an artist is one filled with challenges, achievements, and lots of work. When a collector acquires a final artwork, they are buying years, decades of trial and error, of experimentation, of mixing colors and pushing through the trenches. The WIP not only acknowledges this work, but also brings it to life in illuminating detail.

Many successful artists share their processes, whether in diaries or in social settings. It’s this self-reflection that helped them to become so successful. So don’t be afraid to share. Embrace it, post it, and find that sweet spot between working and sharing that pushes you to be the most inspired artist you can be.

Ready 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.


Heart My Art: A Reading of the Social Media Landscape

Self-promotion and art have always gone hand in hand, but what happens when only a few billionaires like Musk and Zuckerberg control the means of promotion? In 2023, we’re a long way from the innocent early days of Myspace and Tumblr. These social media sites used to encourage creativity, customization (remember learning HTML?), and community, free from algorithms and constant advertising.

When Twitter launched in 2006, most people were using it to share status updates in the vein of “Eating a sandwich.” Meanwhile, artists used Tumblr to share their work in an open-ended and stylish blog format, and curators used it to compile their favorite art and memes on the web. It was a simpler time (and now Gen Z is pining for it too). 

Today, most artists have to play the social media game, no matter how many times the algorithm or terms of service get changed. Would Yayoi Kusama be the household name she is today if not for her instinctive grasp of Instagram? Would Beeple have made that record $69 million sale if not for posting viral work on socials every day? As the digital art world and social media collide with blockchain technology in the form of NFTs, leveraging social media and cutting through the noise has only gotten more important. But many artists are tired of the status quo.

The Social Media Landscape in 2023

In June 2023, the social media landscape is a chaotic mess. After a series of jarring and sometimes head scratching moves by Elon Musk at Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg saw blood in the water and launched Threads on July 5. It reached over 100 million sign-ups within a week of launch, taking off like a rocket with its Instagram integration and a contingent of Musk haters ready to protest by switching to a different corporate overlord.

Just a few weeks later, it’s a very different story. Threads only has around 13 million daily active users (a 70% drop from its 44 million peak), and those users don’t have a reason to stay engaged, as they only spend an average of 4 minutes a day on the platform. Meanwhile, Twitter retains a core audience of around 200 million daily active users who spend an average of 30 minutes on the platform. 

There’s clearly a hunger for something new in social media, so why has Threads dropped like Meta’s stock price in 2022? First off, Threads feels eerily similar to Twitter but lacks a lot of its competitor’s functionality. You still can’t browse your feed in chronological order (it’s coming soon), so the algorithm is bound to show you a lot of unwanted brand and celebrity content. And you can’t search topics (a huge piece of the Twitter experience) or even use the app on desktop. 

Then in recent days, Musk followed through on his X obsession by changing the Twitter logo to a minimalistic X, which lines up with his ambitions to rebrand Twitter as a “super app” in the vein of WeChat in China. WeChat is like a Swiss Army knife of apps — you can chat, pay for things, hail a cab, book appointments, and more.

As Twitter/X CEO Linda Yaccarino tweeted, “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.” Perhaps the X team can pull off the seemingly impossible and create a new “global town square” that combines social media and fiat/crypto payments in a transparent way that avoids WeChat’s privacy and censorship issues.

Can Crypto Solve This Problem?

Meanwhile in web3 land, the most visible social platform is Lens Protocol, which is still in beta and slowly rolling out access with a waitlist. Lens takes a decentralized approach to social — you own 100% of your data (including your posts, connections, and profile info) and can move it to another platform at any time. Creators can monetize their work with NFTs on other platforms and bring them into their Lens posts, token gate their content, and use the same handle across apps.

In a way, Lens is on a similarly ambitious mission as X, but with the web3 ethos and community at its core. Who knows if they can deliver on these ambitions (and if non-crypto natives will even be interested in their vision), but for now, it’s exciting to see their team putting it into motion. 

So in this shifting and unpredictable landscape, where does that leave artists? For now, the promises from X, Meta, and Lens are largely unrealized, while other platforms like Bluesky and Mastodon face similar existential struggles as Threads, without the benefit of Meta’s massive reach. 

Where are you supposed to direct your energies when web2 and web3 social are currently “Under Construction”? At the moment, it’s an open-ended question, with plenty of opinions and few answers. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure — artists are craving a new place to connect with their communities in a more direct way, away from the noise and sneaky game-playing that the algorithm requires. 

The NFT space deserves something better. Now’s the time to dream big.

Ready 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.


The Way to Regulation is Through Exchanges, Not Currencies

When governments talk about regulation, many people in the crypto industry get worried. While I think most of us want to see intelligent and thoughtful laws put into place to make the industry less susceptible to fraud, we also want to know that these laws are being written in good faith. When it comes to crypto — an industry whose intricacies are as exciting to those who understand them as they are enigmatic and contentious to those who don’t — regulation will not be easy.

Just last week, a judge concluded that XRP did not meet all of the criteria to be considered a security, giving the crypto market a much-needed confidence boost. Even so, this ruling does little to clear up the status of other crypto assets (PEPE coin anyone?). And with Alex Mashinsky’s arrest earlier this month, the memory of Celsius’ potentially fraudulent activity and SBF’s incredible flight from justice serve as painful reminders that the crypto industry needs to change.

Because the current state of government moves so slowly, blockchain has escaped any major regulation since Bitcoin was first launched in January of 2009, which has led to major innovations occurring in a relatively small amount of time. However, the lack of regulation has also resulted in major losses, namely widespread theft, scams, and fraud. Not only have businesses and individuals been hurt, but crypto’s bad press might lead to a possible slowing down of crypto adoption as fear, uncertainty, and doubt overshadow all of crypto’s potential.

"Indian government on cryptocurrency" by Cryptodost is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Future of Regulation

In general, wherever cryptocurrencies are legal, they are subject to anti-money laundering regulations and taxes. But in light of recent events, many regulators are beginning to take an even more aggressive approach to crypto. 

This Monday, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) issued a report sharing its recommendations to provide a more cohesive and consistent regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies worldwide. They want to protect investors and individuals, promote responsible innovation, and perhaps most of all, safeguard the integrity of the financial systems that underpin our society.

In 2022, 3 Arrows Capital went bankrupt after Luna and Terra collapsed, Celsius went bankrupt after a possible pump and dump scheme initiated by rumors that Sam Bankman Fried would be buying out its assets, and the crash of FTX became one of the most eventful scandals in crypto history. 

Then in 2023, we witnessed widespread bank failure, especially those associated with the crypto industry. With regulators picking through the rubble under the collapses of Signature, Silvergate, and Silicon Valley Bank, and UBS rescuing Credit Suisse, the ghost of the 2008 Great Financial Crisis is weighing heavily on many industry experts’ minds. While one cannot ascribe cause and effect to the events of 2022 and 2023, it is clear that the financial institutions of the world, both crypto and traditional, are intertwined.

Indeed, the legitimacy of the banking sector—and moreover, the legitimacy of crypto exchanges—is coming under fire, leading many to wonder what steps world governments will take to make the pain go away, both in the short and long term.

The Current Problems in Regulating Cryptocurrencies

Many crypto industry professionals have argued that not all digital assets fall under the definition of a security, and that the SEC should instead write new rules to tackle issues in the crypto sector. The biggest conflicts at present are, firstly, that there is no consensus on what to label these assets, and secondly, how existing regulation for securities, commodities, and property tries to force cryptocurrencies into a narrow definition that does not fully reflect the asset’s complexity.

Kelly LeValley Hunt, founder of Mint Gold Dust and investor in all things web3 since 2014, told me over the phone that tackling cryptocurrency regulation is an insurmountable task that looks at the situation from the wrong angle. “Each currency has its own flavor, so it’s difficult to put them all in the same group,” she said. “The different currencies are going to be used for different things, and they’ll be used differently in different parts of the world. We need to start to adjust to that.”

“We don’t need regulation for crypto, but for the people who handle crypto. The exchanges should be regulated not dissimilar to how we regulate banks.”

Kelly LeValley Hunt

The use cases of cryptocurrency are much more diverse than fiat, or traditional paper currency. Not only can it function as a store of value, a unit of account, or a medium of exchange—though these uses will likely come later as volatility lessens—but it can also represent membership in a group, enact voting rights, or unlock future airdrops of digital assets. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the differences between fungible assets (like bitcoin and ETH) and non-fungible assets (like NFTs), the latter of which does function, at times, as digital property.

Furthermore, we already have examples of how countries regulate fiat currencies across borders, and that is through the exchanges. “We don’t need regulation for crypto,” LeValley Hunt added, “but for the people who handle crypto. The exchanges should be regulated not dissimilar to how we regulate banks.”

"Ethereum Classic Wallpaper - Cryptocurrency Contract" by EthereumClassic is marked with CC0 1.0.

Regulation: Rules and Realities

There are several features of bank regulation that are attractive to the crypto industry, namely, community investment, insuring a certain amount of funds, and other consumer protections. However, some are antithetical to how blockchain works. 

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has offered us a new way of conducting business and viewing the world. Bitcoin, the first and perhaps most well-known cryptocurrency, was launched right after the Great Financial Crisis, and its pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto clearly stated in the genesis block that Bitcoin was intended to be in direct opposition with traditional finance.

Not only would it require all transactions to be transparent, accessible, and immutable, it would also allow users to access the network trustlessly, or without disclosing any personal information. For this reason, any attempt to enforce KYC requirements, for example, could in effect stifle the progress of blockchain-based marketplaces, as people who value privacy will likely leave the marketplace entirely.

But another element of compliance would be for crypto exchanges to set up data centers that maintain all of the information of the network. “Right now, when you regulate a bank, the bank has to be up and running, their data center has to be up and running 5 9’s,” LeValley Hunt said. “That means, 99.999% of the time. This is what the regulators dictate in the United States.”

According to the C&C Technology Group, a data center will consume 1,000 kWh per square meter in order to maintain their servers. Multiply that by the area of a single data center, then consider the fact that most banks have at least two “hot,” or physical data centers (a primary and a backup), and one “cold” one on the cloud, and you can imagine the amount of energy needed to power just a single bank or exchange.

Which is not to say that this should not happen. In fact, blockchain technology has become a driving force in the adoption of green energy, as it is often cheaper and thus better for crypto industry players’ bottom line. It is entirely possible that this move could bear fruit for both regulating crypto exchanges and lowering harmful energy consumption.

"ETC Wallpaper - ETC Cryptocurrency Investment" by EthereumClassic is marked with CC0 1.0.

Moving Crypto, and the World, Forward

Without meaningful and tailored regulation, the crypto industry will continue to be a breeding ground for bad actors, scams, and avoidable financial catastrophes. Privacy, sovereignty, mobility, and decentralization are the foundational tenets of blockchain technology.

Therefore, any actions made in the pursuit of regulating crypto must keep these ideals in mind if they are to succeed, because compromising these ideals could in fact lead to the destruction of the industry itself. It would leave us with a shallow imposter whose characteristics are all too similar to the traditional finance world that blockchain aims to leave behind.

Blockchain is not necessarily a panacea to the problems we are witnessing in the banking sector, but many of its features certainly lend themselves to improving how we secure our assets in a way that has never been seen before. Namely, transparency would allow for an open conversation about what assets exchanges are investing in and what activities they are engaging in.

“In 20 years, the exchanges will be our banks,” LeValley Hunt said. And if that is indeed the way forward, then more exchanges might have to take Coinbase’s lead and bite the bullet now, before it is too late to build the trust and consumer loyalty they need to survive. 

Ready 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.


The Amazing Tale of Pepe: From Meme to Cryptocurrency

Anyone who has heard of the recent Pepe Coin bull run is either dancing in their insane profits or kicking themselves in the butt for not getting in sooner. The latest meme coin launched two weeks ago. Amazingly, it has already landed itself into the top 100 cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of $540 million.

This development has pushed meme coin darlings Doge and Shiba Inu to the side. Perhaps it’s the novelty of something shiny and new. Or perhaps it is the culmination of 2 decades of cultural capital.

HODLWOOD from Mint Gold Dust Auction at NFT.NYC 2022

Who is Pepe the Frog?

Pepe the Frog is a cartoon character created by artist Matt Furie. He became one of the most well-known memes on the internet in the 2000s. The green frog wearing a mischievous expression became a symbol for internet subculture, referenced across a range of social platforms and forums including MySpace and 4chan.

After a hard turn to the alt right, Pepe took on new life when Rare Pepe scientists reclaimed the famous amphibian as a crypto degen. In 2016, artists mined the first Rare Pepe NFTs onto the Bitcoin protocol via Counterparty. And thus, another subculture was born and solidified on-chain.

Pepe means a lot of things to a lot of people, but as far as crypto goes, Pepe is as intrinsic to the culture of the space as a white paper is to a blockchain protocol.

Rare Pepe Pepeyotes
PEPEYOTES by Gus and Veto Grillasca from Mint Gold Dust Auction at ETH Denver 2022

What is a Rare Pepe?

Rare Pepes are digital trading cards depicting Pepe the Frog in various scenarios. Some combine Pepe with other icons of popular culture like Homer Simpson or Pokemon. Others feature Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin, and other crypto-related symbols and references. The scarcity of these unique digital assets contributes to their value as well. Each Pepe card has specific qualities that one can see directly on the artwork. Artists can also decide how many editions of the artwork to mint.

Collectors traded these early NFTs on a Rare Pepe Wallet in exchange for Pepe Cash. Both the wallet and the cryptocurrency were developments from the Pepe market, or Pepesphere.

Soon, Rare Pepe NFTs attracted wider attention from the cryptocurrency community. Some artists began to create their own versions of Rare Pepes to trade amongst themselves. 

Rare Pepe Scientists wanted only verified artworks to be shared with their community on Telegram. This felt stifling to some artists, especially since the blockchain ethos included individual sovereignty. Pepe Scientist J Scrilla revolted, posting his unverified Rare Pepes until the community kicked him out. Scrilla then created his own Rare Pepe channel, and invited other artists to do the same.

The concept of a Fake Rare emerged, and naturally, the Fake Rares became a huge phenomenon all its own. Artists would post Fake Rares in the Pepe Scientist channel, get kicked out, and join Skrilla’s community of Fake Rares.

Pepe Cash

As interest in Rare Pepe NFTs grew, so did speculation about their future value, with some in the community even debating whether the assets could become a form of digital currency. In this context, the Pepe Cash coin was created as a cryptocurrency utilizing Pepe the Frog as its mascot. Pepe Cash runs on Counterparty and is required to transact Rare Pepes.

Pepe Cash has consistently been one of the most traded digital currencies on Counterparty. Plus, the value of Pepe Cash has increased significantly in recent years. Some attribute this growth to social media attention surrounding the Rare Pepe phenomenon.

Mint Gold Dust Founder and CEO Kelly LeValley Hunt hosting the Mint Gold Dust Auction at NFT.NYC 2022

Auctions on Mint Gold Dust

Mint Gold Dust has sold many Rare Pepes over the years. Most notably, they placed a $500,000 Rare Pepe Nakamoto Card with Metakovan at the NFT.NYC 2021 happy hour. He is also the buyer of Beeple’s, Everydays: The First 5000 Days.

Their live auctions at ETH Denver and NFT.NYC in 2022 featured even more Pepes. Artists included Gus Grillasca, Veto Grillasca, Mr. Hansel, J Scrilla, and several anonymous creators. Furthermore, Mint Gold Dust has featured Rare Pepes at every single live auction they’ve hosted since their inception.

The Rise of PEPE

PEPE coin, which is different from Pepe Cash, launched in mid-April, and has already risen like a green and grinning meteor. The price has been extremely volatile, and some are saying it’s arrived at a stage of correction. However, for the people who have already made hundreds of thousands of dollars on a meme, it illustrates an interesting shift in the crypto world. Many critics of NFTs say that they are made for speculative purposes and nothing more. This meme coin surge could actually direct speculators over to the altcoin market, leaving NFTs for more serious collectors. Or maybe not.

The connection between Pepe the Frog and the cryptocurrency world has ignited the imagination of collectors and traders alike. It has revealed the potential for memes to take on a life of their own in the digital world. Whether or not PEPE coin, Pepe Cash and Rare Pepe NFTs will continue to rise in value remains to be seen. But it is clear that Pepe the Frog has cemented its place in both internet culture and the world of digital assets.

Ready 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.


Without the Token, All You Have is a JPG

We Are Our Own Martyrs

A Column by By Theo Goodman

Without the token, all you have is a jpg:

As seemingly random cookie-cutter 10k PFP projects blink in times square during the cheaper breakfast hours one might ask, is the top in? These precious collectibles, art, modern cave paintings were reproduced for all to see. One can simply -click- or as some might say -right-click- and a copy is made, so simple, so elegant the reproduction! In the current mania state of expensive jpg, one might forget that without the token, all you have is a jpg, but with the token, you still have “it” the NFT. It is ok if you don’t get it now, you will just FOMO in later.

In darkness what is truth?
The Gesamtkustwerk.

The NFT is not simply an expensive JPG that burns the earth to its core while allowing for new levels of carbon-neutral virtue signaling which give way for unthinkable business plans of feel-good tokenized carbon credits with no accountability. The NFT is not simply a profile picture that one can flex online in social networks by right-clicking the image of an NFT you own or don’t and adding it to your ProFile Picture in order to be part of the club. Want to join my new playground club?
The NFT is not simply a digital image in a vacuum of which one can only conceive of it as a digital image and nothing more. The NFT is a Gesamtkunstwerk(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesamtkunstwerk), total artwork whose concept is not simply the image but the intersection of the image, the token, and the timestamp of the token on a blockchain. This is the total concept, the jpg does not exist in a vacuum. Now you might think that each of these elements is of equal value in accordance to what you have and what you don’t, however, this is not the case.

Just say no

I just right clicked 5000 Bitcoin, I am now Nouveau Rich. If the three elements of the NFT were of equal value then you could simply right-click a bitcoin logo 5000 times and be one of the new elite, one of the nouveau rich with a stereotypical Lambo and walk around in sweat pants and a hoodie since you are probably not old enough to know how to dress anyway. In any case, you are rich enough to do the Zuckerburg dress style, halfway smart casual with trainers, please don’t do that.

Now that you right-clicked 5000 bitcoin logos and have 5000 bitcoin you are good to go, generational wealth and all! Why doesn’t that work, because you don’t have a token. Bitcoin is simply the native token of the bitcoin network (incoming comments -bitcoin is not a token it is just utxo- for all practical purposes bitcoin is the native token just stop having knee jerk reactions to the word “token” thanks!). If you don’t have the token, you don’t have any bitcoin, if you right-click and save Vitalik´s favorite ETH logo, even though it is his fav, you don’t have any ETH without the token ETH. One day the jpegs didn’t load…………..


The day the jpegs didn’t load

One day the jpegs didn’t load. You reset your laptop, the nouveau rich one with an ape sticker, the one with a “NO SHITCOINS” or the one with a “This laptop is carbon neutral” sticker on it. After the reset the jpegs didn’t load, your Bitcoin logo was gone, your ETH logo was gone and all your NFTs were GONE, annndddddd ITS GONE, but wait. They are not gone you have the tokens! Even if the link to the jpg is broken, there is a history of this link. Of course in this case there is an element of social consensus that is needed to agree – which token belongs to which jpg – but in the end, you have the token, without the token you just have a right-click jpg, or as I put it, nothing.

Nothing to shill, move along
The Pirate Bay NFT and Arweave

Let us simply look at the first lines of the Pirate Bay NFT.

“Did you know that an NFT is just a hyperlink [1] to an image that’s usually hosted on Google Drive or another web2.0 webhost? “(https://github.com/ghuntley/thenftbay.org)

This is simply incorrect. If this were the case then the Pirate Bay NFT would have indeed simply right-clicked billions of dollars worth of NFTs, but they did not. On top of that, they shilled Arweave with the [1] which makes me think this is simply an Areweve shill action. The link that is referenced also doesn’t get it, shocking!

“NFTs are fragile because while the metadata may be stored forever, the asset itself is likely not”(https://arweave.news/nft-404/)

Which misses the point that in fact, the token is the asset, and as my friend Joe Loney has said many times “the token is the art”. While I applaud both NFT Pirate Bay and Areweave for continuing the tough discussion on file storage and the future, I do not think either understands what an NFT is. Both are focused on the JPG, either overlooking the token or just in order to highlight that using a dependency like Arewave that is branded as permanent (yet highly experimental and new) is better than just hosting on imgr. It will take another issue of We are our own Martyrs to unpack the perma storage claims, maybe next time.


An NFT is a Gesamtkunstwerk, a Total Artwork. Without the bearer asset, the token you have nothing. If you cant load your jpg and still have the token, you still have the NFT.

The Power of Zeus and the Fury of Hades.


Graffiti and NFTs | The Era of Digital Tagging

Since ancient times, graffiti has been a way for people to express themselves and make their mark in a world that would prefer them to be silent. It’s a declaration of oneself, a sign that says, “I was here.”

Mint Gold Dust’s Producer Seth Scher knows this world well. Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1990’s, he was exposed to the thriving straightedge hardcore, rave, and hip hop culture there, and the graffiti movement was the cultural thread that tied it all together.

Fast forward to 2007, Seth was introduced to graffiti artist and designer Curve on a film set.

Curve moved to Philadelphia by way of New Haven, CT where his passion for exploration was forged and his introduction to graffiti began. It was in Philadelphia where he found himself immersed into the scene. His teenage years were spent painting in the streets, tunnels, and rooftops, using the city environment as a workshop and stage to express himself. This led to exploring other art-forms, which graffiti has roots in: including illustration, animation, and graphic design.

In 2020, Seth Scher was analyzing NFTs for his own work when he and Curve first discussed the idea of graffiti NFTs. The ultimate goal was to capture the essence of graffiti and create something that serves as a permanent historical record. Selling an NFT was one thing, but preserving a cultural echo and oral history was another. Graffiti by nature is ephemeral and defined not only by its markings, but by the space it occupies– a unique challenge to solve in a digital landscape.

Around this same time, Mint Gold Dust founder Kelly LeValley Hunt was having some of these same thoughts. She explains,

“Graffiti is our modern day hieroglyphics telling the past, the future, but most important, the present day story without a political media spin but with a grassroots version of our present day lives. If we don’t document this work on chain then we are erasing a large part of our history that some believe is not worthy of historical study.”

Chaos Curve, Curve, 2021

After going back and forth on how to retain the essence of graffiti when translating them into NFTs, they decided to simply borrow materials done on a wall, be it a tag or an art piece. Once hi-resolution images were taken, Curve’s pieces were then digitally enhanced to add depth or variation to each piece. The blockchain offered a permanence and formal authorship to work that was temporal and co-opted, but the story didn’t end there.

Curve was connected with Mint Gold Dust partner Illust Space to geo-drop his NFTs into the physical world through Augmented Reality, essentially creating a digital tag. This digital act of disruption is able to act as a record of where the original piece was tagged, offering a permanence that was unachievable before, or it can help writers create new tags that can be dropped anywhere in the world creating a new wave of graffiti.

We recently caught up with Curve to discuss his latest works on Mint Gold Dust and his thoughts on blockchain technology. Check it out below.

In your own words, why do you think NFTs are a good medium for graffiti writers?

From my understanding NFTs allow artists to have ownership of their work. Graffiti has been co-opted, exploited, and straight up stolen, and NFTs can create opportunities for graffiti artists to profit from their work on their own terms. It can also allow writers to keep their anonymity, which is very important for some.

Would you say that the disruption that decentralization and NFTs bring is attractive to you and other writers?

In part yes, because it’s new and exciting. Although I cannot say that I completely understand it. I think graffiti grew alongside other disruptive and anti-establishment movements, so there is definitely a lineage there.

What’s your process when digitizing your works? How does having video files supported influence this chapter in your artistic process?

My process for the most part still involves old fashioned sketching and drafting. Although with my iPad I don’t need to scan anything. If I paint a wall, I can begin digitally manipulating it immediately. I still create graffiti in a traditional manner and often digitizing is an afterthought. When it happens, that is when my pieces change and alter in their form and function. When I started sharing my graffiti on social media in 2013, I began to see this potential. There are times when the addition of digitization has made me approach my traditional process differently. For instance if my goal is that a particular piece be eventually animated, the steps with which I start it and finish it, will allow for that option, making my creative process very different from my norm. I enjoy experimenting with all the technological tools offered, without completely knowing what the outcome will be. While there has been a small video art tradition involved in graffiti since the 80s, I think our phones have made us all part time multimedia editors and artists. The supported video files have opened new doors and ideas for my work. I have been able to collaborate with digital video artists, who have many years in that field, and may have never got a chance to work with graffiti art as a subject. I also enjoy adding a musical or sound element to my pieces. The association with certain musical genres has always been alluded to, but has never been able to be explicitly shown until now.

Tell us a bit about your AR NFT pieces. How do you see this technology being a solution for writers and taggers?

The concept behind my AR NFT pieces is about the dilemma of seeing graffiti digitally versus the real world. The environments where graffiti exists are intrinsically tied to the process of making it and the aesthetics of said graffiti. The experience of viewing it outside, in person, and in the elements where it was created, are an important part of how graffiti grows, expands, and holds its power. I don’t seek to change or reinvent graffiti in a digital space. Since that is our current reality and affects so much of how we interact with one another, I seek to comment on this with my graffiti. I see the current technology as providing new avenues for writers to keep doing what they’ve always been doing; Getting Up.

What’s next for you? I’ve seen Zoidrecords on IG, are there any plans to do audio NFTs in the future?

My plan is to take my Zoidrecords project to the auditory level. Ultimately, releasing music and graffiti asmr is the idea. I’d like to treat these aspects as important as the graffiti that is seen.

Check out our 2 part podcast series with Curve, Seth, and Mint Gold Dust curator Eleonora Brizi below:




The Bauhaus of Web3

Mint Gold Dust is an ecosystem for artists, collectors, and collaborators from a variety of different industries that aims to transform the way people interact with the digital world. Our ecosystem was built to support artists and collectors on a micro and macro level to create our very own self-sustaining economy for Web3.

The Partners

We are accomplishing this goal by investing in strategic partners to offer unique opportunities to our community. Some of our partners include SmartSeal who is providing NFC solutions for physical assets, Illust Space who is transforming the way we view NFTs with AR technology, and Gilded Finance, a software and reporting company that provides infrastructure for marketplaces to support their artists and collectors with financial data. “There’s always art for art’s sake, but once you start buying and selling NFTs — those are business transactions with tax and financial implications. It’s a real challenge for artists and collectors to make sense of what’s essentially a minefield of blockchain data,” said Raina Casbon-Kelts, CxO at Gilded. “Gilded’s NFTOPS makes it easy for NFT platforms to provide financial transparency and tax-ready reports to their users. It’s imperative for artists and collectors to have that financial insight so they can focus on their art and not worry about a surprise tax bill at the end of the year.”

We also recently spoke with Rob McCarty, CEO of Illust Space, about what they are doing and what plans they have for the next year, “Illust Space is localizing the metaverse for Web3. Our wallet to world utility The Space features a set of publishing and discovery tools which give artists and collectors alike the ability to anchor and display their NFTs using augmented reality and GPS coordinates. Going into 2022, the team will enable publishers the ability to launch their own scavenger hunts, art walks, and experiences, fostering connections between artists and their patrons, projects and their communities, and the public with their neighborhoods.”

In September, Mint Gold Dust partnered with Illust Space and SmartSeal to help launch a fashion collection at NYFW with Assembly.Fashion. Inspired by the collection, Illust Space captured the likeness of former Miss Universe Paulina Vega wearing styles designed by Maria Intscher Owrang, Misa Hylton, and graffiti artist Curvazoid and created a 3 story tall version of her in augmented reality. That model was then geo-dropped in front of NYFW hub Spring Studios, creating our very own runway.

The styles from this drop were made with SmartSeal NFCs, allowing the physical pieces to have their authenticity and proof of ownership recorded on the Blockchain. Co-founder and CEO of SmartSeal Mark Shekleton explains, “SmartSeal connects physical assets to NFTs through cryptographically-linked Near Field Communication (NFC) chips which are embedded in the artist’s work. This process creates a one-to-one coupling between the artist’s work and an NFT. The NFT is used as a certificate of authenticity and proof of ownership and can be verified with just the tap of a smartphone. Selling artwork through these ‘digital deeds’ helps artists retain royalties and provides provenance to collectors.”

The historic event served as a small taste of how NFTs can revolutionize the fashion industry and an example of how Mint Gold Dust’s ecosystem can come together to work for you.

The Marketplace

Mint Gold Dust’s NFT Marketplace was designed to connect our artists with new patrons and collectors while focusing on value over volume transactions. Rather than focusing on the flipping economy in the secondary market, we are honed in on the primary market experience. When an artist mints on Mint Gold Dust, they are invited to create an Artist Passport, a series of information and memoir entries that help educate the collector about the piece, the artist’s process and inspiration, and more. Not only does this Artist Passport travel with the piece from owner to owner, the collector is also able to contribute to the passport to record their thoughts and feelings surrounding the piece. This helps establish a personal connection between the artist and the collector.

Another way we support artists on the platform is by offering media and marketing opportunities. This can take the form of a podcast, Twitter Spaces, artist profiles on social media, and coming soon, our web zine. Mint Gold Dust aims to support the artist from the moment they sign up for the platform.

Our marketplace is also unique because artists can choose which royalty structure they would like to employ, 10,15, or 20%. We also use ERC1155 contracts which allow artists to batch edition work quicker or and more efficiently than other Smart Contracts.

The Auctions

Mint Gold Dust also hosts in person live NFT auctions, taking the traditionally online experience to the next level. These auctions include primarily rare NFTs, including hard to find RAREPEPEs. During NFT NYC, Mint Gold Dust sold a Series 1 RAREPEPE, RAREPEPE NAKAMOTO, issued in 2016, for $500,000 to MetaKovan, the famed collector of Beeple’s EVERYDAYS. In 2022, Mint Gold Dust plans to expand this program.

When you collect or create with Mint Gold Dust, we are providing more than a platform, we’re inviting you into our community and acting as a bridge between the digital and physical worlds. Join us as we Mint Gold Dust.