December presents a time for reflection, a month to look back to move forward. As of publishing this we launched nearly 100 days ago, the 27th August 2021. A date that seems like both an eternity ago and just yesterday.
As you’d expect it has been pretty exhausting for me and Chris - the duo behind the scenes. But that’s far outweighed and really nothing in comparison to how highly rewarding it has been when we take a moment to reflect upon what we’ve achieved - bringing together a truly amazing community. A respected and leading DAO, helping push the new web3 movement forward.
We founded GEN.ART on the belief that a 5,000 strong community of like-minded people interested in generative art would be a force to be reckoned with. And thankfully we've been proven right. We have a community of smart thinkers, builders, passionate collectors and world class artists. Together all ushering in a new creative renaissance.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all. So we’re keen not to mess it up. We’ve been holding the reins on the behalf of the community whilst we build out the DAO Platform - the system that provides all the governing mechanisms so that we can have informed debates and fair votes. Now that we’re imminently launching the DAO Platform, it feels like our kid is growing up fast, but in a good way.
During the time that we’ve been holding the reins, we’ve been brainstorming and experimenting at a rapid pace. We’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t been smooth sailing, we’ve had quite a few learning opportunities along the way. But all-in-all, I think progress has been made. And we’ve shown the world that we’re here to stay, and dedicated to our mission.
Some facts and figures:
- 12,966 artworks created
- Over $50m of memberships and artwork traded
- 2,309 holders of 5,100 memberships, transferred 12,887 times
- 7 solidity contracts created, well 8, if you include the one with a bug
- 9 artists drops launched, with many lives changed
- 1 physical gallery show hosted
- And 2 rather proud founders.
Not bad. But let’s not sit still and reflect for too long. Time moves fast, and in the crypto-world it moves 10x the normal pace. The rest of this post aims at giving a brief update on all the moving pieces, hopefully getting everyone on the same page.
The next few weeks
Before we get into each of the components that we’ve been working on in parallel, I wanted to give a high-level overview of our intended schedule for the next few weeks. This is a draft, and subject to change. It’s always difficult giving dates out, as people will hold us to them - when in fact if there’s something out of our control, these may change or be delayed.
- w/c 6th Dec - New website goes live & surprise drop
- w/c 13th Dec - DAO Platform goes live & potentially the Print Shop
- w/c 20th Dec - $GENART liquidity & a drop
The new GEN.ART website
A couple of months ago we partnered with a leading design agency to completely rethink and rebuild our website - from the ground up. Combining their know-how with the valuable feedback from our members, we’re now optimistic that we’ve achieved our goal of becoming the benchmark for our peers. A truly beautiful, responsive, web experience that puts the focus on the artworks and the talented creators behind the them.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and this has been our mantra throughout the rebuild. A challenging mantra when there’s so much functionality built in. We have already started planning for v3, so you can see that we’re never sitting still - and that there’s always room for improvement.
For the new website, launching next week, we tried to focus on a handful of core user journeys:
- Someone who doesn’t know anything about GEN.ART or generative art
- Someone who knows about generative art but not GEN.ART
- Someone who wants to become a member of GEN.ART
- A member who wants to find out more about an upcoming drop
- A member who wants to explore artwork from various drops
- An artist who wants to release a drop with us
- Anyone else who wants to learn more about us or partner
We’ve made it a top priority to make sure we bring users through their respective journeys, making sure that they get the information they need as quickly and as easily as possible.
In terms of building, the website is built in react, and optimised to be fast loading, as well as being retina ready.
The DAO platform
As mentioned in our last blog post, for the month of November we set ourselves the goal of delivering the DAO Platform. Giving members who have $GENART tokens the ability to both submit and vote on GIPs.
Obviously this is one of the highest priority items so that we can become a functional DAO, rather than just talking about it. Giving members the tools they need to get their voice heard. Resulting in a prioritised list of to-dos for the GEN.ART team.
And the good news is, we’re mostly there!
We just want to set aside two more weeks to do final testing - before releasing it into the wild. We’re using a fork of Compound Governance, similar to the likes of Nouns DAO. And as mentioned in the previous post we’re using Snapshot.org’s API - a well tested, trusted, and robust platform for governance.
As for the $GENART token, we will be writing a longer blog post, with the aim of publishing it this weekend, giving you a walkthrough of the planned route to making $GENART tradable and liquid.
Drops and mechanics
We’ve used the September cool down in the NFT market as an opportunity to experiment. We wanted to give the DAO some data points, so that we can all collectively make informed decisions about the future drop mechanics within GEN.ART.
You'll probably have noticed that our past four drops have diverged from what came before - one artist releasing a collection of 5,500 generative artworks.
We had Joonas and Alex drop in a combined release, with a random mint functionality. Followed by Gaëtan with his limited release, the 1000 piece Cirque de Lumières. Just a couple of weeks ago Jos released a smaller 500 piece collection titled Astratta. And yesterday we had Rich launch Toha, a 999 piece collection.
It's worth noting that we looked into the data, and crunched the numbers. None of the releases above had any gas wars. With everyone typically being able to mint on their schedule.
There will always be opposing views on how GEN.ART should handle releases to our community of members. Some enjoy being able to mint artwork months after its released. Some enjoy the thrill of getting a limited edition piece. Our recommendation would be to continue to provide a mix. Not going in any one direction for too long.
And one closing note, from our perspective - the founders of GEN.ART - we're always focused on the art rather than short term economics or short term floor prices. Getting the artworks in the hands of collectors who truly want to hold onto the piece, either to hang in their house or pass down through generations, is what resonates with us. We understand that the long economics are an important component, but we're certain over time it will take care of itself.
London gallery show
This month we hosted a week-long gallery show in one of the most prestigious areas in London. Rubbing shoulders with big name galleries, and artists.
The purpose of the show was two-fold:
First, to highlight to the general public (and the traditional art world), the creative renaissance that is afoot. One that's powered by technology, and one that we're playing a leading role in. In essence, we wanted to focus on educating anyone who cared to listen. Answer their questions. And potentially right and wrongs or misinformation they'd previously been fed.
Second, to show the NFT world that GEN.ART is here to stay. Running an IRL event, is expensive, stressful and not for the faint hearted. That's why there's been very few gallery shows focused on generative art. By doing this early, as well as in one of the art capitals of the world, we demonstrated that we're not going anyway. We've also experienced a steep learning curve, meaning that the next gallery will be easier to host. See you soon Los Angeles!
One of our core missions has always been to bridge the traditional art world with the digital. Not only through gallery shows. But through providing members with physical art.
Digital is great, it allows us to write complex code that creates evolving artwork. But sometimes it's also nice to take a snapshot, think about the printing medium as well as the paper used - turning the digital physical.
We love paper. We love ink. There's something about the smell and the touch, it gives art this fourth dimension. When you think of generative art as a collaboration between collector, artist, and machine. Then combine this with a physical output. The result is really something special.
So with this context, you can hopefully see that the GEN.ART Print Shop is a high priority for us. But it's complex. We have members located in every corner of the world. How do you produce, accept payment and ship these beautiful artworks? That's a problem that we've been solving over the past month.
The Print Shop will be driven by Shopify, with an integrated wallet authentication. When you order a print, it will get routed to one of three print studios dependent upon your location. We will not make any $ on it and provide at whatever cost price the studio charge. We will obviously try to make it as cost efficient as possible.
As with all markets there’ll be a natural ebb and flow, and over the past 100 days we’ve certainly seen this. Many variables, both macro and micro, can impact the economics of a project.
The one thing that we’ve learned is to focus on the long term, and not let the immediate weeks or months distract you. It reminds me of the Woody Allen quote, “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. As a team of builders, we’re pretty good at showing up.
So if you're thinking about joining for a "quick buck", we'd ask you to reconsider. Also if we go through a wider market downturn, we'd ask you to roll up your sleeves and build alongside us.
You’ve heard me say this time and time again, and I repeat it so often as I believe it really is our core strength. The quality and commitment from the GEN.ART community is second to none. So from both me and Chris, thank you. Really. Thank you. All of our different members with their specific idiosyncrasies and mannerisms has really made the past 100 days a wonderful experience. When most of us were confined in lockdowns and the likes, it gives a little bit of sanity back when we can click online and chat with a respectful group of peers who have a shared interest.
As I mentioned in the opening, at the moment it's still just me and Chris at the core. That said we're flanked by an incredible community of advisors, moderators, thought leaders, kind peers and freelance workers.
When you ask for advice, show some vulnerability and be humble, doors open - people offer their valuable time. And that's exactly what we've done.
We can't thank MR703 enough, for being there from before the beginning. Always being a voice of reason, listening to my rants, and inspiring calm rational thought. Hype is always there for us, especially when we face complex time-sensitive technical issues. Thank you.
Our team of moderators, led by Mav. Their passion is contagious, and moderating an online community is not for the faint hearted. Their dedication enables me and Chris to get some rest at night, knowing that nothing crazy is going to be happening whilst we're not in the discord.
Our community of Gold Members is what you'd expect. Mature experienced collectors who've been round many corners, and experienced pretty much everything crypto-world has to offer. Their breadth of expertise makes me think there's no problem too large for us to overcome. They really do give GEN.ART a solid foundation, when the DAO Platform goes live.
The artists. Without you, we'd all just be trading tokens! Every single artist that we have launched a drop with has been a pleasure to work alongside. Their dedication and passion to their craft is inspiring. You give us all something to lose ourselves within. You give us something beautiful to appreciate, and something that evokes emotional power. You are the brave folks leading the charge in this creative renaissance. Without you there'd be no .ART after GEN.
This past couple of days have been a bit of a whirlwind. But in a good way. With the release of Toha, we saw a lot of interest in GEN.ART.
Some of the world's top collectors and communities taking note, not only learning about our mission and platform. But joining in, and making a commitment to be active and here for the long-run.
But with this attention, comes heightened expectations and increased pressure.
We always want to overdeliver, and the next few months will be important. The new website, the DAO platform, future drops, the $GENART token, are all big items. And they should continue to give us a robust evolving platform. Remember that nothing is permanent within GEN.ART, everything is up for debate - and your voice does matter.