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The indie NFT network is putting artists first in its concept and activities.
As one project demonstrates, not all NFT sites are for newly wealthy crypto investors to flaunt their money.
As artists and campaigners call on NFTs to cut their carbon footprint, one indie site based on the environmentally sustainable proof-of-stake blockchain Tezos has seen an increase in operation and is currently organising a World Art Day event to raise funds for the open-source licencing organisation Creative Commons.
Hic et Nunc, or H=N, confirmed the case in a brief press release issued by TQ Tezos, a Tezos ecosystem growth foundation that is not officially affiliated with H=N. According to artist and collector jkwong, the fundraiser is themed “#NFTsforall” and includes work by “200+ artists from 40+ countries.” Each designer can make a limited edition of 25-50 pieces, with each piece priced at one $XTZ. Art will be available for purchase beginning today and continuing until April 30. jkwong went on to say that Creative Commons was an obvious option for a beneficiary:
“Many of us in the HEN community use the Creative Commons. They’re a non-profit that uses technology to protect and respect the rights of creators, precisely what we believe blockchain and NFTs have the power to really do. There have been ideas about how NFTs can be used for public good and we thought, why not be the first to test that as a new model while also supporting organizations that champion the rights of creators?
The H=N platform is an unusual one. The website is notably sparse on the usual self-promotional explainers, but one resource that shines some light on the platform is artist M Plummer-Fernández’s essay explaining H=N and the broader opportunities NFT tech can offer artists, titled “Not another JPEG.”
In the article, he discusses the overwhelming excitement of seeing scores of his works sold on the website, making him more than his monthly teaching paycheck, and witnessing a “global community” of artists gather and embrace one another. It’s a forum, he claims, that combines the cost-effective utility that working artists need with the eco-friendly features that they value:
“For creatives on a budget, and not wanting their experimental works to be a financial risk, a low-cost-to-participate NFT marketplace is very appealing. It’s unsurprising then that H=N comes not from the art establishment nor crypto-millionaires, but from a cryptopunk technologist in Brazil named Rafael Lima, and an emerging Brazilian CriptoArte scene.”
However, in addition to not founding H=N, crypto-millionaires may not be migrating to the platform anytime soon. The app might be charitably described as “user ambivalent,” featuring little more than a seemingly endless scroll of images and offering the barest UI/UX guidance (“ah, so cryptic” jokes Plummer-Fernández in his essay). Independent browsing tools offer an alternative experience, if not one any kinder on the eyes.
Although these features (or lack thereof) stand in stark contrast to the many sleek, Ethereum-based marketplaces catering to the crypto elite, H=N can assert undeniable success in attracting a much more varied spectrum of artists and customers. Plummer-Fernández mentions “DiverseNFTArt,” a project founded by artists Amelie Maia and Tais Koshino that seeks to “support and amplify the voices of Women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ artists,” as well as the new income sources that cost-effective listing and sharing of work provides for artists in the global South.
According to TQ Tezos communications director Reid Yager, the platform has so far produced 640,556 XTZ in revenue and fees, reflecting a $5 million market valuation. It has also received backing from Pak, the mysterious and hugely influential NFT musician, as well as Joanie Lamercier, the French artist whose blog on his NFT-backed art energy intake may have sparked the climate panic that engulfed NFTs during their ascension into mass consciousness.
The bull market will eventually disappear, and the money that has been sloshing around will dry up. At that point, the cultures that are less expensive, more resilient, and diverse, such as H=N, could be the only ones left standing.