An Intro to the Tezos NFT space
Tezos is an energy-efficient Proof-Of-Stake (PoS) blockchain which supports smart contracts and produces low transactional costs for the user (e.g. the creator or collector of NFTs). It has a modular architecture and can evolve through an on-chain upgrade mechanism. The community is driven by people from all over the world. XTZ is the native Tezos currency. It can easily be staked or used to buy NFTs etc. There are different wallet solutions, like the Temple Wallet, which enables users to interact with a dApp through the Browser. Many developer tools and the collaborative community makes it easy to start a new development project on Tezos.
The Tezos NFT space
During the last 1,5 years the Tezos blockchain emerged as one, perhaps even the no.1 NFT ecosystem of choice among artists. Established artists like Mario Klingemann or Kevin Abosch started to publish their work on Tezos platforms besides the numerous small and unknown artists from all over the world.
In the first half of 2021 there was mainly Hic Et Nunc and Kalamint, but then more websites, projects and tools popped up.
Besides teia.art (the Teia Community has its roots in group of creators of the former HEN / Hic Et Nunc service) the marketplace Objkt.com managed to claim its position as a Tezos equivalent to Opensea, where various NFT collections are presented and traded. Versum is another mentionable project, essentially driven by André Venâncio.
In sum, a lot of good initiatives formed the pillars of the Tezos NFT ecosystem during the last year, like henext (the HEN explorer), hic.af (the ‘smoothest NFT marketplace on Tezos’), fxhash.xyz (which is the place to be for the generative NFT community), akaswap.com, glry.xyz or the NFTBiker’s toolbelt (if you are tech savvy, you might want to check the NFTBiker’s repository here). Besides the ‘naturally grown‘ Tezos projects, one of the most prominent Ethereum marketplaces integrated with Tezos as well: Rarible.
But the momentum of the emerging Tezos NFT space never was fueled by tech or tools alone, it is the result of an engaged and creative community with a special focus on arts. On Tezos, where minting costs and gas fees have been extremely low, artists from all regions in the world recognized the lower barriers of Tezos and started to publish all kind of creative experiments and artworks as NFT; projects like HEN (Hic Et Nunc) had a strong focus on arts and were kicked-off in Brazil. So the Tezos NFT ecosystem has (to a certain degree) a special foundation and in result it attracted artists and tech savvy creators from many countries of all over the world. Collectors with an art focus can explore a massive amount of paintings, illustrations, photographs, videos, 3D, VR or AR creations, AI / Machine learning projects, music, generative NFTs or nearly any kind of digital experiment. It’s a creative world within the world, waiting to be explored by interested folks.
In consequence, it was not really surprising that one of the art related highlights of 2021 was the Art Basel in Miami, where Tezos was very present (you can find some recorded panel sessions here) and quite a lot ‘Tezos-artists’ could present their work.
2022 is the year after the ultimate hype, but it’s too early to make a review.
How to start collecting Tezos NFT?
You really do not have to do much until you managed it to collect your first NFT. There are many websites which will provide you a step-by-step tutorial. In the following you will find some general aspects, which might help you to reflect your first steps a bit more.
1. Get the basics in place
If you plan to start your clean NFT collection in the Tezos ecosystem, you first need to get the basics in place, which is a wallet (like the Temple wallet) and some XTZ. You will find many good tutorials on how to do the first steps into Tezos if you are absolutely new to the space. Another hint is connected to security – it make sense to invest a few bucks into a hardware wallet like a Ledger Nano S which can be bought here.
2. Reflect your ambition level and risks
Many people who start with NFTs speak about their difficulties to sort out which NFT project or artworks are ‘good’. And this classification is of course a bit problematic, because what might be ‘good’ or not is highly qualitative and might even be in the eye of the beholder.
That’s why it seems to be more helpful for new collectors to first define the personal ambition level. Why do you want to start a collection and what is it good for? If you simply love art and would like to collect artworks which raise your attention, then you don’t have to fear the risks connected to speculation. If you reflect NFTs as alternative financial investment, then this is a different kind of story and you have to make yourself familiar with obvious risks. It might be that you invest into projects & artworks based on which you will never get any return on invest, so that you lose a lot of money. So think about your own ambition level and clarify which risks you are willing to take.
3. Explore the space
Explore the space and get a first overview. For the initial exploration objkt.com might be a good place to start with, because you will find a broad range of NFTs there (which were for instance originally minted via HEN or even fxhash) and the website is easy to use for most audiences. There are as well some curation resources here and there, but it might be fair to say that NFT curation is absolutely in its infancy. There is a lot of individual taste-expression or network-related recommendation, but not much objective orientation. People who collaborate or team-up are promoting each other, so that it can be hard to differ the recommendation of an artwork from individual support or networking. So always think yourself.
For the collection of some NFTs you won’t require a very complex feature-set. But as soon as your collection itself becomes a bit more complex, you perhaps start to miss certain capabilities on some websites. Maintaining a large collection is not free of efforts. Keep that in mind.
It is helpful to know, that not every website is showing any kind of NFT (project) and that the feature-sets can vary dramatically from website to website (even though there is some sort of natural common sense). It helps to take a look around and explore the various dApps, tools and services. Btw. – It is very likely that the landscape of NFT-related services / tools / websites will continuously change. New services will be launched, other services will disappear or are quickly outdated (for instance due to a lack of support of relevant smart contracts). If you want to collect many NFT, then you should stay up-to-date here to a certain degree, because the environment is changing at high speed and your collection is connected to the environment.
The same is true for community inherent trends. Certain collections or projects can be hot in the beginning, but nearly unknown a few months later. There are tools to analyze the market based on transactions (artcentral etc.) and of course there is Twitter. The lack of proper alternatives made Twitter the No.1 channel for various discussions, promotional activities etc. Besides analysis, social buzz and moving prize-levels, there are collabs and RL events.
As already mentioned in the context of curation, the space is also driven by opinions. And there are of course some opinion leaders, who have influence on the trends and push certain projects. That’s why you should make yourself familiar with who is who and what drives the buzz in the NFT space besides the art itself. This might finally help you to make reflected decisions for yourself.
4. Educate yourself step-by-step
To start, grow and maintain your collection, you perhaps should know about some best and worst practices. So please inform yourself about security related aspects or topics like copyminting. Because the NFT space is new, not regulated and full of people who try to make money, there are of course a lot of risks. It’s easy to lose a lot of money or to become a victim of social engineering or scam.
Also educate yourself a bit in the area of tech. Not to necessarily become a developer or blockchain expert, but to understand the possibilities. Of course it is helpful if you know the basics about how the blockchain works, how you could use pinata to pin assets connected to your NFT collection or simply how to look up a transaction. A minimal understanding empowers you to do a bit more and to wonder less.
What else … ?
Once you made your first steps towards your beloved clean NFT collection, many topics might become relevant, some examples:
- Think about legal aspects and taxes, depending on the regularities of your region
- Learn to track NFT drops or creator activities which are of interest for you
- Make yourself familiar with the ABC of NFT, like royalties / splits, offers & auctions etc.
- Get an overview of which marketplace is supporting which contracts, projects, tokens
- Get to know the different ways and tools to enjoy or show your NFT collection (via virtual gallery etc.)
- Learn about the dynamics of trading, for example the dis-/advantages of NFT flipping or other behavioral patterns which have positive or negative impact on the (floor) prize of objects
- Check various discord servers to get to know more people of the community
Individual perspective & the bigger picture
Collecting NFTs is a individual & group journey; it will be connected to a lot of (potentially unhealthy) computer time, research and growing individual experience. But then it’s fun and something you can enjoy. Not every NFT is art, of course not. But you will see a lot of interesting stuff out there. On Tezos the creative bandwidth is mentionable. This is to mention, because each blockchain (and community) looks back to a unique history (of projects, people and circumstances etc.), an own nerdy logic (of technical concepts or the characteristics of smart contracts for instance) and tools (like HEN or fxhash). Each blockchain community is a sub-culture of a sub-culture if you like. Which means, that in general there is not the one perfect way to success or to greater enjoyment. Therefore, it’s a solid recommendation if I say: try to stay flexible, interested or open-minded and aware of risks besides great momentum.
And then there is a bit more to mention: Sooner or later, NFT collectors need to step out of this hype-driven gold-rush-mindset and should embody & understand that they actively influence the market development and the connected environment based on their action.
The NFT related sub-culture has just started to do the first baby steps. Even though it has been written a lot about NFTs during the last 12-18 months. But still, the space is new and hard to predict, even though some events and changes already happened on steroids, which makes people sometimes think, that the phase is already over. The opposite is true – all aspects until now have been the first simple experiments with the concept of NFTs. Sorry to say, but it’s not even really advanced what happened so far. Some pics of apes or pixelated punks, some gifs, some AI generated stuff and generative code fragments minted for the first time. More or less most of the artworks are creative repetitions of the pre-NFT time, but as NFT. Now, after the first ups and downs (especially the latest crypto crashes), the room is opening up for the after-hype phase and a new struggle for relevance … hopefully means: innovation ahead.
The concept of NFTs is not really rocket-science, but it offers a lot of more capabilities and opportunities on top of what already happened. Not in arts or creative coding only. So the area of conceptual evolution will stay very interesting and all the creative people revolving around NFTs still need something to eat. They learned how to collaborate, how to kick-off a project and how to promote new ideas. So in worst case, NFT collecting is a good invest into the exploration of new social mechanisms, new concepts or modern techniques in the formal discourse. The impact of the space would be bigger if there would be less gambling, but instead more (social or creative) innovation, art ideation or long-term ambition. In that sense, collectors can and should play an important role.
Tezos might be one of the best blockchains for those collectors who want to support these aspect with their doing. Not only because of technical aspects, but also because the specific culture which evolved on Tezos.
Note: Some more posts will most certainly follow to add some fresh or deeper information. So please stay up-to-date and if you like, leave a comment, question, addition below 🙂