Art Blocks Raises $ 6 Million From True Ventures, Galaxy On The Strength Of Generative NFTs
Art Blocks, the computer-generated digital art market where chromatic scribbles cost millions of dollars, raised $ 6 million in a fundraising round.
True Ventures participated in 50% of the round with major participation from Galaxy Interactive, Galaxy Digital’s entertainment-focused venture capital fund, and Collab Currency. Existing investors Libertus Capital and the Flamingo DAO and The LAO crypto investment communities have also been reorganized, Art Blocks founder Erick Calderon said on CoinDesk’s “Opinionated” podcast.
The cycle ended in August, before Art Blocks exploded into the non-fungible token (NFT) mainstream as a hub for so-called “generative” art created by algorithms and code.
His geometric, sometimes psychedelic computer creations generated more than $ 1 billion in trading volume on the platform, according to data compiled by Nonfungible.com.
“It was a great ride,” Calderon said on the Oct. 6 episode of “Opinionated”. A ‘blockchain nerd’ and entrepreneur who runs an artisan tile importing business in Houston by day, he said his 11-month hobby had taken off completely.
Its own stock grew just as quickly. “Snowfo,” as it’s called, is now one of the underage celebrities in the NFT space. It’s a role Calderon said he always accepts.
“I’m literally afraid to say something that will make people buy or sell something,” he said. “People are very aware of the influence they have in this space, and I think some people have it very, very, very well and others, I think, in a frightening way.”
Art blocks on the rise
For Art Blocks, however, the focus is on growth. Calderon said in a previous interview that the money will fund an expansion of the engineering team. He is targeting 10 full-time engineers by the end of the year, and possibly double by mid-2022.
It’s a major turnaround for a website that scratched for its first 10 months atop a backend built on newbie code, Calderon said. For six months, it was he, a full-time coder and part-time engineer who kept the NFT platform afloat.
Art Blocks began wooing “established” artists even before its full launch. Jeff Davis, a digital artist whose geometric pieces have been exhibited in museums, joined early on and is now Creative Director. His presence helped spark an influx of “hundreds” of artist candidates hoping to list their work on Art Blocks.
How it works
Their work is united by ones and zeros – and not much else. Generative artists write code instead of canvas and paint. When a computer reads their programs, it spits out the resulting work. The iterations are endless.
“With generative art, or algorithmic art, you could spend 40 hours building an algorithm that is shaped, tweaked, and refined to produce seemingly limitless outputs,” Calderon said.
What makes a specific, generative project brilliant – or really the ones that stand out – is when you hit the space bar and the entire output changes. And it’s irresistibly different and still beautiful, and you still know it belongs to the same algorithm.
Generative art as a practice predates NFTs by decades, Calderon said; Ethereum is hardly a necessity when it comes to computerized masterpieces. But blockchain allows digital property to flourish online.
He doesn’t focus on those metaverse creations that enter the space of meat. An installation in the Guggenheim would be nice, he admits, and he thinks museums of modern art will emerge. But an Art Blocks exhibition is not the benchmark for success.
Instead, it focuses on building the generative art scene.
“We just want to recognize that this is an art form, as a legitimate art form, because it’s something that people have been dedicating their lives to for years, and it never has. truly been a widely recognized art form. “
Listen to “Opinionated” for the full story:
Correction (October 6, 19:29 UTC): True Ventures led the round, not Galaxy Interactive.