Creators are the Lifeblood of NFTs
NFTs have a long and colourful history. And over the past couple years, they have exploded in popularity — going from a niche that many didn’t understand, to a multi-billion dollar industry that has gone mainstream.
Today, we’ll be looking at the driving force behind NFTs. Blockchain technology is certainly a crucial component, but what sets NFTs apart is that they are, and continue to be, powered by the force of hundreds of thousands amazing creators.
The History of NFTs
To understand how the NFT market is powered by creators, it can be helpful to first get a grasp on the genesis of this phenomenon.
The rise of NFTs can be traced back to 2012, when the first “coloured coin” was issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. These were tokens meant to represent different types of real-world assets, and could be used to prove ownership and manage things like cars, real estate, bonds, and more. The premise behind this idea was to lend further utility to what one could use the Bitcoin blockchain for. However, it was ultimately not widely adopted or used.
Then, the first-ever actual NFT minted was in 2014 by digital artist Kevin McCoy and technologist Anil Dash. In an article for The Atlantic, Dash said that back then he had been “obsessively thinking about the provenance, ownership, distribution, and control of artworks.”
Together with McCoy, the two paired up and hacked together the first prototype of an NFT, a blockchain-backed way to assert ownership over an original digital work. They registered a video clip made previously by Kevin McCoy’s wife, which Dash then bought for $4 on his wallet.
However, efforts by the two to popularise the idea met limited success. Elsewhere, also in 2014, another step towards evolving the NFT lifecycle was taken. Developers Robert Dermody, Adam Krellenstein, and Evan Wagner created Counterparty, an open-source protocol designed to extend Bitcoin’s functionality so that users could develop and trade assets on a decentralised ledger network.
Soon, Counterparty had become the go-to spot for crypto believers to create and transact digitally, with creators flocking to the platform to make their mark. In the years following, projects like Spell of Genesis (in-game assets), Force of Will (trading cards), and Rare Pepes (memes) began to pick up momentum.
Then, in 2017, Ethereum began to gain prominence. In March, a project named Peperium (Rare Pepes on Ethereum) was launched. Inspired by its success, “creative technologists’’ Matt Hall and John Watkinson realised that they could create their own NFT project with a bit of a twist, by following the principles of generative art. Dating back to the 1960s, generative art involves artists worked with autonomous systems to cocreate, writing algorithms that coded randomness and pushed the limits of their own creativity.
Thus was the birth of the first-ever 10,000 collection NFT, the famed Cryptopunks. Soon after came CryptoKitties, which leveraged elements of the CryptoPunks smart contract using the Ethereum Token Standard ERC721.
By 2018, an underground artist movement began to take shape in the crypto world, with many flocking to experiment and create. Some have coined this period between 2018 through 2021, the NFT renaissance. This period saw the flourishing of incredible 1/1 NFTs (unique, one-of-a-kind digital collectibles) artists like Trevor Jones, Mrfiretruckman, Yosnier, Dustn, and YAGAMIII.
And of course, there’s the well-known generative NFT collections such as Azuki, Doodles, and Bored Ape Yacht Club that boast up to 10,000 pieces.
The Rise of Creators
All this rose in tandem with the creator economy. The creator economy is a term that is used to describe the new wave of online content creators who are making a living through platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. These creators are often able to build large followings and generate significant income through sponsorships and product placements.
But despite their contributions driving such platforms, stats have shown that creators often don’t get their fair share of the prize pie. Nearly 98% of YouTubers don’t make enough to reach the U.S. poverty line. Meanwhile, the majority of creators on Patreon make less than $100 per month.
NFTs — Present & Future
Enter the NFT markets. This new paradigm opened up a new path, the potential to revolutionise the traditional way of monetising art forms and unique content without stealing away the exclusive rights of content creators.
And as you can see from their history, they’ve been powered from the very beginning by the creativity and ingenuity of creators. Pioneering artists have made stunning and provocative creations, using their influence to craft new communities and fuel the next generation of the creator economy.
At FSL, we have undersood this from the start — that creators are essential to the progression of the NFT economy. While the current state of the industry is rife with many bad actors and much to be desired, this is to be expected of many nascent industries. We firmly believe that this is a hurdle that the space needs to cross to reach the end goal of mass adoption. As more users dip their feet into NFTs,
Creators and NFTs go hand in hand — they have powered the market since its very inception. As we construct the next generation of the internet, it’s only logical that they should continue to be rewarded fairly for their contributions and interwoven into its every evolution.
This is also why we have created MOOAR, despite the obviously saturated market with multiple competitors. We want to create a reckoning force that will provide creators with an avenue to go against incumbent marketplaces that do not have their interests at heart.
Onwards and upwards!