This Week in the Metaverse: NFT.NYC showed how NFTs are transforming art and getting artists their well-earned share

April 14, 2023, 4:16 PM UTC
NFT.NYC this week featured a gallery of NFTs.
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez—Fortune

Welcome to This Week in the Metaverse, where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and the metaverse. Email with tips.

The zaniness of crypto was on full display at NFT.NYC this week, but among the usual murmurs around PFPs some unique applications for the technology stood out. From recording your DNA on the blockchain to saving the bees, entrepreneurs are taking the technology and applying it to everyday uses, which, in my opinion, is what it was always meant for.

But what NFT.NYC also reminded me of is just how key NFTs are for empowering—and supporting—creatives.

One of the most interesting panels I attended was about putting books on the blockchain. Some writers are using NFTs to share revenue among everyone who works on a book, including illustrators, and those people can get their cut automatically through the blockchain.

Behind the scenes, a decentralized autonomous organization called PageDAO is bringing writers together and helping them mint their work as NFTs.

At another event hosted by robotic painting company Artmatr and NFT Collective, I spoke to Michaël Zancan, who goes by Zancan, a generative artist from Bordeaux, France, who is both a painter and a programmer. Although just a few years ago he was a stranger to Web3, he rose to fame after releasing his first NFTs in 2021.

His new collection, Organic Matr, is an exploration of nature and was made with Artmatr’s plotter technology that can use paint, charcoal, and other materials to create physical versions of art made by code. Each of the physical versions comes with an NFT that verifies the authenticity of the physical work, Zancan said.

Physical versions of Zancan’s latest generative art collection Organic Matr displayed at Artmatr’s workshop in Red Hook, Brooklyn in New York City.
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez—Fortune

A painter named Andre Hemer at the event told me that art made with similar plotters was big in the ‘70s, although the modern version is much more lucrative thanks to NFTs.

Blockchain technology has opened up an entirely new market for these works and is part of the reason that they are as popular—and expensive—as they are. I tried to find out how much one of Zancan’s pieces cost, but the price was only “available upon request.”

In other news

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova now has her own community space, Utopia, within the social Web3 metaverse IMVU. Utopia includes the Pussy Riot Pink Church of Feminism, a church adorned in the pink, white, and dripping-black punk feminist aesthetics for which Tolokonnikova is known. It also includes a stage for anyone to role-play their own punk performance, a dance floor, and a meditation circle.

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova now has her own community space, Utopia, within the social web3 metaverse, IMVU.
Courtesy of Pussy Riot, IMVU, and MetaJuice

Two brand-sponsored metaverse worlds on Roblox, Gucci Town and Vans World, teamed up this week for a scavenger hunt that takes users between both worlds via portals resembling shoe boxes to collect fabrics and patterns. Once all the items are collected, users get either a shoe accessory or a skateboard backpack for their Roblox avatars. The Gucci Town and Vans World scavenger hunt is available through May 13.

Gucci Town and Vans World, teamed up this week for a scavenger hunt.
Courtesy of Vans and Roblox

The Aptos Foundation, which supports the layer-1 Aptos blockchain, launched a $20 million grant program this week to reward artists for creating new art on Aptos. Selected artists will receive funding and a direct line to Aptos’s core team for support in using the blockchain. They will also work together with a community of the other selected artists. Interested creators must fill out a form on the Aptos Foundation website for a chance to be selected.

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