The crypto space gave rise to the NFT world. As a result, providing several industries, such as the fine arts, with a new way to tap into digitization and better claims to ownership.
Spurring it is also some unprecedented and refreshing new connections between diverse sectors, with not all of them being related to crypto.
Often the world reads NFT-related news coverage from a superficial perspective. Meanwhile, there’s a dynamic undercurrent that’s not always the focus of attention— one of community. They create a passionate subculture of collectors and creators who are the true forces behind the NFT market.
Behind-the-scenes of NFT projects
The NFT community runs adjacent to the crypto community, sharing and bolstering many of the same attributes.
Those who wish to buy and sell NFTs benefit from being involved in supportive, communicative, and highly insightful groups. These groups propagate the value of non-fungible tokens in their numerous forms.
Cryptocurrency and NFTs communities are a breed of their own. They are complete with their own language of references and inside jokes.
NFT community members eagerly discuss and trade among themselves. Most projects will have their own community channels hosted on chat apps, such as Discord and Telegram.
It’s here that the early trends and announcements can be spotted. Often even before collections land on OpenSea or other marketplaces.
The community is what makes the wheels turn. They are, in many cases, the driving force behind an NFT project’s success. In fact, they play a major role in the sector’s tremendous growth. Sales volumes grew to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021.
While Twitter is a central hub for following big influencers, the largest communities of NFT enthusiasts reside on Reddit. It has several dedicated sections (e.g., r/NFT, r/NFTsMarketplace). Redditors share news, discuss prospects and even communicate directly with developers, artists, creators, and collectors via Reddit’s famed AMA threads.
The community factor is also at the forefront on various NFT marketplaces. Take OpenSea, for instance. It has ranked NFT collections per category based on those trending in the community.
The role of community by example
My interest in such communities and the intersection of various disciplines in my artistic processes are some of the reasons that led to the realization of an NFT project called Organic Growth: Crystal Reef.
It is a truly collaborative effort between myself, snark.art, and multidisciplinary art director and digital artist Danil Krivoruchko (aka Myshli).
Unlike many typically static NFTs, our team has created dynamically generative NFTs. These are in the form of rendered “crystals” that grow and transform each time they are bought and resold.
The data from each participant purchaser’s crypto wallet, such as ID, blockchain number, transaction time, ETH balance, and existing NFT holdings, are run through an algorithm that translates the data. This prompts entirely unique, unpredictable combinations of crystalline and coral forms.
The transformation process continues up to seven times before the evolving crystals are “locked” into a final form. This final phase reflects the unique crypto profiles of each co-creator of that particular crystal.
Collectively anticipating unpredictable results
Even before the launch, the OG: CR community on Discord with its 36,600 members couldn’t have been more supportive. In addition, they continue to be a force behind the project’s success, growing in number even as I write.
The OG Crystal community has a lot in common with the structure of a reef, which is made up of the crystalized exoskeletons of tiny coral polyps. In fact, one can liken its architecture to the crystalized sculptural reflection of all the relevant activity that has happened in its lifetime and an interweaving of coexistence and interaction.
In parallel, the 3D print-based sculptural OG: Crystal Reef will serve as a collective group portrait of all of that activity and a moment in time that we as co-creators could not control or predict.
The thought that this sculptural aspect of the project will arise out of the community’s action and anticipation, as opposed to a typical supply/demand structure, is provocative and exciting.
The NFT project also considers re-evaluating notions of accessibility and authorship. Traditionally, a single entity owns art in the physical world. This could be a museum collection that controls its exposure. Collectors don’t share these notable pieces with the public for numerous reasons.
However, users in the NFT realm can share across numerous platforms, globally, at all times, and support transparency over gate-keeping opacity. Projects like OG: Crystal Reef also allow for those who buy and sell it to be co-creators.
Following this experimental creation stage, anyone who buys a locked crystal can participate as a collector of a more traditional NFT. In this case, owned by all and no one simultaneously and adds value and hype.
The intersecting of diverse communities
An important dimension of Organic Growth: Crystal Reef is the connection of diverse communities.
The crypto, NFT, and art worlds join another group of passionate and devoted members. That being the oceanographic community who seek to conserve and protect the world’s coral reefs and oceans through research, exploration, and action.
OG: CR chose to give back to one of its original sources of inspiration: the magnificent yet vulnerable coral reefscapes that are wonders of this world.
We are donating 3% of the primary sales to the Jennifer E. Smith Labs at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego (SIO) to help fund their dynamic, ongoing coral reef and oceanographic research.
In addition, our community will be naming a brand new marine species recently found at fantastic ocean depths. This organism is a sea star and urchin relative of the genus Xyloplax. A collective vote of the OG: CR community will determine the name.
Healthy communities are a vital and exemplary aspect of all NFT projects, and many have done it well. We have learned from these and hope to join in demonstrating that when many communities work together, projects can truly flourish and even exceed their projected potential.