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shivsak

shivsak

1 month ago

A visual exploration of the REAL use cases for NFTs in the Future

More on NFTs & Art

Scott Duke Kominers

3 months ago

NFT Creators Go Creative Commons Zero (cc0)


On January 1, "Public Domain Day," thousands of creative works immediately join the public domain. The original creator or copyright holder loses exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, or publish the work, and anybody can use it. It happens with movies, poems, music, artworks, books (where creative rights endure 70 years beyond the author's death), and sometimes source code.

Public domain creative works open the door to new uses. 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923, including Winnie-the-Pooh, were released this year.  With most of A.A. Milne's 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh characters now available, we're seeing innovative interpretations Milne likely never planned. The ancient hyphenated version of the honey-loving bear is being adapted for a horror movie: "Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey"... with Pooh and Piglet as the baddies.

Counterintuitively, experimenting and recombination can occasionally increase IP value. Open source movements allow the public to build on (or fork and duplicate) existing technologies. Permissionless innovation helps Android, Linux, and other open source software projects compete. Crypto's success at attracting public development is also due to its support of open source and "remix culture," notably in NFT forums.

Production memes

NFT projects use several IP strategies to establish brands, communities, and content. Some preserve regular IP protections; others offer NFT owners the opportunity to innovate on connected IP; yet others have removed copyright and other IP safeguards.

By using the "Creative Commons Zero" (cc0) license, artists can intentionally select for "no rights reserved." This option permits anyone to benefit from derivative works without legal repercussions. There's still a lot of confusion between copyrights and NFTs, so nothing here should be considered legal, financial, tax, or investment advice. Check out this post for an overview of copyright vulnerabilities with NFTs and how authors can protect owners' rights. This article focuses on cc0.

Nouns, a 2021 project, popularized cc0 for NFTs. Others followed, including: A Common Place, Anonymice, Blitmap, Chain Runners, Cryptoadz, CryptoTeddies, Goblintown, Gradis, Loot, mfers, Mirakai, Shields, and Terrarium Club are cc0 projects.

Popular crypto artist XCOPY licensed their 1-of-1 NFT artwork "Right-click and Save As Guy" under cc0 in January, exactly one month after selling it. cc0 has spawned many derivatives.

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

XCOPY said Monday he would apply cc0 to "all his existing art." "We haven't seen a cc0 summer yet, but I think it's approaching," said the artist. - predicting a "DeFi summer" in 2020, when decentralized finance gained popularity.

Why do so many NFT authors choose "no rights"?

Promoting expansions of the original project to create a more lively and active community is one rationale. This makes sense in crypto, where many value open sharing and establishing community.

Creativity depends on cultural significance. NFTs may allow verifiable ownership of any digital asset, regardless of license, but cc0 jumpstarts "meme-ability" by actively, not passively, inviting derivative works. As new derivatives are made and shared, attention might flow back to the original, boosting its reputation. This may inspire new interpretations, leading in a flywheel effect where each derivative adds to the original's worth - similar to platform network effects, where platforms become more valuable as more users join them.

cc0 licence allows creators "seize production memes."

"SEASON 1 MEME CARD 2"

Physical items are also using cc0 NFT assets, thus it's not just a digital phenomenon. The Nouns Vision initiative turned the square-framed spectacles shown on each new NounsDAO NFT ("one per day, forever") into luxury sunglasses. Blitmap's pixel-art has been used on shoes, apparel, and caps. In traditional IP regimes, a single owner controls creation, licensing, and production.

The physical "blitcap" (3rd level) is a descendant of the trait in the cc0 Chain Runners collection (2nd), which uses the "logo" from cc0 Blitmap (1st)! The Logo is Blitmap token #84 and has been used as a trait in various collections. The "Dom Rose" is another popular token. These homages reference Blitmap's influence as a cc0 leader, as one of the earliest NFT projects to proclaim public domain intents. A new collection, Citizens of Tajigen, emerged last week with a Blitcap characteristic.

These derivatives can be a win-win for everyone, not just the original inventors, especially when using NFT assets to establish unique brands. As people learn about the derivative, they may become interested in the original. If you see someone wearing Nouns glasses on the street (or in a Super Bowl ad), you may desire a pair, but you may also be interested in buying an original NounsDAO NFT or related derivative.

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Co-creating open source

NFTs' power comes from smart contract technology's intrinsic composability. Many smart contracts can be integrated or stacked to generate richer applications.

"Money Legos" describes how decentralized finance ("DeFi") smart contracts interconnect to generate new financial use cases. Yearn communicates with MakerDAO's stablecoin $DAI and exchange liquidity provider Curve by calling public smart contract methods. NFTs and their underlying smart contracts can operate as the base-layer framework for recombining and interconnecting culture and creativity.

cc0 gives an NFT's enthusiast community authority to develop new value layers whenever, wherever, and however they wish.

Multiple cc0 projects are playable characters in HyperLoot, a Loot Project knockoff.

Open source and Linux's rise are parallels. When the internet was young, Microsoft dominated the OS market with Windows. Linux (and its developer Linus Torvalds) championed a community-first mentality, freely available the source code without restrictions. This led to developers worldwide producing new software for Linux, from web servers to databases. As people (and organizations) created world-class open source software, Linux's value proposition grew, leading to explosive development and industry innovation. According to Truelist, Linux powers 96.3% of the top 1 million web servers and 85% of smartphones.

With cc0 licensing empowering NFT community builders, one might hope for long-term innovation. Combining cc0 with NFTs "turns an antagonistic game into a co-operative one," says NounsDAO cofounder punk4156. It's important on several levels. First, decentralized systems from open source to crypto are about trust and coordination, therefore facilitating cooperation is crucial. Second, the dynamics of this cooperation work well in the context of NFTs because giving people ownership over their digital assets allows them to internalize the results of co-creation through the value that accrues to their assets and contributions, which incentivizes them to participate in co-creation in the first place.

Licensed to create

If cc0 projects are open source "applications" or "platforms," then NFT artwork, metadata, and smart contracts provide the "user interface" and the underlying blockchain (e.g., Ethereum) is the "operating system." For these apps to attain Linux-like potential, more infrastructure services must be established and made available so people may take advantage of cc0's remixing capabilities.

These services are developing. Zora protocol and OpenSea's open source Seaport protocol enable open, permissionless NFT marketplaces. A pixel-art-rendering engine was just published on-chain to the Ethereum blockchain and integrated into OKPC and ICE64. Each application improves blockchain's "out-of-the-box" capabilities, leading to new apps created from the improved building blocks.

Web3 developer growth is at an all-time high, yet it's still a small fraction of active software developers globally. As additional developers enter the field, prospective NFT projects may find more creative and infrastructure Legos for cc0 and beyond.

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Growth requires composability. Users can easily integrate digital assets developed on public standards and compatible infrastructure into other platforms. The Loot Project is one of the first to illustrate decentralized co-creation, worldbuilding, and more in NFTs. This example was low-fi or "incomplete" aesthetically, providing room for imagination and community co-creation.

Loot began with a series of Loot bag NFTs, each listing eight "adventure things" in white writing on a black backdrop (such as Loot Bag #5726's "Katana, Divine Robe, Great Helm, Wool Sash, Divine Slippers, Chain Gloves, Amulet, Gold Ring"). Dom Hofmann's free Loot bags served as a foundation for the community.

Several projects have begun metaphorical (lore) and practical (game development) world-building in a short time, with artists contributing many variations to the collective "Lootverse." They've produced games (Realms & The Crypt), characters (Genesis Project, Hyperloot, Loot Explorers), storytelling initiatives (Banners, OpenQuill), and even infrastructure (The Rift).

Why cc0 and composability? Because consumers own and control Loot bags, they may use them wherever they choose by connecting their crypto wallets. This allows users to participate in multiple derivative projects, such as  Genesis Adventurers, whose characters appear in many others — creating a decentralized franchise not owned by any one corporation.

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

When to go cc0

There are several IP development strategies NFT projects can use. When it comes to cc0, it’s important to be realistic. The public domain won't make a project a runaway success just by implementing the license. cc0 works well for NFT initiatives that can develop a rich, enlarged ecosystem.

Many of the most successful cc0 projects have introduced flexible intellectual property. The Nouns brand is as obvious for a beer ad as for real glasses; Loot bags are simple primitives that make sense in all adventure settings; and the Goblintown visual style looks good on dwarfs, zombies, and cranky owls as it does on Val Kilmer.

The ideal cc0 NFT project gives builders the opportunity to add value:

  • vertically, by stacking new content and features directly on top of the original cc0 assets (for instance, as with games built on the Loot ecosystem, among others), and

  • horizontally, by introducing distinct but related intellectual property that helps propagate the original cc0 project’s brand (as with various Goblintown derivatives, among others).

These actions can assist cc0 NFT business models. Because cc0 NFT projects receive royalties from secondary sales, third-party extensions and derivatives can boost demand for the original assets.

Using cc0 license lowers friction that could hinder brand-reinforcing extensions or lead to them bypassing the original. Robbie Broome recently argued (in the context of his cc0 project A Common Place) that giving away his IP to cc0 avoids bad rehashes down the line. If UrbanOutfitters wanted to put my design on a tee, they could use the actual work instead of hiring a designer. CC0 can turn competition into cooperation.

Community agreement about core assets' value and contribution can help cc0 projects. Cohesion and engagement are key. Using the above examples: Developers can design adventure games around whatever themes and item concepts they desire, but many choose Loot bags because of the Lootverse's community togetherness. Flipmap shared half of its money with the original Blitmap artists in acknowledgment of that project's core role in the community. This can build a healthy culture within a cc0 project ecosystem. Commentator NiftyPins said it was smart to acknowledge the people that constructed their universe. Many OG Blitmap artists have popped into the Flipmap discord to share information.

cc0 isn't a one-size-fits-all answer; NFTs formed around well-established brands may prefer more restrictive licenses to preserve their intellectual property and reinforce exclusivity. cc0 has some superficial similarities to permitting NFT owners to market the IP connected with their NFTs (à la Bored Ape Yacht Club), but there is a significant difference: cc0 holders can't exclude others from utilizing the same IP. This can make it tougher for holders to develop commercial brands on cc0 assets or offer specific rights to partners. Holders can still introduce enlarged intellectual property (such as backstories or derivatives) that they control.


Blockchain technologies and the crypto ethos are decentralized and open-source. This makes it logical for crypto initiatives to build around cc0 content models, which build on the work of the Creative Commons foundation and numerous open source pioneers.

NFT creators that choose cc0 must select how involved they want to be in building the ecosystem. Some cc0 project leaders, like Chain Runners' developers, have kept building on top of the initial cc0 assets, creating an environment derivative projects can plug into. Dom Hofmann stood back from Loot, letting the community lead. (Dom is also working on additional cc0 NFT projects for the company he formed to build Blitmap.) Other authors have chosen out totally, like sartoshi, who announced his exit from the cc0 project he founded, mfers, and from the NFT area by publishing a final edition suitably named "end of sartoshi" and then deactivating his Twitter account. A multi-signature wallet of seven mfers controls the project's smart contract. 

cc0 licensing allows a robust community to co-create in ways that benefit all members, regardless of original creators' continuous commitment. We foresee more organized infrastructure and design patterns as NFT matures. Like open source software, value capture frameworks may see innovation. (We could imagine a variant of the "Sleepycat license," which requires commercial software to pay licensing fees when embedding open source components.) As creators progress the space, we expect them to build unique rights and licensing strategies. cc0 allows NFT producers to bootstrap ideas that may take off.

Sea Launch

Sea Launch

6 months ago

A guide to NFT pre-sales and whitelists

Before we dig through NFT whitelists and pre-sales, if you know absolutely nothing about NFTs, check our NFT Glossary.

What are pre-sales and whitelists on NFTs?

An NFT pre-sale, as the name implies, allows community members or early supporters of an NFT project to mint before the public, usually via a whitelist or mint pass.

Coin collectors can use mint passes to claim NFTs during the public sale. Because the mint pass is executed by “burning” an NFT into a specific crypto wallet, the collector is not concerned about gas price spikes.

A whitelist is used to approve a crypto wallet address for an NFT pre-sale. In a similar way to an early access list, it guarantees a certain number of crypto wallets can mint one (or more) NFT.

New NFT projects can do a pre-sale without a whitelist, but whitelists are good practice to avoid gas wars and a fair shot at minting an NFT before launching in competitive NFT marketplaces like Opensea, Magic Eden, or CNFT.

Should NFT projects do pre-sales or whitelists? 👇

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelist for NFT creators:

Time the market and gain traction.

Pre-sale or whitelists can help NFT projects gauge interest early on.

Whitelist spots filling up quickly is usually a sign of a successful launch, though it does not guarantee NFT longevity (more on that later). Also, full whitelists create FOMO and momentum for the public sale among non-whitelisted NFT collectors.

If whitelist signups are low or slow, projects may need to work on their vision, community, or product. Or the market is in a bear cycle. In either case, it aids NFT projects in market timing.

Reward the early NFT Community members.

Pre-sale and whitelists can help NFT creators reward early supporters.

First, by splitting the minting process into two phases, early adopters get a chance to mint one or more NFTs from their collection at a discounted or even free price.

Did you know that BAYC started at 0.08 eth each? A serum that allowed you to mint a Mutant Ape has become as valuable as the original BAYC.

(2) Whitelists encourage early supporters to help build a project's community in exchange for a slot or status. If you invite 10 people to the NFT Discord community, you get a better ranking or even a whitelist spot.

Pre-sale and whitelisting have become popular ways for new projects to grow their communities and secure future buyers.

Prevent gas wars.

Most new NFTs are created on the Ethereum blockchain, which has the highest transaction fees (also known as gas) (Solana, Cardano, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, etc).

An NFT public sale is a gas war when a large number of NFT collectors (or bots) try to mint an NFT at the same time.

Competing collectors are willing to pay higher gas fees to prioritize their transaction and out-price others when upcoming NFT projects are hyped and very popular.

Pre-sales and whitelisting prevent gas wars by breaking the minting process into smaller batches of members or season launches.

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT collectors:

How do I get on an NFT whitelist?

  1. Popular NFT collections act as a launchpad for other new or hyped NFT collections.

Example: Interfaces NFTs gives out 100 whitelist spots to Deadfellaz NFTs holders. Both NFT projects win. Interfaces benefit from Deadfellaz's success and brand equity.

In this case, to get whitelisted NFT collectors need to hold that specific NFT that is acting like a launchpad.

  1. A NFT studio or collection that launches a new NFT project and rewards previous NFT holders with whitelist spots or pre-sale access.

The whitelist requires previous NFT holders or community members.

NFT Alpha Groups are closed, small, tight-knit Discord servers where members share whitelist spots or giveaways from upcoming NFTs.

The benefit of being in an alpha group is getting information about new NFTs first and getting in on pre-sale/whitelist before everyone else.

There are some entry barriers to alpha groups, but if you're active in the NFT community, you'll eventually bump into, be invited to, or form one.

  1. A whitelist spot is awarded to members of an NFT community who are the most active and engaged.

This participation reward is the most democratic. To get a chance, collectors must work hard and play to their strengths.

Whitelisting participation examples:

  • Raffle, games and contest: NFT Community raffles, games, and contests. To get a whitelist spot, invite 10 people to X NFT Discord community.
  • Fan art: To reward those who add value and grow the community by whitelisting the best fan art and/or artists is only natural.
  • Giveaways: Lucky number crypto wallet giveaways promoted by an NFT community. To grow their communities and for lucky collectors, NFT projects often offer free NFT.
  • Activate your voice in the NFT Discord Community. Use voice channels to get NFT teams' attention and possibly get whitelisted.

The advantage of whitelists or NFT pre-sales.

Chainalysis's NFT stats quote is the best answer:

“Whitelisting isn’t just some nominal reward — it translates to dramatically better investing results. OpenSea data shows that users who make the whitelist and later sell their newly-minted NFT gain a profit 75.7% of the time, versus just 20.8% for users who do so without being whitelisted. Not only that, but the data suggests it’s nearly impossible to achieve outsized returns on minting purchases without being whitelisted.” Full report here.

Sure, it's not all about cash. However, any NFT collector should feel secure in their investment by owning a piece of a valuable and thriving NFT project. These stats help collectors understand that getting in early on an NFT project (via whitelist or pre-sale) will yield a better and larger return.

The downsides of pre-sales & whitelists for NFT creators.

Pre-sales and whitelist can cause issues for NFT creators and collectors.

NFT flippers

NFT collectors who only want to profit from early minting (pre-sale) or low mint cost (via whitelist). To sell the NFT in a secondary market like Opensea or Solanart, flippers go after the discounted price.

For example, a 1000 Solana NFT collection allows 100 people to mint 1 Solana NFT at 0.25 SOL. The public sale price for the remaining 900 NFTs is 1 SOL. If an NFT collector sells their discounted NFT for 0.5 SOL, the secondary market floor price is below the public mint.

This may deter potential NFT collectors. Furthermore, without a cap in the pre-sale minting phase, flippers can get as many NFTs as possible to sell for a profit, dumping them in secondary markets and driving down the floor price.

Hijacking NFT sites, communities, and pre-sales phase

People try to scam the NFT team and their community by creating oddly similar but fake websites, whitelist links, or NFT's Discord channel.

Established and new NFT projects must be vigilant to always make sure their communities know which are the official links, how a whitelist or pre-sale rules and how the team will contact (or not) community members.

Another way to avoid the scams around the pre-sale phase, NFT projects opt to create a separate mint contract for the whitelisted crypto wallets and then another for the public sale phase.

Scam NFT projects

We've seen a lot of mid-mint or post-launch rug pulls, indicating that some bad NFT projects are trying to scam NFT communities and marketplaces for quick profit. What happened to Magic Eden's launchpad recently will help you understand the scam.

We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of NFT pre-sales and whitelists for both projects and collectors. 

Finally, some practical tools and tips for finding new NFTs 👇

Tools & resources to find new NFT on pre-sale or to get on a whitelist:

In order to never miss an update, important pre-sale dates, or a giveaway, create a Tweetdeck or Tweeten Twitter dashboard with hyped NFT project pages, hashtags ( #NFTGiveaways , #NFTCommunity), or big NFT influencers.

Search for upcoming NFT launches that have been vetted by the marketplace and try to get whitelisted before the public launch.

Save-timing discovery platforms like sealaunch.xyz for NFT pre-sales and upcoming launches. How can we help 100x NFT collectors get projects? A project's official social media links, description, pre-sale or public sale dates, price and supply. We're also working with Dune on NFT data analysis to help NFT collectors make better decisions.

Don't invest what you can't afford to lose because a) the project may fail or become rugged. Find NFTs projects that you want to be a part of and support.

Read original post here

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

3 months ago

Hate NFTs? I must break some awful news to you...

If you think NFTs are awful, check out the art market.

The fervor around NFTs has subsided in recent months due to the crypto market crash and the media's short attention span. They were all anyone could talk about earlier this spring. Last semester, when passions were high and field luminaries were discussing "slurp juices," I asked my students and students from over 20 other universities what they thought of NFTs.

According to many, NFTs were either tasteless pyramid schemes or a new way for artists to make money. NFTs contributed to the climate crisis and harmed the environment, but so did air travel, fast fashion, and smartphones. Some students complained that NFTs were cheap, tasteless, algorithmically generated schlock, but others asked how this was different from other art.

a digital Billboard showed during the 4th annual NFT.NYC conference, a four-day event that featured 1,500 speakers from the crypto and NFT space and hosted 14,000 attendees | Getty Images, Noam Galai / Contributor June 20th, 2022 in New York City Times Square

I'm not sure what I expected, but the intensity of students' reactions surprised me. They had strong, emotional opinions about a technology I'd always considered administrative. NFTs address ownership and accounting, like most crypto/blockchain projects.

Art markets can be irrational, arbitrary, and subject to the same scams and schemes as any market. And maybe a few shenanigans that are unique to the art world.

The Fairness Question

Fairness, a deflating moral currency, was the general sentiment (the less of it in circulation, the more ardently we clamor for it.) These students, almost all of whom are artists, complained to the mismatch between the quality of the work in some notable NFT collections and the excessive amounts these items were fetching on the market. They can sketch a Bored Ape or Lazy Lion in their sleep. Why should they buy ramen with school loans while certain swindlers get rich?

Long Beach, California the sign for the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Themed Restaurant, Getty Images, Mario Tama / Staff April 9th 2022

I understand students. Art markets are unjust. They can be irrational, arbitrary, and governed by chance and circumstance, like any market. And art-world shenanigans.

Almost every mainstream critique leveled against NFTs applies just as easily to art markets

Over 50% of artworks in circulation are fake, say experts. Sincere art collectors and institutions are upset by the prevalence of fake goods on the market. Not everyone. Wealthy people and companies use art as investments. They can use cultural institutions like museums and galleries to increase the value of inherited art collections. People sometimes buy artworks and use family ties or connections to museums or other cultural taste-makers to hype the work in their collection, driving up the price and allowing them to sell for a profit. Money launderers can disguise capital flows by using market whims, hype, and fluctuating asset prices.

Almost every mainstream critique leveled against NFTs applies just as easily to art markets.

Art has always been this way. Edward Kienholz's 1989 print series satirized art markets. He stamped 395 identical pieces of paper from $1 to $395. Each piece was initially priced as indicated. Kienholz was joking about a strange feature of art markets: once the last print in a series sells for $395, all previous works are worth at least that much. The entire series is valued at its highest auction price. I don't know what a Kienholz print sells for today (inquire with the gallery), but it's more than $395.

I love Lee Lozano's 1969 "Real Money Piece." Lozano put cash in various denominations in a jar in her apartment and gave it to visitors. She wrote, "Offer guests coffee, diet pepsi, bourbon, half-and-half, ice water, grass, and money." "Offer real money as candy."

Lee Lozano kept track of who she gave money to, how much they took, if any, and how they reacted to the offer of free money without explanation. Diverse reactions. Some found it funny, others found it strange, and others didn't care. Lozano rarely says:

Apr 17 Keith Sonnier refused, later screws lid very tightly back on. Apr 27 Kaltenbach takes all the money out of the jar when I offer it, examines all the money & puts it all back in jar. Says he doesn’t need money now. Apr 28 David Parson refused, laughing. May 1 Warren C. Ingersoll refused. He got very upset about my “attitude towards money.” May 4 Keith Sonnier refused, but said he would take money if he needed it which he might in the near future. May 7 Dick Anderson barely glances at the money when I stick it under his nose and says “Oh no thanks, I intend to earn it on my own.” May 8 Billy Bryant Copley didn’t take any but then it was sort of spoiled because I had told him about this piece on the phone & he had time to think about it he said.

Smart Contracts (smart as in fair, not smart as in Blockchain)

Cornell University's Cheryl Finley has done a lot of research on secondary art markets. I first learned about her research when I met her at the University of Florida's Harn Museum, where she spoke about smart contracts (smart as in fair, not smart as in Blockchain) and new protocols that could help artists who are often left out of the economic benefits of their own work, including women and women of color.

Cheryl Finley on the right, with Hank Thomas and Dr. Deborah Willis attending the 2018 Aperture Gala at Ceder Lake on October 30th, 2018 in NYC, Photo by Patrick Mullan via Getty Images.

Her talk included findings from her ArtNet op-ed with Lauren van Haaften-Schick, Christian Reeder, and Amy Whitaker.

NFTs allow us to think about and hack on formal contractual relationships outside a system of laws that is currently not set up to service our community.

The ArtNet article The Recent Sale of Amy Sherald's ‘Welfare Queen' Symbolizes the Urgent Need for Resale Royalties and Economic Equity for Artists discussed Sherald's 2012 portrait of a regal woman in a purple dress wearing a sparkling crown and elegant set of pearls against a vibrant red background.

Amy Sherald sold "Welfare Queen" to Princeton professor Imani Perry. Sherald agreed to a payment plan to accommodate Perry's budget.

Amy Sherald rose to fame for her 2016 portrait of Michelle Obama and her full-length portrait of Breonna Taylor, one of the most famous works of the past decade.

As is common, Sherald's rising star drove up the price of her earlier works. Perry's "Welfare Queen" sold for $3.9 million in 2021.

Amy Sherald speaking about her work in front of her painting “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance) | Getty Images
Raleigh News & Observer / Contributor May 2018

Imani Perry's early investment paid off big-time. Amy Sherald, whose work directly increased the painting's value and who was on an artist's shoestring budget when she agreed to sell "Welfare Queen" in 2012, did not see any of the 2021 auction money. Perry and the auction house got that money.

Sherald sold her Breonna Taylor portrait to the Smithsonian and Louisville's Speed Art Museum to fund a $1 million scholarship. This is a great example of what an artist can do for the community if they can amass wealth through their work.

NFTs haven't solved all of the art market's problems — fakes, money laundering, market manipulation — but they didn't create them. Blockchain and NFTs are credited with making these issues more transparent. More ideas emerge daily about what a smart contract should do for artists.

NFTs are a copyright solution. They allow us to hack formal contractual relationships outside a law system that doesn't serve our community.

Amy Sherald shows the good smart contracts can do (as in, well-considered, self-determined contracts, not necessarily blockchain contracts.) Giving back to our community, deciding where and how our work can be sold or displayed, and ensuring artists share in the equity of our work and the economy our labor creates.

Photo of Amy Sherald during New York Fashion Week attending Ulla Johnson at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Getty Images
Dominik Bindl / Stringer September 2021

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Scott Stockdale

Scott Stockdale

4 months ago

A Day in the Life of Lex Fridman Can Help You Hit 6-Month Goals

Photo by Lex Fridman on YouTube

The Lex Fridman podcast host has interviewed Elon Musk.

Lex is a minimalist YouTuber. His videos are sloppy. Suits are his trademark.

In a video, he shares a typical day. I've smashed my 6-month goals using its ideas.

Here's his schedule.

Morning Mantra

Not woo-woo. Lex's mantra reflects his practicality.

Four parts.

Rulebook

"I remember the game's rules," he says.

Among them:

  • Sleeping 6–8 hours nightly

  • 1–3 times a day, he checks social media.

  • Every day, despite pain, he exercises. "I exercise uninjured body parts."

Visualize

He imagines his day. "Like Sims..."

He says three things he's grateful for and contemplates death.

"Today may be my last"

Objectives

Then he visualizes his goals. He starts big. Five-year goals.

Short-term goals follow. Lex says they're year-end goals.

Near but out of reach.

Principles

He lists his principles. Assertions. His goals.

He acknowledges his cliche beliefs. Compassion, empathy, and strength are key.

Here's my mantra routine:

Author-made screengrab

Four-Hour Deep Work

Lex begins a four-hour deep work session after his mantra routine. Today's toughest.

AI is Lex's specialty. His video doesn't explain what he does.

Clearly, he works hard.

Before starting, he has water, coffee, and a bathroom break.

"During deep work sessions, I minimize breaks."

He's distraction-free. Phoneless. Silence. Nothing. Any loose ideas are typed into a Google doc for later. He wants to work.

"Just get the job done. Don’t think about it too much and feel good once it’s complete." — Lex Fridman

30-Minute Social Media & Music

After his first deep work session, Lex rewards himself.

10 minutes on social media, 20 on music. Upload content and respond to comments in 10 minutes. 20 minutes for guitar or piano.

"In the real world, I’m currently single, but in the music world, I’m in an open relationship with this beautiful guitar. Open relationship because sometimes I cheat on her with the acoustic." — Lex Fridman

Two-hour exercise

Then exercise for two hours.

Daily runs six miles. Then he chooses how far to go. Run time is an hour.

He does bodyweight exercises. Every minute for 15 minutes, do five pull-ups and ten push-ups. It's David Goggins-inspired. He aims for an hour a day.

He's hungry. Before running, he takes a salt pill for electrolytes.

He'll then take a one-minute cold shower while listening to cheesy songs. Afterward, he might eat.

Four-Hour Deep Work

Lex's second work session.

He works 8 hours a day.

Again, zero distractions.

Eating

The video's meal doesn't look appetizing, but it's healthy.

It's ground beef with vegetables. Cauliflower is his "ground-floor" veggie. "Carrots are my go-to party food."

Lex's keto diet includes 1800–2000 calories.

He drinks a "nutrient-packed" Atheltic Greens shake and takes tablets. It's:

  • One daily tablet of sodium.

  • Magnesium glycinate tablets stopped his keto headaches.

  • Potassium — "For electrolytes"

  • Fish oil: healthy joints

“So much of nutrition science is barely a science… I like to listen to my own body and do a one-person, one-subject scientific experiment to feel good.” — Lex Fridman

Four-hour shallow session

This work isn't as mentally taxing.

Lex planned to:

  • Finish last session's deep work (about an hour)

  • Adobe Premiere podcasting (about two hours).

  • Email-check (about an hour). Three times a day max. First, check for emergencies.

If he's sick, he may watch Netflix or YouTube documentaries or visit friends.

“The possibilities of chaos are wide open, so I can do whatever the hell I want.” — Lex Fridman

Two-hour evening reading

Nonstop work.

Lex ends the day reading academic papers for an hour. "Today I'm skimming two machine learning and neuroscience papers"

This helps him "think beyond the paper."

He reads for an hour.

“When I have a lot of energy, I just chill on the bed and read… When I’m feeling tired, I jump to the desk…” — Lex Fridman


Takeaways

Lex's day-in-the-life video is inspiring.

He has positive energy and works hard every day.

Schedule:

  • Mantra Routine includes rules, visualizing, goals, and principles.

  • Deep Work Session #1: Four hours of focus.

  • 10 minutes social media, 20 minutes guitar or piano. "Music brings me joy"

  • Six-mile run, then bodyweight workout. Two hours total.

  • Deep Work #2: Four hours with no distractions. Google Docs stores random thoughts.

  • Lex supplements his keto diet.

  • This four-hour session is "open to chaos."

  • Evening reading: academic papers followed by fiction.

"I value some things in life. Work is one. The other is loving others. With those two things, life is great." — Lex Fridman

DANIEL CLERY

DANIEL CLERY

1 month ago

Can space-based solar power solve Earth's energy problems?

Better technology and lower launch costs revive science-fiction tech.

Airbus engineers showed off sustainable energy's future in Munich last month. They captured sunlight with solar panels, turned it into microwaves, and beamed it into an airplane hangar, where it lighted a city model. The test delivered 2 kW across 36 meters, but it posed a serious question: Should we send enormous satellites to capture solar energy in space? In orbit, free of clouds and nighttime, they could create power 24/7 and send it to Earth.

Airbus engineer Jean-Dominique Coste calls it an engineering problem. “But it’s never been done at [large] scale.”

Proponents of space solar power say the demand for green energy, cheaper space access, and improved technology might change that. Once someone invests commercially, it will grow. Former NASA researcher John Mankins says it might be a trillion-dollar industry.

Myriad uncertainties remain, including whether beaming gigawatts of power to Earth can be done efficiently and without burning birds or people. Concept papers are being replaced with ground and space testing. The European Space Agency (ESA), which supported the Munich demo, will propose ground tests to member nations next month. The U.K. government offered £6 million to evaluate innovations this year. Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and U.S. agencies are working. NASA policy analyst Nikolai Joseph, author of an upcoming assessment, thinks the conversation's tone has altered. What formerly appeared unattainable may now be a matter of "bringing it all together"

NASA studied space solar power during the mid-1970s fuel crunch. A projected space demonstration trip using 1970s technology would have cost $1 trillion. According to Mankins, the idea is taboo in the agency.

Space and solar power technology have evolved. Photovoltaic (PV) solar cell efficiency has increased 25% over the past decade, Jones claims. Telecoms use microwave transmitters and receivers. Robots designed to repair and refuel spacecraft might create solar panels.

Falling launch costs have boosted the idea. A solar power satellite large enough to replace a nuclear or coal plant would require hundreds of launches. ESA scientist Sanjay Vijendran: "It would require a massive construction complex in orbit."

SpaceX has made the idea more plausible. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket costs $2600 per kilogram, less than 5% of what the Space Shuttle did, and the company promised $10 per kilogram for its giant Starship, slated to launch this year. Jones: "It changes the equation." "Economics rules"

Mass production reduces space hardware costs. Satellites are one-offs made with pricey space-rated parts. Mars rover Perseverance cost $2 million per kilogram. SpaceX's Starlink satellites cost less than $1000 per kilogram. This strategy may work for massive space buildings consisting of many identical low-cost components, Mankins has long contended. Low-cost launches and "hypermodularity" make space solar power economical, he claims.

Better engineering can improve economics. Coste says Airbus's Munich trial was 5% efficient, comparing solar input to electricity production. When the Sun shines, ground-based solar arrays perform better. Studies show space solar might compete with existing energy sources on price if it reaches 20% efficiency.

Lighter parts reduce costs. "Sandwich panels" with PV cells on one side, electronics in the middle, and a microwave transmitter on the other could help. Thousands of them build a solar satellite without heavy wiring to move power. In 2020, a team from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) flew on the Air Force's X-37B space plane.

NRL project head Paul Jaffe said the satellite is still providing data. The panel converts solar power into microwaves at 8% efficiency, but not to Earth. The Air Force expects to test a beaming sandwich panel next year. MIT will launch its prototype panel with SpaceX in December.

As a satellite orbits, the PV side of sandwich panels sometimes faces away from the Sun since the microwave side must always face Earth. To maintain 24-hour power, a satellite needs mirrors to keep that side illuminated and focus light on the PV. In a 2012 NASA study by Mankins, a bowl-shaped device with thousands of thin-film mirrors focuses light onto the PV array.

International Electric Company's Ian Cash has a new strategy. His proposed satellite uses enormous, fixed mirrors to redirect light onto a PV and microwave array while the structure spins (see graphic, above). 1 billion minuscule perpendicular antennas act as a "phased array" to electronically guide the beam toward Earth, regardless of the satellite's orientation. This design, argues Cash, is "the most competitive economically"

If a space-based power plant ever flies, its power must be delivered securely and efficiently. Jaffe's team at NRL just beamed 1.6 kW over 1 km, and teams in Japan, China, and South Korea have comparable attempts. Transmitters and receivers lose half their input power. Vijendran says space solar beaming needs 75% efficiency, "preferably 90%."

Beaming gigawatts through the atmosphere demands testing. Most designs aim to produce a beam kilometers wide so every ship, plane, human, or bird that strays into it only receives a tiny—hopefully harmless—portion of the 2-gigawatt transmission. Receiving antennas are cheap to build but require a lot of land, adds Jones. You could grow crops under them or place them offshore.

Europe's public agencies currently prioritize space solar power. Jones: "There's a devotion you don't see in the U.S." ESA commissioned two solar cost/benefit studies last year. Vijendran claims it might match ground-based renewables' cost. Even at a higher price, equivalent to nuclear, its 24/7 availability would make it competitive.

ESA will urge member states in November to fund a technical assessment. If the news is good, the agency will plan for 2025. With €15 billion to €20 billion, ESA may launch a megawatt-scale demonstration facility by 2030 and a gigawatt-scale facility by 2040. "Moonshot"

Victoria Kurichenko

Victoria Kurichenko

1 month ago

Here's what happened after I launched my second product on Gumroad.

One-hour ebook sales, affiliate relationships, and more.

Image credit: Karolina Grabovska. The image was edited in Canva

If you follow me, you may know I started a new ebook in August 2022.

Despite publishing on this platform, my website, and Quora, I'm not a writer.

My writing speed is slow, 2,000 words a day, and I struggle to communicate cohesively.

In April 2022, I wrote a successful guide on How to Write Google-Friendly Blog Posts.

I had no email list or social media presence. I've made $1,600+ selling ebooks.

Evidence:

My ebook sales on Gumroad

My first digital offering isn't a book.

It's an actionable guide with my tried-and-true process for writing Google-friendly content.

I'm not bragging.

Established authors like Tim Denning make more from my ebook sales with one newsletter.

This experience taught me writing isn't a privilege.

Writing a book and making money online doesn't require expertise.

Many don't consult experts. They want someone approachable.

Two years passed before I realized my own limits.

I have a brain, two hands, and Internet to spread my message.

I wrote and published a second ebook after the first's success.

On Gumroad, I released my second digital product.

Here's my complete Gumroad evaluation.

Gumroad is a marketplace for content providers to develop and sell sales pages.

Gumroad handles payments and client requests. It's helpful when someone sends a bogus payment receipt requesting an ebook (actual story!).

You'll forget administrative concerns after your first ebook sale.

After my first ebook sale, I did this: I made additional cash!

After every sale, I tell myself, "I built a new semi-passive revenue source."

This thinking shift helps me become less busy while increasing my income and quality of life.

Besides helping others, folks sell evergreen digital things to earn passive money.

It's in my second ebook.

I explain how I built and sold 50+ copies of my SEO writing ebook without being an influencer.

I show how anyone can sell ebooks on Gumroad and automate their sales process.

This is my ebook.

My second ebook on Gumroad

After publicizing the ebook release, I sold three copies within an hour.

Wow, or meh?

I don’t know.

The answer is different for everyone.

These three sales came from a small email list of 40 motivated fans waiting for my ebook release.

I had bigger plans.

I'll market my ebook on Medium, my website, Quora, and email.

I'm testing affiliate partnerships this time.

One of my ebook buyers is now promoting it for 40% commission.

Become my affiliate if you think your readers would like my ebook.

My ebook is a few days old, but I'm interested to see where it goes.

My SEO writing book started without an email list, affiliates, or 4,000 website visitors. I've made four figures.

I'm slowly expanding my communication avenues to have more impact.

Even a small project can open doors you never knew existed.

So began my writing career.

In summary

If you dare, every concept can become a profitable trip.

Before, I couldn't conceive of creating an ebook.

How to Sell eBooks on Gumroad is my second digital product.

Marketing and writing taught me that anything can be sold online.