Topics NFT
Bybit Learn
Bybit Learn
Aug 25, 2022

What Is Art Blocks: The Case for Generative Art NFTs

If you've ever heard of generative art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and want to know about Art Blocks, you’re in the right place. Art Blocks is considered to be the primary platform for generative art NFTs, and is well-regarded in the NFT industry. Some of the most valuable NFTs today have originated from the Art Blocks platform, with collections like Fidenza making headlines in the NFT space.

Are you interested in NFTs? Would you like to learn more about Art Blocks? Read on as we provide a more in-depth look at the Art Blocks NFT platform, and why you should consider investing in its unique generative art creation process.

What Is Art Blocks?

Art Blocks is an Ethereum-based platform that offers programmable and unique generative art NFTs that collectors can invest in. Art Blocks NFTs are created through a custom generative minting technology, giving each piece a distinct and random look.

When an artist creates an Art Blocks NFT project, investors have the opportunity to mint NFTs. Part of the mystery arises because the user won't know exactly what the NFT looks like until after they've minted it. Generative art NFTs use a variety of algorithms that are able to facilitate an autonomous art creation process. All generative art NFTs are unique — because a random string of code is used as the base of reference during their creation.

If an artist wants a design to be made into Art Blocks NFTs, they first need to upload their unique algorithms to this platform and set a specific number of NFTs to be minted from it. Once this process begins, Art Blocks NFTs are made in real time via blockchain. The art piece that the purchaser receives is considered to be an ERC-721 NFT.

Popular NFT projects such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club also use generative art NFTs to ensure that their collections are randomized. However, these projects differ from Art Blocks in regard to how the generative art is made. For instance, Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs were generated with the use of 170 different traits and characteristics. However, 10,000 of these NFTs have already been minted and are available for purchase, which means that the user knows what the NFT looks like before buying it. In comparison, an Art Blocks NFT is only minted once the user purchases it.

Created in 2017, CryptoPunks is another NFT project that's similar to Art Blocks NFTs, with one key difference: Unlike Art Blocks NFTs, the 10,000 eccentric images in the CryptoPunks collection have already been minted, each with its own personality and combination of randomly generated features.

The History of Art Blocks

Art Blocks was formed and launched in November 2020 by Erick Calderon, its CEO. Known as “Snowfro,” Calderon created this platform with his own experience taking part in CryptoPunks back in 2017. Calderon’s idea was to create a platform centered on NFTs that were minted upon purchase — without any foresight into what the NFT would look like. During the making of the Art Blocks NFT platform, NFT properties were fully encrypted.

The very first collection launched on the Art Blocks platform was known as Chromie Squiggle. This initial collection was notable for its simplicity. Each of the 10,000 separate pieces were made up of a squiggle with varying colors, opacities and textures. The Art Blocks NFT platform soared past the $100 million mark in total sales volume in 2021, largely due to the 9,000 traders and collectors using the platform.

How Does Art Blocks Work?

Understanding how the Art Blocks NFT platform works requires you to know how NFTs work. NFTs are essentially cryptographic assets that consist of unique metadata and identification codes. You can't exchange or trade NFTs one-to-one because they’re non-fungible. When an artist uploads a piece of their art to an NFT marketplace, a smart contract is made to mint NFTs. This contract ensures that all non-fungible tokens have their own distinct ID.

Art Blocks NFTs are designed to be completely unique, but they differ from most NFTs in how they’re made. All Art Blocks NFTs are minted by the purchaser, as opposed to the artist. The purchaser is only shown the base piece of art that will be sent into the generator before an NFT is minted.

As touched upon previously, the Art Blocks NFT platform is built using the Ethereum network, which means that every Art Block NFT is ERC-721–compliant. Once an artist makes a piece of code for the Art Blocks NFT platform, it’s uploaded, after which many variables of the code are generated. The majority of Art Blocks NFT projects are made using a JavaScript framework.

How Art Blocks Generates Its Art

Keen on a deeper understanding of how Art Blocks works? Let’s first look at how generative art NFTs work. All art that's available on the Art Blocks platform is known as generative art, meaning digital art that’s made with the use of a computer algorithm. Instead of creating art by hand (or via illustration software), a piece of code is written and sent to an algorithm in order to generate a piece of digital artwork.

The same coding is able to produce thousands of different generative art NFTs. While these NFTs will all be similar enough to be positioned in the same project, none of them are identical. By using generative art NFTs, it's easy to ensure that an NFT project is filled with unique pieces of art. Generative art has actually been available for decades. However, a market for this type of art wasn't around until generative art NFTs were introduced.

The exact process that results in Art Blocks NFTs being made is as follows:

  • An artist submits their code to the Art Blocks platform.

  • A randomized hexadecimal string is created, which is known as a seed.

  • Every element within the seed denotes an attribute that makes up the artwork in a manner that's consistent with the existing artwork.

  • The end-product NFT is then created, after which variations are made based on what the algorithm generates. For instance, one variation could have a green hue, while another variation has a red hue.

Art Blocks Collection Tiers

There are three Art Blocks NFT collection tiers that artists may access: Art Blocks Curated, Playground and Factory.

Curated Collection

If you've never used this platform before, consider starting out with the Art Blocks Curated collection, which includes curated NFTs hand-picked by members of the Art Blocks team.

In order for an NFT to be added to the Art Blocks Curated collection, a project must first go through a strict verification process, which can last upward of two years. Any project that's added to the Art Blocks Curated collection is known to be superior in both appearance and technical innovation.

Every set that the team adds to the Art Blocks Curated collection represents the vision that the Art Blocks platform maintains. An additional set of art is added to the Art Blocks Curated collection every quarter.

Playground Collection

When an artist has their works featured within the Art Blocks Curated collection, they are then able to place their next works within the Playground section. If you're a fan of a popular Art Blocks artist, but don't have the assets needed to buy a Curated NFT, the Playground collection may be preferable. While the Art Blocks Curated section is highly vetted, projects don't go through as much verification before being added to the Playground section.

There are, however, some basic rules that must be followed for generative art NFTs to be added to the Playground collection. First, an artist is only able to release a single project at a time. Artists who add their works to this section are encouraged to experiment.

Additionally, in the event that a specification changes following publication, the artist will need to reapply for the Art Blocks Curated collection before being able to join the Playground. Artists on the Art Blocks NFT platform must also wait one month before starting another project.

Factory Collection

Because it can be difficult for an artist to get their generative art NFTs into the Curated or Playground collections, Art Blocks has also created a Factory section. Art Blocks created the Factory collection for artists who don't want to wait for their art to be added to the Curated collection. This collection is also available for artists who have received a rejection from the Art Blocks Curated collection.

Factory projects can be launched quickly, bypassing the verification process that's required for any Curated sets. All that's needed for generative art NFTs to be added to the Factory collection is for them to be functional. The main downside with joining the Factory section is that you can't have a set of art in the Factory and Playground collections at the same time.

Notable Art Blocks Artists

More than 50 artists have already launched generative art NFTs in the Curated Collection, with none of these artists having more than one work in the collection. Around 30 of the artists who have launched NFT sets into the Curated collection have also launched in the Playground collection.

As for the Factory collection, it contains pieces from nearly 150 artists. Currently, the most popular artist on the Art Blocks platform is Jeff Davis, who is also the Chief Creative Officer at Art Blocks Inc. At this time, Davis has launched eight Art Blocks NFT projects, the most for any artist. Daniel Catt, also popular, has launched five projects on the Art Blocks platform, the most recent of which focus on ’80s pop.

Art Block’s Rise to Popularity

Art Blocks has become highly popular among NFT artists and collectors because of how its generative script is stored directly on the Ethereum blockchain. The number of NFTs currently available on Art Blocks is just under 60,000. There are also more than 12,000 NFT owners who use the platform.

In 2021, Art Blocks passed $100 million in total sales volume. The popularity of the Art Blocks platform appeared to spike in early 2021 following the release of the Fidenza collection by Tyler Hobbs. It was also around this time that other projects outside of Art Blocks caught on with NFT investors, the primary of which was the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection.

Since that time, the platform has grown by a considerable amount. A Chromie Squiggle in today's market costs more than $17,000. For the entire Art Blocks platform, the daily trading volume over the past 30 days has ranged from $100,000 to $1.2 million.

How to Use Art Blocks

Minting and buying NFTs on the Art Blocks platform is simple and straightforward. As long as you have a fully funded Ethereum crypto wallet installed as a browser add-on, you should be able to access Art Blocks without issue. When you reach the website, click on the Connect button that's situated toward the top right corner of the page. From there, you can connect your wallet to the Art Blocks platform.

Once you've connected your wallet, you'll notice that Connect is now displayed along with your wallet address. Now that you're on the homepage of the Art Blocks website, you have the opportunity to view various NFT projects that are available to mint. When you find a project that you're interested in, click on View CollectionPurchase a Mint.

You'll receive a warning before you go through with the purchase. Once you click on Purchase, you'll be sent to the wallet you've connected, which will show you the price for the NFT as well as the gas fee. (Advanced options can be selected to set your own gas fees.) When you confirm the transaction details, a window will pop up that tells you the transaction is currently pending.

After a short period of time, the transaction will display as having completed, failed or canceled. When you’ve completed a transaction on the Art Blocks platform, you can verify that the piece of art you've purchased is in your wallet by navigating to your wallet and selecting your profile. From there, you'll be able to view every piece of art that you've minted.

If you don't currently have a wallet that you can pair with the Art Blocks platform, consider MetaMask, which is among the easiest wallets to connect to Art Blocks. You'll also need to transfer Ether to your wallet, or buy Ether for the first time.

[Note: When using a platform for online crypto wallets, such as MetaMask, always be sure that the site you’re using to access your wallet is the genuine website, and not an “impostor” page run by scam artists who want to access your seed phrase and wallet, by first checking the URL.]

Popular Art Blocks NFT Projects

There are many highly popular Art Blocks NFT projects that you can think about investing in. Every project has its own distinct characteristics. The primary projects that are detailed in the following include Fidenza, Chromie Squiggle and Ringers.

Fidenza by Tyler Hobbs

Created by Tyler Hobbs, Fidenza is considered to be among the most versatile collections created by an algorithm available on the Art Blocks NFT platform. While the main focus of the Fidenza set involves structured blocks and curves, these objects can vary in organization, color, texture and scale, which allows for thousands of generative possibilities.

The Fidenza collection was brought online in November 2021 and currently comprises 999 distinct items. This is part of the Curated collection, and can be purchased at a floor price of 81 ETH, which is currently around $152,000.

Chromie Squiggle by Snowfro

Developed by Snowfro, Chromie Squiggle was among the first Art Blocks projects and is available as part of the Curated collection. This particular project is considered to be relatively simple, yet also very easy to identify. It was created in November 2020 and consists of 10,000 pieces. You can purchase a piece from this collection at a floor price of 9.39 ETH, which currently amounts to just below $18,000.

Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak

Created by Dmitri Cherniak, Ringers is a highly unique NFT project that displays a string wrapped around a set of pegs in a practically unlimited number of ways. The many variations in the Ringers project include layout, peg count, colors, wrap orientation and size, which means that the piece you purchase may be entirely different from the pieces that other investors mint.

This project was created in January 2021 and comprises 1,000 pieces. It's part of the Curated collection, and has a floor price of around 55 ETH. At 55 ETH, or just over $100,000 for a piece.

The Future of Art Blocks

Art Blocks seems to have a strong future ahead of it. As mentioned previously, trading volume on the Art Blocks platform has recently been averaging between $100,000 to $1.2 million per day. The various projects mentioned in this guide have all increased in value over the past few months, which indicates that the platform and the generative art NFTs within are going to continue to be highly sought after in the months and years to come.

Final Words

Art Blocks is a fantastic platform to invest in for anyone who's interested in the NFT scene and generative art. Now that you know what Art Blocks is all about, you should be able to link up your wallet and make a purchase without experiencing any issues. Regardless of which project you decide to invest in, you're certain to become the owner of a unique piece of art.