Disclaimer: Hic et Nunc has recently decided to discontinue its services. In the meantime, the Tezos community works on bringing the decentralized NFT marketplace back online.
Hic et Nunc is a decentralized NFT marketplace on the Tezos blockchain. Sometimes called HEN or HIC for short, Hic et Nunc is an increasingly popular app for users to buy and mint NFTs.
Recently, Hic et Nunc celebrated 500,000 NFTs minted and over 2 million NFTs sold. HEN is gaining immense traction amongst NFT artists and collectors, here’s why:
Accessibility: Gas fees for minting and buying NFTs are nearly zero
Clean NFTs: Tezos NFTs use 2 million times less energy vs. Ethereum NFTs
High Quality: Exceptional artwork quality vs. Ethereum and Solana NFTs
HEN’s accessibility and reputation as a platform for eco-friendly NFTs have helped build a thriving scene pulling in big-name artists such as Shvembldr, John Karel, and Sarah Zucker. Moreover, with Ethereum gas fees averaging $150+ per transaction, the demand for a fast and inexpensive NFT platform like HEN proved strong.
This beginner’s guide to Hic et Nunc explains what the platform is, how to mint and collect NFTs there, and what the #cleanNFT movement is all about. At the very end, there’s also a quick guide to up-and-coming NFT artists to watch on Hic et Nunc, as well as a list of handy resources.
What is Hic et Nunc?
In a nutshell, Hic et Nunc (Latin for here and now) is a fully decentralized NFT platform where you can mint, buy, sell, and collect NFTs. HEN smart contracts are built on the Tezos blockchain and its media, the artworks themselves, are hosted on IPFS. Whereas OpenSea is centralized and operates as a for-profit company, HEN is an open-source infrastructure entirely run by volunteers.
Rafael Lima, a Brazilian social scientist, launched Hic et Nunc on March 1, 2021. Lima sought a way to create a sustainable economy for creators using NFTs that was neither expensive nor compromised by venture capitalist backing.
When HEN launched, VC-backed platforms like OpenSea and Rarible were selling NFTs priced at an average of $3,000 apiece. That number doesn’t consider Ethereum gas fees which, at $200 per transaction, exceed the average monthly salary in Brazil.
Going by recent user numbers, Hic et Nunc’s model is a success. Daily active user counts surpassed the 5,000 mark and show no signs of slowing. That’s far more than Rarible’s ~300 users/day and nearly half of NBA Top Shots’ 12.6K daily traders.
Those metrics are even more impressive when considering Hic et Nunc NFTs sell for an average of $13 each versus $20,000 on Foundation (an Ethereum NFT platform). Even with far lower price points per NFT, Hic et Nunc generates more sales volume than Foundation and is gaining ground on SuperRare.
HEN’s scrappy ethos helped it cultivate a legion of dedicated users who couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Much of that has to do with the Tezos blockchain’s environmentally-friendly credentials — which is why Hic et Nunc NFTs are often called #cleanNFTs. Let’s focus on this point along with Hic et Nunc’s best features.
The OBJKT standard for Tezos NFTs
When Hic et Nunc popped up on Github, it pointed to a new standard for Tezos NFTs called OBJKT. To be clear, an OBJKT is an NFT, but it’s also a framework with the following qualities:
They store a wide range of media types using IPFS.
They are FA2 standard tokens on the Tezos blockchain.
OBJKTs can be minted, swapped, and gifted.
Artists assign OBJKTs with up to 25% royalty fees.
OBJKT swaps require a 2.5% fee paid to HEN protocol.
In other words, OBJKTs are Hic et Nunc’s name for NFTs and the smart contracts binding them. Hic et Nunc itself is merely a clean user interface for interacting with OBJKTs. That means anyone can create a user-interface for OBJKTs, which is why you find other versions of HEN, such as Henext.
The Clean NFT movement
NFTs have gotten a justifiably bad rap for being minted on Ethereum — a proof of work blockchain. Proof of work networks require immense amounts of energy to keep humming along. By some estimates, Ethereum uses as much energy as medium-sized countries such as Ecuador.
For every three NFTs minted on Ethereum, roughly 915 pounds of CO2 (the polar bear’s weight above) are released into the atmosphere. In contrast, minting three Tezos NFTs on Hic et Nunc generates .00054 pounds worth of CO2 emissions — about the weight of a snowflake.
NFTs on the Tezos blockchain get by with low emissions because of the network’s energy efficiency. Instead of using proof of work for consensus building, Tezos employs a lightweight proof of stake algorithm that does away with energy-sapping miners. The result is Tezos uses approximately 2 million times less energy than Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Whereas Ethereum’s energy consumption is measured in terawatts per hour (1 trillion watts) and is used almost exclusively to measure the energy usage of nations, Tezos’ footprint is measured in megawatts, typically reserved for measuring smaller areas like cities.
Harnessing Tezos’ clean credentials is vital for the Hic et Nunc NFT marketplace. Its core mission is to create a circular and accessible economy for creator communities outside of the privileged ones for well-heeled Ethereans. Climate change disproportionately affects people according to wealth, race, and other social factors. If Hic et Nunc OBJKTs pollute the communities they’re created to empower, there would be a massive ethical conflict, hence the importance of Tezos’ sustainability.
The Clean NFT movement is now a deeply rooted part of Hic et Nunc’s appeal and is, more broadly, what attracts environmentally conscious creators and supporters to the platform.
NFT Editions Make Artworks Accessible
An extremely notable difference between Hic et Nunc and SuperRare, Foundation, and other fine-arts NFT platforms is the modularity HEN offers around NFT editions. As a creator, you’re not limited to minting 1 of 1 NFTs. Instead, you can mint OBJKTs with up to 10,000 editions which, in effect, divides ownership of your artwork amongst everyone who buys a copy.
Some have likened NFT editions to prints, but the analogy doesn’t hold. A print of another artwork is not the original — it’s more like a reference. It just points to the original and functions like a keepsake. But an NFT edition is the original artwork, as in, when you buy a 1/25 edition NFT, you own the artwork along with 24 others.
The upside to NFT editions is lower prices. It’s common to see creators minting NFT editions at fractions of their 1 of 1 price. As a budget collector, you can get your foot in the door and display the artwork in your OnCyber gallery.
Artists to Watch on Hic et Nunc
Hic et Nunc NFTs err toward experimental and fine arts, with a heavy helping of generative art created with code. Even though you can find odes to CryptoPunks on HEN, the artwork tends to be far more original than the endless 10K profile picture drops on OpenSea.
If you’re wondering where to start, here are a few of the top-selling artists on Hic et Nunc along with lesser-known creators worth checking out.
Creator of the beloved Random Common Skeles NFT drop, John Karel is an integral part of the Hic et Nunc community. On most days, he’s also the top-selling NFT artist on the platform as well. Karel is best known for his animated Window Still Life series.
Ganbrood is a photographer and digital artist using Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) to produce stunning and immersive fantasy artworks. Incredibly, upon zooming in, the elements you believed were there disappear, causing you to question what you’re really seeing.
Iskra Velitchkova is a generative artist focused on what happens when humans and machines interact. As evidenced by her artwork, the results of those interactions are often unexpectedly wonderful. Her work has been exhibited in galleries around the world and earned must-own status amongst HEN collectors.
Resources for collecting NFTs on Hic et Nunc
Part of Hic et Nunc’s glory is it can be a little intimidating for newcomers. The site’s layout is relatively straightforward, but it can also feel unclear or even laggy. Thankfully, there are several ways to experience Hic et Nunc since the underlying OBJKTs are smart contracts. That means anyone can build more intuitive user interfaces to interact with them — and some generous developers already have.
Henext.xyz is a smoother and better-looking version of Hic et Nunc
Objkt.com is like OpenSea for Tezos and works with Hic et Nunc OBJKTs
TzKT.io is the Etherscan of Tezos and is helps for viewing on-chain activity
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