Crypto art NFTs had a banner year in 2021. Artworks like Fidenza by Tyler Hobbs, Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak, and Dreaming at Dusk by Itzel Yard sold for millions of dollars apiece at Sotheby’s and on NFT platforms such as OpenSea. What all of those artists have in common is they’re making generative art — that is, art created with an autonomous system such as code.
The Art Blocks NFT platform is responsible for much of that success. It allows anyone to connect to the platform with an Ethereum wallet, pay, then receive an original generative artwork back in their wallet. But since Ethereum transaction fees have skyrocketed along with the network’s carbon footprint, many users are now priced out financially and ethically.
However, while Art Blocks sales stalled and projects withered, a fxhash entered the room. Built on the energy-efficient Tezos blockchain, fxhash is an NFT platform for generative artists and collectors seeking an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to create and exchange NFT artworks.
The fxhash platform recently celebrated its 100,000th mint — all before its one-month anniversary. That goes to show just how quickly the platform is catching on and why many current and former Art Blocks artists are switching over.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about fxhash, generative art NFTs, and some of the top fxhash artists worth following.
To understand fxhash, it helps to know a bit about generative art and NFTs first. Generative art is just what it sounds like — art that’s generated. But by what? Most definitions of generative art agree on the point that it’s art created with an autonomous system like computer code or a rule-bound machine.
Its history dates back to the early 1960s experiments by computer artists like Vera Molnár and Manfred Mohr, both of whom pioneered using algorithms to produce visuals. Fast-forward to early 2021, and generative artists started uploading their scripts (i.e., the art-producing code) to blockchains such as Ethereum and Tezos. Once uploaded, collectors interact with the code using crypto wallets such as Metamask and Temple Wallet to mint — or generate — an original piece of art stored as an NFT in the collector’s wallet.
What triggers the originality of every output derived from the artist’s script is a unique seed contained within each minted NFT. The seed is a hexadecimal string specific to each NFT that controls and determines the script’s variables. The result is every artwork produced by the interaction between seed and script is entirely original and, to some extent, unpredictable.
When paired with NFT technology, generative art’s limitless possibilities truly shine. Artists can create code capable of trillions of iterations while limiting the outputs to far smaller quantities. So far, artists tend to prefer anywhere from 128 to 10,000 iterations — it depends on how many outputs the artist thinks their code can express with meaningful variation.
The big picture idea is that traditionally creating, distributing, and collecting original artwork has always been a highly-mediated process (by agents, galleries, and auction houses). That process doesn’t reward artists fairly or offer collectors a simple way to buy provably unique artworks. Combining generative art and NFTs gives artists a direct economic feedback loop with their audience (who are assured of a work’s provenance by the NFT).
fxhash is a platform and marketplace where artists and collectors mint and trade generative art NFTs. As noted in the previous section, minting is the technical term for creating. In other words, using fxhash, artists upload their project files, mint a generative token with defined parameters (i.e., edition size), then open the project to collectors who interact with the work to mint unique outputs.
Importantly, an fxhash artist’s work should produce deterministic results. This means that when the generative token is given the same seed, it produces the same result but will create different results given a different seed. To get a feel for how this process plays out, take a look at Tych by Rudxane below. The series was limited to 321 editions, therefore 321 NFTs were minted, and 321 unique transaction hashes were fed to Tych’s index.html file, resulting in 321 different artworks.
Once minted, Tych tokens were distributed to the wallets that called the minter into action. At this point, a collector can view their unique iteration of Tych (in their fxhash collection, Oncyber gallery, or on Objkt), sell it on the fxhash secondary marketplace, trade it, or hold it in a cold storage wallet such as the Ledger Nano series.
What makes fxhash particularly exciting is the freedom given to artists and collectors alike. There’s no curation, which, for some, is difficult to accept at first. Similar platforms, like Art Blocks and Playground, have a core team of curators deciding who can mint what. On fxhash, there’s no such thing — as long as an artist abides by simple formatting rules and agrees to only upload original generative artwork, they’re free to mint without restrictions.
Fxhash’s simplicity, openness, and freedom have produced staggering results. Artists have minted well over 100,000 NFTs (called genesis tokens, or gentk) in a matter of weeks after jumping ship from other Tezos NFT platforms, Art Blocks, Foundation, and elsewhere. Some, like M.J. Lindow, produced their genesis works on fxhash, and became revered on the platform in the process.
What surprises most arriving at the generative art treasure trove that is fxhash is that the platform is only in beta. You wouldn’t expect a beta platform to attract thousands of collectors each pouring in countless XTZ tokens — but all that speaks to the quality, quantity, and affordability of fxhash NFTs. Considering that many fxhash projects cost around 2 XTZ (~$10) to mint, the risk-to-reward ratio on the platform (compared to Ethereum-based NFTs) is extremely reasonable.
However, fxhash founder and generative artist ciphrd is the platform’s sole developer. It was only recently that ciphrd quit his full-time job to devote himself entirely to developing the next iteration of fxhash. When that happens, the current gentk tokens will cease to enter circulation (they’ll remain tradeable) and a new token standard running on improved smart contracts will take over.
The current estimate for fxhash launching its alpha platform is March 2022. By then, ciphrd also hopes to have additional developers on hand to keep up with the platform’s blistering pace of adoption. Moreover, he plans to hand the platform over to the community via an fxhash governance token and DAO. To read more about these incoming developments, check out ciphrd’s platform improvement proposal.
If you already know how to mint NFTs on Ethereum or Solana, you’ll be relieved to know the process on Tezos-based fxhash is similar. In short, all you need is a Tezos wallet, XTZ tokens, and an internet connection. Here’s a quick rundown on minting generative art NFTs on fxhash.
Sometimes it takes a little while for the fxhash indexer to populate your collection with freshly minted NFTs. At other times, you might see the token in your collection but not the artwork. While fxhash tries to scale up to demand, these issues are all par for the course — a little patience goes a long way.
Minting a unique generative art NFT is half the fun of fxhash. But because of fxhash’s growing popularity, minting has become more competitive by the day. That means you won’t always get to buy an artist’s primary sale and will have to get it on the fxhash secondary market. To buy secondary on fxhash, follow a few easy steps.
Buying on secondary has a number of advantages that minting doesn’t. First and foremost, buying on secondary allows you to choose which artwork you want to buy. Minting doesn’t allow that since outputs are random and the artwork is a mystery until it reveals itself.
Additionally, minting tends to be a mad dash and, depending on the artist’s popularity, often sells out within 1-2 blocks. In contrast, there’s no rush to buy on secondary (unless you’re trying to snag a recently minted-out project). That gives you time to sit with the pieces you like and decide which one you connect with most.
Collecting generative art NFTs on fxhash can be an overwhelming task. After all, there’s an insane amount of artwork being minted nearly every single day. Despite this, fxhash collectors have bestowed bluechip status to certain classic — and highly-valued — collections.
Garden, Monoliths by Zancan is an epic collection of algorithmically-generated artworks depicting brambles, tall grass, monoliths, and the unpredictability of nature. When viewed, each Garden, Monolith draws itself until a unique garden patch which completely fills the screen.
When he isn’t busy implementing new fixes for the platform, fxhash founder and developer Ciphrd creates generative artworks representing his fascination with biological processes. RGB was the second-ever project minted on the fxhash platform and is revered by collectors for both its aesthetic appeal and historical value.
Loom is a generative work by Norwegian artist Andreas Rau with the coveted status of having been the platform’s first true bluechip. Each Loom conveys an imaginary weave inspired by a lineage of textile artists, including legends Anni Alpers and Hilma af Klint. Today, Looms retain almost unmatched importance in the pantheon of fxhash works as collectors have become experts in the variety of features contained within the collection.
Hashed Cities is a wonderfully unique depiction of generative minimal cities coded entirely in p5js. The feature-rich set includes day or night settings determining which celestial body (sun or moon) appears and tracks over the city in real-time. When viewed, the piece re-renders every minute to adjust the position of the sun or moon in accordance with the time in your location. Moreover, there is a 1/365 chance that fireworks will appear upon each viewing!
Contrapuntos is a depiction of musical counterpoint through the rhythms of daily life. When considering that counterpoint theory extols the beauty of independent yet continuous layers of harmony joining together, the wonder of msorario’s work is all the more significant.
Sequence is a generative collection inspired by genetic sequencing. In the above example, the hole = true feature is extraordinarily rare. However, all Sequences feature repeating patterns of lines that appear to move in a downward motion, much like Sanger DNA sequencing models do.
Hex is a masterpiece of sketched texture, geometric patterning, and flow by freelance creative coder Yi-Wen Lin. A perennial favorite on the fxhash platform, Lin’s works bring warm reminiscences of Wong Kar-wai’s night-in-the-city ambiance, an effect greatly produced by his unrivaled use of shading.
Smolskulls are an early PFP project on the fxhash platform (14th project overall) by generative artist Mark Knol. Limited to 2,000 iterations, each Smolskull possesses an array of features ranging from eye color, look, mouth size, and background color. While Smolskulls appear basic at first, their charm lies in their simplicity and wide adoption as the official fxhash PFP.
Many fxhash collections are loved by collectors but perhaps none are as cherished as those by artist M.J. Lindow. A self-described newcomer to generative art, Lindow produced six series on the fxhash platform that each describe an entirely different facet of his views and experiences in life.
Lindow’s appeal is largely down to their unique outsider approach to producing generative art. Each collection feels entirely fresh and personal, a touch that was pronounced with great clarity in their most recent collection, Caught in a Void.
Caught in a Void visualizes the 571 days between the beginning of COVID lockdowns and the artist’s decision to leave his job in pursuit of creating generative art full-time. The images are filled with tangible unease, introspection, tension, and seeking. These themes repeat themselves across Lindow’s artwork, especially in his crowning achievement Waiting in Afton.
Waiting in Afton depicts the changing seasons and views from outside the artist’s window. There are 50 iterations — one for each day between when Lindow quit his job and coded Afton.
It’s crucial to remember the fxhash platform is still in beta. That means it’s prone to downtime, lag, outages, and other unpredictable issues that might make minting or buying on secondary a slight hassle.
What’s more, even when the platform experiences smooth uptime, new mints seem to disappear within moments of appearing on the fxhash explore page. This happens when collectors mint directly from the fxhash smart contract using third-party tools instead of the fxhash front-end interface. So, to level the playing field, here are the best resources for using fxhash like a pro.
fx(hash)++ is an all-in-one tool for minting, buying on secondary, and relisting NFTs on fxhash. It shows new mints as they arrive on the platform making it easy to mint quickly by simply syncing to the platform and clicking mint. However, you must always confirm the artist’s Tezos address before minting to avoid getting scammed by copyminters and fake profiles. As such, using fx(hash)++ comes with a strong DYOR (do your own research) warning label.
NftBiker is a third-party tool allowing you to follow the fxhash minter address to quickly mint projects as they arrive on the platform. This is a really convenient method when the fxhash explore page is laggy or down altogether. To use NftBiker, enter the following address in the wallet field KT1AEVuykWeuuFX7QkEAMNtffzwhe1Z98hJS then click save. To buy, check the box on the collection you want then click the purchase button.
Tzkt is the single most valuable tool in the arsenal of any fxhash collector. Why? Because scammers make regular appearances on fxhash by pretending to be popular artists. To avoid getting scammed, always search for the artist’s real Tezos address in Tzkt. If the Tzkt address matches the address of the person minting on fxhash, you’re in the clear.
The fxhash discord is the ultimate place to gather information on upcoming mints, projects worth checking out, and discuss generative art with thousands of other like-minded artists and collectors. Conversations roll all day and night in this happening community filled with people from around the globe.
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