How SuperRare Uses Ethereum To Make A Market For Art

Benzinga will be holding its annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, a day of dealmaking, networking, and recognition in the financial technology space, on Nov. 10, 2020.

In recognition of those disruptive innovators creating positive and diverse change within technology, Benzinga sat down with Jonathan Perkins, co-founder at SuperRare.

About SuperRare

In the age of blockchain, tokenization, and Web 3.0, consumers and producers are finding new ways to assign and transfer value.

After years of working in and around Ethereum, Perkins, alongside John and Charles Crain, founded SuperRare in 2017 on the back of a new non-fungible token (NFT) standard. Now, SuperRare’s interchangeable tokens allow collectors and artists the ability to exchange unique objects and art on the ethereum blockchain.

In the simplest way possible: SuperRare is the internet’s digital art market.

“We have a global network of digital artists. Around 700 artists and growing fast at the time and thousands of collectors building their digital collections,” Perkins said. “More than $2 million has been earned by artists on SuperRare so far.”

Core Product Portfolio

SuperRare comes as a holistic solution to share experiences, as well as buy and sell digital art on a liquid market. Mainly, the platform allows artists access to a new revenue stream, and collectors a place to hold onto or trade art assets for appreciated value in the future.

“One of the really cool things that we’re able to do, since it is a smart contract-based marketplace on Ethereum, is to have certain things programmed right into the transactions,” Perkins said.

“So, for example, there is a secondary market royalty that is programmed into the market. Anytime an artwork continues to sell on the secondary market, the artists get 10% of each of those sales.”

The secondary market coding has been a boon to the platform as cash-stretched artists look to raise funds in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Artists, every day, are waking up and getting an email that they just got anywhere from $20 to $2,000, just because their artwork was sold in the market.”

Use Case, Recent Developments

In the company’s first year and a half, growth was dull. Then, in the months leading up to the pandemic, SuperRare saw its volumes take off.

“We’re seeing multi-million dollar volumes now,” the co-founder said. “It’s been wonderful to be in a position to help out artists who were hard hit by COVID. A lot of artists … had their incomes totally wiped out, and I’ve heard countless stories of people who said being able to sell their art on SuperRare was a huge lifeline during COVID.”

Adding, SuperRare amped up its efforts around collaborative innovation, partnering with Decentraland, a virtual world, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art (MoCDA).

“One of the coolest things about this space is the interoperability and interconnectivity,” Perkins said. “Just in the ethereum space, there’s a handful of virtual worlds. There’s Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space.”

The company’s partnership allows its users access to Decentraland’s marketplace and virtual art museum, as well as non-profit MoCDA exhibitions, democratizing access to digital art for anyone with a smartphone.

“We think of NFT — as in crypto art — as fundamentally a new form of digital media that has value and can be traded. It has the potential to reach anyone with an internet connection, in contrast with the traditional art world where it’s pretty exclusive and hard to get into.”

Innovation Outlook

“We’re really focused on scalability right now.”

The bootstrapped digital art market sees an enormous amount of interest in the space and aims to design a whole new version of itself that will involve more participatory curation.

“More curatorial voices, a bigger and broader platform that can enable more artists and collectors than the current model,” Perkins noted. “In the near term, more specifically, we’re excited to be rolling out live-timed auctions, improvements to overall UX, and better multi-wallet support.”

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