Advice from Top Collector Schmrypto
NFTs have been around since the mid-2010s but have garnered recent attention when Beeple’s Everydays sold at a Christie’s auction for $69 million. Since then many people have been joining the NFT arts sphere, whether as artists or collectors, and in some cases both. Crypto art may just be entering the mainstream, with celebrities like Shawn Mendez releasing their own non-fungible assets and singer Grimes selling a digital artwork of her own for almost $6 million within minutes. Yet it may still be a confusing concept. I write about crypto art and am still learning new things all the time. As with any community, there are ways in, you just have to be open to learn and be willing to look for them. Are you looking to begin collecting but don’t know where to start? Start with this short guide, with tips by successful collector Schmrypto.
First off, how to start collecting NFTs (non-fungible tokens)? Say that you’ve given it some thought and you can’t wait to start, but where do you begin? Though Schmrypto says he’s always had an interest in art and technology, even working as an artist and finding himself drawn to crypto in the early days, his decision to begin investing in NFT art came later when he stumbled upon NFT project Punks Comic. Eager to understand how it all worked, he began to explore Rarible and SuperRare and this eventually led to “the slippery slope to being a full-time NFT trader and cheerleader.” Schmrypto recommends that new collectors try out all the platforms instead of limiting themselves to one or two, as they all have different functions, and they currently use SuperRare, Rarible, OpenSea, Foundation, and HEN. To give you an idea, Rarible focuses on art assets and hosts the buying and selling of NFTs in categories like art, games, music, memes, and more, while SuperRare describes themselves as a blend between Instagram and Christie's, focusing on unique, single-edition digital artworks.
After figuring out what marketplace you want to buy at and therefore what cryptocurrency you’ll need, you might begin to wonder what kind of art you want in your collection. “Don’t invest in anything you personally find to be ugly, or distasteful,” Schmrypto continues, “The odds are good you feel that way for a reason, and it’s unlikely you’ll gel with the community around it anyways.” Like physical art, and in some cases even more so, crypto art is a very diverse sphere. If you don’t find a piece you love right away, don’t despair. Just check out any marketplace’s explore page. There will be short animations, still images, and loops in every imaginable style. Even AI-generated artworks. And if art isn’t your thing, there’s also digital collectibles and music NFTs available. Following artists whose work you like on Twitter is a particularly good way to keep yourself updated on upcoming drops.
Community is quite important in the cryptoart sphere. Twitter and Discord are popular sites for the community to share news, announce upcoming drops, artists to connect with collectors and other artists, and for collectors to uplift artists whose work they love. Still, safety is an issue. Not every developing team behind NFTs is experienced or transparent, and Schmrypto recommends that new collectors check potential investments. Again, community is key. Schmrypto advises that new collectors preferably buy and sell within their networks and that they are wary of Discord. While Schmrypto concedes that it is a part of participating in the NFT art world, they recommend care with what links you click on, what files you download, and what you sign. Schmrypto recommends new collectors invest in a hardware-based wallet. To buy NFTs you need a digital wallet to receive, access, and transfer an NFT using the blockchain (A blockchain is like a public history of e
very transaction related to a unique artwork, which is often in the blockchain where it was first minted, for example, Ethereum). While your NFTs aren’t actually inside your wallet, the wallet will hold keys that will allow you to access the blockchain and therefore any NFTs you own. The difference between a software-based wallet and a hardware-based wallet, is that one is digital and the other is physical. A main benefit of having a physical wallet is that since the cryptocurrencies stored in the wallet are offline, then it means it is harder to hack. “It’s a hard line to walk”, Schmrypto says, “but basically: be generous with your support but sparing with your trust.”
Embrio Spec 01, LifeLongFiction
Now suppose you’ve bought your fair share of NFTs. What’s next? By buying an NFT, you can use and display it for your own personal, non-commercial use. Schmrypto says that when he first began collecting, he set out with the long-term goal to build up a world-class collection in mind. This might be your goal too. Or your goal may be simpler. Either way, if you’re looking for a way to exhibit digital art and share it with friends and the world, virtual galleries are one way you can achieve this. Schmrypto took to Twitter for input and OnCyber was suggested to them. OnCyber provides artists and collectors with fully immersive spaces to exhibit their NFTs in 3-D or virtual reality for free. Schmrypto plans on eventually setting up a custom space in the Metaverse, but they’ve found their space on OnCyber to be enough for the moment and very easy to use. I’ve been to Schmrypto’s Museum of Anthropogenic Crypto Art and it’s an experience akin to being in an art museum. It was very accessible, I visited using my PC and there was a helpful key showing me how I could use my keyboard and mouse to explore the virtual gallery.
Of course, there are many other things you can do with NFTs you’ve acquired. There are still endless avenues in the digital realm beyond buying and exhibiting virtually that haven’t been explored to the full. “Most of my NFTs don’t do much,” Schmrypto admits, “but an increasing number are demonstrating a wide array of functions.” They add: “Every day people are discovering new ways to harness these systems.”There are many kinds of NFTs, and Schmrypto has invested in opportunities like “Luchadors'' a project consisting of around 500 unique characters inspired by Mexican Lucha Libre. These luchadors started playing earlier this year in a game whose results will be decided by polls on Twitter. The prize for the winner (which will be decided in October or November) will be an exclusive 2-D digital illustration of a champion’s belt that unlocks a digital comic created by a guest artist which depicts the final fight of that tournament. They have also become involved with projects that generate new pieces which they can then sell and RSOP (Royal Society of Players) cards, which are hand-made NFT playing cards that offer unique perks and prizes in the metaverse and real world.
When asked what it is that they enjoy the most about collecting, Schmrypto, who used to be a working artist before taking on collecting, said that it’s their love of art and speculation that keeps them going and that ultimately, “it's a job that offers a lot of freedom, and huge opportunities”.
You can follow Schmrypto on Twitter at: @schmrypto.