cover image for aperitivi, an NFT collection by chiarascuro

new plan for Tezos, and for pete’s sake, do your own research

In my last post, I showed the first three CNFTs in Love Machine Shorts #2, of which there will be 13 altogether. My intention at the time was to make two different versions of the collection, one for Cardano and another one for Tezos, based on the same initial sketches.

I made a list of visual distinctions and then made a test version of Stanislav the Chef to see if there were really enough differences to consider minting them on another network. I shrunk them to mobile size and looked at them next to each other. Showed them to a handful of tight friends in the space and asked for feedback.

The feedback was slightly mixed, mostly that it should be fine. But after considerable deliberation, I’ve decided to go in a different direction for now so I can spend more time thinking about it.

There’s a lot of old analog art still in a folder on my hard drive from a series of 5″x7″ watercolor and acrylic paintings on paper. I was doing an insane number of Italian lessons on Duolingo at the same time, and reinforcing them in my head by painting the phrases and sentences I was learning onto the paper.

Trump had just been elected as well, so there are also a couple of fist-shaking rants about the government, entitled white “Americans,” nationalism, willful ignorance, and my responses to all those things.

The papers are taped down onto the back of my drawing board in fours and fives, painted with one layer of rant and/or dorky, language lessony Italian sentences from Duolingo, and then toned. Painted, written, painted, turned around, mixed up, then over again.

This collection is entitled aperitivi and documents my visual approach to learning a new language for the first time. There are 21 altogether, split into two sections: insieme (together) and a parte (apart).

This weekend I’m dropping the 10 insieme NFTs on Kalamint, an NFT platform on Tezos that curates its artists. To mint and sell NFTs on Kalamint, you must first be verified by submitting your artist and project information through the application process. I was asked to submit a few images I’d like to mint there, as well as a couple of my favorites I’ve already minted.

The person verifying you checks out your social media profile and/or website to make sure you are the authentic creator of the works you would like to mint there. Just like CNFT platforms on Cardano.

My problem with this “verification” process (which seems the same across the blockchains I’ve evaluated) is that is it’s centralized as fuck. For every blockchain network verifying its artists, it’s just one to five people looking at your social media profiles and/or website.

Yeah, that’s it. That’s literally. Fucking. It.

You could do that yourself in less than five minutes. And why the hell wouldn’t you?

Anyone who even thinks about investing in anything — NFTs, crypto, coffee plantations, NASA, traditional stock in any company ever — should be doing that research, anyway.

Decentralization of NFT artist “verification” begins with you. If you’re going to buy an NFT for any reason at all … whether you’ve fallen in love with the creator’s art or you just bought it because you think you can flip it later, don’t be lazy about your research. Don’t make other people responsible for what you’re supposed to be doing yourself.

Scrupulous creators will say, “Come to my website and read my blog. Read about my projects for yourself. Follow me on Twitter. Join my Discord server. Come talk to me. Ask me anything you want.”

This is the blockchain. This is decentralization. If you’re not diligent as you should be, you’ll get REKT sooner or later.

Note: I looked into verification on Artano, an up-and-coming CNFT platform on Cardano. They require KYC and AML, a State intrusion I stridently oppose.

Instead, I’ll continue working with any NFT communities I can connect with to push the idea of decentralized artist verification. To me, that means the people who want to buy can and should check us out for themselves instead of letting some unknown person or agency do that for them.

That’s the only way new users can survive in this wild frontier. You learn, you listen, you get independent, or you get REKT.

Come talk to me — I love it. And I can damn sure tell you much more about my projects than some stranger who just takes a brief glance at my Twitter profile and website before passing me along as a person you can trust.

I don’t blindly accept anyone’s opinion. And neither should you.

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