Let’s start with a character named Kote. Kote was depicted in a cute piece of digital art which set the whole story behind the Cuties Universe in motion. This same piece of digital art soon will be the catalyst for the next chapter in this story. Kote, the official Mascot of the cryptogame Blockchain Cuties Universe, represents gameplay innovations and the progression of a static picture.
Throughout history, art, in general, has always reflected the values and aspirations of the period it was created in. And digital art, established within the framework of blockchain technology, is no exception. Kote was first drawn at the beginning of 2018 when the first dapp killers were just cutting their teeth, and it was as a cute crypto collectible digital pet that Kote was made known to the world.
With the sale of Kote, the Blockchain Cuties Universe team has claimed to open a new page for the crypto gaming industry. As the team’s mascot, Kote is an epoch-defining piece of digital art with its own functionality and value. Thus, Spigfun, the new owner of Kote, unlocked the power of this crypto collectible game, helping the platform with his purchase to transition to a modern mid-core strategy game where players get to own lands and test their digital pets in battle. The process of collecting desirable static pictures—aka game characters—is finally turning into a technologically advanced quest. 90% of the 2,000,000 TRX revenue from this sale will be directly invested in game development. The remaining 10% will be donated to an animal shelter in Latvia.
“2,000,000 TRX?! That’s a lot of money for a digital ‘pet’!” You might exclaim. Well, this article’s purpose is to educate about the nature and real value of blockchain digital art which is usually presented in the form of playable, crypto collectible assets.
Kote the Mascot
Another legendary crypto asset that is part of the 0xUniverse game is the first black hole. It was bought on the 24th of April, 2019 after being up for sale for just one day. The player who jumped to buy the first black hole for 96 ETH stayed anonymous.
The first black hole of 0xUniverse. It was purchased for 96 ETH.
The raw numbers of sales like this will never add up to much, however, unless they are given in their appropriate context together with all pertinent information. To explain how Kote and Block Hole got their value, here are 4 criteria which must be weighed carefully:
The form that a crypto asset can take is only limited by the imagination of the individual it is created by. In the Kote case, the individual is an artist working on dapp creation. Blockchain digital art is greatly misunderstood because people tend to think about it as typified by drawings created with a few clicks of the mouse. When, on the contrary, digital art for a blockchain game is a real discipline that requires talent, patience and a lot of dedication. There is no such thing as mailing it in for blockchain artists.
Artists for blockchain games construct digital likenesses of their characters the same way traditional artists create likenesses of their subjects: all brushes come in different types and sizes, the amount of physical pressure on the tablet used for the drawing, as well as the tilt of the stylus, can affect your brush strokes in a similar way to if you were painting or drawing on a stretched cotton canvas. For example, Kote started as a sketch blocking in colors, light, and shadow and then was progressively fleshed out until this blockchain pet came to life. This process usually takes up to 70 contact hours. This is in addition to the hours that go into idea development, including visualization and so on. For example, the first iteration of a cute and unique digital pet (future game character) based on a real photo takes approximately 40 contact hours of work. Additionally, Blockchain Cuties Universe’s artists usually operate under the “2 changes rule”, whereby collectors—aka players—can give their detailed feedback and eventually arrive at a result which is satisfactory to everyone. This whole workflow costs 5 ETH.
Sergey Kopov, CEO at 0xUniverse, said that the whole conception of galaxies, planets, and spaceships took 1.5 years to develop and 10 people to make it come to life. The first black hole was a part of the general conception of the game and it was accordingly created based on a scientific image and has the equivalent properties of a real black hole.
It's also important to point out the fact that while basic tools for traditional art tend to be cheap and easily accessible, digital art is dependant on electricity, a decent computer to paint without lag and a high-quality graphics tablet with a screen—which takes some growing accustomed to—plus the requisite licensed software. As you can see, a good starter pack for a digital artist requires a lot of spending. The price of a blockchain digital artwork usually corresponds to an hourly rate multiplied by the hours spent plus the cost of materials. Being a skillful artist isn’t just a hobby, it's a fulltime job when it comes to developing a Dapp. This process needs resources and resources cost money. It is this that decides the practical value of art.
It's no secret that artworks associated with trendy movements tend to outperform other types of art on the market. Blockchain digital art is still a curious thing for adventurous investors since digital assets are both real artworks and gaming assets.
A person could buy it at one price and then change its value over just a couple of nights as all gaming assets can be improved, upgraded and armed which can have a direct influence on their price. The black hole can be used as an entrance to other worlds and dimensions in 0xUniverse. As 0xUniverse’s team says: “Even a corporation has the possibility to acquire the black hole and charge players for using it”. In this case, the black hole is a target of investment with its cost being considered a means of making additional profit. In fact, the actual person who bought the first black hole has made a statement suggesting that he is more of an investor than a gamer.
Blockchain digital art is never a static phenomenon. But the mercurial nature of the product and its value adds to the overall excitement. What drives the digital art market, especially at the upper echelons, is a fascinating mix of investment and consumption, fuelled by a limited supply, and Kote is the one and only mascot for the Blockchain Cuties Universe stretching across for 3 blockchains: TRON, EOS, and Ethereum.
Blockchain Cuties Universe won the award for the best crypto collectible game in the world at the 2018 Crypto Games Conference. The uniqueness and rareness of the Kote mascot not only spurred demand but restricted supply, creating the perfect storm to drive prices up.
MetaMask has recently published a report according to which 0xUniverse is ranked first among crypto games with the highest transaction volumes on Ethereum. 0xUniverse was also the recipient of the 2018 Best Dapp’s Editors Choice Award.
Both crypto games provided a mark of quality and assurance to the blockchain digital art market, which was in turn noticed by the rich and powerful.
The sale of Kote the mascot was performed as a means of fundraising for the future of dapps, and as such it was meant to awaken a sense of making crypto gaming history in those making claims to it. Even though the feeling of being involved in something greater than oneself, something inspiring, is subjective and difficult to measure, the intangible plays a profound role in the art market, and now, by extension, the digital art market as well. As Michelle Gaudy, an art gallery owner and consultant, puts it: “Paintings are priced – and valued – in relationship to each other…”
The 0xUniverse team has said that they have created a planet called Westeros inspired by the TV show Game of Thrones. On the planet, we can see familiar to the fans sights like the Wall. Well, before the White Walker army got to it.
This is a great example of generating a sentimental value to the art. Players are expected to experience a stronger connection to the game because in it they see images that are already known and loved by them. It has already been deeply backed by emotions regarding the famous TV show.
The practice of selling any type of art is always tied to the artwork being sold, and therefore, when the artwork in question hails from a sphere full of creative chaos and passion, you can be sure that provenance will affect practice. Blockchain technology is dynamic and is at the heart of the digitization of the human experience. The kind of digital art showcased by the likes of Kote and the first black hole is utilitarian in that it fits the evolving needs of people involved in the digital entertainment, security, inclusivity, pop-culture, and decentralization processes.
Blockchain digital art has its own competitive advantages as well, like the capability it provides individuals to keep absolute ownership over a piece of digital art. An owner is free to use it in other crypto games or trade it discreetly so no one else can track it. In both cases, the price reflects the respect a certain individual has towards the technology behind the work and his desire to write his name in the pages of blockchain gaming history. Spigfun, the lucky owner of Kote, is a passionate gamer with an impressive collection of unique Сuties. People who find a true connection with works of art are the ones who add emotional value to them which in turn translates into hundreds or even thousands.
And to conclude, if you are still on the fence about all this, we got pretty accustomed pretty fast to regarding photography and movies as serious art forms, how long do you think it will take everyone to get behind the digital art of the technology that is currently changing the way we live?