Art Blocks 2.0 | Market Impact and Too Early Predictions
This morning the Art Blocks team made a blockbuster announcement, sharing initial details for "the next version of Art Blocks," labeled Art Blocks 2.0.
For a quick overview, the changes will include:
- New designations for the product collections
- An updated, more efficient smart contract
- A newly rebranded website that will include more educational info and thought leadership
The primary area of focus in early discussions has been on product collection changes. The Playground and Factory sets will be sunsetted, replaced by "Art Blocks Presents," though the curation and application process will remain the same.
There will be two new collections, with the first called "Art Blocks Explorations," described as "a place for our wild ideas and commissioned experiments."
The other new collection is "Art Blocks Collaborations," which will be home to their market partnerships (i.e. projects like Petro National which was a collab with Pace).
The legacy Curated collection will remain unchanged, though the team does share that the requirements to pass the application process include projects that "push the boundaries of the medium."
Read more about the scope of changes in this blog post from the Art Blocks team.
What Does This Mean for the Art Blocks Market?
A few reactions to how this will impact the market and "too early" predictions:
The removal of the Factory and Playground labels will put an increased focus on the quality of the art.
Some of the best generative art on Art Blocks has absolutely come through the Factory set (i.e. Horo, Rapture, Lewitt Generators - the list goes on), yet it has historically carried a stigma as lower quality, along with lower floor price. This change of label may be the first step in removing that stigma and enabling a more pure valuation of the art on its merits (versus what collection it resides in). The new label "Art Blocks Presents" also makes the set sound like it is coming directly from the team, based on its naming convention - assuredly more attractive than "Factory."
There are now multiple new sets that can be made (and they will see a bump in value).
There is now a distinct start and end date for the Factory and Playground collections, ending in October 2022. These full collections have been mostly easier to collect than Curated from a price standpoint (putting Playground set "The Eternal Pump" aside), but collectors have backed off due to how difficult it felt to maintain over time.
Now that difficulty has been removed and the task is doable (still fairly pricey). There are currently 230 Factory projects, and with just four weeks left in October, the final tally will be somewhere around 240. There are 64 Playground projects, and that final tally will come in below 70.
With the rebrand to 2.0, there is also a new "Art Blocks v1.0" set that can be created. It consists of all of the Curated from series 1-8 along with Factory and Playground (in theory the v0 set is the day 1 set, Squiggles, Construction Token, and Genesis). Given that there are 66 Curated projects, the full Art Blocks v1.0 set would require 357 pieces at the time of writing. There are also now Curated v0 and Curated v1 sets which can be made - quite a variety of options for the dedicated collector.
From a market standpoint, do not expect a big bump in price in the near term - but over time, those sets which can create bottlenecks for each set (those with the lowest supply) could very well be the primary beneficiaries. Additionally, if Art Blocks stays relevant for 10-20+ years (which they are absolutely laying the foundation to do), all the sets in v1.0 are likely to see a bump due to historical significance over. The final mints for the v1.0 set, across Factory, Playground, and Curated all probably get a slight bump in value as well, so watch out for that in the final weeks of October.
Gas wars are going to get worse.
The new contract is said to reduce gas costs by 65 percent - great news! But the reality is, this means the botters and flippers are just going to ramp gas 65 percent higher (if not more) for the high-demand mints, knowing the fees won't be bad.
For the less experienced minter, this could very well make the minting process more difficult. To be clear, this is not a bad thing, it's quite good, but a change to be aware of and to act upon for those looking to stay competitive in minting new projects on the primary market (by adjusting gas settings ahead of mints).
This seems to be a very positive step forward for the Art Blocks team and good for the community. The community has responded in kind, with early feedback in the discord overwhelmingly positive. In fact, one of the most common remarks after the announcement was a desire for equity in Art Blocks as a company - with the common response being "buy squiggles." Squiggles have always been seen as the project most tied to Art Blocks and a bet on the company itself, and that narrative will only get stronger. Plus, they move.
Overall, the leadership team continues to evolve the brand and seek out innovation, cementing themselves in the very top tier of leadership in this young but growing NFT market. It will be fun to watch as this grand experiment continues to unfold before our eyes...