A Test of Faith: How the Tezos Art Scene Kept Warm Through The NFT Winter

The artists and collectors who had made their way to the NFT space, for the most part, stayed.

Originally published at Tezos Commons News

By Stu Elmes


1,150 words, 6 minute read

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The meteoric rise and subsequent market correction in the global NFT space truly was one for the ages. It was, in many ways, a perfect storm of pent up demand for a real digital use case — for something… anything the global crypto community could invest in within the blockchain space (besides more crypto, of course), coupled with a pandemic-driven bull market that saw cryptocurrency valuations reach never-before-seen heights, and, of course, a world filled with people who weren’t supposed to leave their homes and were very, very bored indeed.

In retrospect, a severe NFT market correction wasn’t just to be expected, it was inevitable.

The hype-cycle that drove NFT prices into the high 8-figure stratosphere, even while the world was still trying to figure out what these tokenized digital assets really represented, was never going to last. In its wake, we were left with a bevvy of cautionary tales about high prices paid and low prices recouped for those who arrived too late to the NFT hype-cycle party.

And yet, amid the NFT market correction fallout and accompanying din of negative sentiment, something interesting happened: the wheels of the NFT and blockchain-based art bus refused to fall off, especially on Tezos.

The artists and collectors who had made their way to the NFT space, for the most part, stayed. The drops kept coming. The boundaries of this powerful new medium continued to be pushed. Although a little bruised and battered, the NFT and blockchain-based art bus kept right on rolling.

Nowhere more so than right here in the Tezos art ecosystem.

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Andressa Furletti at Victoria West’s Tez-Art-Connect Meetup in NYC

In Tezos and its NFT ecosystem, the digital art world found a fertile ground for experimentation — for testing out new ideas and investigating what was really possible for digital art, NFTs, and blockchain technology. Tezos’ low gas fees were a revelation for many, considering how cost prohibitive the process of minting and selling works on other chains had become.

Now that the art world has had a taste of what NFTs have to offer, and has begun to understand the potential these technologies hold for upending the art world’s frustrating, gatekept paradigms, many are simply unwilling to let go. An artistic revolution with sweeping implications for an entire generation of artists is somewhere down there, just below the surface. To stop digging at the first sign of trouble wouldn’t just be shortsighted, it would be downright insane.

As the “NFT winter” rolls on, a thriving art community has coalesced in the Tezos ecosystem, gathered close for warmth around the promise of a Web 3.0-driven digital world where NFTs are more than just speculation-fueled baubles and curios, they’re a key part of the entire structure.

The Tezos art community has had its mettle tested in the dark days of the bear market, and it has responded not only by soldiering on in spite of it, but by redoubling its efforts to drive this exciting new artistic medium forward.

To find out why, we asked some of the biggest names in the Tezos art space. Here’s what they had to say…

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Source: Co-Create an NFT with AI Art Pioneer Mario Klingemann at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 at the Tezos NFT Exhibition | Business Wire

It all goes back to the very beginning. We didn’t come to Tezos because we thought we were going to get rich. While all these things have changed drastically on ETH and elsewhere, has it really changed that much on Tezos? Not really. We’re still kind of doing what we were always doing. If anything, I think that the stigma that used to be associated with Tezos is gone, so you have a lot of the major collectors who do have Tez wallets now and collect on Tezos. That’s happening more and more. With Tezos it was never hype-driven.

Victoria West

Even to this day, Tezos is the choice chain for developing countries such as The Phillipines. I myself participate in Twitter spaces where a lot of Tezos artists converge, and it just makes sense to be here with the frictionless transactions and minting. It’s unfortunate that these vested financial interests haven’t figured out that this is a fertile ground for creative communities because they’re so focused on the financial aspect, rather than the creative economy that Tezos has created and helped these communities to sprout organically.

Skye Nicolas

I feel like the Tezos community is so vibrant in general and so open to newness. There is really a desire to push boundaries as a collective whole within the Tezos ecosystem and to welcome and celebrate those who are doing so in a thoughtful and rigorous way.

Anna María Caballero

Minting on Tezos is basically free. If that’s an issue — and it is, I can take a chance minting that first thing for pennies instead of a few hundred dollars. It works for me because my users are tasked with a lot of interaction and movement of my pieces, so they burn a lot of editions. Those are transactions that they have to do over and over and over again, which would cost a substantial amount of gas on another chain.


Tezos NFT Summit 2023: 5 Key Takeaways, image 6

Whether the “NFT Winter” is even a thing, or whether the NFT space is exactly where it’s supposed to be at this moment in its evolution remains very much open for debate. What’s not open for debate, however, is the question of whether NFTs are or were just some passing pop-culture fad that will go the way of the Beanie Baby in time.

They weren’t and they won’t, especially on Tezos.

Ready or not, Web 3.0 is coming. NFTs and blockchain technology will have an important role to play within it when it arrives in earnest. The shockwaves these technologies delivered to the world of art and collectibles during the peak of the NFT hype-cycle were more than a blip in the ongoing history of digital technology that’s currently unfolding all around us. They’re a signal of a much larger trend that’s beginning to take shape. A Cryptopunk selling for millions 2 years ago and thousands yesterday doesn’t change that fact. (Also Tezzards are much cooler than punks!)

The generation of artists who’ve found a place for their work, a community to get behind them, and a frictionless, decentralized market within which to make a living here in the Tezos ecosystem aren’t going anywhere. In fact, their numbers are growing every day. This resilience is the Tezos art community’s strength, and is seeing it through for the warm days ahead. Onwards!