The NFT market—like the wider cryptocurrency market—might be in a serious slump right now, but that didn’t stop artist Tyler Hobbs from making bank on his latest generative art drop.
Hobbs, the creator of the valuable Art Blocks Fidenza project, just debuted his anticipated QQL project. The Ethereum NFT collection is a collaboration with Dandelion Wist, co-founder of the Archipelago art platform that launched the NFTs.
The project quickly sold out, with 900 NFT mint passes selling for 14 ETH (about $18,600) apiece, ultimately yielding about $16.7 million from the primary sale. Another 99 mint passes were reserved by the creators for "surprise collaborations," according to the official website.
Only one day left until QQL is open for all to use pic.twitter.com/mquFGnoJqO
— Tyler Hobbs (@tylerxhobbs) September 18, 2022
Each pass, which can now be traded on secondary markets, enables the holder to mint one QQL piece—which can be customized via Hobbs’ interactive algorithm—as an NFT. Anyone can play with the QQL algorithm and generate artwork, but only mint pass holders will actually be able to turn them into NFTs that are part of the official collection.
The QQL drop took a unique approach to pricing. It’s a modified Dutch auction that started at 50 ETH (about $66,500), with the price gradually ticking down over time. But when the auction ended with the final NFT pass selling for 14 ETH, it actually set the price for everyone. Anyone who initially paid a higher price can claim a refund for the difference.
An NFT is a blockchain token that represents ownership of a unique item, including digital goods like artwork, collectibles, and video game items. Generative blockchain artwork is typically executed via an artist-created algorithm that is deployed on a network like Ethereum, which yields a unique piece of artwork each time an NFT is minted.
Art Blocks is the best-known generative art project in the NFT world, with over $1.3 billion to date worth of secondary market sales. Hobbs, meanwhile, is one of the most popular artists of any kind working in the NFT space.
Just brokered the first 4-digit @artblocks_io sale at 1,000ETH ($3.3M)
I present to you @tylerxhobbs Fidenza 313, 🌷 "The Tulip" 🌷. A remarkably beautiful and memorable onchain artifact now owned by legend @punk6529. Unmistakably one of the top 5 Fidenzas
Now vaulted forever pic.twitter.com/TVcCmYIFuN
— bonafidehan.eth ⬛ (@bonafidehan) August 23, 2021
His Fidenza project on the Art Blocks platform has yielded several seven-figure sales on the secondary market, including one that sold for $3.3 million worth of ETH in August 2021. Pseudonymous NFT collector Punk6529 purchased that piece, one of 999 unique NFTs in the collection.
Currently, the cheapest-available Fidenza piece listed on a secondary market sells for 96 ETH, or about $127,600. Hobbs also released a subsequent Art Blocks project called Incomplete Control, which spans just 100 NFT pieces and starts at 110.69 ETH (about $147,100) on the OpenSea marketplace. Incomplete Control featured a live minting experience with Hobbs.
Despite high valuations for Hobbs’ work, the NFT market has experienced declining prices and sales volume over the last few months, parallel with the wider crypto market crash that began in May. Top marketplace OpenSea, for example, has logged only $319 million worth of Ethereum NFT trading so far in September, compared to nearly $5 billion back in January.