After peaking in 2021, the NFT market is starting to show signs of weakness. Not enough to worry the founders of Verse, a new platform specializing in the sale of non-fungible tokens. It invites collectors to discover a selection of NFTs curated by artists and art specialists.
When it comes to NFT, there's something for everyone. The "collectibles", these digital tokens based on a generative model such as the famous (and highly coveted) Bored Ape Yacht Club and cryptoPunks; and "crypto-art", these digital works authenticated as unique objects thanks to blockchain technology.
This second category is not the easiest to find on specialized sales platforms such as OpenSea, Rarible or Nifty Gateway. Collectors must be patient to find a digital work by a reputable artist, among all the NFTs on sale. A problem that the start-up Verse hopes to remedy.
It relies on artists, curators and art specialists to offer crypto-art collectors non-fungible tokens of museum quality. "We want to offer security to our users. All the works listed on Verse are made by credible and established artists," reads verse's website.
A first crypto-art exhibition, entitled "This is Tomorrow", will be organized from June 16. It has been assembled by 12 artists and 12 curators including Simon Denny, Tyler Hobbs, Noah Davis and Elena Soboleva, according to The Art Newspaper. For Jaime Gourlay, CEO of Verse, this initiative allows potential buyers to take the plunge with confidence.
A big part of the current problem is that anonymous people with no reputation to lose can get away with doing anything in the NFT market.
"What we want to do is create a platform where these curators can have something that almost looks like an Amazon store. Collectors can buy [NFTs] directly from people with a good reputation [in the art world]," he told the trade publication.
Curator to better convince
Verse is not the only initiative that wants to help collectors take the plunge into crypto-art. Gallery owner Vito Schnabel has set himself the same mission with Art Official. This platform seeks to "broaden the experience of digital art and make the mechanisms of its acquisition more accessible and transparent to the general public". It functions as an art gallery: collectors can discover a selection of NFTs chosen by Vito Schnabel. There are creations by Francesco Clemente, Gus Van Sant and Jordan Kerwick.
Pace Gallery has also launched its own platform specializing in the sale of NFTs. His name? Pace Verso. Crypto-collectors can try to acquire digital creations by John Gerrard, Zhang Huan, Lucas Samaras and even the NFTs attached to the sculptures that Jeff Koons will soon send to the Moon. So many projects that attest to the enthusiasm of artists for this technology, which has been shaking up the art world for more than a year.
But is it the same on the buyers' side? Difficult to answer as the NFT market is fluctuating. Interest in these digital ownership certificates registered in the blockchain has dried up in the first quarter of 2022, according to a report by the monitoring platform Chainalysis. The volume of spending fell from $3.9 billion to $964 million between February and March.
However, this volatility does not worry NFT market participants. The proof: the SuperRare platform opened, on May 19, an ephemeral gallery in New York to convince the last recalcitrant of the potential of non-fungible tokens.