After a non-fungible token (NFT) collection concludes a mint and its value skyrockets on the secondary market, any legitimate creator won’t abandon their project. They might mint more of the original NFT to generate sales or introduce a derivative token to grow a project’s community while keeping holders engaged, like when NimBuds creator Bryan Brinkman unveiled NimTeens.
But why would an artist behind a popular collection mint more of their NFTs that aren’t for sale? That’s exactly what generative art platform Art Blocks founder and CEO Erick Calderon, commonly known as “Snowfro,” did with his flagship Chromie Squiggle NFT collection.
On Tuesday, Calderon tweeted that he would be minting 81 additional Chromie Squiggles to give to individuals and communities across the Web3 industry and beyond that he had a personal connection to. From past mentors to digital art galleries, he shared that all of the NFTs had been earmarked for specific recipients ahead of the mint.
Chromie Squiggles, which opened as Art Blocks’ genesis collection in November 2020, only minted 9,040 of its 10,000 cap – leaving almost 1,000 for Calderon to mint over time. As of writing, there are 9,868 now minted and the collection has done 69,426 ETH, or over $138 million, in trading volume according to data on OpenSea.
As he approaches the collection’s cap, Calderon told CoinDesk he is driven to give back to the many collectors and artists that have supported him in the past two years. With the floor price of a Squiggle hovering just over 10 ETH (or almost $20,000) on OpenSea as of writing, this is no small gesture of appreciation.
“This is the final opportunity for a Squiggle to be used in service of recognizing the community members and friends who have supported Art Blocks in a meaningful way,” said Calderon. “It feels like the right conclusion for this project.”
Ahead of the mint Tuesday night, Calderon tweeted that he would generate the Squiggles on-chain in two separate batches. The first batch of Squiggles will be given designated community members and advocates for his career outside of Web3, including his “executive coach.”
“There are less Squiggles than there are people that deserve them much less want them,” Calderon told CoinDesk. “I make a note when someone does something particularly admirable and add them to the list.”
He also said on Twitter that he is planning to donate 10 Squiggles to the New-York based NFT gallery Venus Over Manhattan, and five to decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) SquiggleDAO, a community of Squiggle holders that Calderon told CoinDesk has been supportive of his work and started initiatives such as the SquigSig, a Squiggle email signature.
Calderon told CoinDesk that he is giving one Squiggle to the charitable organization Maya Spirits, an group that helps fund education in Mexico through Web3.
“When I give Squiggles to organizations like that one, I always tell them if they want they can sell it to raise funds for their efforts, or keep it as a sort of mascot for the org to share with the members,” Calderon said.
He also noted that he will be participating in an art swap, trading two Squiggles and a CryptoPunk NFT for an artwork from a meaningful artist and friend.
Calderon tweeted that the second batch of the mint would be donated to each of his employees at ArtBlocks as a token of his gratitude for the “support of the wonderful people” he works with daily. He also said that next week, he would be gifting 10 Squiggles to FlamingoDAO, an exclusive art curation community that was an early supporter of Calderon and Art Blocks and owns hundreds of Squiggles.
While Calderon said that he previously intended to mint 100 Squiggles for his children, he noted that he wanted to pivot the final mints towards supporting people “aligned with the original intent of the project.”
Calderon has previously gifted and donated Squiggles to various individuals and organizations within and outside of the Web3 community. In April, he minted 30 Squiggles for family and friends, a digital art fund and contest winners.
While none of the additional Squiggles minted are for sale, Art Blocks has made efforts to reward its collectors for their participation in its digital art ecosystem in the past. In 2022, artist Alexis André released his generative art Friendship Bracelet collection, which were free to mint for holders of any prior Art Blocks collection.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.