Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are unique digital assets that cannot be replicated, have been all the rage over recent months. As CryptoSlate has extensively reported, some of these Ethereum-based tokens have been selling for thousands and tens of thousands of dollars as the crypto-rich dish out their savings.
Behind this NFT craze is a group of artists that have connected their work with tokens based largely on Ethereum.
Justin Blau is one such artist that has been big on NFTs, an extension of the decentralized finance that took the crypto industry by storm this past summer. Blau is a prominent DJ and music producer best known as “3LAU.” You likely know him for songs like “Touch” and “How You Love Me.”
Earlier this year, he made a splash in the space when he teamed up with visual artist Slime Sunday for a collection of audio-visual NFTs.
The flagship of the collection, “21,” was sold at auction for $21,000. The collection continues to capture Ethereum users and NFT investors, as the other pieces are being bid on the secondary market for hundreds or thousands each.
I was recently lucky enough to ask Justin some questions about his involvement in NFTs, DeFi, and crypto as a whole recently. Here’s what he told me and wants you all to know about his involvement in crypto, NFTs, and DeFi.
The importance of crypto to artists
What drove you to crypto or Ethereum more specifically? Was it the prospect of having a decentralized platform to share your art, or something else entirely?
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of decentralized applications, probably since 2017. While a crowded ETH network unveils inherent vulnerabilities & limitations, the rise of L2 / L3 + ETH sidechains all point to a more efficient future, making the prospect of running self-sufficient platforms on ETH more realistic. I am equally excited about competing protocols like Near & Solana, but time will tell! One project I’m particularly excited about is Audius! On the art side, the application is incredible – using ERC 721’s to issue immutable certificates of digital authenticity is the future of all artforms, not just digital ones!
Why is it so important that prominent musicians like yourself involve themselves in crypto?
I think that the crypto-sphere / distributed ledger tech space provides a unique opportunity for artists to monetize themselves without paying rent-seeking middlemen that have been running the music business for more than half a century. Any artist should familiarize themselves with what’s happening – this new tech enables us to reclaim a lot of the equity that flows elsewhere in the legacy music ecosystem.
Big on NFTs
You are probably one of the largest NFT creators thus far, breaking records with your drops. What do you have to say to those that say this space is just fluff?
Traditional art has maintained value throughout history. Digital art, while new, takes just as much time & effort as traditional art, but might even capture MORE emotional dimension thanks to the flexibility of new digital design tools. I think this space is here to stay, because buyers & collectors seem to appreciate the time & effort artists commit to their digital craft! The scarcity component will take time for the mainstream to wrap their head around, but most pieces that are being minted today could easily become worth 100x in the future, as groundbreaking manifestations of digital art!
Speaking to that further, what do you think makes a good NFT?
This is definitely as subjective as the traditional art world is; that being said, it’s rather easy to identify those artists that push their craft and push visual space beyond existing boundaries. Artists like Trevor Jones, Pak, Fewocious, are all doing incredible work in completely different styles – I really think collectors perceive that value.
What’s on deck for you in terms of expanding your involvement in crypto-art further?
We’re really excited about longer format NFTs / fully tokenized music videos and songs! There’s a lot more work we have to do, but Mike (Slime Sunday) and I are very dedicated to making incredible things happen in the future.
Interests in crypto beyond NFTs
Do you have any thoughts on Bitcoin?
Buy it and put it away safely 🙂 For those new to BTC, dollar cost averaging to buy in is always a good strategy!
Aside from NFT and crypto-art projects such as BlockParty and Audius, what captures your attention in crypto? Are you a yield farmer like you fellow artist RAC?
Yes! RAC and I are very close friends and share lots of intel on what’s happening within the DLT ever-changing landscape. I mostly participated in stable-coin yield farming vs other stuff with high risk of impermanent loss. RAC’s on the cutting edge of this amazing new tech, and he’s really paving the way for all of us artists who look to explore new ways we can apply DLT to our existing careers!
I would like to thank Justin again for his time. I hope you enjoyed reading his thoughts on Bitcoin, crypto, NFTs, and DeFi as much as I did.