The 24-year-old artist squirter, who lives in Davao, Mindanao, on the southern tip of the Philippine Islands, has received all of her income in crypto assets since 2018.
Create a work, issue a digital token on the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) Marketplace, and sell it. He is trying to stay financially strong and overcome the pandemic of the new coronavirus by writing a blog about art to earn rewards for the Hive blockchain’s native token, Hive.
In September 2020, squirter used some of its hive tokens and Ether (ETH) to buy a new iPad Pro that everyone in the digital art industry wants. It’s a huge upgrade compared to the $ 50 doublet I used to use.
I replaced my old laptop with a fast and powerful Asus device. This machine can withstand frequent use of the virtual space “Decentraland”, which has become a popular hub for creators and collectors.
Nowadays, some criticize the ardent rhetoric of the NFT world, which is said to be the artist’s “empowerment.” But for creators like squirter, NFTs can make a big difference in life. The fact that you can buy the equipment you need to make good works has more impact than the bull market for crypto assets and the NFT boom make rich people richer.
Especially in the Philippines, where the unemployment rate was 10.3% in 2020, the worst in the last 15 years. High unemployment has reduced consumer spending, reduced GDP by nearly 10%, and hit women and adolescents the hardest. Economic activity resumed cautiously in March, but the surge in new corona infections has pushed most of the country back to lockdown, with millions just returning to work. Lost his job.
The Philippines has been described as “clearly behind in Asia” as it struggles to provide a sufficient number of stable jobs and restore consumption, and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has stated that the Philippines Predicts that will be one of the countries that will take the longest to recover from a pandemic.
What is urgently needed in the Philippines is more squirter-like people.
Squirter’s work, which suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), reveals her personal conflict. A faceless nurse overlooking a small child in a lightweight wheelchair, IV bag and injection, and a hospital stretcher.
She was said to be “too emotional” to pursue her dream of going on an academic path in the field of art, and she turned her strengths by making use of her painful experience in her work and earning income from it. I decided.
” You’re too emotional”
Ok imma make money out of it
— Squirterer (@hidetheblade) February 26, 2021
“‘You are too emotional’
I understand. Then I’ll make money with it. “
The encounter between her and crypto assets was a hive. I blogged about my work and learned from the community how to exchange hive tokens for ETH at BlockTrades and exchange ETH for Philippine pesos at Coins.ph, which is popular with beginners of crypto assets in the Philippines. It then moved to lower-fee platforms such as Bittrex and Binance.
squirter learned about NFT in 2019. I learned from a friend I met in the hive community that I first sold an NFT on March 16, 2020. A work named “Push Button” in which a Bitcoin rocket heading for the moon is drawn on the push button of a pedestrian traffic light. An artist and collector named ruth allen bought the first one (of a total of 10 tokens issued) for $ 22.3 worth of ETH at the time.
Today, as market prices rise, many of the squirter NFTs are trading at prices well above the average price of NFT art. According to Nonfungible.com, the average price of NFT art peaked at $ 1,400 in February.
Buyers of squirter’s work are spread all over the world. Gabby Dizon of the Museum of Crypto Art, the Philippine-specific art gallery Narra Gallery in Decentraland, and I are one of them.
The truth in transparency
Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song criticizes the NFT as just a bribe for the Ethereum network to market its blockchain and prey on vulnerable artists.
“If you think artists are being exploited in a decentralized setting, you don’t know anything about the traditional art market,” squirter argues.
To explain the importance of transparency in the art industry, squirter shared his experience. An art gallery undertook a consignment sale of her actual work and resold it without notifying her.
Especially annoying her was that the gallery said it was unacceptable for a buyer who wanted to have a direct connection with the artist to contact her during the purchase process through Facebook, and squirter said the buyer. It is a point that prohibits being involved with.
Squirter has come to recognize the usefulness of blockchain, which makes all transactions public, immutable and verifiable. Since joining the hive in 2018, I’ve also come to understand the importance of decentralization and censorship resistance. I’ve seen photographers and other artists banished from mainstream platforms for publishing nude works.
Whenever he publishes an NFT, he realizes his own strength, says squirter. Buyers can see and see how much their work will sell in the secondary market (secondary market). No one can delete or pick up your work, and you can get a portion of your revenue if it’s resold.
What’s more, smart contracts automate everything so you don’t have to track, discuss, wait, or wonder what’s going on. It gives you the opportunity to create deep and genuine ties directly with your buyers without being disturbed by managers or intermediaries.
Aiming for success
It took more than half a year for Bon Jerald T. Paguntalan, a graduate of FEU Institute of Technology in Manila, to find a job as a 3D artist in 2019.
“It’s hard to get a good job here in the Philippines,” Pagun Taran said. “I was just rejected. No one saw the potential for me. I started to doubt myself. I started to think that the world didn’t need my talent.”
In August of the year I graduated, I got a job at a startup game company called Kongan Games. Everything was fine. Until the pandemic forced the company to take a temporary closure. Despite developing 10 mobile games at the time, startups before they started making money couldn’t keep their offices open for long. (Not restarted even now)
The fired Pagun Taran devoted himself to honing his skills freelance. I found a place to utilize my talents in creating models that can be printed in 3D. It used a Facebook group for 3D artists to acquire Filipino customers and started selling for about $ 20 per model.
Later, as he began to attract foreign customers, he learned that they were willing to pay as much as $ 600 for full-body figures of his favorite Marvel Comics characters, such as Black Panther. When you send the file of the work, the customer pays with PayPal. Sometimes people will tip you.
Income wasn’t stable, but monthly payments were in time. A few months later, I had enough money to buy a 3D printer.
One day, my brother, a crypto asset trader, told me about a token called $ SAND. Looking at the token-issuing The Sandbox website, I was looking for a 3D artist to make NFT voxels on a video game platform. Pagun Taran applied for the company’s $ 2 million creator fund and was hired in August 2020.
“The great thing about sandboxes is that you can own the assets you create,” Pagun Taran said, issuing an NFT and the old way of transferring ownership of his designs to customers by email. I learned the difference in the current method. “Because I still own an NFT, I get a portion of my revenue every time it’s sold in the marketplace.”
Pagun Taran’s artist name at The Sandbox is Krad Super Soldier. So far, KradSuperSoldier has designed over 80 in-game assets for sale in the sandbox marketplace. The main target is developers who buy NFTs to use in their games and virtual spaces.
Wow! Someone made a game out of my car assets! I’m so happy! Thank youuuuu !!! https://t.co/lvMTbepPbi
— KradSuperSoldier (@KRSuperSoldier) April 11, 2021
“Wow! Someone made a game with the assets of my car! Thank you !!!”
“Enjoy the race at The Sandbox.
Win various supercars and become a champion!
@TheSandboxGame $ SAND “
KradSuperSoldier receives payment for $ SAND and exchanges it for “more exchangeable things like Ripple (XRP)” on Binance. It’s easy to send to a Coins.ph wallet, from which you can send Philippine pesos to the popular mobile wallet G Cash in the Philippines.
“It was very difficult at first because I wasn’t very familiar with how it works,” says Krad Super Soldier. “It’s been really easy since I learned how to exchange ($ SAND) for another currency on YouTube.”
By December 2020, they would have earned enough money to replace their broken cell phones with new ones. I also bought a Lenovo laptop IdeaPad Gaming for my fellow artists who were in desperate need of a new device for graphic design and video recording.
“I don’t expect to get the debt back, but that’s fine,” said KradSuperSoldier. It was enough to support those in need.
More art, more chances
When Beeple began working on the project “Everydays” in 2007, the person who would buy the piece in the future didn’t have a laptop and couldn’t afford it. Time went by, and in March 2021, Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as “Meta Kovan,” bought a Beeple NFT. When I first learned about crypto assets in 2013, I had to find a way to get them because I didn’t have the money to buy them.
“That’s the real story,” he said in an interview with MetaKovan’s friend Anand Venkateswaran, who helps his crypto fund, Metapurse. “I was carrying around a pen drive and plugging it into my friend’s laptop to practice coding. I didn’t crash my friend’s computer once or twice,” said Benkateswaran, also known as “Twobadour.” Laughed.
Meta Kovan, now 32, is a young crypto asset billionaire and, along with his friend Twobadour, is enthusiastic about supporting NFTs.
“We should have spent at least half of MetaPerth’s valuation of $ 180 million on art. We have invested in more than 100 artists,” said Twobadour. The two described crypto assets as “the power to equalize Western Europe and the rest.”
MetaKovan and Twobadour have witnessed crypto assets allowing people of all backgrounds to enter and earn money in the global market. Cryptocurrencies remove barriers to trading and promote thorough inclusion.
In the world of NFT art, formal education is not a prerequisite for success. Most buyers focus only on their work and don’t care about their qualifications as creators. This is an important shift. Especially in the Philippines, where college tuition is huge and going to college is considered a privilege that is largely out of reach for children from poor families.
“Formal training is beneficial to artists, but I don’t think it’s a foundation or requirement for success,” says squirter. She says she’s seen more self-taught artists with more talent, skill, and potential than those with formal qualifications.
“With NFTs, unknown artists, with or without a degree, have the opportunity to see the light of day and earn a stable income,” squirter said.
One of the major obstacles to its widespread use is the gas fee (Ethereum network fee). The average cost of issuing an NFT is $ 60- $ 200, which is high in countries where the average annual household income is below $ 6,500.
So the First Mint Fund is here to reach out to those in need. The fund, which currently raises about $ 20,000, will provide gas bills to artists from Southeast Asia who are looking to issue their first NFT. Apl.de.Ap, a Filipino musician and longtime supporter of Filipino creators, has promised to donate a portion of the proceeds from the upcoming NFT sales to the fund.
What goes up always goes down
Given the volatility of the crypto asset market, there is concern that the NFT market will soon crash and it will be the artists who will draw the poverty at that time.
But squirter says he’s not worried, at least for now. At present, we believe that NFTs will only increase in popularity. If the market goes down, it plans to replace crypto assets with stable coins (crypto assets linked to legal tender such as the US dollar) and buy back only what is needed to survive the low price period. (This isn’t the first time she’s dealt with the volatility of crypto assets)
In contrast, Krad Super Soldier says he is always thinking of a crash in the near future. The experience of buying ETH for the first time on Coins.ph at a high price in late 2017 and having to sell it at a low price afterwards because of the need for money for personal reasons is behind.
“I should have kept it as Ether,” he says.
The early pains of Krad Super Soldier are now taking an investment approach like Meta Kovan. More than 90% of the income earned from $ SAND is invested in other crypto assets. We believe that portfolio diversification is the best way to protect ourselves from significant losses and hold many different coins (currently I like DeFi tokens such as Safe Moon and Safe Mars).
“I’m more into the future than the present,” says Krad Super Soldier. “One investment is not all about peace, and there is a long-standing goal of making parents comfortable,” he said, demonstrating a typical family dedication familiar to anyone who knows the Philippines. It was.
When buying a Filipino creator’s work, it’s not just about supporting the individual’s life. It also seems to support the people around them, the communities they participate in, and the future of the Filipino economy.
Leah Callon-ButlerIs a columnist at CoinDesk in the United States. The latest documentary, Play-to-Earn: NFT Gaming in the Philippines, covers how Axie Infinity players earn life-changing income from games. There is.
｜ Translation / Editing: Akiko Yamaguchi, Shigeru Sato
｜ Image: Shutterstock
｜ Original: Artists Who Now Make a Living Because of NFTs