Animoca Brands and its subsidiary The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world, announced today it is partnering with Cloudco Entertainment, the owner, content producer, and global distributor of the Care Bears™ intellectual property, to bring the Care Bears and their Care-a-Lot world to The Sandbox metaverse. Through the agreement, The Sandbox players will be able to explore a virtual Care-a-Lot setting as well as purchase Care Bears-themed in-game content for use in their own game worlds.
The Sandboxis building a unique virtual world where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences using NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and $SAND, the main utility token of the platform. $SAND was recently launched via Binance, the global blockchain company behind the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume . The Sandbox’s vision is to offer a deeply immersive metaverse in which virtual worlds and games will be created collaboratively and without central authority. The Sandbox has secured over 50 partnerships, including Care Bears, Atari, CryptoKitties, and Shaun the Sheep, to build a fun, creative “play-to-earn” platform that offers virtual worlds and game experiences owned and created by players.
The Sandbox consists of three main components: the VoxEdit NFT (non-fungible token) builder for building game ASSETS, the Marketplace for buying and selling ASSETS, and the Game Maker tool where complete interactive games can be constructed and shared without any programming knowledge. Together, these components offer rich, easy-to-create virtual worlds and game experiences in addition to the ability to safely store, trade, and monetize creations through blockchain, allowing creators to benefit from their creations.
The Care Bears were created and launched in 1982 at American Greetings. Since their debut, the Care Bears have brought the values of caring and sharing to hundreds of millions of children and adults via their animated TV series “Care Bears: Unlock the Magic” and new YouTube-first show “Care Bears: Unlock the Music”. This partnership also aligns with the relaunch of Care Bears toys with a new master toy partner, Basic Fun!. The new toy line initially sold out online and in-store at Walmart and has experienced successful roll-outs at Target, Amazon, and a number of other leading online and brick-and-mortar retailers across the US, UK, and Canada.
The Care Bears were created and launched in 1982 at American Greetings, inspired by the hand-painted artwork of master illustrator Elena Kucharik. Since their debut, the Care Bears have brought the values of caring and sharing to generations of children and adults via their animated TV series and movies, becoming part of global culture for hundreds of millions of fans. The Care Bears’ message of cooperation and understanding has helped the brand generate more than $5B in retail sales worldwide.
Under the terms of the Care Bears agreement for The Sandbox, Cloudco will receive large digital spaces, known as LANDS, in the gaming metaverse. On these LANDS, a 3D voxelized version of the Care Bears’ Care-a-Lot kingdom will be made available to players when The Sandbox publicly launches later this year. Furthermore, Cloudco and The Sandbox have the right to produce and distribute Care Bears-inspired collectible in-game ASSETS for game creators to use in their own games, tokenized on the blockchain as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Players will be able to explore a virtual Care-a-Lot setting, complete with Care Bears-themed environment, attractions, games, and buildings with which to interact. The Sandbox is designed to support deeply immersive gaming experiences that can be shared socially, and players will be able to meet and chat in The Sandbox Care-a-Lot world using their Avatar characters in addition to playing together.
“We’re pleased to welcome the Care Bears license into The Sandbox virtual world, inviting family-friendly entertainment brands that our players have grown up with to participate in the next digital revolution where virtual worlds are 100% made, governed, and owned by players,” said Sebastien Borget, COO & Co-Founder of The Sandbox. “We are creating an appealing gaming metaverse that aims at attracting mainstream gamers and creators through their favorite brands, to build great experiences.”
“We look forward to bringing the Care Bears into a new gaming universe and creating a new generation of family entertainment experiences,” said Sean Gorman, President of Cloudco Entertainment. “Working with The Sandbox team to build an authentic Care-a-Lot in the metaverse will allow Care Bears fans to interact with the world and each other in a fun and imaginative virtual theme park setting.”
The Sandbox will offer a persistent, interactive virtual metaverse — a 3D universe created by players and secured through blockchain technology. LANDs are the unique digital locations in this universe where players can build and monetize games. They are the fundamental building blocks upon which game ASSETS (items and scripting) can be imported to create original interactive experiences. LANDS can be combined into larger groupings (ESTATES) to permit more ambitious game experiences.
The Sandbox game franchise is one of the world’s largest independent user-generated content and gaming platforms, with 40 million downloads and over one million monthly active users. The upcoming 3D based blockchain version of The Sandbox – which introduces new creative and commercial possibilities by allowing users to create 3D items and gaming worlds from the digital equivalent of building blocks – has been named one of the top 10 most anticipated blockchain games globally and one of the Top 50 Blockchain Gaming companies in the world (source: BlockchainGamer.biz).
Hi Martin! Your art usually combines coding, traditional techniques, and a special attention to clouds and what they can signify. Would you share some insights on your creative process with us, accompanying us to the discovery of one of your works?
The foundation of my work lies in continuous practice. I make an effort to work on my art regardless of where I am every day and maintain sketch- and concept books. In my concept books, I develop new ideas for artworks and algorithms in a structured process. As an example, how could I explore a particular topic visually? In contrast, my sketchbooks serve as a casual playground; I practice drawing and experiment spontaneously. Each book seems to address one half of the brain, so maintaining a balance is vital to stay engaged over the years. Matisse said something along the lines that inspiration only finds you working, and I notice that daily practice makes me much more receptive.
Daily practice is essential for the development of my work.
Most of the concepts I develop from the idea stage further align with my current body of work of promoting and educating about Blockchain technology. I believe that blockchain will change our world far beyond its currency aspects and that a basic understanding becomes critical for inclusion. Imagine an art exhibition that takes people by the hand, guides them through the maze of buzzwords and technical complexity and leaves them empowered to learn more; that's what I am working towards. Last year, I held a solo exhibition with the first batch of mostly physical artworks. I learned a lot in conversations with visitors, which pointed me in several directions on where to elaborate to make the story more understandable.
Transaction Sender & Transaction Recipient (diptych)
Acrylics and woven, hand- and laser-cut paper
Most of the pieces I create can take weeks, months, some even years. So, software became crucial in visualizing my concepts before I start these lengthy creations. Using graphic design software for more than 20 years, it comes easily to me to build mockups and validate ideas. A few years ago, these digital concepts were relatively detailed and elaborate, but I began working much more iteratively over time. Often this results in additional studies, happy accidents and new directions.
It was only in spring 2018 when I started exploring generative art, encouraged by joining the platforms SuperRare and KnownOrigin. While I do not consider myself a coder, my self-taught base of web-based programming helps me to tackle increasingly challenging projects. A process that works well for me is breaking overall algorithms into small manageable pieces and building it up. Let's take my recent animated artwork, "Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets," as an example. In this piece, I went through dozens of iterations, tweaking the algorithm continuously towards the initial concept for several weeks or even months.
Iterations towards the animation Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets
My released artworks are sometimes several steps further than the initial idea. The moment I find myself in the final stretch of solving an issue or completing an algorithm, I am already focused on the next iterations, which usually add more complexity. If I find a way to communicate an idea better, I can become pretty stubborn and not afraid of hard nuts to crack. This approach extends the creation process and allows me to learn and grow with every artwork.
Developing most pieces iteratively, I keep working on several pieces at the same time. For some of these artworks, it can take a long time to gather the necessary material, i.e. aerial videos. I am working on several pieces for which I already recorded cloud videos on passenger flights over two or more years. Others keep evolving, such as my woven and cut-out pieces. This series started as painted artworks back in high school in 2002. With my new animation experience, I aim to digitize and enhance some of them later this year.
New platform Cryptograph is set to revolutionize the world of crypto collectibles, with the introduction of their highly anticipated innovative digital collectible
auction house kicking off on July 6, 2020. Perpetual Altruism, the company behind Cryptograph is positioned to be a market leader in blockchain based digital collectibles and artwork, also known as NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens), featuring digital art and memorabilia from some of the world’s most renowned artists and icons.
Collectors will have the opportunity to bid on original digital art creations from some of the most notable names and leaders in the cryptosphere, specifically Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, Bitcoin.com Chairman Roger Ver, CasperLabs Researcher Vlad Zamfir, Shapeshift.com CEO Erik Voorhees , AVA Labs CEO Emin Gun Sirer, Augur Co-Founder Jeremy Gardner, Coinfund Founder Jake Brukhman, Universal Login Founder Alex Van De Sande, This Week In Ethereum Editor Evan Van Ness, Co-Founder Of Ethereum Mihai Alisie, Founder Of Maker DAO Rune Christensen, Founder Of Gitcoin.co Kevin Owocki, and more.
July also officially marks the five year anniversary of Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum Blockchain, and his digital artwork will be hitting the Cryptograph auction block on July 6th. His Cryptograph is a one-of-a-kind hand drawn representation of his groundbreaking Quadratic Funding Formula, an idea which could form the basis of a new general purpose infrastructure for the funding of public goods.
Cryptographs are one-of-a-kind digital collectibles created by world renowned icons and artists that perpetually support charitable causes. Each Cryptograph is sold at auction and then traded by collectors on the platform’s secondary market, raising money for charity every time they are transacted. These digital artworks are unlike anything else currently offered on the blockchain, and they will be auctioned off and traded using Cryptographs unique auction system that incentivizes participation.
Using smart contract technology to process and automate all transactions in a secure and transparent environment, Cryptograph makes sure that their charity and creator partners will always get a share of the perpetual revenue not just from the initial auction sale, but also from every single bid and subsequent sale that occurs on the secondary market. This powerful model ensures that the interests of the all parties involved in the Cryptograph ecosystem remain forever aligned and that they are continually incentivized to deliver further value over the long term to the community of Cryptograph collectors. Cryptograph has created a sustainably philanthropic platform that utilizes the Ethereum Blockchain and smart contract technology in a completely new way, it is destined to shake up the cryptosphere and further push the boundaries of what is possible within the space.
“I decided to continue the chain with Pak as we had a collaboration in progress, but it got temporarily halted due to the global situation. I really admire Pak as a creator and the tasteful worlds he generates, and I know many others do as well in the community!”
M: As digital artists, we all have a preferred software/tool we use to create. Your work is really thoroughly thought out and quite technical, have you thought about what role the software you use plays in the final look of your work, and how would it look if you had to switch to another medium, like painting, for example?
P: I see software as an expansion of the human - like an additional arm or leg. They affect our capabilities. As a result, our way of thinking and methodology. Therefore, to me, medium and methodology are overlapping subjects that are defined with their limitations.
M: Are there certain aspects of the medium you use that excite you the most?
P: I do not have a primary medium anymore. My works are becoming more cross-medium. Overall, limits excite me.
M: What got you into selling your work on crypto art marketplaces and how do you see this space developing in the future?
P: As I once stated, I define myself more as a designer and less as an artist. However, a design client needs the work, whereas an art collector wants the work. Sometimes it's better to be wanted, than needed. Beyond this, crypto art is the future's art history to leave a trace in.
M: Name one book, one song, one artwork that you really like or that inspires you, or just purely represents your being.
P: Improbable singular answer...
M: A new skill or activity you want to learn to do or start doing in the near future?
P: I don't pre-define the skill sets I prefer to dive in, but rather, try to keep planned projects. I'm sure the next project will expand my skill set in many branches however it's not easy to label any of them before the encounter.
Hi Mattia, it’s great to have a chat with one of the first and most active members of the crypto community. You are always ready to introduce and help out beginners in the space, would you like to start by sharing with us how you got into the crypto art scene yourself?
At the end of 2018, hex6c pushed me a lot: basically every now and then he would tell me "tokenize this, tokenize that." I had a small amount of cryptocurrencies and I've used them to tokenize my first pieces on KnownOrigin, and after some days on SuperRare. These are my main platforms right now, they both have done a lot for me so I'm faithful to them. And just because people helped me a ton, I do the same with others, that's simple. Oh, and I've done a collaborative piece on Async.art, right, that too was great.
You also witnessed the evolution of both galleries and community, with the rise of collaborations, bid wars, and VR shows, just to name a few things. How was your experience of that? What do you foresee in the future?
Yeah, you're right. It’s really good to evolve, even with ups and downs. Now I feel that we are still evolving, things are changing at the speed of light. What I can say is that experimentation and new features, like Async.art’s idea of programmable art, for example, will be the real game-changers.
Is there any figure or project in the crypto scene – or beyond – that particularly inspires you right now?
As I said, innovation is important but we also need some kind of "limits." Pixelchain.art, a pixel art tokenization platform of tiny 32x32-pixels canvases, is a good example of this "creative limitation" currently inspiring me. Limits make people do the best they can with a small set of possibilities, and with amazing results. I know that it seems impossible sometimes to have innovation with limitations, but there are a lot of good projects and examples. This reminds me of the simplicity of LEGO bricks and, considering my music background, the OP-1, an innovative synthesizer somewhat limited but also versatile, something you can use in infinite ways.
Your artistic production is usually an interplay between the material and virtual realms, between analog and digital technology. During the lockdown you produced a beautiful paper catalog of some of your generative artwork, can you tell us more about the whole project?
As I've also written in my last digital output, Generated #30 Second Iteration - Animated on SuperRare, these works are the result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Once again, what is interesting about them is how the limitation of possibilities created such a result. I'm working on the second booklet now, that will be in full color, printed somewhere else than home - but I'll try to put some artisanal effort into it too. I think there will be a third booklet, to conclude the series with the last iterations. And maybe something to keep them all together, or some reprints.
Oh, I'm also in the process of printing some of these artworks as silkscreens - you know, this speed-of-light-change thing is true for my production too.
You proved to engage in endless experimentation while creating. Any hints on the future developments of your art practice?
Physical and digital means will clash more and more. I want to create some artworks with NFC tags - with Near Field Communication, the tech behind contactless cards. I'm also designing a physical "glitch machine" that might become an actual installation. Oh, and I've also to restart the "SpoXify Dreams" project - I've 2 pieces on KnownOrigin about this that was temporarily halted by the lockdown. So, stay tuned.
And thank you for the interview, Chiara!
Interview by art editor and curator Chiara Braidotti
Cover photo: image curtesy Irene Beltrame
What a pleasure to have a chat with you, Prometheus! You have been into crypto for a while now and you have recently collaborated with Ethereal Virtual Summit 2020, realizing seven portraits for a charity auction. Can you tell us more about this experience, how did this collaboration start?
Sure! That’s right, the world of cryptocurrencies attracted me in mid-2017, I got into cryptoart a little later.
As for my collaboration with the Ethereal Summit, it was an interesting experience no doubt. SuperRare was among the event sponsors, and the team wanted to organize a crypto auction to help Covid-19 charities by donating part of the raised sum. They were the ones who asked me if I was interested in taking part to the auction with my work and I gladly accepted.
What about the subjects of your portraits, how did the idea come about? Which portrait did you enjoy making the most?
So, the aim of the event was to actually create crypto collectibles rather than works of art. We decided to create the portraits of the main speakers, to sort of commemorate their participation in this year’s Ethereal Summit. I liked the idea of the classic collectible cards, so I played around with a style remindful of American baseball cards, almost in a vintage fashion.
The portrait that I liked making the most was Hudson Jameson’s, I’d say. He’s a fun look, and taking his twitter profile as a source of images and information, I enjoyed filling the card’s background with ice-creams and cats!
You present yourself as a father and tattoo artist, but your love for crypto has always been alive too. Can you tell us where your passion comes from and how did you approach the crypto art movement when it developed?
As I said, I started studying cryptocurrencies back in June 2017, more or less. I’ve always been one of those people constantly interrogating themselves and questioning things, sometimes raising even too many questions! While looking for answers, I’ve always had a “troubled relationship” with financial markets, sort of a love and hate thing… Sometimes I would dream about being a ruthless manager, other times I’d loved to be a hippie.
Eventually I understood the best thing one can be is themselves, and I started thinking of myself as someone between a ruthless manager and a hippie, in a way. Why should these figures be impossible to combine, after all? Cryptocurrencies helped me find the balance between the two.
All your works always have a rich system of references behind them, and your style kept very recognizable despite evolving over time. Does your creative process follow any pattern? Would you share some technical insights with us?
I believe that what identifies my work the most is that each piece tries to convey a concept or to stimulate deep reflection. This turns into a limitation to some extent because I hardly ever “take it easy” when I work. But if you take a good look around you might as well notice there’s not much to be carefree about, and what I produce can’t be detached from what surrounds us, from what I perceive.
I love observing the world in all its facets and think. I’m satisfied when I am able - or I try, at least, - to render an intricate reflection into a simple image, a graphically neat work – I don’t really like “special effects.”
What is it that really drives your art?
Well, that’s a good question. I think it is mainly three things: a fundamental one is that I find in art a voice to speak my mind, a way to share my opinion with very many people and possibly provide food for thought. Another, related to crypto art specifically, is the idea to be part of a captivating and innovative reality. And the last one is related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a discourse many of my works address, which will allow me to say in a few years “I was right,” and tell my daughters’ children that while a page of history was written I was there.
Yesterday one very special CryptoKitty named Koshkat (Koshka means cat in Russian) has been sold for 10.500 USD on NiftyGateway.
Koshkat, a unique rare CryptoKitty (together with Catterina, edition of 100) represent the first Artist Series of CryptoKitties by Momo Wang, a multiple award-winning and internationally recognised illustrator based in Beijing.
We strongly believe these kinds of collaborations between established NFTs projects and important artists will become more popular in the future and attract the interest of many collectors.
So, when everyone was enjoying the weekend, another big sale happened and created lot of excitement especially in the Cryptopunks Discord channel.
Just a couple of minutes after a rare Zombie+Beanie punk was listed for 60 ETH (around 12,000 USD at that time), a fast collector immediately purchased it.
There are only 88 Zombie punks and 44 Beanie punks making him one of the rarest combinations ever.
Congrats to all the projects, marketplaces and collectors involved in these two historical NFTs sales.
Atari® — one of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and entertainment producers — today announced a new partnership with Arkane Network, a global monetization platform and provider of multichain blockchain APIs and wallets. As part of the agreement, Arkane will integrate Atari’s crypto-currency in its offering and will support the Atari Token and Atari’s strategic objective to boost the adoption of the Atari Token throughout the interactive entertainment ecosystem and its blockchain initiatives.
The Atari Token is issued by Atari Chain, Ltd (Gibraltar), a company equally owned by Atari and the ICICB Group. Arkane, a blockchain platform for game developers to create, secure, and monetize their digital game assets, will support the Atari Token, making it so developers can use the Atari Token as in-game currency for buying, selling, and trading assets.
“Atari has always been a pioneer in the video game industry and it is great to see how they understand blockchain technology’s increasing role in the development of the economic landscape within video games and entertainment,” said Tim Dierckxsens, CSO & Co-Founder of Arkane. “With this partnership, we will bring game developers, the gaming community, and the Atari Brand together to embrace blockchain technology as a solution to record digital assets and value transactions”
“Our partnership with Arkane is another significant step toward broad adoption of blockchain initiatives across interactive entertainment, and specifically our Atari Token cryptocurrency as a secure means to buy, sell, and trade digital assets,” added Fred Chesnais, CEO of Atari Inc.
Further information on the Atari Token is available on the dedicated website www.atarichain.com.
Eleonora, coming from the contemporary art scene, how was it to approach curation in VR? What advantages and downsides does Cryptovoxels have in comparison to traditional art venues?
Honestly, my approach to curation was the same as for the contemporary art scene. I always want to treat art the same way, regardless of whether it has a digital or physical form.
The opening night is maybe the most important moment for an art show, the time when the space really comes to life. A downside of Cryptovoxels is the lack of energy during the opening. While in a real space you would meet, laugh and exchange ideas, in VR you can’t. I got ready for real, though! I showered, dressed up, put make-up on, even if no one could see me, of course (well actually yes, on the videoconference for ETH Turin).
As an advantage, Cryptovoxels allows you to invite half the world through a link, and people can actually participate, I loved it! You can send as many invitations as you like for an event in the real world, but it’s unthinkable that everyone will show up. That is possible online: virtual spaces can really cancel space-time barriers.
The exhibited artists were chosen through an open call and you mentioned how interesting it was to find out about their artistic identity. Can you describe each one of them with one word?
Did the space influence the artwork selection or was it the other way around? For instance, I am thinking about the room devoted to KaySha's works.
As for a real venue, there is a continuous dialogue between art and space. I selected the artworks looking at content and the number of pieces to be shown based on the amount of production in the author’s artistic career. In the meantime, Hackatao built the gallery and placed in it the works I had chosen.
For KaySha's production, the room came first, and the work was chosen for it. Hackatao wanted a space in which people would feel trapped, and the sisters’ duo were the only ones who could create panic!
Anyway, every time you exhibit art, whether in virtual or physical space, the work and its surroundings have an interrelation. That was also true when I worked in Ai Weiwei’s studio, he would always look at the space first, either to fill it with the most fitting pieces or to possibly produce a new piece inspired by it. In CR(Y)PTALY too there was a site-specific work: the 3D figure designed for the hall by KaySha, sculpted directly in VR.
Do you have a favorite piece or room in the gallery?
Yes, there’s a place where I would go even before the opening, just to spend time with the works in it. It really comforts me. I’m talking about Undeadlu’s Cyber Prayer and the room where it’s displayed. The work to me shows a forgiving mother, between human and machine, in the act of praying. Together with two other pieces by the same artist, again showing feminine figures, it creates a sense of shared nostalgia and yet resilience, powerfully speaking about current times.
At the ETH Turin conference, you said there are no common factors in the themes and topics of Italian crypto artworks, but you noticed they share a stronger “physical presence.” Can you expand on that?
Sure! First of all, I was happy not to find stereotypes or precise replicas among the works of Italian crypto artists, they all explored different topics and approaches!
What I mean by “physical presence” is that many artists come from physical art: some are transitioning, some explore generative possibilities, some combine the two languages, seeking a balance between digital and material art.
To me, Hackatao’s work is just art. Coming from matter, consistent in style, rich in themes and references, you cannot draw a line between digital means and physical materials in it: it’s the perfect intersection of the two. An artist as Mattia Cuttini instead continuously changes mediums and methods. Still, paper is where he comes from and where he often goes back to - just consider the crypto art catalog he recently printed.
Materials are crucial to White Dada, who before compressing words on digital canvasses prints them in enamel on real ones, and Van Gango, a trained painter. Arctic too told me she has always been drawing in her life, but after realizing that there were too many rules encoded in drawings, she turned to generative art, where code is openly part of the creative process. And finally, someone like Fabiello found anything he’s ever looked for in crypto art, where he could combine his two big passions: drawing and technology. Maybe, the most natively digital of all are KaySha, with their young age and their VR sculpture.
What is your opinion on the role of curation in the context of crypto art and VR? Did this experience change your views?
Curation is great in many contexts, I find it necessary and beautiful. I curated an auction of digital art on the blockchain and more recently spoke at the Async auction of Cypher::Prophet, so I had the chance to talk about the pieces and the stories behind them in the digital scene. People are happy to get insights, they thank you for explaining things. We all need to hear what a work has to say at first glance, art has to speak directly first, but then you need to learn and understand more about it. People must tell stories about art and artists!
Also, for artists themselves curation can be great. They need to hear someone else’s words on their pieces. In CR(Y)PTALY some artists were new to curation and really appreciated it.
Any other projects you are involved in or looking forward to?
Yes! I want to keep curating digital and crypto art, to create a bridge between “nerdland,” the virtual space, and contemporary art in the established world. We need an old, more widely understood language with super new content in art right now, to reach everyone.
I’m trying to do this that with Breezy Art, my gallery. I want it to be online and distributed, with a physical presence, a wall that people can see in real venues too, as I already have in the New York design showroom “Italian Green Design.” Traditional galleries are over: they are fully alive only at the opening night, it’s unsustainable to have them truly full just a few days a year. But of course, digital art needs a physical component to attract traditional collectors, so a native digital piece could be enhanced by a Meural canvas, an opaque screen framed in wood, and coming with a museum look.
As for future projects, I’m setting up a physical exhibition with digital content in Rome, showing crypto artists together with established ones, like Ai Weiwei. It was supposed to open on May 16th, in the amazing location of San Salvatore in Lauro, a beautiful church with cloister and garden, already hosting a museum. This is the perfect setting, a sacred space that Italian people can understand, that helps them to tune in to an aesthetic that’s new to them - if it will happen in Berlin, we could set it up in a bunker instead. Because of the global emergency, it’s currently postponed to September, with the new title of “Renaissance 2020.” The artists are working to provide an answer, a vaccine for souls, to prompt a new renaissance.