In today's realities, it is impossible not to notice how non-fungible tokens are gaining popularity every year. The boom in NFT began in 2020, which is when the number of transactions with NFT increased by 300 percent compared to the previous year. In the third quarter of 2021, NFT sales totaled $10.7 billion, eight times the results of the previous quarter. Given this trend and growth dynamics, it must be recognized that the NFT phenomenon has now become part of the digital revolution and has a definite impact on the development of the entire art industry.
For a number of apparent reasons, NFT has gained the most recognition among digital artists, graphic artists, and animators. Unable to sell the fruits of their creativity in the physical world, digital creators have had a good chance of selling their work in the form of NFT's. As an example, the sensational $69 million sale at Christieʼs auction of Mike Winkelmann (better known as BEEPLE) Digital Collage, ”Everydays:The First 5000 Days,” made him the most expensive living digital artist.
Trade of digital art objects takes place on special NFT marketplaces, where the artist can not only make money, but also protect their copyrights. Due to the steadily growing interest in NFT, new marketplaces are constantly emerging. Some of the most popular are OpenSea, Nifty Gateway and Rarible.
But is it so easy for artists who know nothing about NFT and blockchain to tokenize their work? How to not get lost among the many marketplaces and choose the most profitable option to create and sell NFTs? We will talk about this with Sergei Rusak, the founder and CEO of the new, innovative, original NFT marketplace - PICIPO.
From this interview, you will get a better understanding of the problems most often faced by NFT creators and buyers. You will learn how to attract attention to your NFT, so that it does not get lost in the ocean of offers on the market. Sergei Rusak talks in detail about the new features of the Picipo platform, such as collaboration and collective selling of NFTs, and what the advantages of this function are.
Sergei Rusak has more than 10 years of experience in IT, founded and managed outsourcing companies, worked for venture capital funds and created product companies. For many years has been involved in the implementation of complex infrastructure projects across countries and regions.
When creating such projects, an important issue is to exclude fraud on the part of participants, and blockchain technology can greatly help in this way. As early as 3 years ago, he began to actively explore ways to use this technology in his projects, but did not receive a positive response from institutional stakeholders. Therefore, he continued to use the classic stack of development until the end of 2020.
Being a true lover of art, he turned his attention to the NTF market and was terribly upset that it took him 3 weeks to create an account on a marketplace. So, he talked to his friends and realized that NFTs have huge potential. That’s why he put together a team of experts and blockchain developers and started developing a new platform.
For now, he is the founder and CEO of PICIPO - revolutionary Polygon based NFT marketplace for digital artists with collaborative sale features.
Yuliana Arles: Dear Sergei, can you highlight the main problems that digital artists face when creating NFTs?
Sergei Rusak: At the moment I can highlight the following main problems that most well-known platforms have: high commissions (gas fees), long moderation process or only invitation system, good work can be lost in the ocean of low quality ones, difficulties in converting fiat into cryptocurrency, lack of tools for promotion and communication directly on the platform, non user-friendly interface, lack of working DeFi tools and mechanisms, etc.
Yuliana Arles: The problems you mentioned constitute a rather serious barrier for creative people, who must not only have artistic ability, but also combine the functions of a sales and marketing specialist, sometimes even a programmer. Tell me, do you see the possibility of simplifying the process of tokenization of digital works in the near future?
Sergei Rusak: Our team was already thinking about this at the end of 2020. And before we started developing the platform, we decided to do client development. It took us about 50 days to talk to more than 300 artists and collectors. They described their pains and problems, and it became clear that our team could solve them.
Thus, we clearly understood that our main mission is, first and foremost, to create a platform that is comfortable, easy and fun to use. After that, we can safely begin to solve the problem of NFT secondary market liquidity.
Picipo was launched quite recently, but we can safely say that our marketplace is not an ordinary one or just another trading platform. We have created a unified NFT management platform with a huge number of features that cannot be found in existing marketplaces.
It's also worth noting that Picipo runs on Polygon, which allows you to receive insignificant commissions for NFT mining compared to the Ethereum network.
Yuliana Arles: As we can see, Picipo was created to make it easier for new digital users to enter the NFT world. And as for users who already have profiles on other marketplaces. How do you plan to attract such already confident users?
Sergei Rusak: We have taken care of attracting even the most advanced NFT creators in a certain way. The big feature of our project, especially for artists, is the possibility to present their art collection on Picipo in such a way as to attract maximum audience, to present their collection and to tell their unique story to the whole world.
Our platform has no limitations, so anyone can contact the Picipo team, apply to create a unique design for an individual page in the Picipo ecosystem, and put their work up for sale. Our team will support absolutely any talented artist, from beginner to celebrity!
Yuliana Arles: Besides additional opportunities in promoting NFT on your platform and substantial support at every stage of use, what else sets your platform apart from many other marketplaces?
Sergei Rusak: Another distinctive feature of Picipo is the ability to create artist collaborations and sell artworks or art collections, and to organize the division in a very convenient interface. Already, many artists have appreciated this feature and emphasized that they have not seen such a feature anywhere else. We are sure that various art houses and galleries will also take advantage of this feature to sell works by famous artists and collectors on Picipo.
In addition to co-creation, a lifetime royalty of up to 50 percent on each subsequent NFT sale can be set up on Picipo and thus provide an additional source of income for each artist.
Yuliana Arles: The NFT gold rush has led to a huge number of tokenized objects in the blockchain. For example, there are more than 23 million NFTs on the OpenSea Marketplace. How do you plan to help customers sort through such a large selection of NFTs, especially those who are just about to start building their collection?
Sergei Rusak: Of course, there are many users who would like to buy NFTs but can't because they know nothing about cryptocurrencies and don't understand how to convert fiat into cryptocurrencies. At Picipo, a lot of attention is given to users who are entering the world of cryptocurrencies for the first time. We make every effort to make this journey easy and comfortable. For this reason, Picipo already has a fiat gateway that allows everyone to buy cryptocurrency or withdraw funds directly on the platform.
Picipo is also the first project to introduce decentralized moderation, where each NFT creation application is evaluated by Picipo's team of moderators, consisting of community leaders of artists, influential collectors and talented artists.
Yuliana Arles: The first thing one notices about Picipo and what sets it apart from other marketplaces, is the quality of artworks available on your platform. In the future, will you maintain and control such a high quality of NTFs on your platform, or will you provide an opportunity to tokenize any object without prior selection?
Sergei Rusak: Indeed, we pay special attention to the quality of each work that is presented on the platform. Currently, the selection of works is carried out by the moderation team. But after a while, we want to create a system in which active users of our platform will perform a similar function. Therefore, moderation will always exist, only people who make decisions will change, and their number will also increase.
Yuliana Arles: As a dynamically developing platform, are you open to cooperation with art galleries, artistic events or any other type of business? Do you plan to match Picipo solutions to the expectations of different industries and markets? If so, what are the Picipo possibilities in this regard?
Sergei Rusak: Of course, we are open to any kind of cooperation. We are constantly expanding our network of partners and pride ourselves on the fact that the majority rate the platform extremely high. The functionality of our platform allows you to upload absolutely any content, so if there is demand, for example, for music tracks, we will create a separate section where they can be posted and sold.
We constantly monitor the main market trends and try to respond to them promptly. Therefore, now our platform has such a look and functionality, how it will look in a year or two, it is difficult to say now, but I am definitely sure that it will keep up with the times and meet the highest user requirements.
Yuliana Arles: Can you share your plans for the development of Picipo? What useful innovations on the platform can your existing and potential users expect?
Sergei Rusak: Many other functions will be added to Picipo in the near future. We will add social tools and mechanisms that will allow artists and collectors to communicate directly on the platform, using direct chats, group chats, subscriptions, comments, likes, reposts, etc.
We will add tools to promote artworks on the platform in a very cool way to get as much attention on Picipo as possible. As the use of NFT in combination with DeFi tools becomes more and more common, some interesting options will also be added to Picipo.
The cryptocurrency community, with simple images tied to NFT, has passed the first stage of adoption of this technology. Software developers have learned how to work with these smart contracts, have figured out the more complex links, and are actively developing the infrastructure. The product engineers have learned how to create new business models based on NFT and finally, users have simply figured out what NFT is.
Yuliana Arles: And one last question. Just as the NFT stirred up the digital world in its day, the metaverse is now becoming a major trend. Especially after Mark Zuckerberg's latest announcement about rebranding and renaming Facebook to Meta. How do you see the metaverse evolving in the future? What place in that future do you see for NFT? How do you think these new phenomena will contribute to the art world?
Sergei Rusak: Most people consider an NFT to be an object. In fact, an NFT is not an object, it is a function, and it will find widespread use in the metaverse. As the metaverse has plenty of potential to be as big as the internet, most likely, NFTs will take one of the most important places there.
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