For several months, many visual artists have been trying their luck in the flourishing NFT market. Content creators, on the other hand, are more hesitant about these digital works certified by the blockchain. The Kalart sales platform wants to encourage them to take a closer look at the technology as a means to capitalize on the support of their communities. ETX Studio spoke to its founder, Stanislas Mako.
What made you decide to create your own NFT sales platform?
Behind Kalart is uTip, a French funding platform for content creators. We've been working with these creators since 2017, and we are always looking for new ways to fund their work.
With the rise of NFTs this spring, we wondered if these non-fungible tokens might have a use for the 80,000 creators we work with at uTip. Any content they create forms part of an artistic process, and should deserve the same authenticity as any painting or sculpture. NFTs allow this and highlight the uniqueness of a digital work, even if it is available to everyone on the internet.
You talk about content creators, while most NFT sales platforms use the word "artist." Who is Kalart aimed at?
We are aimed at any creator who works in a digital fashion. It's not necessarily our calling to collaborate with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, which recently offered NFTs of some works from its collection. They are welcome on Kalart, but the platform was not designed with them in mind.
We are mainly interested in content creators on the internet. More and more works are digital, and no longer on a physical medium such as a canvas. Take the example of photography. Why should a photographer have to print their picture to sell it? It was probably taken with a digital camera, but you have to wait for it to be printed in order for it to gain value. That's the model we want to challenge.
Content creators should be able to sell their work because it appeals to people. Some of them have tens of thousands of followers on social networks. Which artists can boast of having as many? Not a lot of them.
On your platform, transactions can only be made in euros and dollars, and not in cryptocurrencies like most of your competitors. Why did you make that choice?
Out of pragmatism. A content creator will be happy to sell one of their works for 0.2 bitcoin. But how do they pay their rent with that? That's not their reality. Nor is it their followers' reality. Few of them will be inclined to convert their euros or dollars into more or less obscure cryptocurrencies. We really want to create a platform that uses the NFT technology but detaches itself from this as much as possible to make it accessible to the largest number of people.
NFTs have contributed to the emergence of a new category of collectors . Some people buy art online as they would stamps, while others want to acquire moments from the internet . These buyers are willing to buy a tweet or a meme that is not necessarily part of an artistic process but part of internet culture. It is easier for them to make these transactions with conventional currencies than with virtual ones.
Although there's been a lot of talk about NFTs in recent months, this new technology and how it works is still a mystery to many. How do you plan to address this?
I think it's essentially down to cryptocurrencies. That's a huge barrier for most people. Many would not be as hesitant to buy works in the form of NFTs if they could do so in euros.
Also, the acronym "NFT" can be scary to newbies. That's why we use the term "UDW" on Kalart, or "Unique Digital Work." It emphasizes the fact that by purchasing an NFT, you become the official owner of a digital asset that is freely available for all internet users to see.
Creators also have a role to play in educating about this new technology. Some do not feel legitimate about selling their creations in the form of NFTs, whereas they are totally legitimate. They can also encourage their community to take an interest in this new form of participatory economy. Not all fans will necessarily do this, but there will be less misunderstanding about how NFTs work.
Are NFTs a new social currency, similar to "likes"?
It is quite possible. NFTs are a way to show support for a creator. Liking or sharing content is probably the easiest way to interact with someone you follow on social networks. But these don't fundamentally change anything about their life, while NFTs can provide them with some kind of compensation.
We chose to use an auction system to further engage buyers in the sales process. At the moment, many of the creators on Kalart decide to sell their work as NFTs for one euro. They have a hard time evaluating how much their community would be willing to spend to support them in this way, and it is difficult for us to guide them on this. Auctions allow the community to decide for themselves how much value they give to these works. But, for us, one thing is certain: they do have value.
This interview has been translated from French.