Crypto Veteran. Tokenization, DeFi and Security Tokens - Blockchain.
Ishan Pandey: Hi Etan, welcome to our series “Behind the Startup.” Please tell us about yourself and the story behind Valuart?
Etan Genini: Thanks for having me here, guys! Personally, I come from the IP field, specializing notably in optimizing the management and exploitation of valuable intellectual property to maximize its reach and value. In the last 15 years, I have managed a company that produces unique content for some of the biggest brands in the world.
We are three founders. Two of us come from the Intellectual Property field and the third one from the Finance and Crypto world. We are all deeply passionate fans/collectors of Art & Design.
My Co-Founder, Vittorio Grigòlo, IS, one could say, is a “LIVING IP”. He is a world-known tenor whose name is famous throughout the global opera & classical art community.
In the last two decades, he has been touring all around the world, spreading his unique voice and the beauty of his art as far as he could.
Our last Co-Founder, Michele Fiscalini, comes from the Finance world but is also a crypto investor from “the start”: he has always been part of the crypto community and has invested in these growing technologies from their very early stages.
Considering our profiles and mutual interests, can you imagine how excited we saw the rise of the “NFT awareness” that the Crypto community was manifesting?
NFT gave the crypto investors an outlook and a new perspective into the Art Market, and they reacted with positivity and enthusiasm. For people like us, it was the technological answer that we were seeking for years! We truly felt that this new world was at the convergence of all our passions, experience, and expertise.
That being said, looking at how the NFT market was evolving, we clearly understood that in the short term, most of the artists that we love and are used to collecting would not be able to express themselves within the new meta world of NFT art at the level they would deserve to… We could not imagine them starting up an NFT production process and having a proportional impact compared to their physical world.
We became increasingly aware and convinced that this new market was enormously missing a company able to help all the leading Artists, Art collectors, Art foundations, brands, and other institutions that were surrounding us. After decades of collaboration and passion within these industries, we felt that this was the perfect moment in which we could give our most valuable contributions to the Design and Art World… and this is how Valuart was born.
Ishan Pandey: How is an art-based NFT disrupting the digital art industry? Further, what factors and incentives are critical to ensure its continued growth?
Etan Genini: In a way, NFTs are bound to form an integral part of the digital art industry. They are an extremely useful technology to finally enable a sure way to have a proof of ownership or proof of authenticity/origin of a given digital artwork and provide a way to trade and conserve such artworks easily.
In addition, a key benefit that the NFTs create is the possibility to bring “scarcity” into the digital realm, in the sense that there will be only 1 digital asset that is the true original, and the ownership of this asset can be easily tracked and verified. This aspect is a fundamental part of the “traditional” art ecosystem, and NFTs appear to be the best (if not the only) way to implement it in the developing digital art industry as well.
Therefore, NFTs may not only impact the way art is created or transformed into digital art but also completely change how art is traded, bringing new channels of monetization (both in the primary market and the secondary one, which is a world that artists have rarely benefited from in the past). They will also participate in the introduction of a new class of buyers to the art industry.
In our view, another fundamental concept is that NFTs are not only a valuable development for pure “digital art”, but they are also a key innovation that allows physical art to enter the digital world. This is a crucial aspect for us since our vision is to collaborate with major players of the traditional art world and help them to the best possible transition into the digital market to have the impact they deserve.
Finally, we believe that NFTs also enables a new way of collaboration within the art ecosystem, for instance, by taking a physical masterpiece, cloning it into a digital asset, and then adding on top of it further creative elements from different art segments (soundtrack, video elements, etc.) to enhance the experience and attraction they create. Of course, this should be done following the spirit of the original artwork/intentions of the artists, which we at Valuart always do, and focusing on bringing additional artistic value through meaningful “artistic crossovers”.
It is a relatively new industry that is still in development, but overall we see that the following elements will be critical factors/incentives that will help in its continuous growth:
We could talk a long time about all the benefits of NFTs and how they may continue to disrupt the digital art industry, but we believe these core concepts give a good overview of the possibilities and requirements for success.
Ishan Pandey: Recently, there has been a massive uproar in the crypto market wherein people have purchased digital art using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). What is the future of NFTs in the cryptocurrency market and is it the next big thing? According to you, what is driving crypto’s value in 2021? Further, what are your views on NFT art and its valuation?
Etan Genini: The cryptocurrency market is continuously evolving and changing. Although it is not a new industry per se, it is still seeking full mainstream adoption, new innovations are coming up all the time and for this reason, it is still very volatile. As we are long-term investors and enthusiasts of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies in general, we are always following the newest developments.
When Non-Fungible Tokens appeared, we were immediately intrigued by the technology and its potential. We keenly followed its development until we truly identified what was missing and where we could bring the most value to finally launch Valuart.
Given the incredible value and utility of this technology, not only in the art digitization but also in a number of industries spanning from Gaming to Fashion and impacting content creation/ownership in general, we are absolutely convinced that it is here to stay and prosper. Just as the ICO craze set the framework for the DeFi movement that will keep on growing, the initial NFT hype will transform into a long-term sustainable trend as its use and value become clearer and clearer. In this process, a lot of projects without “substance” will disappear, while those that bring true value and utility will strive to become the leaders in this new industry.
In 2021, we saw a lot of hype and a lot of volatility in the crypto world in general. The value of most cryptocurrencies exploded (before a major correction), and so did the NFTs. We believe that a major factor influencing the value of cryptocurrencies is their increasing adoption, especially from the institutional side, both as a strong investment and as a technology that has a large number of benefits. In this way, there is a strong correlation between cryptocurrencies and NFTs, in particular in the beginning, as this same factor will naturally have a similar impact on NFTs, and surely as cryptocurrencies continue to become more popular/valuable, those solutions that derive from it will also receive growing attention.
That being said, we do think that NFTs will increasingly gain a “stand-alone” value, in the sense that the benefits that they bring to the industries where they can be implemented, notably in the art world, are strong enough to subsist and grow even if, let’s say, the dollar value of bitcoin or ether drops. NFT art in itself has a number of verticals, depending among other things on whether they are directly related to a physical art or if they are purely digital art, or if they are there as a complement to the physical art (utility value) or as an artwork in themselves (artistic value). In any case, it has already been clearly shown that it can have tremendous desirability, and both the art and investment world have noticed and are getting ready to jump in.
Ishan Pandey: Valuing an art-based NFT can be tricky. According to you, how should digital NFT art be valued?
Etan Genini: This is a very interesting question, which could actually be asked for physical art as well. Without entering into philosophical debates, we believe that somehow Art is all about the experience that the oeuvre gives you, and the value that the public or collectors attribute to it. NFTs are a multiplicator of what the piece of art itself can give to the public.
From a purely economic or commercial perspective, scarcity always creates value. Since NFTs allow to prove and guarantee such scarcity, they naturally hold some inherent value, even more so in case, the underlying piece of art is also scarce and highly valuable (or valued).
The soundness of the content is also a key factor. If NFTs represent in a “tangible” way the value of the artwork, the values of the artist, the content is high quality. The storytelling is powerful; then, there is no reason why the market dynamics should not push the NFT to a value close to the original artwork. I will tell you more. Additional creative and artistic artwork that can be effectively and impactfully combined within an NFT may end up helping the latter become as valuable as the original artwork in the long term, or at least to positively modify the correlation with the value of the original artwork. Actually, under the right circumstances, it is not unthinkable to have an NFT being even more valuable than the underlying piece of art.
In line with this, we are firm believers that the ability to collaborate directly with the artists / right holders is a key component to create and increase the value of the NFTs.
For instance, doing an NFT at home from the Mona Lisa may be worthless (and even illegitimate), but doing the 1 NFT that is approved by the Louvre as the one and only original and/or approved digital representation of the Mona Lisa may be invaluable.
We have a personal experience with that: as you may know, we will transform into an NFT the Giubilar Mantle worn by Pope John Paul II on the night of the 24th December 1999, on the occasion of the opening of the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica. The original artwork is the most important Relic that Saint Pope left on earth, and its value is exponential, as you can imagine. Now somebody, who has no connection at all with the owners of the asset, could decide to recreate a digital artwork as an NFT based on the asset and the event, but that would be nothing more than “fan work”.
It could still hold important value if the work would be of high quality or the public would appreciate the story created, but nothing comparable to an NFT that would be certified by both the Vatican and the owner of the Mantle as the only one being an exclusive and unique representation of the artwork. If, in addition, one manages to add further artistic and creative value to the digital representation, as we intend to, it is clear for us that by its unicity, scarcity, and its story, this NFT will stay as a piece of art history just as the original artwork is.
Ishan Pandey: What tips would you give to an artist who wants to sell his/her digital art as an NFT?
Make it in the proper way.. No rush… no panic.
Respect your brand… and if you do not have the right structure to give your work the proper exposure, do not risk “dropping” something that will not be understood and valued in the proper way by the community.
Ishan Pandey: As giants such as Sotheby’s and Banksy enter the NFT market. According to you, how will the NFT based market look like in the next one year?
Etan Genini: We believe that big names will continue to enter the market as it becomes more structured, established and accepted. In addition, we will see a number of new projects, notably in collaboration with the major brands and companies, that will develop to try to benefit from the already proven segments of the industry or to answer those needs that are important but not yet covered by leading service providers.
Valuart also enters in this category, and we are confident that we will provide strong support and value for those giants looking for the most efficient and effective way to enter the NFT world.
Ishan Pandey: According to you, what trends will we see next in the NFT industry?
Etan Genini: Generally speaking, we believe that in this developing NFT market, what will strive with time will be those solutions that can either offer high quality or a strong utility, and we aim to be at the intersection of these two pillars.
Physical Art & Design will keep evolving, and the utility in Gaming is going to be huge. With the brand new “Fast & Green” blockchains, the gaming industry will surely make massive returns. In the same way, the implementation of NFTs for “mass” content producers, notably on social media, is likely to develop, although the overall adoption remains to be seen.
Purely in the Art & Design segment, it is conceivable that NFTs will truly form an integral part of the ecosystem in the not-so-distant future and no artwork will be created nor traded without an NFT component, one way or the other.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to remove informational asymmetry existing today in our digital markets by performing due diligence by asking the right questions and equipping readers with better opinions to make informed decisions. The material does not constitute any investment, financial, or legal advice. Please do your research before investing in any digital assets or tokens, etc. The writer does not have any vested interest in the company. Ishan Pandey
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.