It’s unarguable that Web3 has a lot of promises for the creative landscape. However, for many artists venturing into this digital frontier, the path to sustainable income from their work remains fraught with challenges.
NFT sales, while occasionally yielding astronomical figures for select creators, are often subject to unpredictable hype cycles and speculative bursts. This volatility breeds uncertainty that impacts creators in profound ways.
Vitruveo is one platform looking to redefine the NFT landscape with an ecosystem optimized for creators, ensuring that all creators have sustainable income from their art.
Cryptopolitan had the great pleasure of interviewing Nik Kalyani, Project Lead at Vitruveo, to discuss in detail how Vitruveo intends to remove the bottlenecks in the Web3 space.
To begin, could you please introduce yourself and your position at Vitruveo?
My name is Nik Kalyani, and I am the CEO and Founder of Vitruveo.
I am a serial tech entrepreneur with five prior startups (three exits). The most notable of these was a company I co-founded, “DNN Corporation,” a popular Open Source CMS in the Microsoft ecosystem. For this, I was awarded Microsoft’s “Most Valuable Professional” award for 11 years.
I have been involved in crypto since building my own rig to mine Bitcoin back in 2013. I got my first NFTs with CryptoKitties in 2017. As I got more involved in art NFTs, I also founded NftyDreams, organized the NamasteyNFT conference in India with 10K attendees, managed a physical art exhibition at a mainstream Dubai gallery, “Foundry”, for one month with 500+ global artists, visited the remote villages of the Amazon Rainforests in Paraguay and Argentina to understand how web3 could help indigenous artists.
Vitruveo is literally and metaphorically the confluence of all my work in the technology and art aspects of web3.
What story or drive led to the creation of Vitruveo? Is there a story behind the name choice?
Vitruveo is inspired by the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
The Vitruvian man symbolizes the harmonious blend of art and science during the Renaissance. The man’s outstretched limbs fit within both a square and a circle, representing the ideal, balanced proportions of the
human body. It embodies the Renaissance’s pursuit of art, science, and innovation.
At Vitruveo, we are re-imagining the creative economy. I created the Vitruveo blockchain because it isn’t possible for creators to be truly successful in a space where they and their work aren’t full citizens on the technology platform on which their work resides. With every other blockchain, creators don’t have much say in the direction of the core technology as they are horizontal platforms catering to all domains and use cases.
How would you introduce Vitruveo to creators outside Web3?
Vitruveo’s driving principle is simplicity. We are focused on helping artists already in web3 grow, but are sights are set squarely on the 84% of artists who are not yet in web3. For them we are creating a structured onboarding process starting with a workshop all the way to listing and promoting their first artwork. For galleries, our approach is to first educate the owners and help them understand the economics of the space, and then give them the option to onboard all their artists and artworks in batches.
Web3 has largely been opaque for most users because of the high friction of tools and technologies and all the technical jargon involved. Our approach is almost web 2.5-centric.
We want to use tools and technologies that people are already familiar with, such as credit cards and email addresses, as the point of first contact with web3. Then, as artists and buyers get more familiar with the space and the tools become more usable, we enable them to make the switch
In December 2023, we onboarded up to 2,500 artist Genesis Artists. In Q1 2024, we will start onboarding traditional artists at scale and welcome them to web3.
The whitepaper mentioned Vitruveo being a vertically integrated ecosystem. What does it imply, and how will it benefit creators?
It is a “vertically integrated ecosystem” focused on creators. While most protocols have USPs around technology, such as security, transaction speed, architecture, etc., Vitruveo is different.
We take the same software that is run by the Ethereum blockchain with two important areas of modification: early adopter token incentives and protocol-level features for creator asset consignment and licensing. In addition, as a protocol, we provide human, social and capital resources to help creators thrive.
At the protocol level, how is Vitruveo different from other platforms?
Unlike marketplaces on other blockchains, creators do not mint their artworks. Instead, they consign their artwork to the protocol with the standards described. Anyone can then create a marketplace, gallery, streaming or other app to view and buy any artwork using a very granular search. This increases the scope for an artist’s work to be discovered and monetized, thus enabling Vitruveo to achieve its mission — making it possible for all creators to have a sustainable income through their art.
Part of Vitruveo’s mission is to onboard more Art Collectors into the Web3 space. How does it plan to achieve this?
Our approach is centered around our mission — to make it possible for every creator to have a sustainable income through their art. Turns out that this mission dovetails well with our hypothesis that in a world traumatized by animosity, wars and general havoc wreaked by social media, art is the antidote for a kinder, gentler world.
We’re focused on creating a platform that makes art more accessible to mainstream users at a scale never before possible or imagined. By doing so, we can achieve our mission and also make the world better.
In practical terms, this means increasing the number of channels by which artists can use web3 for themselves and their art to be discoverable and monetizable. We’re taking existing channels and decentralizing them to scale better and without middlemen. Our products and services are broadly divisible into five areas:
a) Digital art collectibles
b) Virtual art galleries
c) Print on Demand
e) Indigenous Artists
As a new blockchain ecosystem, we have lots of work to do in order to achieve our mission. Our roadmap for the foreseeable future is centered on the following:
- Go from beta blockchain to production blockchain by the end of 2023
- Onboard up to 2,500 artists already in web3 with our new tooling and have them give feedback
- Launch VTRU Studio, VTRU Store, VTRU Stream and VTRU Things with at least one partner for each. We have partners in place for Stream and Things and are currently seeking established traditional galleries and marketplaces on other platforms to bring to Vitruveo.
- In 2024, we will start a workshop series for traditional artists to onboard them to web3
- Multiple virtual and real-life exhibitions are planned to showcase the works of artists on Vitruveo
Vitruveo Booster NFT Sale recently crossed the $1 million mark. Can you talk more about it?
The primary benefit of the Vitruveo Booster NFT to the business and to the protocol is that it provides funding in order for the project to succeed. There are several perks that come with the Booster NFTs, like AR-enabled genesis artworks by some of the top Web3 artists, $VTRU coins, accelerated vesting and more. But, the key benefit to the holder is the revenue share feature.
As a protocol focused entirely on creators and art, we are essentially set up to have every transaction of every marketplace on this protocol yield a 2% fee and a portion of that 2% is allocated to Boosters. And, this is a significant portion, why…
As you may have observed on other marketplaces, you can see that at their peak, the sales of artworks get into the billions of dollars. Also, many buy artwork to flip it for a higher price, so think secondary sales. Every one of those secondary sales yields a 2% fee to the treasury and, therefore, to the owners of a booster.
So, simply put, Booster NFT holders can look forward to perpetual income. We will use the newly raised funds to accelerate our ecosystem growth, cover its ongoing protocol costs, deploy cutting-edge dApps, and exchange liquidity. Each holder also receives a set amount of Vitruveo’s native cryptocurrency, VTRU tokens.
What other unique features of Vitruveo would you like the public to know about? Possibly, notable milestones and partnerships
The initial tendency is to compare Vitruveo to marketplaces like OpenSea, etc. But this would be an inaccurate comparison. A better analogy is Apple’s vertically integrated ecosystem for its products and services. That’s Vitruveo. We’re a vertically integrated ecosystem for creators, starting with the blockchain and then moving up the stack with smart contracts, apps, marketplaces, learning resources, workshops, communities, marketing and technology and legal frameworks highly optimized for creators.
Our approach is to start with Trust, the number one thing missing in the current art ecosystem and the reason why 84% of traditional artists and art organizations are not in the space.
We’re focused on creating a platform that makes art more accessible to mainstream users at a scale never before possible or imagined. Achieving this in a year’s time will mean a home run for us – achieving our mission and also making the world better.