NFT Lately converses with Yash Nelapati, Co-Founder and CTO of MakersPlace, a top digital fine art marketplace connecting global creators with collectors through digital collectibles.
Tell me about yourself and MakersPlace:
My name is Yash Nelapati, I am the Co-Founder & CTO of MakersPlace, the premier non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace for rare and authentic digital fine art that emphasizes accessibility, security, and authenticity. Before MakersPlace, I was the first employee and software engineer at Pinterest. I helped scale the platform to what we know it today.
How does MakersPlace differentiate itself from competitors regarding user experience and features?
What truly sets MakersPlace apart is how passionate we are about art and featuring gifted creators from all across the globe. We utilize digital collectibles as a vehicle of empowerment for the world’s best digital creators by providing a safe and secure infrastructure to sell their work to fans and collectors all across the globe. We like to say we’re not computer nerds but art nerds with computers.
Please explain the underlying technology behind MakersPlace and how it ensures secure transactions and ownership.
We’re built on Ethereum, and our marketplace allows creators and collectors to transparently buy and sell authentic artwork with provenance using any crypto wallet. We also enable collectors to purchase digital fine art with fiat directly from our site, which drastically simplifies the process and expands the accessibility of our collections. Not everyone knows how to use MetaMask or Trust Wallet, but almost everyone knows how to shop online.
What measures have you implemented to address the environmental concerns associated with blockchain technology and NFTs?
Since the Ethereum upgrade known as the Merge, no significant NFT blockchain has used the proof-of-work model, so the total NFT environmental impact is lower than that of physical art. The main exception would, of course, be Bitcoin, but we have yet to see the true potential of Bitcoin NFTs, so it’s hard to speak on the longevity of the tech.
What is your strategy for attracting and retaining high-quality artists and creators to MakersPlace?
MakersPlace has always been committed to supporting creators. As other marketplaces shift business models, we have kept our creators’ interests at the core. In addition to royalty enforcement, we have implemented several premium white glove services to boost the overall creator experience.
Creators that host auctions on our marketplace have access to our expert assistance along each step of the way. Whether it’s creative guidance, pricing advice, or even live activations at key industry events, creators can lean on our team’s extensive industry knowledge and market experience to maximize the potential of their creations.
In addition, we are the only marketplace that offers a unique set of architected programs designed to help creators of all sizes grow. By pairing creators with an optimized set of events and services tailored to their careers, artists have unlimited resources to extend their reach.
We also have the MakersPlace Concierge Program, a white glove experience for top collectors looking for a bit more assistance when buying and selling NFTs. The service includes several perks, including professional procurement from traditional fine art and web3 experts and proxy bidding and escrow services.
Reveal your top drops on MakersPlace and what makes them stand out:
Let’s start with the auction that started it all: Beeple Everydays: The First 5000 Days. Beeple is currently the highest-grossing blockchain-based digital artist, and the auction of his First 5000 Days Collection contributed to the widespread mainstream recognition of NFTs.
SUPERCUZZ, a collaboration with acclaimed artist BossLogic and hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg, was a collection of animated comic book covers featuring Snoop Dogg as SUPERCUZZ. This next-generation superhero included creative direction from Snoop’s son, Cordell Broadus.
Known for his deconstructed paintings and sculptures, Matt Gondek released his Fight Club Collection, which brought his iconic custom-painted baseball bats to the blockchain, but with a unique gamified burn mechanism where collectors had an opportunity to “burn” their NFT for a 1-1 physical rendition of the bat depicted on their token.
Patrick Hughes, the famed British painter who innovated the “reverspective” technique, released his first NFT collection, aptly named “Reverspective”. The drop consisted of two limited editions of 10 entitled “Banksy of England,” and “Pygmalion,” along with an open edition named “Exhibitionism”.
Finally, Trevor Jones, a traditional painter turned crypto-artist, recently honored the late Philippe Fatoux, also known as “Alotta Money”, with a carefully curated collection of artwork where artists from across the globe are encouraged to submit their own creations, inspired by “Alotta Money’s” life or work for submission. Trevor will handpick 24 editions to be included in the collection while the rest of the community votes on the remaining 6 places in the collection. All submitted artworks will be displayed on digital screens at The Castle Party in Paris on September 3-5, 2023, as a part of a charity event supporting Maggie’s.
Can you share some insights on the future developments and innovations planned for MakersPlace?
MakersPlace is consistently finding new ways to innovate and introduce unique tools that enhance both the overall creator and collector experience. We offer a myriad of technical features, products, and services for our users and will continue to expand our suite, further cementing MakersPlace as the most trusted and innovative marketplace for digital art.
In your opinion, what are the key trends and challenges for NFT marketplaces in the coming years, and how do you plan to address them?
Ease of use is still a major roadblock that plagues NFT marketplaces and the greater blockchain industry. As an industry, we must develop better solutions for onboarding and interacting with our products and protocols so that users can focus on what matters. For us, we prioritize celebrating creativity and connecting the world’s best creators with passionate collectors and fans. Blockchain allows us to create industry-disrupting technology that helps accelerate our mission to empower creators with the trusted infrastructure and tools needed to reach collectors worldwide.
By developing solutions to increase ease of use and the accessibility of the underlying tech, suitable protocols and projects will flourish and be able to place a heavier focus on their actual goals instead of explaining the background processes.
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