the rebirth of blockchain after the dark ages

Long neglected by the Web3 ecosystem, the Tezos platform stands out today for its brilliant artistic activity, illustrated in partnership with Art Basel, the biggest player in contemporary art in the world.

After a $232 million ICO in 2017 (a record at the time), the Tezos blockchain, which launched in 2018, has long been synonymous with legal trouble, whether or not there was a conflict between Franco-Americans Arthur and Kathleen Breitman. and a class action brought against these three parties on American soil by the fund or investors responsible for the funds, which was finally settled in 2020.

In 2020, precisely, its network generated painfully 11,000 monthly transactions, which is quite a modest activity considering the valuation at the time ($2 billion) and the proliferation observed on the Ethereum platform at the same time (between 18 and 39 million transactions per month) . month, according to The Block notes). “It was a bit of a dead blockchain. There was almost nothing there,” recalls Gaspard Broustine, head of the NFT branch at Ledger. “Until Hjetnunc, Tezos’ first NFT platform, appeared”.

A privileged platform for its accessibility

Founded in March 2021 by a young Brazilian developer named Rafael Lima, the NFT marketplace, Hen for short, really sounds like a revival of a somewhat abandoned blockchain until now. “The art exploded in 2021 with an entirely organically created hijetnunc in Tezos,” says Arthur Breitman, founder of Tezos. “Of course, Tezos has good tools and guides for developers, a whole environment that makes it easy to create projects, but they are independent projects and have found a home in Tezos.” site hijacking © chicken

Just two months after its inception, Hen surpassed Opensea in the number of transactions and users attracted by the Tezos environment, which has a dense network and is more accessible than Ethereum, which is more expensive to operate. Gaspard Broustine, confirmed by Diane Drubay, director of the arts and culture department of Berlin-based TZConnect, “The transaction costs on Ethereum were very high, so it created a barrier to direct access for many artists, especially in developing countries,” development studio at Tezos : “Raphael Lima’s initiative has made it possible to unlock the blockchain and provide access to the art market to a more diverse community without paying expensive transaction fees and without having a catastrophic impact on the environment,” he concludes.

Arthur Breitman, co-founder of Tezos. © TF

Since its inception, and therefore four years before Ethereum, the Tezos network has indeed adopted a so-called liquid proof-of-stake consensus, which consumes less energy than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work. time, Ethereum. “It’s been an important factor in attracting users. It’s no coincidence that we’ve been this way from the beginning, because culturally it’s unthinkable to claim that we’ve been interested in this consensus method for years,” Arthur Breitman, JDN, provides a way to wrap up Ethereum’s late update.

Even if Hicetnunc has now disappeared, other platforms have taken over, such as or the market dedicated to generative art and founded by French Baptiste Crespy, FXHash. In turn, the Tezos Foundation and its branches around the world promote the brand by financially supporting local artistic initiatives. “There are regular big events to celebrate the community: Nine Nights in Asia; Proof-of-People in London; I regularly organize meetups in Berlin. exposure, online resources, mentoring and grants for artists to use Tezos,” says Diane Drubey. Charlot, a contemporary art gallery located in the Marais, Paris since 2010, decided to launch an online NFT sales platform on the Tezos network in October. According to owner Valérie Hasson-Bénillouche, “The Tezos fund is very attentive and available at the smallest need. It is one of the most used platforms by artists, it provides very good visibility.” Apparently, the Tezos foundation was particularly noticeable during the first edition of Paris+ by Art Basel, with three days of events at the Bal de la Marine. It is also a partner of Art Basel Miami, the world’s largest contemporary art fair in December, a sign of acquired legitimacy.

“Everybody’s Talking About Crypto Winter, But Not About Tezos”

The activity on the platform today has nothing to do with what it created two years ago: according to the BetterCallDev database, the network records between 3 and 5 million calls per month from smart contracts (interactions with autonomous applications), compared to 200,000 in 2022. 400,000 in 2020. “Since the emergence of NFTs in Tezos, activity has been increasing rapidly,” insists Gaspard Broustine. “Everybody talks about crypto winter, but at Tezos we’ve seen the number of transactions increase and some of the best sales happen. Simply because we’re talking about art,” adds Diane Drubay.

Diane Drubay, Head of Arts and Culture at TZConnect. © Evelyn Bencicova

However, the blockchain is still not supported by the market leader OpenSea, despite the latter promising a donation of $200,000 for this technical development in 2021. “It’s a shame they never did anything, but that’s not a problem for us. OpenSea is a bad student in this area, and there are better markets for Tezos, like Objkt,” launches Arthur Breitman. In addition to objkt and fxhash, there are many exchange platforms on the network: from the hijetnunc code, dedicated to text NFTs or even the newly born Minteed, created in France to encourage creativity without technological knowledge and especially supported by FNAC Darty , during a €3 million fundraiser last July. PyratzLabs, a startup incubator still based in France, launched ArtOS last October, a platform dedicated to projects that combine digital and physical projects.

After music and games, visual art?

Nevertheless, the activity always remains more consistent for Ethereum or even Solana. With both of these networks adopting proof-of-stake, the question is whether Tezos will be relevant. “Tezos has no blockchain lock-in unlike Solana (regularly suspended due to technical issues, editor’s note) and when artists are asked whether they will migrate to Ethereum 2.0, the answer is often negative.

The work, In Motion, is featured on © Eclectic

Tezos has a strong, supportive community to stay with. It was created organically with developers giving their time. I like to say that NFT is New York in Ethereum and Berlin is in Tezos. It’s more underground, more experimental. Even artists on both platforms work more freely on Tezos. You find things that are out of the way”, analyzes Gaspard Broustin. A sentiment clearly shared by Diane Drubay and Arthur Breitman. Gallery owner Valérie Hasson-Bénillouche is more nuanced, because “the artists appreciate the support of the Tezos foundation. at the end of the day, it will largely depend on how collectors position themselves and which platform they prefer.”

The fact is that the activity of the NFT market on Tezos, as on other platforms, will dry up in the third quarter of 2022. Will crypto-art and generative art alone be enough to generate activism in the future? Arthur Breitman has his own opinion on this question and gives us a glimpse of the future expansion of his platform: “Music is the most human art form in the world, and in this respect there is a vector of popularization. important to me. The same is true for games: today, an average game has more users than a massively successful blockchain. Therefore, this is a sector that will bring people together.”

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