Tyler Hobbs does it again with QQL, this time together with Dandelion Wist
Game-changing dynamics led to over $17M in primary sales...
Buenos días y noches, you all!
Today I would like to recap the most memorable project we have seen in the generative art world in a while — QQL.
A collaborative experiment in generative art
by Tyler Hobbs and Dandelion Wist Mané.
QQL is a new generative art “experiment” created by Tyler Hobbs and Dandelion Wist Mané, which brought innovations on multiple fronts, starting from the minting experience (even for those that couldn't afford a mint pass like yours truly), breathtaking outputs, marketing, sales mechanics, and long-term vision.
Among the multiple innovations, the one that stands out is the interactive creative experience. Hobbs and Wist designed a system that lets collectors play with the algorithm’s parameters to generate as many outputs as they want. Their main goal was to take QQL to its limits so that the most breathtaking works get discovered.
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We looked at Fidenza’s outputs and tried to identify those considered to be grails by collectors and art fans. After doing the math we noticed Fidenza only has 1k outputs, and for that reason, many grails never came to life.
What if we could find a way to make sure the most beautiful outputs were minted, instead of leaving this to chance?
Simplified snippets of the conversation Tyler and Dandelion had on the PROOF’s podcast with Kevin Rose to introduce the project.
Anyone can jump into the website and set their preferred palettes, color modes, ring distribution, and size, among other settings (even the margins). To add more fuel to the fire, they ran a contest for a chance to win a mint pass. We could say things got out of control as over one million renders were generated (and counting).
It isn’t like Tyler Hobbs came out of nowhere to pull this off. He was already the hottest generative artist on the planet after releasing numerous iconic gen art collections, including Fidenza — the highest collection by the floor on Art Blocks Curated and considered the Mona Lisa of gen art. What is particularly exciting is the significant risk he took, as he could have released QQL as a “traditional” long-form collection and made a couple of millions. Instead, he teamed up with Dandelion, an accomplished developer and collector. Together they did something unconventional that will leave a big mark in art history.
Besides the co-creation between collectors, artists, and the algorithm, the following decisions are pretty innovative too:
The mint passes never expire. You can use them five years from now, or maybe, give them to your kids?
If you use a mint pass, you will receive 2% royalties (together with Tyler and Dandelion) on the secondary sales of your QQL.
Access to rebates if you purchased a mint pass at an early tier during the dutch auction. This is a great mechanic, especially when so much money is on the line.
Considering the high demand and traffic and being a small team, it is worth noting there weren’t any critical technical issues. All these factors added to an astonishing success — QQL generated over $17M in direct sales (at the current ETH price, $1,300) after selling out at the 14 ETH dutch auction tier.
Currently, the QQL mint passes are trading for almost 20 ETH ($25k), and the mint passes have generated over 4k ETH in secondary volume (+$5M). That’s over $20 million in total… This isn’t factoring in the secondary market volume on actual minted QQLs as they are slowly being minted (the floor is 25 ETH at the moment). The risk and innovation certainly paid off already, and who knows how much those QQL grails will be worth…
Now, I have a bunch of questions and thoughts regarding the effect of QQL in the global gen art (coded) landscape.
First, will we see more of this mechanic, where the collector is part of the curation process? Will established platforms like Art Blocks and FxHash include these features in their development and minting environments?
Secondly, something that might be overlooked right now is the solid educational ramifications of this drop. Playing with the parameters in this simple and user-friendly interface is a fantastic way to understand gen art and how algorithms work. I’m sure many gen art lovers with little to no technical background learned much from this, so I expect the average collector to be more selective and critical.
Last but not least, what could be the effects on how generative artist approach collections from now on? This approach succeeded in exploring the algorithm to its maximum capacity. But, you could also argue that collections could lose the artist's touch — something I read over Twitter and think is worth sharing, although I don’t necessarily agree.
So much happened in a few days, and we haven’t seen most of the outputs. A big part of the QQL story is still unwritten. How will collectors use their mint passes? When will they use their mint passes? I’d bet there will be many unused mint passes a decade from now. Will there be any significant repercussions in how long-form gen art is approached from here?
I wish the global media would highlight this sort of art, concepts, and experiences when mentioning NFTs.
Fantastic accomplishment; the bar was set very high.
Until next time,
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