Photography NFTs are increasing in both popularity and demand, with a growing number of notable artists selling shots for large sums, and well-known NFT collectors making a concerted effort to amass photos.
With a dedicated platform, a new platform called Sloika aims to help even more photographers enter the Ethereum NFT space. It announced a $2 million seed round today, led by 1confirmation.
Sloika was co-founded by Ev Tchebotarav and Arseniy Ivanov, the founder and first employee of the online photo-sharing platform 500px, respectively. After growing that community to tens of millions of users, they are now attempting to assist photographers in capturing value in the NFT space.
Sloika, as opposed to OpenSea, which is similar to Amazon or eBay for NFTs, is solely focused on photos. Images in the curated drops have a larger canvas on the Sloika website than they would on a typical NFT marketplace, and photographers aren’t competing for attention with flashy profile picture collections or animated cryptoart compositions. Sloika’s platform also gives creators complete control over important details such as rights and royalties.
“None of the platforms are concerned with photography rights.” Every single series that is released on Sloika includes embedded photography rights. “It’s the little things,” Tchebotarav explained to ULTCOIN365. “We want to go deep and start solving problems for photographers, such as how do they promote themselves?” “How do they see the worth of their work?”
An NFT serves as a deed of ownership to a digital item that is demonstrably scarce, such as a photo, illustration, video file, or something else. According to DappRadar data, the NFT market exploded earlier this year and has only grown larger over the course of 2021, with a record-breaking $10.67 billion in total trading volume in Q3.
In the NFT space, photography has gained traction in recent months. Justin Aversano is arguably the most well-known photographer in NFTs thus far, with collectors including Snoop Dogg and Gary Vaynerchuk, and one piece selling for $1.1 million at a Christie’s auction in October.
Other notable photographers in the NFT space include Isaac “Drift” Wright, Cath Simard, and Dave Krugman, while major collectors such as punk6529 and WhaleShark have recently increased their photo NFT purchases. Aversano is also a member of RAW DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) focused on collecting photo NFTs, and has recently launched Quantum Art, a photo-centric NFT platform.
1/ The Investment Thesis for #nftphotography Over the past 3 days, the @whale_community and I have invested upwards of $500,000 in acquiring #nftphotography.This thread breaks down our observed:Cases for investmentInvestment challenges (opportunities)Let’s geddit 👇👇👇— WhaleShark.eth (@WhaleShark_Pro) November 30, 2021
Tchebotarav and Ivanov co-founded Sloika this summer to help photographers monetize their work through the medium and accelerate the growth of photo NFTs.
1confirmation General Partner Nick Tomaino, one of Coinbase’s first employees, wrote in a blog post announcing the investment that Web 2 platforms like Facebook and Twitter suck up much of the value when photographers share their work online. He wrote that with the rise of Web 3 and the paradigm of NFTs representing ownership, photographers can now benefit from direct digital sales to collectors and gain more control over their work and livelihood.
Sloika will launch a ‘killer app for NFTs.’
Sloika’s $2 million seed round includes investment from SuperRare founder and CEO John Crain, Manifold founder and CEO Eric Diep, LogDNA co-founder Christopher Nguyen, and tech accelerator South Park Commons, in addition to 1confirmation. Sloika has also established a $20,000 monthly grant program to assist young female photographers in creating their first NFTs.
Tchebotarav sees significant opportunity in the photo NFT space ahead, but believes there is still work to be done as new photographers navigate the space, including the need for some to be “more vulnerable” and share their personal stories, as Aversano has already done. The Sloika co-founder believes that as they do so, a much larger base of collectors will emerge.
“We just have to be patient and keep telling the stories of those photographers,” Tchebotarav said. “I believe that a lot more collectors will begin to see photography as the ultimate killer app for NFTs.”