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Artists, start your engines

Ready set ARRRRRTTTTT

Artists, once again we are being asked to make art for a brand to compete for an airdrop in a race to the top of a leaderboard popularity contest kind of thing.

YAY?

I guess I'm still salty about the anonymous Twitter Egg (or was it 888? or NiftyWhale? or Gary Vee?) twisting our arms into making Marshmello art for his contest which was supposed to result in Marshmello something, who knows what, it never materialized (class action lawsuit, anyone?), and he made a big show of buying all of it except mine, which I later accidentally shamed him into collecting after he shared his impressive Marshmello Tribute Art Collection. Did I mention my art was not in that collection? It wasn't. Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In My Lane. Focused. Flourishing.

Anyway, this is that art, which is among the earliest 1/1 NFT + physical fiber art on blockchain. Behold my nascent digital art skills:

Marshmello Smores

I digress.

This time it's Alfafrens, which I love all the way down to the tips of my toesies! I've been using the app since day 1 and have focused on following quality peeps over ALFA/degen maxi (we'll talk about this in a few days at the end of my "average user" experiment). I've learned SO MUCH from the folks sharing their knowledge about everything from art to trading to Building to The Next Big Thing Coming Down the Pipeline.

I'm so grateful for how accessible this collective brilliance is for a ridiculously small subscription cost.

And yes, I'm VERY excited that Alfafrens is including artists, doing what we do in our native habitat (generally very much NOT alfa dropping networking!) in this next round of airdrops. For an app where finding success is heavily weighted toward buildoors, as an artist it feels nice to be included in the fun.

Here are the terms, which I copypastaed from the team's Notion page:

Round 1: Mint Race (20/05-26/05)

80,000 $DEGEN

800,000 $ALFA

This week, our finest AF artists will be competing to get the most unique users to mint a single piece of AlfaFrens inspired art! Up to 100 artists will each get 8,000 ALFA and the top 8 will also split a pot of 80,000 $DEGEN.

In order to be considered:

  • Please add to your Farcaster name so we can easily find you for the contest

  • Please mint your NFT on Zora during the week starting 20/05 and cast your public mint on Farcaster in the /alfafrens channel

  • The artwork should be mintable with DEGEN

  • Only unique users minting will be counted

  • Art should be AlfaFrens-inspired in some way, and ideally referenced in the description

  • Here are some assets you can include, but you may not use the section labelled “illustrations”

  • Low effort AI art will be excluded, and bot behaviour will be penalized

  • Influencers shouldn’t use this opportunity to start making art for the first time. There are other categories for you coming up!

  • Total mints during the week will be counted at 23:59 UTC on 26/05

We know some of you have been flexing your creative skills for a while and we will also be announcing some retro rewards for artists along with the race results on 28/05

We’d like to encourage all our AlfaFrens to support by helping amplify their favourite artists or artworks, and enjoy the bonus to your subscriber rewards after!

Recipients of Airdrop 1 will not qualify for this drop.

These rules are as fair as they could possibly be under the circumstances. The team is clearly looking out for *BEHOLD I'm an artist today even though I've never touched an art supply in my life* types.

I don't want to be a wet blanket, but if you're going to hop into this cage match, we need to talk about the amount of effort you're about to put in, on whose behalf you're doing this labor, and the potential rewards.

(I freakin hate when articles make me do math, btw. I should get an airdrop for mathing alone.)

Let's break this down.

Up to 100 artists will get 8000 ALFA each.

What does ALFA do and what is it worth?

The answer to this question is Kermit the Frog.

You earn ALFA by subscribing to channels. You stake ALFA to generate degen. How this math works out in the end is wibbly wobbly depending on so many variables. I'm a simple hugamonster so you'll have to talk to the people who have dug into this to explain it. You cannot trade ALFA, it does not exist outside of the app, afik.

ALFA continuously decreases in value. You have to keep feeding the machine (e.g., the channels you stake in) in order to keep your degen-earned up. In order to earn more ALFA, you need to subscribe to more channels, which is, again, wibbly wobbly math. I think Tormential created a term for this computation? DPS? APD? Boopetyboop? Something...

At any rate, 8000 ALFA is worth...bragging rights, essentially. You will get an initial (big!) bump in degen earned, but as more people use the app and stake in the channels you stake in, the impact of this bump will diminish, and you'll once again be scrapping it out like an average user.

If you're staking it in your own channel...also wibbly wobbly math stuff, I can't tell you what impact that will have, but I promise it's far less than the value of your effort.

The top 8 will also split a pot of 80,000 $DEGEN.

As I write this, 80,000 degen is $1,232.96 USD, which comes out to $154.12 per artist. That's not an insignificant amount of money to an artist.

Artists, I want you to zoom out for a second.

What is your time worth?

How many hours will it take you to make Alfafrens branded art, which may or may not have anything to do with the methods and materials you currently use?

How many hours will you spend promoting Alfafrens to race to the top of the leaderboard between May 20 and May 26?

What parts of your real work will not get completed because you are making art for Alfafrens and/or promoting it?

What do people get paid to do all of these things professionally? (I'll wait while you go google this, come back here, and demand a raise.)

If you choose to dive into making Alfafrens branded art for this competition, you're signing up to market Alfafrens, which is an app you already pay for in one way or the other...unless you don't use Alfafrens, in which case you'd just be farming an airdrop and we don't like that.

You're doing all of this work in hopes that you come out on top and that you earn what amounts to very much less than what your art and marketing skills are worth.

My prediction: the people who have baked-in networks/broad collector bases will come out on top. The quiet artists who make bespoke work - the artists most deserving of celebration, recognition, and promotion - will once again be left behind.

Alfafrens is awarding art that earns them the most publicity. This has nothing to do with quality - you are rewarded for your willingness/ability to be loud. There are no guarantees you'll be paid for your creative and marketing efforts.

This is rewarding the hustle, not highlighting the artist.

If you decide to dive into this mint race, just know what you're signing up for and what you're giving up to do it.

I say this with love.

PS, I've reached out to the dev and shared my thoughts about this process in future and also, how they can assist artists during this round - I would very much like to see Alfafrens highlight artists, regardless of whether they're making Alfafrens-branded work, during this race.

Less we're looking, post your art and recast.

More I care about artists and want to highlight their work, let me look through the art channels and share art I connect with, in addition to highlighting the work that was submitted for our contest.

While I've got you here, I minted some work yesterday on Zora for 10M $GRND, 10 editions. No idea what this link looks like in Paragraph once published, let's find out!

If you have no idea what $GRND is, chat up NFT Joe and/or UNDRGRND.

NFA, but also join us in /hugamonsters on Warpcast.

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#alfafrens#cryptoart#calls for art
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