At this year’s TI:GER Innovation Conference, we had the pleasure of speaking with Crypto entrepreneur, author and NFT artist Luis Buenaventura. A contributor to one of the oldest NFT projects on Ethereum, Buenaventura shared his story with our guests, highlighting how NFT projects originated and why they have gained traction in recent years. 

Curio Cards – The First NFT Art Project

Buenaventura’s venture into NFT’s began at a meetup in San Francisco in 2017 where he was approached by developers working on a unique Ethereum project called Curio Cards. The idea was simple: find artists who could create digital cards that could be traded and sold on the Ethereum blockchain – Crypto Art, as they called it.

At the time, Buenaventura was in town trying to raise money for a Bitcoin project he was working on. It sounded like an interesting project, he said, so he developed what he called “joke bitcoin cards.”  

Curio Cards originally sold for around $3 to $4 apiece. There was not much demand for NFTs at the time, and Buenaventura went back to working on other projects. There was nothing like it at the time, and no one could have predicted what would happen in the NFT space in just a few short years.

The Curio Card project remained somewhat forgotten until 2021 when the NFT art space began to rise in popularity. In a matter of months, there was a demand for Curio Cards from NFT collectors interested in owning a piece of crypto history. Cards that once traded for only a few dollars were now trading at more than $100.

To this date, the Curio Card collection has generated a sales volume of $140 Million, Buenaventura said. One card was auctioned at Christie’s Auction House for $1.3 Million, marking the first time the historic auction house had auctioned anything for cryptocurrency.

The Significance of Crypto Art

Buenaventura commented that the significance of NFTs is not in the technology’s ability to manage rights – people can still copy the art. Rather, NFTs represent a deed of sale, giving the owner of the NFT the right to resell and realize a profit. Perhaps more importantly, NFTs democratize the art industry, giving new artists and creators the opportunity to participate in the art market. 

Now, Buenaventura is currently contributing to another project, the Cruptopop Art Guild, where new artists can learn how to create NFTs with their work and sell their projects on the NFT marketplace. 

“The goal is to use as many resources as I can muster to put these new artists on the right trajectory,” Buenaventura said.

Advice for NFT Artists and Collectors

Our discussion with Buenaventura ended with some practical advice for both artists and collectors.

The secret to success as an NFT artist, Buenaventura explained, is to develop a unique art style or personal narrative. In addition, creators should continue to contribute to the NFT art community, providing social validation that they are not just there for a “cash grab.” Collectors want to contribute to projects that have staying power and have meaning to the creator. 

For collectors, Buenaventura advises them to start with a small budget and learn how NFTs work. The marketplace changes nearly every day, he said, so it is important to earmark a certain amount of money that you are able to lose should an NFT project lose value.

“Even if it is not for you, I think you learn a lot by looking into it more directly,” Buenaventura said.
To learn more about Buenaventura and the Curio Card NFT project, you can watch the entire discussion on our YouTube channel.