Reli3f, a humanitarian project founded on the innate creative commitment to telling stories in times of hardship, launched its second nonfungible token (NFT) collection on Thursday, earning over $300,000 for recognized Ukrainian organizations and bringing their total to more than $1.5 million.
Reli3f, founded in late February this year by several esteemed Web3 entrepreneurs, Satvik Sethi, Andrew Wang, Giovanni Gussen, Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, Raskalov, and developer SignorCrypto, has unified the talents of 62 artists from around the world to show the enormous philanthropic potential of NFTs for social good.
With the launch of a second series, the team affirmed their commitment to helping the cause, building on the momentum and cultural advocacy of their first collection, which featured renowned artist fvckrender, co-founder of Cool Cats, Clon, and creator of Creature World, Danny Cole. Drop 2 featured Reli3f team member Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, the creator of the Coolman Universe, Danny Casale, and music icon Sia as Bianca ‘de Medici, among others.
According to Sethi, just five of the thirty-seven artists featured in the debut collection chose to keep their revenue royalties, and in those cases, it was simply to transfer funds to loved ones in Ukraine or to encourage personal conditions. All remaining funds were returned to the charity treasury, a pattern that was repeated in the second collection.
Drop 2 featured a wide range of artistic disciplines, from a generative algorithmic piece based on the artist’s unique hash seed, as seen in Gavin Li’s ‘Motherland,’ to a defiantly symbolic photograph depicting a righteous protester during the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in February 2014, as seen in Den Didenko’s ‘Ray of freedom out of darkness,’ to a visually playful, thematically intricate wimmelbilderbuch, as seen
Tom Farren met with Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, Satvik Sethi, and Andrew Wang to learn more about the project’s inception, the willingness of artists to engage, and the future of Reli3f in the context of operationally agile models for the decentralized autonomous organization (DAOs)
“What’s interesting about this drop is that there are a lot of artists that haven’t minted works before, or don’t consider themselves traditional NFT artists. We tried to be really balanced and not just take famous people, but people who are from different regions and have different life stories.”Artamonovskaja
Recognizing the existence of gas wars in drop 1, the team agreed to change the mechanisms for drop 2, deploying a blind-mint open edition in which all interested parties may purchase as much as they wanted during a fifteen-minute time period for a price of 0.05 ETH. During the minting period, the drop 2 raised 86 ETH, which is equivalent to $260,000 and has subsequently exchanged an additional 21 ETH on OpenSea at the time of writing.
“I was in Ukraine between mid-January to mid-February and was feeling a bit depressed because reading the news, and seeing the stuff people were writing would kind of scare you. And then I remember that one moment my dad came home and gifted me this set of pastels and black paper. I’ve minted photography before and done some glitch art, but I haven’t really drawn with pastels since middle school. One day I was feeling sad, so I started drawing. I shared my art on Instagram, and one of the collectors that follow me said that if you mint this, I’ll buy it. I was like what, really?! [laughs].”Artamonovskaja
Those two pieces subsequently sold for 0.25 ETH each on OpenSea. Her piece for Reli3f’s drop 2, titled ‘Alba Dreaming of Home,’ was dually inspired by a stencil mural of a dog in her home city and Banksy’s infamous ‘Balloon Girl’ and sought to capture the sorrow of displacement and lack of belonging through the eyes of a domestic companion so integral to the lives of many modern families.
Speaking from personal experience as a Ukrainian citizen, Artamonovskaja stated that “without having momentum, it can end up being a war that is stuck on our territory and just becomes a norm. We just want this to end, so people can go home and start rebuilding.” Following the viral success of the first drop, Sethi claimed that “loads of artists were reaching out to us saying ‘why didn’t you ask us to be a part of this, and we’d love to contribute’.”
Sethi also said that Drop 2 has been “a month in the making,” and that “we didn’t put ourselves a time limit” like the first collection, preferring to let the creative process unfold naturally.
The development of Web3 digital communities, firstly on Clubhouse and now primarily on Twitter, has enabled what Wang refers to as the “power of network effects” to take place. In other words, the capacity for influencers and luminaries to accelerate social and cultural innovation inside the area is easily accessible and swiftly scalable.
“I think what made Reli3f interesting to a lot of people was that it wasn’t just a use-case for freedom to transact via crypto, or even a use-case for using art to donate, but a use-case for how community can be called upon, almost at a moment’s notice, to act.”Wang
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