OpenSea, the world’s biggest NFT marketplace, is turning over its homepage on Friday to feature works by what may be the hottest DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to date. Friends With Benefits, founded in 2020 by Trevor McFedries, “a DJ, entrepreneur, and aspiring basketball star,” according to magazine, is debuting 10 new commissioned artworks as part of a project called “The Flock.”
The artists and DAO members include contemporary artists Andrew Benson, Ayaka Ohira, Case Simmons, Ezra Miller, Niall Ashley, Nic Hamilton, Petra Cortright, Sarah Zucker, Tyler Givens, and Vivian Fu. Musicians
OpenSea put up $100,000 to commissioning the NFT art, split equally among the 10 artists. And in another example of a “phygital” initiative, the physical artworks will be on view next weekend (August 12-14) at the first-ever FWB Fest, taking place at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, in California’s San Jacinto mountains.
“FWB is a social DAO and it’s really focused on merging crypto and culture,” the DAO’s brand manager and curator Lindsay Howard told Artnet News. The membership fees for the private online community, which is focused on blockchain fans and artists, come in the form of tokens, and networking happens on Discord channels. About 3,000 members have joined to date, including musicians Erykah Badu and Azealia Banks.
“We’re really well known for organizing artist events and being this bridge in the social capacity in the web3 space,” Howard said. “So we started talking with OpenSea because they’re interested in continuing to build relationships with artists in the space, and together we hatched this idea of being the first external organization to take over their homepage.”
The more the two parties talked, “the more energized we all got, and it ended up turning into this incredible partnership,” she said. “The OpenSea homepage has incredible visibility and is probably the most trafficked space in all web3.”
“FWB is the premier cultural and social DAO, and we’re excited to partner with them to uplift artists in the web3 space,” said Alexander Bercow, head of partnerships at OpenSea. “The FWB team has curated an incredible lineup of artists that we’re thrilled to bring to our community via our homepage and our weekly collaboration on NFT Pirate Radio. This collection shows us what’s possible for the future of NFT art, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the FWB team on our shared mission of moving the web3 space forward.”
Meanwhile, this weekend’s inaugural FWB Fest will be a three-day immersive festival of music, experiential talks, and workshops about culture and the web3 space. “We’re thinking of this as kind of culture crypto summer camp,” said Howard, adding that the NFT artworks will be on display in a “proper” gallery space on the grounds of the arts academy. About 700 people have RSVP’d so far.
As a decentralized organization, the FWB community collectively approved the proposed partnership with OpenSea and assembled an internal curatorial team made up of artists and entrepreneurs (as well as more traditional curators).
“This whole process of decentralizing curation and what that means is rally compelling,” said Howard. “I know a lot of art institutions have been trying to figure out how to meet their entry into the web3 space and sometimes that means bringing in an expert to have the best artists, but it can also mean ceding a little bit of that expertise or power that institutions have traditionally held and opening up more opportunities for more people to weigh in, vote, and participate in the process.”
She added: “I see a lot more opportunities like this coming in the future and we’re always going to want to continue to work with artists who are in the FWB community and support the work.”