Thanks to NFTs and the use of blockchain technology, the digital art space has been booming and blooming lately. But mostly limited to sharing artworks on websites and across social media, it still lacks the charisma of offline events and exhibitions that is inseparable from and integral to the authentic artistic experience.
Meet 3space Art platform
3space is a digital art platform that consists of two products. The first one, creatively called the Marketplace, is where digital art changes hands. The second one, the Art Pool, is where things get more interesting. In a nutshell, it is a protocol that enables artists and collectors to showcase their artwork and collections at physical locations.
Because there’s no lack of NFT marketplaces, which essentially do the same thing with minor tweaks here and there, we’re going to zero in on the Art Pool. After all, not every NFT platform out there can serve as a bridge between the digital space and the real world. Well, at least, this is what 3space claims to deliver.
And it does that by streaming digital art directly to imaging devices – as long as they support content playback mode. These can be electronic signages, informational kiosks, digital frames, or even your desktop computer and mobile phone, you name it:
This instantly begs the question of whether you always have to buy an NFT if you just want to display it for some time, publicly or otherwise. But what if you could do with a paid subscription and use the NFT only for as long as you actually need it?
And stop using it when you are done?
NFT as a subscription service
Today, many Internet services (most notably, web hosting and video streaming) have adopted models based on subscriptions or recurring payments. NFTs, on the other hand, belong to the world of ownership (with some caveats and limitations), and they cannot easily accommodate these models.
So how does 3space’s Art Pool turn NFTs into a subscription service?
The Art Pool works like a cryptocurrency staking pool. But unlike regular staking pools, it is the artists who are pooling their artworks, while the consumers are being delegated the use and display of the artwork in the pool. Each pool is created specifically for the occasion, whatever that might be (for example, a public event or an exhibition).
From a technical point of view, the entire process of pooling NFTs consists of the following three stages.
At the first stage, called Submission, a new pool is created through which artists and digital art collectors can showcase their NFTs. The curated NFTs are locked into a smart contract for a specified amount of time, which allows pool participants to retain ownership and earn participation rewards in the process.
During the second stage, Exhibition in 3space’s terms, digital art is streamlined from cloud storages to electronic devices such as mobile phones or high-definition displays where it is continually played back. This is what the consumers of digital art are paying for, with the proceeds distributed within the staking pool.
As its name suggests, the Termination stage is about closing the Art pool and unstaking the NFTs. The pool expires on the last day of the event, and the NFTs making up the pool get unlocked from the contract. At this point, the NFT owners can sell their merchandise to the potential buyers they may have found at the previous stage.
Presently, Art pools are curated by 3space itself to prevent spam tokens from being poured into the pools. Further, they are created to meet specific requests as to the theme or type of the digital art to be exhibited at an offline event.
In the future, however, 3space plans to switch to a decentralized governance model that will allow both the artists and their audiences to choose what artwork enters what event. In this manner, people will be able to select from 3space’s Art pools the NFTs they want to showcase. As a result, consumers will no longer need to buy individual NFTs.
But that effectively turns the Art pools into a subscription service product, thereby enabling users to decorate their living spaces and offices as they see appropriate – and for as long.
While 3space may be one of the pioneers in moving from the NFT as an object of ownership toward the NFT as a unit of service, this effort is not something unseen on a larger scale. Software as a service (SaaS) is what comes to mind as an analogy, with cloud computing probably being the most remarkable and successful example of that kind. On the other hand, NFTs are all about the right of ownership. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the success of the NFT market is built on exercising exactly that right.
And 3space sets up an interesting experiment of going against the mainstream. Is this an inevitable step in the evolution of digital art or just a heresy that should be condemned and thrown away? We’ll see.