Art Blocks Acquires NFT Marketplace Sansa

Credit: Art Blocks

Yesterday, Art Blocks announced it had acquired NFT marketplace Sansa to create “a well-tailored home for generative content” that will provide expanded opportunities for creators and showcase the diversity of generative projects.

Art Blocks Founder and CEO Erick ‘Snowfro’ Calderon said in a statement that “Building in Web3 is hard” and that seeing such a “nimble team” build something so aligned with what he is excited about…it felt like a no-brainer to “explore the opportunity” of working together.

Sansa was founded in November 2022 with a focus on generative art projects and Art Blocks overall. It covers a wide range of digital art, with curated collections that art enthusiasts can browse, and has sold over 1,300 pieces of art through its platform, amassing over $2.2 million in sales.

Although details about the acquisition remain undisclosed, Art Blocks revealed this morning that the two co-founders of Sansa, Jack Lalley and Matt Etre, will join the Art Blocks team.

Calderon created Art Blocks, a generative art company, in 2020 to provide a home for digital artists and collectors. Among the collections it has launched include Calderon’s own “Chromie Squiggles,” Tyler Hobbs’ “Fidenzas,” and Dmitri Cherniak’s “Ringers,” which have floor prices of 8 ETH, 69 ETH, and 27 ETH respectively.

Ramifications of the Acquisition

Although the two organizations have mostly remained mum on the details of the acquisition, Art Blocks has released a blog post detailing why they purchased Sansa – or at least what makes the platform special in their eyes.

First, Sansa has a simplified discovery of generative art, which means that artists can gain wider visibility for their work and collectors can browse a larger range of art. Second, Sansa enforces creator royalties with every sale, meaning collectors can know their dollars partially go to supporting the artist. And finally, Sansa has an exclusive focus on digital art.

For now, Sansa will continue working on its standalone app, though there are plans for an integrated platform in the future that will create a “seamless experience.” The company made note on its website that its removed all marketplace fees, although those who purchase an Art Blocks piece through Sansa will be subject to a 2.5% Art Blocks fee. This change started yesterday.

Art Blocks says its currently laying the foundations for a future that is “bold and visionary,” and it provide updates as needed during the process.

Generative Art Is Gaining Momentum

Generative art, the process of creating pleasing images using creative code, has gained popularity in recent years, bolstered by the recent rise in non-fungible token technology. Even during a bear market, this has held true. Here are three stories suggesting as such.

First, last week, the first major generative art collection debuted on Solana. Called ‘Rubber,’ the NFT set featured swirling mixes of pastel colors in the shape and texture of roads. The collection explored the shared moments of humanity and quickly bounced from a mint price of $23 to a floor price of over $2,000 within 24 hours.

Next, six months ago, legendary generative artist Vera Molnár debuted her first NFT collection called ‘Themes and Variations.’ The NFT set came in partnership with Sotheby’s and quickly sold out, amassing 631 ETH or $1.2 million. Molnár would pass away five months later at the age of 99.

Lastly, eight months ago in the abyss of the bear market, Dmitri Cherniak’s Ringers #879 sold for $6.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction. Affectionately called ‘The Goose,’ Ringers #879 highlighted the staying power of generative art during a difficult crypto time, dispelling myths that NFTs were dead.

As these stories show, generative art is one of the main draws of the digital art movement. Time will tell what Art Blocks’ acquisition of Sansa brings, but we’ll be paying close attention and will report back if needed.