Digital art is gaining popularity, with companies like Curioos dedicating entire marketplaces to the medium, but the idea of scarcity when it comes to the Internet is relatively new. NeonMob is looking to change the way we think about that with a platform dedicated to digital art collectibles.
The company offers tools to creators so they can build out a collection of art — perhaps based around a theme like “trees” or “unicorns” — and then users can pay to collect those works. The artist chooses the price of each piece of art, as well as the quantity of each piece of art, which introduces the idea of digital scarcity.
“Digital scarcity is kind of radical and goes against the way most people think about how the internet and data works,” said founder Mike Duca. “Since NeonMob inherently promotes the notion of digital scarcity, we have to show people why it’s no different than Andy Warhol choosing to create 50 prints of each Campbell’s Soup poster instead of 1 or 1,000. People aren’t used to relating to data, or art, in this way.”
NeonMob has set up an authentication program to ensure that each piece of art collected on the platform is in fact owned by the user and not forged, and the company is currently working to set up a blockchain so that ownership of prints is verified both on and off the NeonMob platform.
NeonMob offers a compelling platform to artists, who receive up to 70 percent of every sale that happens on NeonMob. Unlike Curioos, which handles printing and distribution of digital art and thus takes a much larger cut of each sale, NeonMob has the opportunity to keep costs low without ever building or distributing a physical product. In short, artists can actually make livable money off of their work.
But at the same time, convincing users they want to spend money on collecting digital art may be a tough sell.
“We have all different types of art that appeal to different people,” said Duca. “Everyone appreciates art even if they don’t consider themselves a collector, and when we delight people with a fun user experience, we find that they get more excited about the idea of collecting the art that they enjoy. We’re trying to show people that collecting online can be just as satisfying and or more satisfying than offline collecting.”
And it seems to be working. Since launch in 2012, NeonMob users have collected more than 4.8 million pieces of digital art.
The company has raised a total of $2 million in seed funding from investors such as Max Levchin and Dragoneer Investment Group.
You can check out NeonMob here.