JOHN CRAIN – SUPERRARE
“Trust and authenticity are the most important.”
As the co-founder and CEO of SuperRare, John is held in very high regard by the NFT community. John discovered his keen interest in generative art while studying structural engineering and architecture in college.
Working with Consensus, the Ethereum venture studio based in NYC, John was eagerly waiting for crypto to intersect with creativity and the internet. He initially entered the NFT space as an observer, keeping an eye on the developments while starting to think of ways the tech can be used to build a platform for digital artists that can give value back to its users.
The result: the birth of SuperRare in April 2018. Although the platform only took off towards the end of the following year, it enjoyed solid support from the beginning. Who was the first artist on the platform? Robbie Barrat’s AI-generated ‘Nude Portrait’ series was the first art on SuperRare. The first buyer was digital art hotshot and collector, Jason Baily, who picked up four of the works in the series.
SuperRare has undergone mammoth changes since it was first launched. The first iteration of the platform saw the marketplace and tokens fused together. With the release of version 2.0, they were separate entities. The biggest drawcard of SuperRare 2.0, however? Allowing artists to create or import their own smart contracts!
Was SuperRare designed to be exclusive and prestigious? John explains: “It wasn’t the explicit goal, no. For us, it was always about building a platform that could effectively support the evolving art market. Trust and authenticity are the most important. Those are the makings of a premium brand.”
Gatekeeping remains a big concern as more traditional artists and collectors enter the digital space. John shares: “It may be possible, short-term, that a steady stream of new people results in more gatekeeping. But I think, in the long run, we will experience mass democratization that will transform curation completely.”
As a collector, John tends to gravitate toward up-and-coming artists. While he does not employ a definite strategy, he likes getting to know the person behind the art before adding to his collection.