How Sui Generis Bridges the Web3 Gap for Artists

The new incarnation of a wildly popular NFT auction house is leveraging Sui technologies to build a community around artists and their fans.

How Sui Generis Bridges the Web3 Gap for Artists

“Better, bigger, stronger!”

That’s the vision for Sui Generis, an NFT auction house that launched in March, according to co-founder and CEO Gab9.

On the surface, Sui Generis is a rebranded incarnation of the wildly popular Tombheads NFT auction house, which migrated off the Fantom blockchain earlier this year. But Sui Generis, which launched March 31 on Sui with its own tokens and its first auction, is looking to do much more than simply emulate its earlier presence on a new blockchain. It’s leveraging Sui technology to catapult itself far beyond what it has done in the past, bringing its stable of bluechip artists and a passionate community of art lovers along with it.

“Back in 2021 to 2022, we completely shaped the one-to-one NFT trend on the Fantom blockchain,” said Gab9. “We built a phenomenon never seen before on any blockchain. We created a cult.”

Now the team is using all of the expertise and wisdom they gained from that project — while taking advantage of Sui, Sui Kiosk, and the Move programming language — to build a thriving art ecosystem that gives back to the community. The effort paid off earlier this year when Sui Generis scored first place, a gold medal, in the ThinkSui contest

Sui Generis published cards for its artists, highlighting their skills. Finnish artist Sellek previously created the SELLEK Originals and Fantom Wheelz collections on Fantom.

Building on a strong foundation

In its first iteration, the group faced many challenges. They didn't have a dedicated developer, extensive stats on the marketplace, or even a website. They didn’t have a token, and all sales took place manually and offchain. There was also no user activity during the week when auctions weren’t taking place. “We couldn’t build the vision we wanted,” said Gab9. “But even with those flaws, our artists generated over $10 million in revenue onchain.”

Just a few short months after moving operations to Sui, things look very different.

Today, the team includes a talented Move developer and a dynamic website that showcases its artists and short documentary filmwork. It has a governance token for its decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), allowing the community to vote on the trends they want to see on auction and how they want to utilize auction house funds. And all art pieces that sell are listed on Tradeport, a popular multichain NFT trading platform.

Vietnam-based artist Heyun Le previously created the Cyber Neko, Phantasm Box, and PhantasMeow collections on Fantom.

At the moment, the auction house is working with 30 artists, all of whom worked with the team in the past. Auctions take place in Discord and are held bi-weekly on Sundays. For about 30 minutes before an auction, people gather to chat, catch up, and listen to music together. Then the auction kicks off and the real fun begins. 

Each artist introduces the piece they’re offering, and a co-host reads the lore associated with the art. Once a lively bidding war concludes, the winner is directed to Tradeport to make the NFT purchase.

In between auctions, the community connects via midweek live streams, where people can chat with their favorite artists, discover a new one, and watch the creation process of a piece that will be auctioned the following weekend.

On June 23, 2024, Heyun Le releases a new one-to-one inscription collection of 100 NFTs called Neon Nibblers Nexus.

Powering modern art with Sui

Sui Generis takes advantage of several unique Sui technologies. Sui Generis is working to create all of its NFT collections directly onchain, taking advantage of Sui’s unique storage paradigm that means users won’t lose NFT images if a server goes offline.

Sui Kiosk allows the company and its artists to enforce royalties on any NFTs that are resold in the future, limit trades with certain addresses, or even lock them and make them soulbound.

The team is also partnering with Aftermath Finance to develop fractionalized NFTs for its primary collection, consisting of eight characters with eight phases of evolution each. Twenty-four special perks will become available throughout those 64 phases. Using this fractionalized NFT technology, a user will have to verify their holding with a $GENERIS token as proof of being a supporter of the auction house, mint for some SUI, then burn their NFT to mint a new one. “When we offer an NFT, we want them to have utility,” said Gab9. “It’s important for us to not simply bring a PFP.”

Peruvian artist Sick Individual previously created the SICKINDIVIDUAL, SICK MINDS, and Sick Faces collections on Fantom.

The team is also considering offering a generative collection using 404 (or hybrid) tech on Sui where different traits could be reachable by burning the token, allowing for the creation of tradeable, fractionalized ownership of digital assets. The mint-and-burn mechanism and fractional ownership features of hybrids enhance the liquidity of NFTs, making it easier for buyers and sellers to trade the NFTs, according to the team.

And on June 16, 2024, Sui Generis releases its Official House collection of utility NFTs.

Growing community

Sui Generis fosters a sense of community among its artists and users both through art and action.

“There is speculation on fine arts, and some people are in crypto to not only enjoy PFPs but to make money,” said Gab9. Although he notes that many works created by Sui Generis artists are selling at four or five times their original price, “We build more than that.” 

Sui Generis specifically works with artists who nurture relationships with their holders, creating incredible lore, the sentiment of being part of a group, and even physical merch. They plan to open the door to new artist applications in early June with governance votes.

“We incentivize buying NFTs as well,” he said. “We give $GENERIS token airdrops, which means users can participate in governance and decision making. We distribute all our auction fees and GameFi fees back to our holders.”

Los Angeles-based artist Aspenth previously created the Disturbia collection on Fantom.

All the while, it’s been giving back to the community as it grows. After a massive exploit hit a project Gab9 had previously been involved in, he worked with one popular artist to organize a fundraiser to benefit the people who had suffered the most from financial losses. “We held a six-hour auction where we sold 65 pieces and raised about $148,000.”

As the auction house made money, they collectively realized they could use some of those funds for the greater good. The group donated to a dog shelter in Australia, and helped one person from the community pay hospital bills after an accident.

Bridging the gap to Web3

At its core, Sui Generis is all about the art and artists it works with.

“Modern art is a different kind of animal on the blockchain compared with traditional art and in real life,” said Gab9. “The bridge for artists off chain to join the ecosystem can be difficult.” 

To help make that transition easier, the group is planning to host live, in-person auctions where they expose NFTs on screen and help onboard new users — even those with no crypto familiarity at all — guiding them through the process of creating a Sui wallet and making transactions. 

“Crypto might not be for everyone, but everyone loves art,” said Gab9. “Our goal is to onboard non-crypto people who love art, and change the view that people have from physical to digital arts.”