Popular NFT marketplace SuperRare decided to open sovereign space as a part of their decentralization process. We were intrigued by the concept and decided to find out more. Chief Product Officer (CPO) Jonathan Perkins was more than happy to explain that to us and a whole lot more. Here is what he had to say.
Jonathan Perkins Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at SuperRare
About Jonathan Perkins
Jonathan Perkins is co-Founder & CPO of SuperRare Labs. Jonathan’s career has spanned art and technology, with a background in digital arts and media, before becoming a software engineer through a passion for entrepreneurship and building products people love.
At SuperRare Labs, Jonathan is focused on building a bigger, better, and more equitable creator economy, using web3 tools to bring art collecting into the contemporary digital landscape.
Jonathan spent ten years in the Bay area as a software engineer and a start-up founder before relocating to New York City where he worked as a full-stack engineer with a focus on holistic product design from concept to market for clients including HBO and Viacom.
Jonathan graduated Cum Laude in Digital Media from San Francisco State University.
Jonathan is also a drummer and audio engineer.
Please, can you tell us why SuperRare took the decision to create these spaces?
This year SuperRare began the transition to become a user-owned and user-governed platform, aka a DAO, because we think it’s a fundamentally more powerful and sustainable way to organize humans and economies on the modern web.
We launched a curation token ($Rare) in August and distributed the token to users including artists and collectors that are our core community.
Being an art platform, a large portion of the governance of SuperRare pertains to curation.
We’ve long known that the curation of SuperRare shouldn’t ultimately lie solely with the developers, but should encompass a diverse array of curatorial voices. SuperRare Spaces are the first step in putting curation in the hands of the community.
What are self-governed Sovereign Spaces?
Each SuperRare Space is run by an individual or team, who has been elected by the SuperRare DAO (i.e. $RARE holders).
The Space operators control their own SuperRare NFT minting contract, and can choose to invite whichever artists they choose.
As artists are invited to the Space, the Space operators promote and release new works by the artists, running auctions and curating exhibitions.
How has the formation of the SuperRare DAO improved things?
Having the founding team fully control curation was always a temporary solution, needed to move quickly as a startup and bootstrap the NFT art market.
Launching the SuperRare DAO is the beginning of a progressive shift of control of the platform into the hands of its users and stakeholders.
The biggest benefit of this is the direct alignment of incentives between the SuperRare platform and its users. Unlike a web2 platform such as YouTube where users have a very different incentive from the platform itself (whose goal is ultimately to sell ads)– a web3 DAO like SuperRare can be steered in the direction that ultimately best serves the artists and collectors who power it and use it every day.
What are your plans for scaling the SuperRare infrastructure for the first half of 2022?
We’re focused on many aspects of scaling, from the L1 smart contracts, to L2 solutions, to the UI and artist/collector experience itself.
How has treasury governance fared since the vote to go independent occurred within the DAO?
The community treasury has been accumulating millions of dollars per month from marketplace commissions.
The DAO will launch a Grants Program in early 2022, which will be the first official way for the organization to disburse funds to community programs and growth mechanisms.
We are extremely excited about this crucial step, as it represents a new and powerful way for DAO members to participate in the actions and future of the organization.
How will full decentralization be beneficial to the DAO?
As with many web3 platforms, SuperRare is following the philosophy of progressive decentralization: setting the expectation that the path to full decentralization will take some time and that we have a lot of organizational learning and development to undertake before we get there.
But the ultimate vision is a fully decentralized, user-owned-and-curated art market that can unleash dynamic creativity the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Please, can you tell us more about the $RARE token? What are the core functions of $RARE?
$RARE is the governance token of the SuperRare DAO.
In order to participate in any governance votes, one must hold $RARE.
Additionally, it serves as a platform token in the SuperRare ecosystem, encouraging artists and collectors to continually progress, earn, and grow their stature and involvement in the ecosystem.
When will the community have their next vote for the next set of spaces to onboard?
In early 2022.
Why is it important to highlight artist participation in the NFT space?
The success of the broader NFT space owes much of its success to the artists who have worked hard bringing it to life along with us since 2018.
We quite literally wouldn’t be here without the artists, and we at SuperRare consider it our mission to help highlight artists’ work and tell their story.
Outside Latin America, what are the other developing areas you’d like to highlight on SuperRare?
The SuperRare community has been truly global since day 1.
We hope to increasingly have artist, collector, and curator representation in every continent in the world.
How did you guys come up with all the cool names for the space?
The new space names are of existing organizations that will function independently on SuperRare.
What is the commission rate like for artists after sales?
Artists earn 85% on primary sales, and earn a 10% royalty on all secondary sales that occur after an artwork has left the artist’s hands.
What role has social media played in the success of the SuperRare platform?
We have tried to create opportunities for engagement on whichever web2 platforms artists and collectors are used by artists and collectors.
Platforms like Instagram and Twitter are widely used by creators because they provide an easy way to build a follower base, so it’s been beneficial for SuperRare to be active there to engage and build community.
How will governance work when SuperRare is fully decentralized?
High-level, there will be several ways in which $RARE holders can influence and control the future of the platform, including direct or delegated curation, and proposing and voting on SIPs (SuperRare Improvement Proposals). Read more about it here: superrare
How has the creation of the DAO helped the growth of SuperRare as an organization?
We consider the establishment of the DAO and the $Rare token to be our means for scaling.
Will democratic institutions become a thing now that people see what they can be?
We are long-term bullish on the ability for platforms to transition to a user-governed model.
Marc Andreesen famously said “Software is eating the world” – we think that DAOs will eat the internet.
Meaning, grassroots user-powered platforms will become more widespread than traditional corporate web2 platforms which have wildly different interests than their users.
Do you have any plans to integrate other blockchains outside Ethereum? Please, can you tell us the reasons for your answer?
Not currently, but we see our mission as supporting whatever platforms show the most promise and momentum for NFT art collecting, so we’re open minded.
What are your favorite collection(s) on the SuperRare platform and why are they your favorite?
I don’t pick favorites and love that SuperRare has a wide variety of artworks that will appeal to collectors of all stripes.
What are your plans to integrate the younger generation of artists?
Since 2019, many of the new artists minting works on SuperRare have been right out of high school or college – the younger generations seem to get it the best.
Where do you see SuperRare in the next decade?
SuperRare will be the world’s first art market owned and operated by the artists, collectors and curators who call the platform home.
The digitization of the art market will unlock collecting for billions of internet users who currently do not consider themselves art collectors.
There will be trillions of NFTs, and SuperRare will act as the curation layer, helping onboard and guide new artists and collectors to participate in this trillion dollar market.