Universe.xyz - The NFT Universe
Empowering artists to mint, deploy and promote their artworks right across the Ethereum blockchain.
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If you’ve ever dabbled in the arts, whether it be painting, music or poetry, it soon becomes apparent how notoriously difficult it is to sell one’s craft and to make a living as an artist. Most of those who manage to get by do so by begrudgingly taking on corporate gigs, where having your work displayed as a billboard ad on the freeway instead of in a gallery would have to do.
Which is why when NFTs came around, many creatives found in the technology a means to liberate themselves from the gatekeeping of the conventional art market and the general lack of appreciation from a society which doesn’t see art as that valuable a contribution. But in 2021 alone, the global NFT market went ballistic—breaching a $41 billion valuation, in comparison with the conventional art market which stood not far at just $50 billion.¹ And take note, most of the artists making serious money through NFTs are young, unknown, and more importantly, unperturbed by the ridicule and backlash from the established art world. True to the virtues of decentralization, NFTs are literally challenging the very notion of how we view and consume art.
Platforms like OpenSea and Rarible have become the top havens for creators of art, videos, music, and other digital collectibles, allowing ease of use for selling their works and earning royalties through auctions and resales. And with their established dominance, it seems unlikely that anyone would undertake the challenge of creating another platform from scratch and becoming a competitor—but Universe.xyz is already fusing and quarking itself seemingly out of nowhere for a slice of the NFT pie. The question is though, will it have its Big Bang moment?
What is Universe.xyz?
Like the aforementioned big players, Universe.xyz is an Ethereum-based NFT platform aimed at empowering artists by providing them with the means to monetize their creations. The difference being that Universe puts emphasis on community-backed protocols to provide a platform that isn’t making money “off the backs of artists” as well as digital tools and media services streamlined to make the process of minting and curating works as convenient and simple as possible.
Still early in its roadmap, Universe has NFT minting already available among its list of products, with its auction house, marketplace, social media hubs and other features soon to follow:
Minting - Universe supports various digital formats for graphics, videos, music and other forms of digital collectibles. Collections can be organized to contain up to thousands of NFTs and allow for different formats to be bundled together. Collections can even have sub-collections located within them. The idea is to allow for community engagement in creating layers of mix and match content while retaining the creators’ programming links to their works.
Auction - the Universe auction house is the upcoming feature that best sets it apart from other platforms. Whereas auctions at OpenSea and Rarible sell only to the highest bidder, the Universe format will allow for multi-tier auctions with multiple winners, and even multiple prizes for each winning bid. Each tier can also be set with a reserve price and a specific ERC-20 coin of choice.
True to its aim of empowering artists, initial auctions will collect zero fees—the only platform to do so, with all revenue for new works all going to their creators.
Furthermore, the platform will also allow for creators to specify the percentage royalties to be paid for each subsequent resale of their work. Resales will also add a 2% fee to support continuing platform development.
NFT Marketplace - Universe will feature a completely decentralized marketplace with open source tools highlighting the ease of use of the platform for even uninitiated aspiring artists.
One such feature is Core Collections which will serve as a guide for creating one’s franchise as well as provide incentives through grants. Works produced under Core Collections will be issued an IP under a Creatives Commons license to encourage others to build new content on top of the base collection, but retain the original characters, background, and lore as intended by the original creator.
Social Media - with much of NFT trade discussions happening in Reddit or Discord (with some level of exclusivity required on some subreddits and servers), the Universe plans to integrate a decentralized social media hub within the platform itself wherein creators and users can interact in forums and direct messaging, as well as create and visit customizable galleries and slideshows.
Gaming - the platform already has plans for its first signature game, Polymorphic Universe V2, which is described as an initial “bootstrap model” for web 3.0 games that will allow for the community to add functionality and eventually create their own games as an extension to the Universe protocol.
The Universe DAO
At the core, the Universe.xyz will be a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), or simply put—a community wherein the members control the decisions through self-executing programming—eliminating the need for a central authority like a CEO or a board of directors. Universe’s DAO is patterned after the governance models of Bitcoin and Ethereum to provide the scaling needed for a massive community network, while simplifying the voting process and making it accessible for everyone.
The XYZ token is the Universe’s utility token which will be used solely for governance (and not for trading within the platform) on matters such as fees and future upgrades. Staking XYZ grants not only rewards but also voting and proposal rights to changes in the platform, and requires approval of 60% of the stakers for the changes to take effect.
Staking the XYZ token will grant rewards and voting rights in the DAO protocol.
Total supply of XYZ is at 1 billion tokens, with a certain percentage to be released in streams annually to support new users. Distribution is as follows:
Multi-sig (3%) — 30,000,000
DAO Staking Rewards (5%) — 50,000,000
LP Reserve (7%) — 70,000,000
LP Rewards (6%) — 60,000,000
Community Drop (6%) — 60,000,000
Community Bidders (2%) — 20,000,000
Community Discretionary (8%) — 80,000,000
Yield Farming (7%) — 70,000,000
Contributors (21%) — 210,000,000
Team (24%) — 240,000,000
Advisory (2%) — 20,000,000
Contributors (OG) (9%) — 90,000,000
Yield farming is basically lending cryptocurrency to provide liquidity for other decentralized applications (DApps) and earning through rewards or interest. Currently, the XYZ token can be farmed with other tokens such as AAVE, BOND, COMP, LINK, SNX, SUSHI and ILV.
The XYZ token will also be distributed through yield farming in seven pools with 1% percent distribution for each pool.
Universe.xyz plans to be a one-stop, all-in-one platform for the creative types, allowing for greater freedom for artists and the community to explore their creative directions in line with the ever-expanding NFT space and technology. Though its core features remain to be seen if it will be a worthy competitor for OpenSea and Rarible, there are already promising indicators of community support and upcoming projects which should make it something to watch out for.
Already, there are close to 30k followers on Twitter and Discord. Meanwhile, two initial NFT drops are already slated for launch, namely Polymorphic Universe and the Universe Planet Drops, which unlike most conventional NFTs are technically advanced, morphing NFTs built for the Web 3.0 ecosystem.
The Universe founders also consist of experienced DeFi developers namely Troy Murray, Tyler Ward and Milad Mostavi, who all worked with BarnBridge, as well as serious NFT investors and collectors like Tim Kang. Recently, the team has announced securing a $4.3 million seed funding and a $21 million valuation for the project.²
And with 2022 off to a strong start with $7 billion worth of NFT sales for January alone³, it looks to be that there is still a lot of space remaining for Universe.xzy to expand into.
¹NFTs ballooned to a $41 billion market in 2021 and are catching up to the total size of the global fine art market https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/nft-market-41-billion-nearing-fine-art-market-size-2022-1
²Universe.xyz Closes $4.3m Seed Round to Build a Non-Fungible Universe
³NFT sales hit $7 billion all-time-high in January, but it may just be a bubble waiting to pop