Yury Serdich is a self-described “crypto-enthusiast” whose early career in crypto investments has propelled him into the world of digital art. Having first started collecting NFTs in 2020, Serdich has witnessed the progression of the market firsthand, and as such, believes it will continue to grow.
Selling his latest collection, TON PUNKS, has attracted significant attention this past year for his success in the space. In this exclusive interview, Yury answers questions about his initial draw to crypto art, future implications of NFTs, and how crypto novices might start to acquaint themselves with the digital community.
What attracted you to crypto, and consequently, crypto art?
I think the movement of humanity in a new direction gave me good philosophical insights. The world consists of coordination and culture. Coordination defines how effectively people collaborate to achieve their goals – and culture displays the vector of coordination. The crypto space to me is exactly about the coordination of values and I believe its future implications can and truly will contribute to fixing problems we face in the world within politics, the economy, and entertainment spaces. NFT, separate from crypto, is more about amusement; cultural entertainment connected to money to mobilize people within the community. It’s fun and provocative and combines my love of classic art and technology.
And when did you decide to start collecting in earnest?
In April 2020, during one of the first NFTs market bull run. I was just playing around with some NFTs as it was intuitively funny and interesting to me. It wasn’t necessarily something I thought about as a career path. I decided to start my first collection in September of last year – checked out the blockchain and patterns needed to create the collection and then this new open network blockchain launched which I had been waiting for – Ton blockchain. I started collecting about 1.5 years ago and I have been creating in earnest for 9 months.
Touching on the interconnection between art and technology, what to you distinguishes NFTs from more conventional art forms?
Classic and contemporary art is perhaps more deep, advanced and of a higher quality caliber. NFTs still have not had the time to develop, they are in a young space and it is far easier to create a single high quality NFT compared to an entire collection. However, there are some projects like foundation.app, where professional artists sell their art as NFT.
The main difference, I would say, is that the art of NFTs is not explicitly derived from the way it’s designed or how it looks. Rather, in the way it’s packed and story told. It’s not that we get the best visuals and that’s the art. It’s about how we create the concept and the small story and distribute it around the space. I really believe that’s art. Of course, the visual element is important, but it’s more the process by which it’s marketed. I also think that NFT collections are a statement, and this statement is art. For now most of these statements are subcultural, meaning they can’t necessarily be understood by someone outside of that space.
What kind of NFT artwork do you generally gravitate towards? And what do you like to buy?
Community based of course, because it’s really important that the NFT resonates, and for this, you need at least some abstract idea about it and the community which it surrounds.
How did you come up with the concept for your NFT collection?
The idea was simple: I wanted to make a “CryptoPunks” fork – the coolest and most classic collection, in my opinion. Pretty much every blockchain has their own CryptoPunks, and I decided to make it for the TON blockchain, which is young and undeveloped. That’s how the concept of “TON Punks” came to fruition.
How might a beginner get involved in the NFT community?
Through the art itself. If you feel that the art resonates with you, then most likely the community will as well. I actually made many friends from the NFT space – some great people – and if you find art that really mirrors your values and style, then you can possibly find like-minded individuals through the art.
Have you met anybody in-person from the community?
Many times, a lot of them became my friends IRL. I’ve become acquainted with many really good people, but unfortunately, sometimes meeting in-person can dissolve your online relationship.
As a novice interested in getting started in creating an NFT collection, how should they go about it?
For sure you need to collect for some time, play around the space and understand how the market works. You cannot just create a collection – you need to understand the rules, the hierarchy, the social spaces (including Twitter, influencers, etc). You should start Twitter as a collector, grow a following so that once you start your collection, you can have momentum in online spaces. Then with time, you will see a niche for your project, and it will work out with higher possibility, because you already know the community values.
Are NFTs investment instruments? How is NFT different from other cryptocurrencies?
I don’t recommend considering NFTs investment instruments. First and foremost, it is a collection which can sometimes lead to money making. NFTs are basically tokens, like most other cryptocurrencies. The only difference is that it is unique, meaning that only one copy of each non-fungible token exists. In comparison to cryptocurrency, which have a certain liquidity (any cryptocurrency can be converted instantly even if it falls to almost zero), you will need to wait to sell an NFT unless the collection is super popular.
Is it possible to get into collecting crypto art without understanding the tech or being involved in the tech industry?
I mean, you need to learn some new instruments but not necessarily coding – more so new browsers, interfaces, and surface level information. I think it’s possible, but will just be less interesting, because the best crypto glimpse is through a philosophical lens, of course.
What other people or websites do you read to stay up to date with the NFT space?
The problem with all NFT news is that they are almost too slow and only manage to inform you when something has already happened. To stay really updated you need to be up on Twitter and track what well known collectors tweet. For understanding what’s going on, I can recommend a really cool YouTube channel called “Giancarlo buys tokens”.
How do you see the NFT space developing in the future? Artistically, culturally, and financially? How much do you believe in the future potential of NFTs?
I think we will see a lot of new NFT applications and usages than collections and art. It’s already happening, for example with tickets, because NFT as a ticket is really good protection from falsifications. So human passports will also become NFT. The next step for NFT collection is getting out of the crypto space and adopting more spaces and communities. For example it can be a medical community which attracts money from NFT to make new and more independent health studies.