Although relatively new, the generative crypto art movement has gained momentum in recent months. After all, several generative art NFT projects and platforms have come up after NFTs surged in popularity early last year. However, Autoglyphs take the crown as the first-ever “on-chain” generative art NFT project in history.
Let’s dive deeper into Autoglyphs and why they are extremely valuable.
What is the Autoglyphs NFT project?
Canadian software developers and Larva Labs founders, John Watkinson and Matt Hall launched Autoglyphs back in 2019. Larva Labs is the same team behind the OG NFT collectibles, CryptoPunks. In fact, Autoglyphs was their second project after CryptoPunks.
So, what exactly are Autoglyphs NFTs?
Put simply, Autoglyphs is an on-chain generative art project, generated through an algorithm. Larva Labs describes them as “an experiment in generative art, each one unique and created by code”. This is typical of generative art—a process in which a computer program algorithmically generates unique artworks with a new combination of traits.
Based on the Ethereum blockchain, these were originally created by anyone after paying 0.2 ETH (around $35 back then) as the creation fee. Moreover, the team donated all the creation fees to 350.org. “An international movement of ordinary people”, 350.org fights climate change and advocates for the use of renewable energy.
However, the generator shut itself off after creating merely 512 glyphs. For the same reason, this scarcity has made Autoglyphs extremely valuable today. To be sure, their floor price today is a whopping 177 ETH or about $544,000. Besides, what makes them a truly unique piece of history is that they are the first-ever on-chain generative art project.
What is on-chain generative art?
NFT projects like CryptoPunks or Bored Ape Yacht Club are all generative art NFT projects. As a matter of fact, most PFP NFT projects fit into this category. However, contrary to common belief, the actual artwork is not stored on the blockchain. Instead, they are stored in a database off-chain, that is, off of the blockchain. This is alarming because there is no guarantee that the images will stay safe there forever.
This is where the Autoglyphs NFTs stand apart.
“With the CryptoPunks, all of the ownership and the provenance is permanently and publicly available, and those rules are set and fixed,” Watkinson told Artnome. “And yet there’s still a bit of an imperfection there in that the art comes from outside of the blockchain and stays out there, and it’s just referenced by a smart contract.”
“We don’t have any complaints about the CryptoPunks, but it felt like there was an opportunity to go further,” he further said. “With Autoglyphs, we asked ourselves, “Can we make the entire thing completely self-contained and completely open and operating on the blockchain?””
And that’s exactly what the duo did with Autoglyphs. Basically, the art is stored within the contract itself. As Larva Labs described, “it is literally ‘art on the blockchain.’” This was no easy task given the limitations of blockchains which makes it difficult to store large image files on them.
The duo then experimented with various generators. Eventually, they found the perfect “small amount of efficiently running code” to produce a “fairly small, efficient output”.
As a result, the final artworks are simple, yet extremely beautiful. The code has gracefully brought together various symbols schemes like +-|, /\, \|-/, and O|-. In fact, the artworks pay homage to the pioneers of generative art, Ken Knowlton and Michael Noll.
How are Autoglyphs created?
The Autoglyphs use a “highly optimized” generative algorithm that can create billions of unique artworks. Each of these artworks is wrapped inside an ERC-721 interface. ERC-721, as we know, is the token standard for NFTs.
The whole process of generating artworks follows a self-contained mechanism. In other words, once the project is deployed to Ethereum, the developers control neither the code that generates the art nor the one that manages the ownership of the tokens.
“It allows a long-term guarantee of ownership, provenance and edition size that is independent of any central authority,” Larva Labs wrote. Later, the firm made the ownership and the generating code public. As a result, several Autoglyph derivative projects have come to life, like ColorGlyphs and PaintGlyphs.
These NFTs are now selling for millions!
Since the generator has shut itself off, there will only ever be 512 Autoglyph NFTs in existence. Today, 152 collectors own these invaluable NFTs. Needless to say, knowing their worth, the holders are not going to easily part with these NFTs. For this reason, there have only been three Autoglyph sales in the last 30 days.
Besides, most of these NFTs have sold for millions of dollars. According to DappRadar, Autoglyphs #463 takes the top spot as the highest-ever sold NFT in the collection. It sold for a whopping $1.58 million. Autoglyphs #486 and Autoglyphs #403 take the second and third spot after selling for $1.56 million and $1.51 million, respectively.
With a $1.48 million sale, Autoglyphs #380 is the fourth highest-selling NFT. Finally, Autoglyphs #17 takes the fifth spot after fetching $1.44 million. Actually, at least six other Autoglyph NFTs have sold for more than $1.1 million.
If you want to buy one of these NFTs, it will cost you at least 177 ETH on OpenSea. Some have even been listed for as high as 1999 ETH (about $6 million at the time of writing). As with other iconic collections like Rare Pepe and CryptoPunks, Autoglyphs’ value is likely to rise in the future. Incredibly lucky are the few that grabbed these in the early days!