NFTChina has recently interviewed a new rising startup in China’s NFT market called TopBidder, which just completed its US$1.2M seed round funding. Here’s the Q&As with TopBidder’s two founders, Jiaying Liu and Bai.
Can you briefly talk about what TopBidder does? What can be put on auction on your platform?
TopBidder is a radical auction protocol for crypto assets (NFTs), especially for crypto arts and collectibles. It is designed to accelerate bidding process during auction. The bidders can earn ETH during the auctions and have the opportunities to get governance tokens BID.
TopBidder protocol is based on Ethereum’s ERC721 standard and improve the standard with a bid function to realize a reinforced transfer of the token’s ownership, thus generate a new type of NFT called rNFT. The rNFT is self-loaded with auction mechanism and can self-pricing independently from any trading platform. It will automatically transfer token ownership when certain conditions are met.
Why does the team choose to use this theory versus the traditional auction? How it is designed?
There are some drawbacks in the traditional auction. First of all, a lot of great artists become well-known many years after their artworks are sold, and they won’t benefit from future price increase. Collectors and dealers usually take away most of the value. Under TopBidder protocol, artists will receive 50% of price difference as rewards every time when their artworks are sold with higher prices.
Secondly, the traditional auction has no incentive mechanism for bidders, while in our radical auction bidders will be rewarded governance token BID along with 30% of the price difference from the next higher bidding price. Owning BID will entitle bidders the rights to yield-farm the future profits from TopBidder.
Thirdly, in the traditional auction, artworks will be off market after the auction, and whether or not the artworks are put back on market will be decided by their new owners. This may delay the value exploration process. TopBidder protocol goes with a different approach in which artworks are available on market infinitely for auction, thus accelerates the value exploration. For example, all the auctions start at 0.05 ETH, within first 10 bids each price increase fixed at 0.05ETH and then 10% price increase for each bid after price reaches to 0.5 ETH.
Screenshot of TopBidder
If the auction never stops, will this feature make bidder unhappy, since he/she can't decide how long the NFT can be hold after he/she wins the auction? What's the justification for this?
This is a good question. Under TopBidder protocol, the bidder become more a “sponsor” of artwork, not same as the traditional art collector. Because the crypto arts are in digital form and can be easily copied and viewed. You can’t just put it into your home and hide it away as the traditional arts. Owning a digital art is about showing the public that you are the best sponsor. Our protocol wants to make sure the pricing reflect the fair market value all the time, and the collector should not prevent the price from raising to a reasonable point. You can own the art as your collection only at a price point no other people is willing to pay. Before reaching to that price point, bidding process will keep trying to discover it.
What’s TopBidder founding team's background? How did you start this project?
Jiaying and I were colleagues at Tencent, and we know each other well. We also have team members from Sina’s Weibo, with whom we had collaboration in the past. We started to touch NFT stuff in 2017. Later in 2018, when CryptoPunk and other similar projects became popular, we entered the market and tested NFTs via different platforms, such as OpenSea, Cryptovoxels and SuperRare. Last year with the end of “DeFi Summer”, we decided it was a good timing to launch TopBidder protocol.
Can you talk about the development of NFT art and its community in China? Who are the NFT art creators?
NFT in China started from 2018, similar as other places in the world. Users in China market playing Metaverse, Collectibles and etc, similar to global users. But compared with other DApps related to NFT, NFT art in China was comparably not that big, though it keeps growing during the past few years.
TopBidder has attracted more than 100 artists. They are from traditional Chinese art as well as digital art. It is funny that in the beginning, many artists don’t really believe their arts can be sold in this way. We tried to attract young artists, since they may be more open to the digital art and our auction.
What forms of NFTs are available on TopBidder? Is there any new way to exhibit those different forms?
There are currently four major forms available on TopBidder: graph, GIF, video and audio. And yes, there are some new ways to show them. For example, we have bought many parcels from the metaverses and built galleries on them, where our artists’ work can be displayed inside. People can also use VR equipment to view them. Each artwork in the gallery is linked directly to TopBidder, and people can bid them right away.
Will artists in the future switch from traditional way to digital to create artwork?
I think yes, very likely. Blockchain and other new informational technology bring new ways for artwork creation.
In different times, people will develop different aesthetics. When times changes, aesthetics changes, too. The new generations are born in internet age, and watch sci-fi movies and play video games. So they are more likely to appreciate 3-D and other new forms of digital art.
Also, many art effects can only be achieved using new technology, such as program-generated particle effect. We also create special light effects in the virtual gallery which you really can’t do it in the physical world.
So basically, I think art is the honest reflection of the era that it exists.
Nothing better than this one to end our interview today. Let’s remember it: Art is the honest reflection of the era that it exists. Hope one day NFT may become the new way for art creation. Thank you for today’s sharing.
David is a former Data scientist at Tencent and Douban since 2007. He entered the blockchain industry since 2017, founded the advertising blockchain ProChain, and carried out precision token airdrops for hundreds of projects. In 2018, David developed the first 10,000 DAU Dapp PRACandybox on EOS. In 2020, he initiated the Yearn's proposal YIP-8 and led the forking of YFI with the support of community, then established halving mechanism to distribute YFII tokens. The YFII vaults earned over 40 millions of dollars for the stakers, meanwhile bringing the Chinese community into the field of DeFi’s yield farming. David is overseeing operating nodes of multiple mainstream public chains like Eth2, Polkadot, Avalanche, Nucypher and Swarm, among which Nucypher is the global largest solo node operator.
Jiaying has worked as a Global SNS chief product designer in the international business department of Tencent. In 2016, she was admitted to the graduate program at Central Academy of Fine Arts. At graduate school, she focused on using the underlying technology of blockchain to transform art and constantly explored the unique artistic language. In 2017, Jiaying founded a blockchain company and ProChain Foundation in Singapore. Its products include Prabox (No.1 traffic on EOS ecosystem), TopBidder (top 10 traffic on EOS ecosystem), and the financial (Defi) product YFII. YFII ranks 68th in the global market value and is listed on OKEX, Huobi and Binance in 2020. In 2019, Jiaying suspended school for one year due to the busy work at blockchain foundation; in 2020, she received her master's degree from the Central Academy of Fine Arts.