The Tezos Art Vending Machine Project – A Fun, Gamified NFT Distribution Model Designed To Spread Art Culture

by | Sep 6, 2022 | Adoption, Latest, NFTs

The Tezos art vending machine project uses a gamified NFT / Art distribution model to help spread Tezos art culture in a fun and unique way.

In this interview article XTZ News caught up with some of the team behind the project to find out more.

Image Credits: @tezvendmachine,@Mentalnoise_e, @Joerogans_dad, @liminalcorp, @mightymoss, @redruMxNFT, @_0_0_0_9_, @FendelMarc, @Purpledrank7855 and @bogatlynuts  

The Tezos Vending Machine

The Tezos art vending machine project uses a gamified NFT / Art distribution model to help spread Tezos art culture in a fun and unique way.

“The Vending Machine combines art discovery and random distribution, all at a low cost of entry.” – mightymoss

The project is novel to the Tezos NFT space and is best described by their team, where they outline the mechanism of the platform:

Artist (or collectors) will donate pieces to the vending machine, this can be any piece they’ve minted or purchased on other platforms such as TEIA and OBJKT which they then will use the VEN platform UI to send pieces to the machine contract.

In this way they can set their secondary royalties accordingly and make them widely available to a new audience base that normally wouldn’t know where to look for or collect their work.

The art will then be distributed to collectors randomly for 2 TEZ or 3 pieces for 5. Half of all these proceed will then be used to offer TEZOS based initiatives such as marketing drives and free mints to onboard new artist onto TEZ.

The VEN contract is such that in the future we can upgrade the UI to accommodate a free mint function to VEN contract right within the page, this will be a potential further iteration as we grow and advance concept.”

 The Interview

Could you just give a brief introduction to the project?

Sure! The Tezos Art Vending Machine Project was created to help spread Tezos art and culture. The basic structure is artists and collectors donate work that is distributed via a new fun gamified distribution model to encourage easy on boarding and a new way to share art with a wider audience.

Could you introduce the team?

The team is spread out between the UK, US and Canada. Everyone has a strong background in tech, design, art music and business.

The Tezos Art Vending Machine Team is @Wrilben @Mightymoss @RexFlexasaurus @Landlinesart and @FendelMarc.

Is NFT Vending Machine a bit like a raffle, but for NFTs?

The Vending Machine concept is strictly transactional based and not a “raffle” at all – you always get NFT art in exchange for Tez.

Can anything else apart from Art NFTs be used in the machine i.e. music NFTs, in-game NFTs Etc?

There has already been some music nfts donated and distributed through the machine, it supports any format that you can currently mint to platforms like Objkt and Teia so interactive game NFTs and Generative pieces are certainly options the project can support.

What NFT platforms/contracts do you presently support? Any more to be added in the future?

All platforms on Tezos are supported except Versum currently as their structure does not allow for their ITEMs to be exchanged outside of Versum. 

Is NFT Vending Machine self-funded?

The development of the project is completely self-funded and all associated cost for storage, hosting, domain and admin are covered by the project lead.

The structure is very community oriented as it relies on donations to keep the machine loaded and distribution model robust.

When did the project launch?

After almost half a year in testing and development the contract was launched in the middle of July and the machine was turned on for public interaction on mainnet shortly thereafter so as crazy as it feels the Vending Machine Project is really only around 5 weeks old!

How did the Vending Machine idea come about?

I have been a collector of NFTs since late 2018 and one of the main challenges I would say with onboarding and crypto in general is there’s really not enough sources of entertainment and ways to interact with your tokens past ecosystems now like defi and speculative investing.

That’s part of the main reason “memecoins” rose so quickly in popularity and now NFT art while having certain utility value (such as the ability to document digital legacy and artist royalty in perpetuum) fills a similar gap in terms of offering onboarding opportunities through the lens of art and culture.

The prospect of spending a small amount of money and getting exposure to new art really sounded like something I would enjoy and for that reason dedicated my team management skills to putting together the crew that managed to bring the idea to fruition.

What would you say are the benefits to the artists, collectors etc?

The primary benefit is the ability to have work present through an interesting and engaging distribution model therefore garnering new audiences and collectors.

We’ve seen lots of comments from people that they discovered artists they never heard of or would otherwise have collected and artists who hadn’t sold any or specific pieces for many months suddenly seeing a fresh breath of life in terms of engagement even for work  forgotten or minted a long time ago.

From a collector perspective I would say that there’s a self apparent benefit to keeping a natural curiosity towards art and by utilizing the vending machine getting randomly distributed work can broaden perspective in terms of collecting habits and style.

How is the art purchased?

Art is purchased either as a single nft for 2 tez of 3 for five in the primary machine or 3 pieces for 2 tez in the wildcard machine.

Will you be running any vending machine events?

We actually just had our first Curated Vending Day Event called “The (Real) Art of the Deal” where 12 artists were presented with the title prompt and asked to create work in any style reflecting on the concepts of exchange and value.

The event was a big success and 1550 pieces were distributed in less than 24 hours through the machine.

The Event gallery of pieces can be seen at https://objkt.com/profile/vendingevents/owned

There is going to be a lot of events like this in the future on themes such as 1/1, gifs, holidays such as Halloween, various other forms of art and artist collectives.

Could you run different themed vending machines i.e. in real life you could have food/drink/toy vending machines. Could you have generative art, PFP, gaming NFTs and different vending machines for different niches? Or even different values?

Currently there’s no real life distribution model in place for the Machine however we have been talking with a studio about usage of portal technology to create a touch screen distribution model based on the Vending Machine tech and structure that could be presented at NFT conference and events in the future.

One of the future iterations we have planned for the project is the ability for users to create their own Vending Machine to self curate a selection of art that will also have whitelist ability and personalized domains.

We can see a myriad of ways having the ability to randomly distribute a set of pieces to a whitelisted selection of collectors could be of huge benefit to artists on Tez.

The value of each vend can also be set to different variables within the contract accessible through an admin UI.

Would there ever be the possibility to know which artists could be in a vend? i.e. if you knew there was a chance of a Zancan/ jjjjjjjjjjohn etc. in a vend? 

We periodically load a higher floor value piece into the machine and will tease it on our twitter (https://twitter.com/tezvendmachine) so we recommend everyone follow and turn on notifications to not miss out on valuable surprise drops!

Why was Tezos chosen for the project, could this be done on Eth etc?  

The Vending Machine structure could be adapted for any chain. It was chosen for Tezos primary due to the basically non existent fees (a few pennies per transaction), the low energy usage and environmental impact and the inherently strong art based culture on Tezos chain.

Only Tezos is supported and as strong proponents of the culture and quality of the art on Tezos the other consideration is the low cost of fees which we see as a barrier to entry on ETH and other L1 chains.

However the contract and tech could be modified for other chains in the future and it has been taken into consideration, the concept was originally conceived for ETH but associated cost to mint and execute transactions made it unviable.

What technology was used to create the project? What language were the smart contracts written in etc?

The smart contracts were written using smartpy, which is a python library for developing Tezos smart contracts.

The dapp itself relies on taquito to interface with the blockchain.

How is the randomization of what NFTs you can get performed? Is it decentralized? Is value of the NFTs taken into account when it comes to randomization, or do all go into the same mix?

Randomization is achieved using an on-chain price oracle, which provides a source of entropy for the pseudo-random number generation.

The value of the NFTs is not taken into account when it comes to randomization.

However the smart contract is capable of facilitating multiple vending machines, allowing NFTs of differing value to be put into a specific vending machine based on their value.

What has been the take up so far? Sales, Success, other metrics etc? 

So far we are very impressed with overall performance- over 3500 nfts have been distributed via the machine in just over a month. The initial day the machine was turned on it distributed 550 pieces in 12 minutes.

As already mentioned, the first curated event day 1550 pieces were vended in less than 24 hours and this being in a down market.

We predict when market conditions improve the project will be well positioned to greatly assist and benefit in the growth of Tezos art and ecosystem.

What are some of the biggest high-value NFTs or artists that have been included in the machine so far?

So many amazing friends and  top artist have been engaged as supporters, donors and patrons of the project including Laurence Fuller (who onboarded me to Tezos initially), Jenni Pasenen, Xer0x, David Cheifetz, Xcollabz, Anibal_Ar13, VonDoyle, AD_AD –  Many members from the La Creme Art Collective (Artedeft, 3a5a1a, IamAstra amongst others) and really too many more to mention (sorry if I left anyone out!)

The project has received so much warmth and help from the larger Tezos community showing just how strong the ecosystem is especially in regard to new DAPPS and experimental distribution models.

NFTs given away via the machine to support donation drives and interest have had floor values up to 1000 Tez with dozens in the 200-1000 tez range including many donated from my own personal collection, so there is certainly the opportunity to acquire many valuable pieces from the project.

Is the project open source, or will it be in the future?

The project is not currently open source though it is potentially possible in the future.

What’s the difference between normal vending machine NFTs and the wildcard version?

Essentially the difference is the Main Machine is slightly more curated and the Wildcard Machine slightly less partially based on floor value of the pieces donated and purchased for distribution.

In the description you mention that up to half the proceeds can be used for marketing drives and free mints for artists. How do you onboard artists with free mints etc? The free mint option will be on the website? Does it mean the user does not need any tez to mint, or are gas fees still needed?

In our next machine iteration the contract supports a mint to VEN contract feature similar to a platform “lite” model so we can offer minting periods to artists completely free of charge and this will be present on the website.

In the near future we will also have a google form linked that artist and patrons can offer suggestions for art initiatives the machine can support.

It’s obvious that removing a financial barrier to minting cost is an effective way to encourage artists to try it out as there is no financial risk to them at all to onboard.

One big way we have been fiercely supporting artists is purchasing more art for the machine, as it is self-sustaining to the project growth and artist exposure to patronize individuals via the machine distribution model and reach as well as all twitter related events and marketing activity (such as our daily artist spotlights and work description).

What things have you learnt so far with the project? Things you would have done Differently?

Developing on Tez is still relatively new so there was a ton for me personally learned about project structure and how to solve various issues that came up as a result of chain specific quirks- one of the enduring qualities of experimental development in web3.

As for things differently so far everything has gone really well often exceeding expectations in terms of execution- having a really intelligent team of fellow art and tech enthusiasts has helped immensely in creating the project as we are all motivated to support something we love and believe in.

 What is on the upcoming roadmap for the project?

There is no official project roadmap, discord, anything of that nature however documentation and some future iteration details can be found on our Medium at:

https://medium.com/@Vendingnfts

Are the team working on any other projects we should know about?

Having a small scale and reactive team with such skills and synergy can be a hard balance to achieve in web3, I predict the Vending Team might have more tricks up its sleeve in the future in terms of development or other DAPPs.  

Anything in the future we should keep our eye on?

The best way to stay informed about the Vending Machine Project is to follow our twitter and turn on post notifications so you don’t miss any of our surprise drops, machine loads and future curated events! Our official twitter is https://twitter.com/tezvendmachine

Any final thoughts you would like to add?

As the ecosystem grows the Vending Machine Project will continue to adapt and grow with blockchain tech.

Adapting and changing as necessary to provide long term value and mindfulness in web3.

We thank the Tezos Vending Machine Project team for their interview, especially RexFlexasaurus for taking the time to discuss the project in such detail and end this piece with some great quotes from their team: 

“To me the Vending Machine has the same kind of excitement as being a kid at the fair playing the claw vending machine. The project is truly based on reciprocity, community, and inspiration!” – F3nd3l

“I love the element of surprise you get when you click the button and are waiting with anticipation to see what mystery art you pulled. We purposely made the VendingNFTs website user experience fun and easy to use with a simple, intuitive vending machine design.” – mightymoss

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