• Fidenza artist slams Solana’s derivative NFT project

  • Tyler Hobbs, creator of the popular art block series Fidenza, described Solana-based NFT project SolBlocks as “disgusting as hell” for using his art-generating code without authorization.

    Pirated NFT project launches on Solana

    The artist behind Fidenza has accused a Solana-based NFT project of copying his work.

    With ethereum oil prices reaching extreme highs, NFT collectors are turning to other, cheaper blockchains to continue their hobby. One of these is Solana, which has seen a growing number of NFT creators launch collections in recent weeks. However, as the NFT space expands into more and more ecosystems, a new trend of cottage projects seems to be emerging.

    The latest in a series of rip-off projects is SolBlocks, which has announced plans to launch its own unique, algorithmically generated collection of NFT art based on Fidenza creator Tyler Hobbs’ codebase.

    While SolBlocks claims that all of the art is new and unique, the heart of the matter is that they are using Tyler Hobbs’ name, the Fidenza brand, and his art generation code to create art without authorization. Many in the generative art community consider SolBlocks’ move to be theft of intellectual property, as the code used to generate the art arguably represents “art” as much as the generated artwork itself.

    Responding to SolBlocks’ announcement on Twitter, visual artists asked SolBlocks not to proceed, arguing that the project was “disgusting” and represented an “unauthorized commercial use” of their program.

    The Fidenza copy is part of a broader trend of ethereum NFT derivatives appearing on Solana. Other cottage programs include SolPunks and SolSquiggle, which have copied Larva Labs and Art Blocks’ widely successful CryptoPunks and Chromie Squiggle NFT collections without any license. These two collections, along with Hobbs’ Fidenza, are among the most valuable NFTs on the market; individual pieces can sell for the equivalent of millions of dollars in ETH.

    Without naming any specific project, Art Blocks called the practice “intellectual property theft” in a Wednesday tweetstorm, adding that the artists whose work was stolen “feel violated.”

    While derivative projects may try to gain notoriety and financial gain by exploiting the reputation of the original project, they will have a hard time faking provenance. Because NFTs are unique units of digital data stored on a public blockchain, they are inherently not interchangeable with other digital assets, meaning that the authenticity of the original artwork is verifiable and impossible to fake.

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