A year and half ago, a friend helped me make a tool to mint my own NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for my art work. Once it was done, I told my friend I wanted to open source the code. I’d been using free open source software for a decade, and thought I should share.
My developer friend got excited, had some of his developer friends review the code and we shared it. We named our little project ALF, Artist Liberation Front, a nod to an old Monty Python skit from the film “Life of Brian,” as well as to a group that throws events in Richmond, Virginia, known as the Party Liberation Front.
I wasn’t sure if anyone would use it. My hope somebody may use it and maybe experiment with the code and improve it.
The project took on a life of it’s own. Some artists started experimenting with it. Some other NFT projects took some of our ideas and added it to their own. A charity helping Venezuelan Refugees started minting and selling tokens of refugee childrens’ art. ALF started getting attention within the small crypto art community and beyond.
I began to receive frequent emails from all kinds of people, from all kinds of places, filled with questions about NFTs and crypto. It was starting to take a lot more of my time and attention than I had expected.
Then, my phone rang, yes someone went through the effort to get my number, to complain about some of the art that had been minted with the Artist Liberation Front tool. Their clients, charities and non-profits, had found some art made with ALF to offensive. They did not want their art associated with this “offensive” artwork. They had even gone as far as contacting Opensea, a market place where the tokens are sold, to see if it could be removed. They wanted me, the “contract owner”, to take it down.
WTF! I am just a painter making some NFTs and thought I would be nice and share some code. Now I’m dealing with Freedom of Speech and Censorship issues?!
To be fair, the artwork in question was not safe for work. It was actually something I found very unappealing, almost repulsive, shocking imagery just for the sake of being shocking. But, I had to stick to my principles of no censorship for ALF’s token contract which was titled “ArtistUnleashed.” I ended up resolving the issue by making another contract and tool for charities and non-profits and creating a curated second contract, leaving ArtistUnleashed censorship free.
But that was over a year ago, that’s like decades in the world of crypto. So many things have changed, now there are many options available to artists to make art tokens. The ALF tool has not been updated in over a year, and code or external dependencies may be outdated
I have other projects to work on and art to make, so I am ending my involvement/ownership with ALF and ArtistUnleashed.
In order to give ArtistUnleashed a proper good-bye
- The website now has a downloadable zip file with ALF tool and the ArtistUnleased, which anyone can upload to their website and use freely.
- I have also uploaded the zip file to IPFS and made a torrent with files so that it cannot be taken down
- And of course it is still on Github.
- Ownership of the ArtistUnleashed has been sent to the Ethereum burn address, therefore no one can pause the contract or remove a token or minter.
- The 10% royalty was removed from the ArtistUnleashed OpenSea storefront. I was receiving the 10% and then distributing it to the artists. The “royalty” was nice, but it is more important to have no third party control in an uncensorable app. To be clear, all of the royalty programs for NFTs are third party controlled, not embedded in the contract.
Your address will still need to be added to the contract by an existing minter, but once added it can not be removed and you can add other addresses, etc…Uncensorable and unstoppable by anyone, including myself.
Long live ALF
I will no longer control or be a part of The Artist Liberation Front tool or the curated contract. It will live on in better hands. The ALF is being taken over by the crypto-artists and developers at Artolin.org. They are one of the original crypto-art projects and highly respected. They will do a great job!
ALF is Dead! Long Live ALF
Thanks to Chris Lumpkin