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December 2, 2022

An Interview with XCOPY

As ClubNFT launches its new pinning solution, the artist shares their approach to NFT security
Credit: XCOPY, hello admin pm me, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
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An Interview with XCOPY

Jason Bailey: I hope all is good my friend! It’s been awesome watching you grow over the past five years. I have to start by confirming something that I have been saying for a long time but which I’m not sure is 100% true. Am I indeed your first NFT collector from when I bought that piece on Ascribe in early 2018 for $1? 

XCOPY: Yes, that was my first NFT sale. I tried for a while to sell the Ascribe editions, but no one was crazy enough to buy. So, I decided to start the edition at £1 and increase the price by £1 with each edition. A few people picked one up, but it fizzled out around edition five. 

It was a big deal for me just to find others, like you, who could see the value in collecting art in this way.  
XCOPY, Right-click and Save As guy, 2018. Courtesy of the artist

JB: What have been the biggest changes in the space since you first entered in early 2018? What aspects are you currently most optimistic about and what gives you cause for concern?

X: The biggest change is obviously the massive growth we’ve seen in the size of the NFT space. I’m excited to see what we do with the tech (e.g. new formats and interactions) and I imagine we are going to see more art that can only exist in this medium. I try not to spend too much energy on the negatives. It’s incredible to be able to make art and distribute it in this way — to connect with so many people. This is a new way for artists to get their work seen by bigger audiences, which is exciting.  

JB: I’m hoping you were not directly impacted by the FTX collapse. Do you have thoughts on what went wrong there and what the impact could be, if any, on NFTs in the future?

X:Not your keys, not your crypto” was drilled into me early on in my crypto journey.
XCOPY, The State of Us, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

JB: I know you care a ton about your collectors because I have experienced it myself. When the Ascribe NFTs were no longer available I remember you minted and transferred an NFT on SuperRare to me and your other early collectors. You didn’t have to do that but I’ve always appreciated it. Have you run into any other problems with NFTs breaking, content going missing, or else NFTs being custodied by defunct marketplaces?

X: After the issues with Ascribe and Rare Art Labs, I realized that the same thing could happen with Digital Objects, so I withdrew half of each of my editions and vaulted them. That was good because Digital Objects then went down, too. 

Hosting images on centralized servers isn’t ideal, although the tokens do still trade even without the metadata.
XCOPY, KING Cricket Soup, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

JB: I’ve heard that you and Sted are working with my co-founder Chris King to create a backup of all the off-chain content associated with the NFTs you have produced. That is super smart and I wish more artists were so diligent. How do you think about the long-term preservation of NFTs and crypto art — both the on-chain token and the off-chain assets? Do you actively seek out marketplaces that rely on IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) rather than private servers? 

X: I think it’s really important to do everything I can to maintain the work I’ve put out into the world. You can mint new tokens, but you can’t truly replace the original, especially years later. I used to think of my NFTs as a chronological archive, but now I see them as more like a garden that needs to be maintained. If I’m collecting an NFT, my ideal is fully on chain and on Ethereum, at least using IPFS.

JB: Would you recommend that collectors create a local backup of the files associated with their NFTs or is it enough to rely on marketplaces? Do you think it makes sense for collectors to pin their own NFTs if it can be made simple and affordable? 

X: Personally, I take care of the backups and pins myself.
XCOPY, summer.jpg, 2021. Courtesy of the artist   

JB: Which artists are you most excited about right now? Who is not getting as much attention as they deserve?

X: Ripcache — most of their collections are fully on chain with no need for IPFS. JPEG (2022) by Jan Robert Leegte is one of my favorite generative releases. Death.exe (2022) by Neurocolor is another good shout.

JB: Finally, we’d love to hear about any forthcoming projects you might be working on as 2023 rolls around.

X: Next year is going to be massive for me as I’m pushing into some uncharted waters. To be continued...

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XCOPY can be found on Twitter @XCOPYART.

Jason Bailey is the creator of the art and tech blog and founder of GreenNFTs and ClubNFT, where he serves as CEO. ClubNFT is a company that currently offers free NFT backups. Right Click Save is funded by ClubNFT but maintains editorial independence from it. Both ClubNFT and Right Click Save share a common mission to inform and protect NFT artists and collectors.