- Solana-based NFT project SolBlocks used Fidenza’s creator art-generating code without authorization.
- Tyler Hobbs, the creator of the original Fidenza artwork collection, called the move “distasteful as hell.”
- The incident is the latest in a series of copycat NFT projects launching on Solana.
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Tyler Hobbs, the creator of the popular Art Blocks collection Fidenza, has described Solana-based NFT project SolBlocks as “distasteful as hell” for using his art-generating code without authorization.
Rip-Off NFT Projects Launch on Solana
The artist behind Fidenza has called out a Solana-based NFT project for copying his work.
With Etheruem gas prices reaching extreme highs, NFT collectors are moving to other, cheaper blockchains to continue their hobby. One of them is Solana, which has seen an increasing number of NFT creators launch collections in recent weeks. However, as the NFT space expands to ever more ecosystems, a new trend of copycat projects seems to be emerging.
The latest in a series of rip-off projects is SolBlocks, which announced its plan to launch its own unique collection of algorithmically-generated NFT artworks based on Fidenza creator Tyler Hobbs’ codebase Tuesday.
1/ A thread on the forthcoming SolBlocks:
The main theme behind SolBlocks is to make the most iconic & attractive generative-art algorithms available on a wider scale.
— SolBlocks (@Sol_blocks) September 14, 2021
While SolBlocks claims that all artworks will be completely new and unique, the issue centers on their use of Tyler Hobbs’ name, the Fidenza brand, and his art-generating code to create the artworks without authorization. In the generative art community, many consider SolBlocks’ move as intellectual property theft because the code used to generate the art arguably represents “the art” as much as the generated artwork itself.
Responding to SolBlocks’ announcement on Twitter, the visual artist asked SolBlocks not to proceed, arguing that the project is “distasteful as hell” and represents “unauthorized commercial usage” of his programs.
The Fidenza copy is part of a wider trend of derivatives of Ethereum NFTs appearing on Solana. Other copycat projects include SolPunks and SolSquiggle, which copied Larva Labs‘ and Art Blocks‘ widely successful CryptoPunks and Chromie Squiggle NFT collections without any authorization. Both collections, alongside 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 pointing fingers at any specific project, Art Blocks referred to the practice as “intellectual property theft” in a Wednesday tweet storm, adding that artists whose work had been stolen “feel violated.”
PSA: Just because this space is pseudo-anon and decentralized does not mean copyright rules do not apply.
Intellectual property theft is real and applies to platforms that generate unauthorized works as well as individuals that participate in the trade of counterfeit goods. 👇
— Art Blocks (@artblocks_io) September 15, 2021
While derivative projects may attempt to gain fame and financial benefit by leveraging an original project’s reputation, they will struggle to fake provenance. As NFTs are unique units of digital data stored on public blockchains, they are not inherently interchangeable with other digital assets, meaning the authenticity of original artworks is verifiable and impossible to forge.
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