Ricardo Prado, Mega Oasis team member, and Zhenchen Liu, visual and film artist, joined Neo Global Development’s AMA series, Neo Live, on Friday, Feb. 18 to discuss the Mega Oasis NFT marketplace and its inaugural collection, Meta Panacea.
In the AMA, Prado and Liu discussed the goals of the NFT marketplace, the inspiration behind the Meta Panacea series, how Mega Oasis differentiates from other NFT marketplaces in the Neo ecosystem, attracting users from outside the crypto industry, and various plans for Mega Oasis moving forward.
A transcript of the AMA can be found below:
Q1: Can you give us an introduction to MegaOasis?
Ricardo Prado (Mega Oasis team member): Our mission is to develop the art market within the crypto-economy, open a new channel for artists to showcase and sell their work, and offer high-end exclusive artwork on the Neo ecosystem.
Our strategy focuses on building products based on the art market’s needs. Mega Oasis is a platform that wants to support the artists, their managers, buyers, and other participants. To be successful, we need to work with these multiple groups to develop a fair economic system and fulfill their needs. We should go after art collectors on other ecosystems once ready for them.
Q2: Could you introduce your first series of NFT, Meta Panacea?
Zhenchen Liu (Meta Panacea creator): MetaPanacea is a re-creation from my latest offline collection, Panacea. The idea of Panacea is from traditional Chinese plants. I used different kinds of herbs and different techniques to make this series.
In Fall 2019, I was charged with an on-site art project at the Xinchang Ancient Town in Pudong. For the first few days, I paced along the old town streets daily, seeking inspiration, to no avail. As luck would have it, though, I had two artist friends who owned separate studios in the same town – for paper and printmaking, respectively. One day I was over for tea in their courtyard, and a magpie flew in; she snatched a length of weed from the ground, landed on a rooftop, and hopped about the shingles, all the while sneaking peeks at me while I peeked back. Then, quickly as she came, she flew off back into the streets.
So, then I asked my friend what grass the bird was scavenging, and he said that it was an herb that he planted. So with the help of my spiritual, feathered friend and a few human ones, I managed to locate a nursery garden for medicinal plants at the periphery of the town. These plants, in turn, became the groundwork for the series that I now call Panacea, which has inherited some of my ideas from the former Kaleidoscope series, such as themes on mesmerism, meditation, and attaining freedom of mind and solace of body.
Unearthed fossils are evidence that plants have existed for more than 430 million years, and have granted humans subsistence via breathable oxygen during that time; plants are symbiotic with every other species on earth, can influence the climate, and are capable of memory and communication; plants possess powers that defy expectation, time and again. For the purposes of survival, propagation and adaptation, plants produce a multitude of chemicals that can serve as poisons or cures, that can either take or save lives. Some familiar compounds originating from plants include nicotine, taxol, morphine, caffeine, cocaine, and more; in traditional herbal medicine, a single decoction brewed from plants can include dozens if not over a hundred different chemical components, and the active ingredients in a single crude drug are typically not just one, but at least several compounds or several categories of such, all synergizing in a manner known as the “Jun-Chen-Zuo-Shi (Denominator-Enhancer-Corrector-Messenger)” combination principle in TCM.
Through “Yin (Imprints),” the Panacea series seeks to impart the commutative nature of polarities. The roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, as well as certain medicinal minerals, leave their imprints between frames in the form of their petals, concentrates, fragrances and contours, while the synergistic affinity of their constituent elements are allegorized through the figurative and abstract, the substantial and the surreal. Humans, among our infinite potential, possess inherent “synaesthetic” capabilities; we, through the richness of our viewership experiences, are able to be drawn to the “prescription” artworks that appeal the most to the inner ailing individual to us. I hold trust that Panacea can work its wonders to restore and vitalize the viewer both in body and spirit. The character for “Heal” (愈) contains a heart (心) at its foundation; this is where healing begins. Starting from the senses, from within to without. Panacea is both dialectic and transdisciplinary; dynamic yet incidental; constitutive yet minimal; exact yet elusive; and ultimately – poetic.
Resulting from the random crossover of the Panacea series using computer algorithms, MetaPanacea is both dialectic and transdisciplinary.
Q3: What killer features does MegaOasis have that differentiate it from the GhostMarket and SkyHut NFT marketplaces in the Neo ecosystem?
Ricardo: The strategies behind these products are totally different. Our marketplace offers curated, high-quality content acquired through unique partnerships. We want to support the players to join the ecosystem. We cooperate with artists and take care of technological activities that are needed. For example, we develop the smart contracts and are responsible for keeping and maintaining the website.
I think that I can put it this way: Our customer is the art collector, that is why we are focusing only on high-quality NFTs with very limited supply.
I’m a big fan of both GhostMarket and SkyHut. They have their roles in the ecosystem, and we hope to partner with them soon.
I think that our market approach is different, and we can all benefit from this market growth.
Q4: Why do you select MegaOasis as your first launching platform?
Zhenchen: Owen’s sincere heart moved me when he invited me to bring art to MegaOasis. I haven’t made an NFT before, and I don’t know much about blockchain. But after Owen’s talk with me, I think Neo is a good platform to start my NFT experiment. We can make something big, and NFT is a good form for me to express this digital art. After I met the team, I found they were all young and enthusiastic, I liked their ideas, and then we made this happen.
Q5: What’s on the Mega Oasis roadmap?
Ricardo: Yes, sure. I’ll divide this answer into two parts: our current demands and our plans for the future.
First, about the first collection. After the launch, we collected feedback from buyers and got some insights. They approve of the NFT’s quality but feel that there are issues that still need attention. Here is the summary, from the users’ perspective:
- The supply is too high.
- The price is too low.
- There is no additional feature or benefit after buying the artwork.
We also collected other relevant feedback. Users have asked questions like:
- “How can I print this? Can I have a physical copy?”
- “I would like to be able to interact with my art, view it somewhere.”
- “How can I get closer to the artist? Is he on Discord?”
- “It would be cool to see how the art was made!”
We have also collected some data from users outside the ecosystem. For them, it is hard to get bNEO and GAS. Because of that, we decided not to focus on users from other chains yet.
In the short term, we will make the following adjustments. The supply and price were chosen to make the NFT series more accessible to the Neo community. However, this has proved to be an incorrect decision because it caused some potential buyers to think that some pieces had lower quality, just because of the perception of a “low” price. We will adjust the supply and change the price. Then, we will invite holders to join our VIP list.
This is the plan to adjust the supply at the end of the countdown:
- Two pieces will be given to Liu.
- One piece will be airdropped to holders.
- One piece will be given to the Mega Oasis art fund.
The remaining pieces will be burned.
This is a beneficial strategy for the artist and also good for the holders. There will be a much lower supply and higher prices on the second series.
From now on, we plan to inform the VIP list before the general public. This includes changes in the platform, new artists, and in the future, priority access to the NFTs. Also, we have even higher resolution images that we can give to holders. This is important if you want to print it.
If you are a holder and want to join the VIP list, reach me on Discord.
We considered doing this change in supply, via burn, right after the AMA, but decided not to do it because we would have to pull the pieces from the marketplace. But be aware: these prices won’t show up on other collections.
Now, about the roadmap. Our top priorities include:
- Holder airdrop.
- Add more pages and features to our website. We are working on SEO and other cool new features.
- Formalize the VIP list and our communication channels with them.
- Launch the second series of Zhenchen Liu. The supply will be drastically lower than this first series.
- Plan how users can have their NFTs printed. The print must have very high quality and be shipped globally (or printed locally with equivalent quality).
- Plan how to use the Mega Oasis art fund to benefit holders.
- Plan business to business partnerships.
Our secondary priorities include:
- Add fiat support. Start targeting collectors from other chains.
- Run a successful campaign with three other artists. We are considering charity and business to business sponsored collections.
- Launch Series three, four, five, and six.
- Extra benefits for NFT holders.
- Add high-quality printing options.
- Plan how agents and other market participants can interact with this new economy.
- Plan how users can have to expose/visit their NFTs.
And lastly, are other topics on our radar include:
- Art Gallery Metaverse – our own or through partnerships
- Integrate other market players, like private agents, sponsors, and others.
- Create an international art pass for art supporters.
- Legal demands.
Fiat support is a requirement if we want to grow this outside the Neo ecosystem. We plan to have this as soon as possible, using an external service provider.
Q6: How do you think Mega Oasis can bring innovation as an NFT marketplace and attract new users outside of the crypto industry?
Ricardo: What is great about this project is that it aims to bring art to the crypto-economy. We are not waiting for artists, sellers, and buyers to show up at our door. We are actively going after them. This is not a tool for developers. This is a platform for the art market as a whole.
Mega Oasis specifically is great for bringing new users to the ecosystem. This is because art collectors tend to have higher acquisition power. We have the potential to bring large investors through our high-quality art and our buyers and artists networks.
Q7: Are there any quality standards for the content artists upload?
Ricardo: We require a high-quality standard for the pieces, but the exact dimensions are still undefined. Our marketplace only sells curated content, so it should meet a minimum standard to participate in the primary market.
Q8: What was your inspiration and thought process while creating the Meta Panacea pieces?
Zhenchen: I created Meta Panacea because I’d like to cross over several Panacea into one image for some special effects, which are not possible in already created offline artworks. And as you know, I’m a painter, an installation artist, a video artist, or a new media artist. I never limit myself to only one art form. Blockchain is a new concept these years, and NFT is cyber. I’m very glad to make my first NFT collection. My works are usually collected by museums or collectors in the traditional sense.
I am very happy to see young collectors collecting my works on the Neo platform.
Q9: What is Zhenchen’s opinion about the NFT industry? What benefits can NFTs bring to an artist of his caliber? How can artists like him spread awareness to non-tech people about blockchain and NFTs?
Zhenchen: As a cross-media artist, I’m always looking for a suitable way to protect the intellectual property of my digital artworks. In the past, I used to give the museum or collector an A4 signed certificate for the collection of my digital works, but there are many problems with this method.
NFTs are “non-fungible tokens,” meaning they represent digital assets accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and are stored on the blockchain. Copyright is an important area where NFTs can be applied usefully and solve existing problems. I’m not very technical, but the Mega Oasis team is.
Q10: What plans does the Mega Oasis team have to onboard traditional artists to digitize their artworks and sell them as NFTs on a marketplace? What are the advantages compared to the real sale of their creations?
Ricardo: I’ll answer this one. We are actively going after artists and agents. This is one of our most time-consuming activities. We also take care of the smart contracts, and help artists with all the steps required to publish their work. By publishing their productions on Mega Oasis, they can reach a broader, global audience with high acquisition power. It is also good from a branding perspective since we do a complete marketing campaign with the artist.
The full AMA can be found at the link below: