From the Silk Road to NFTs: Why Musician and Artist Tycho Calls Web3 the “End Game”


Tycho first heard of crypto during his Silk Road days, calling the underground market “the coolest thing in the world” at the time. Now, decidedly legit, he throws his own”Tycho Open Source Community“using Polygon NFT.

Tycho says he bought his first hardware wallet in 2011, but didn’t put Bitcoin above. In an interview with Decryptthe artist – also known as Scott Hansen, or ISO50 from his blogging days in the 2000s – shared the story of how he got into crypto and Web3.

In 2016 he bought Ethereum and swore never to sell it, just to see what would happen to it.

“We should get this Ethereum thing,” he recalled telling musician Jakub Alexander at the time while on tour. “Bitcoin is old school but Ethereum, that stuff is cool.”

He then almost forgot his crypto for years as he continued to make music and visual arts. Hansen designed all of the graphics for his albums and crafted his distinct melodic, ethereal electronic sound, music that earned him two Grammy nominations.

“Our pact was that we should never sell any, and see what happens with it,” he said of ETH, it’s still “hodling” today.

In 2021, Hansen released a few NFT on Clever Gateway and OpenSea, which he calls “a learning experience”. Inspired by the likes of BeepleJustin Blu (3lau) and artist Reuben Wu, Hansen considers Web3 and cryptography a perfect fit for his community.

“We knew each other from speaking at graphic design conferences back in the day,” Hansen said of Beeple, who recently collaborated with Madonna on a NSFW NFT Collection.

Tycho’s community – which he says includes VFX artists, musicians and other graphic designers – first formed in the blogosphere, but has since expanded to a token-operated Discord server.

Given its collaborating and professional members, it is reminiscent of that Illmind music producer also builds through NFTs with its “Squad of Knights”, which provides holders with IRL perks like recording studio space and opportunities for musical collaboration.

Hansen sees Web3 as a way for artists to get rid of the social media middleman.

“Web2 social media platforms came along and kind of hijacked all of that,” Hansen said of how social media has changed internet communities. “It doesn’t really look like a two-way street anymore.”

When he heard about Medallion, a full-service crypto platform, Hansen was intrigued. He said he started working with the company because he found their terms attractive.

“What interests me about the Web3 space and using Web3 for this purpose is that with Patreon, you just create a connection,” Hansen said.

But with its “Open Source” community, which gives holders access to things like early album listening parties and live streams, “the artist owns the data.”

Hansen said he still wants NFTs, which act as access tokens, to be free, while additional perks may cost cash or crypto in the future.

“I think that was the end game, to create this kind of community space, this Web3 community,” Hansen said.

As for whether Hansen will release musical NFTs under his Tycho alias in the future, that’s something he says he’s exploring. Hansen said Decrypt he has “a few releases on the horizon” that he could turn into musical NFTs, but doesn’t have any concrete plans yet.

When asked why electronic artists love Steve Aoki3lau, deadmau5, Francois Dillonand himself are so open to Web3 compared to artists in other genres, Hansen has some ideas.

“Electronic musicians in general […] you have to be a bit technically savvy to get into it, and I think you’re probably pretty into technology as a general concept anyway if you’re getting into that kind of music,” he said. declared.

As someone with a background in computer science, digital graphic design, and electronic music, Web3 and cryptography seemed like a natural thing for Hansen to explore.

In his opinion, Web3 hasn’t evened the playing field – it’s still hard for new musicians to be successful – but he thinks Web3 will eventually become “the norm”.

“I don’t watch it […] like this utopian vision that was kind of presented like in the beginning,” he said. “But I really think it’s another tool in the artists toolbox, so every time we have another kind of leverage, I think that’s going to change. [the] kind of power dynamic.

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