Web3 is a cultural and social revolution, a turbulently flowing vortex, spinning the Internet as we know it on its axis. That could be an overly pretentious description but it is very much in keeping with the often messianistic movements of crypto projects, in both their financial and artistic aspects.
Decentralized platforms are making their way into the world of the arts, music, sports, gaming, and of course finance, with the uses we’re currently seeing emerging - just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the apparently superficial, beyond the trendiest NFT platforms, is the real treasure, Blockchain, the technology that supports cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain is the foundation of a decentralized system of traceable record keeping that can certify both the authenticity of an NFT and an electoral vote. We’re still very far from reaching the curve of Blockchain’s technological adoption with Gartner's Hype Cycle predicting mainstream NFT adoption will take upto 5 years. Our community, however, is rapidly adopting these technologies, implementing crypto payment in ecommerce, creating digital works of art and collectibles of thousands of avatars - as well as a wide variety of really crazy and original ideas. These are the sketches of the Internet of the future.
Kawaii and Techno Futurism
In all these innovative projects we can observe two predominant visual styles, both very far from the minimalism currently prevailing.
The first, which we could call “Techno-Futurism”, makes references to sci-fi cinema from the 80s and 90s and to the raw aesthetics of the origins of the Internet [ curve.fi ] It appropriates the aesthetic resources of Net.art, uses neon colors, glow effects, 3D objects and environments, as well as numerous references to gaming culture from different periods. 3D artists are some of the great beneficiaries of the latest trends, in both the crypto ecosystem and for the imminent migrations to the metaverse.
The second prominent trend is the cuteness culture of the kawaii aesthetic. Kawaii is based on Japanese popular culture in TV entertainment, everyday objects, toys, etc and of course, digital media where it uses magical 3D illustrated worlds with a special emphasis on character design.
Surprisingly, these styles, especially kawaii, are adopted by DeFis (decentralized finance platforms) where hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of bitcoin ₿, Ethereum and other crypto currencies are moved daily.
From taking one quick look at the names of these platforms we can get an idea of the ecosystem: SushiSwap, PancakeSwap, SundaeSwap, and Cream.Finance. As if having peculiar names were not enough, the mascots of the most well known ones, UniSwap and PancakeSwap are a colorful unicorn and some pancakes with syrup.
Who wouldn't entrust all their savings to a cute character shaped like a pancake?
The New Financial Fantasy World
This change in the aesthetics of financial business is at best curious and at worst totally disturbing. We need to seriously theorize about how our psychosocial construct has evolved in just 5 years to have allowed us to have moved on from the old paradigm, dominated by the most ironclad rationalism, to this new world of color and fantasy.
A very interesting example (both visually and in the brand tone of voice) is Abracadabra.money, a lending platform that lets users put up collateral in exchange for its stablecoin, MIM (Magic Internet Money). This DeFi platform has achieved nothing less than a market capitalization (Market Cap) of $587.43 Million!
“Abracadabra.money is a spell book that allows users to produce magic internet money”.
Here we have a clear example of the problems that an inappropriate design could cause. We can't help but imagine the look on the tax inspector's face when faced with a conversation like the following:
- Inspector: And... where do you say you got these quarterly profits, madam?
- You: Oh, from “Magic Internet money of course!”
The Classical Structure of a Microsite for a DAO and Generative Avatar Projects.
At a content structure level, the basics of a landing page for a DAO project usually consists of: access to read the "White Paper”, a Wallet connection, the Roadmap, the Team presentation, and links and connections to Etherscan, CoinmarketCap, UniSwap, PancakeSwap and others to check the prices and trade tokens. Also undoubtedly including intuitive access to the main social networks where most of the marketing-based business is carried out. A Discord account will also play an important role, with it being the clear winner for communities of gamers and crypto addicts.
Practically all the projects have a simplified landing page in terms of usability and content, in order to make way for the financial APPS, which tend to have the appearance of more complex financial dashboards.
As for crypto-art, work is usually presented directly on platforms such as Rarible, Foundation, and OpenSea, with more and more crypto artists directly using their marketplace account to officially present themselves.
Despite the fact that PFPs (profile picture projects) and NFT avatar collections are traded on the same marketplaces or DeFi platforms, microsites are also created that serve to present the project. These sites describe the origin of the story, the meaning of the characters, the rarities of the traits, as well as alerting collectors about coming airdrops and other types of interactions.
If you want to understand how to create an NFT avatar collection, take the time to read Styllar's Case Study.
Collaborate with us! Feel free to suggest other curious or super impressive sites that you’ve seen, and if you are the creators of these innovative crypto-sites, do not hesitate to submit your work so that it can be valued by the awwwards jury and seen by our community.
Check The Collection
To see first hand the explosion of creativity that Crypto-Sites are bringing with see our “Creative Crypto Projects” collection which will be continually updated. Check it out regularly to stay up to date with NFTs and DAO sites plus articles, platforms, podcasts, video channels, Discord accounts and tools.
Coming up! Immerse yourself in the crypto universe!