Leading art marketplace Hic et Nunc (HEN) suddenly disappeared recently without warning, abandoned by its creator. Artists were left wondering what had become of their work. However, the community came together and brought the beloved site back to life. The art lives on.
Why it’s important
Hic et Nunc (“Here and Now”) quickly became one of the most important and influential marketplaces for NFT art. The sudden disappearance of the website and its fast return are an excellent demonstration of the power of Web3 and the communities supporting them.
- After the marketplace vanished the official Twitter account just said, enigmatically, “Discontinued.”
- Joanie Lemercier, an early HEN user, said that founder Rafael Lima, “got overwhelmed and decided, overnight, to close the site.”, reported by The Art Newspaper.
- Fellow artist Mario Klingemann on the other hand said, “In an irresponsible act of rage [Lima] decided to leave and turn the off-switch on everything he has access to.”
- The marketplace has quickly been replaced by a copy, hicetnunc.art, and much of the art has been relisted.
- This was possible due to the Web3 technologies used and the fast intervention of developers.
About Hic et Nunc
- HEN was launched in March 2021 and quickly became popular, especially with users in the global south.
- By May, during a surge in NFT activity, it had more daily users than powerhouse OpenSea.
- Lima used the Tezos blockchain as the website’s foundation due to its environmental advantages over Ethereum. This also made for cheaper transactions.
Web3 saves the day
- Any traditional (web2) site would have been lost forever, including the art stored on it and all the accompanying commercial agreements.
- The Web3 HEN site was in fact a front end to the Tezos blockchain holding the NFTs and smart contracts. Lima used IPFS decentralised storage to hold the actual images.
- Web3 is designed to be non-custodial, so ownership and control of the art stayed with the artists, not with the owner of the website.
- Within days, community developers were able to reuse the original code from github and recreate the website. It links to the same web3 infrastructure as the original.
- As a result, artists are able to continue minting, selling and receiving royalties as before.
Despite the fast rescue, trust in the HEN brand has undoubtedly been hit. In addition, many users transferred their listings over to rival objkt.com before the replacement site launched. HEN’s new custodians will need to build back its reputation. There is also the possibility that Lima will reverse his decision and decide to return.