Artano - A thought-out, user- and integrity-first NFT Marketplace is out for Fund5

Hey everyone,

We’re out for Fund5 of project catalyst and I wanted to share its contents here, since so many people reached out to me through this forum. Here’s the link:

Hope you enjoy the read, here it goes :slight_smile:

Problem Statement - High Fees, Centralized and not User Friendly

Many art marketplaces do not put users first: they have high commission fees, they are hard to navigate, they are heavily curated and last but not least - centralized. We noticed that the business models of current NFT marketplaces don’t have a long-term, sustainable focus. They are saturated with digital artworks of varying quality and a lot of great pieces get buried in the sea of transactions created by the existing quick buy-and-sell hype. Moreover artists are easy to impersonate, and there’s a lack of awareness in the NFT community about NFT copyright and ownership. Existing NFT platforms generate profit through exclusive art auctions or through large volumes of NFT sales on platforms with low security. All this compromises the platform’s content and transactions become profit-driven.

Artano is the Solution!

Artano is democratizing art. We want to create opportunities for artists from all backgrounds and open up the space to a global artist population. Our aim is to make a platform which ensures the safety of our users through security mechanisms, the council of artists and collectors, and our curators. We will involve the community in the decision making process of our platform and all users who engage in transactions will be able to acquire a token that will allow them to vote on features of the platform. Artano will be a safe platform to sell art on and it will address most of the usability and scaling issues that current NFT platforms face! We’re already on our way to create an affordable, sustainable and most importantly - community-driven platform in the Cardano space.

Artano applied for Fund 3, and we received over 320 Million ADA in votes, placing us in 6th place overall. We were humbled by the incredible amount of support from the members of the Cardano community, who, with their votes, showed a deep level of trust in our vision and team, believing we would be able to deliver the safest, most equitable and user-friendly platform that deals with NFTs. Despite not being funded, we defined the MVP and our business model, interviewed more than 15 potential members of our council, started building the website, and we’re looking for partners within the blockchain and art/collector space. The success of Artano looks brighter than ever!

Who’s Making Artano Happen?

We have a diverse team from all over the world that will be able to deliver a DApp from start to finish, including 4 developers, 1 business/financial analyst, 1 in-house designer, 1 content manager and 1 product manager. Moreover, the dev team is working on the Plutus Test program.

Here’s our team (in alphabetical order):

Edgar (Head of Design) - Edgar is our graphic designer based in Valencia, with 10 years of experience in the art world. He worked with more than 100 clients, including big European festivals, advising them on graphic design. He takes inspiration to create designs and art collections from his personal life. He is one of the new core members of the Artano Team.

Marija (COO) - Marija has experience in audit and management consulting, with an inside view of the startup ecosystem, refining the business model and market positioning. She has worked on engagements for European companies in the healthcare, energy, media and entertainment industry. She was involved in building long-term business plans, and she has experience in advising companies on growth and development strategies.

Mateja (CEO) - Mateja/Matt is a Serbian-born, American-educated full-stack software developer, an activist and an agile advocate. He brought the team together with the idea of building an affordable, user-friendly and collaborative NFT marketplace. He has worked for one of the biggest automotive clients in the world and for one of the biggest insurance companies in Europe. He’s the product owner, the brains behind the planning, communication and development of Artano.

Mohammed (Lead Content Manager) - After spending over a decade creating content for a wide spectrum of industries, Mohammed knows what truly drives online conversations and how to turn those conversations into support. He creates and nurtures stories that connect effectively with the needs of the people. His clients include multiple universities and research institutes in Qatar, bio-tech and medicine industry leaders, as well as magazines and news outlets.

Ron (CPM) - Ron has 25+ years International IT experience and a technical background in computer science. His role includes managing planning and setting requirements with the dev team. He has helped in the successful execution of several projects, such as an art framework for high-end art and the Delegation Tracker on Cardano. He’s the backbone of our product and our needs to the dev team. Ron has been in the Cardano ecosystem since early 2017.

Sandip (CTO) - Sandip built his first Bitcoin payment system back in 2015/2016! He’s been in the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano space for years. Sandip is managing our development team and making technical decisions. Sandip & Ron form an experienced team working together for several years on a daily basis. They created multiple startups, one of which is active in the blockchain space and created a framework for security tokens and high-end art on basis of Ethereum.

Artano’s 2-person dev team via Ron & Sandip (2 developers, for now) - Artano’s dev team has 5+ years experience in blockchain smart contract development on Ethereum. Artano’s dev team built several successful cloud native platforms, mobile solutions and wallets under the leadership of Sandip and Ron. In mid-2020 the team decided to take some time to deeply understand Cardano. The team consists of devs with deep cryptographic knowledge, programming in several languages, and have machine learning and AI skills.

20 council members : the council will comprise a group of traditional and digital artists from different regions of the world, with different levels of experience and exposure. They will help us curate art and accelerate the growth of Artano, as well as help us create unique collections and stir the global art scene towards the NFT space.

What Have We Done so Far?

a) Interviewed potential council members, currently pending the final decision. They’re a diverse group of people from all over the world and from traditional to digital backgrounds. Below you’ll find some examples of people we’ve interviewed:

  • Two Motion Designers + one musician/designer from the UK

  • One designer from Ghana

  • An indiginous Santhal film maker in India

  • An artist collective from Paris

  • A 3D architect from Rhode Island

  • A CGI art school teacher from Paris

  • A traditional artist from Belgium

  • And many more…

b) We’ve done a user survey of ~70 artists and collectors within (and outside) the NFT space. We wanted to hear the opinions and ideas from the community in order to be able to match them up with our own ideas and define the future direction of the Artano NFT marketplace. We had many responses and we continue to have one on one meetings with artists to understand their needs. You can answer the survey here:

c) We’re working hard to get our website live, and Edgar is a dedicated designer working on this as we write this proposal. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated for when the website is officially launched.

d) We had two conversations with the IOHK/IOG’s executive team about sustainability issues of NFT platforms and how we can make Artano last longer than the current trend.

What is Artano Doing to Benefit Artists and Collectors?

Full transparency: we will be completely transparent about our decisions and features once we’ve built our MVP. We will communicate all potential changes to our users and they will eventually be able to vote on what they would like to see on Artano using a governance token.

Diversity: We want to be an NFT platform that’s open to the world! Our goal is to assemble a geographically diverse group of artists and collectors on the council and as curators. This approach ensures that Artano is able to invite people from all over the globe into our NFT ecosystem, no matter their socio-economic status, or any other barrier that prevents them from joining the current NFT platforms.

Fraud-reduction efforts: We’d like to protect our users against impersonation and fraud through legal protection or economic incentives (we are an integrity-first platform). We want to prevent impersonation, low-quality work (spam) and minting copies of copyrighted work. Currently this is work in progress for which we are consulting with external advisors since it requires specific domain expertise. This is possibly one of the hardest parts of our solution to make Artano sustainable beyond the current NFT hype.

User-first approach: Artano will always put the users first. We want you to feel as part of a community that’s greater than an NFT trend. We’re starting an art revolution that will bring jobs to thousands if not millions of artists world-wide, where people get to keep a fair share of the pieces they’ve sold.

Creating new opportunities for artists : We believe in partnerships and looking at existing startups and projects that are open to collaborating with Artano. Our goal is to provide artists with more opportunities via these collaborations. We will also create special events and collections that will help promote artists and their art.

What’s Artano’s Edge Compared to Other Platforms?

Artists come first: Artists will always be at the center of what Artano does.We tailor our platform to the needs of artists and collectors, collaborate with artists from different backgrounds for our initial art release and nurture a close-knit community that will put collaboration over personal gain.

A Council of artists, collectors and curators: The first step to decentralization is to partially shift decision-making processes from the core Artano team to the artists and collectors themselves. The role of a council member is to be the connection between the Artano team and our users. The initial council members will be selected by the Artano team with the expectation to help us bootstrap our solution, bring their connections to mint on Artano and help us define our MVP. They will also be our first curators, filtering artists for fraud (though they won’t be the only filtering mechanism).

The community will later have the power to vote using a governance token. They can replace these members with an entirely new council, or choose to disassemble the council altogether. Furthermore, council members will communicate new features to be developed on Artano to the core team through the community that can later vote on which ones they like the most. In short, the council represents an organized communication and curation channel that drives the development of Artano.

Curation of users by users: A separate curator role will come later down the line, given to trusted members of the Artano community (all initial council members are also curators). The primary objective of a curator is not to exclude people, but to be able to vouch for the user they verify and create a community of trusted members. Users will be able to become curators through meaningful contributions to the platform (such as buying/selling art, bringing on more community members) and by holding a certain amount of our token they’ve earned by participating on Artano. The curators will be rewarded for bringing artists only upon successful first sale of their artwork. This means they won’t be rewarded just by bringing people to Artano - they have to make a successful sale. The curators will take a percentage of the first successful art sale, and no further awards will be given to curators.

Discoverability: It should be easy for users of the Artano platform to find art. Many existing NFT solutions don’t have effective search features. Our goal is to lead by example of good discoverability.

We take ZERO minting fees: Minting of NFTs on Artano is free, except for the minimum ADA taken upon a transaction by the Cardano blockchain.

A Thought-out Approach: We will take our time to deliver a stable, scalable and sustainable solution. We were here before the NFT craze, and we plan to stay long after the bubble pops (and it will certainly pop).

Legality issues - Solved: We are trying to figure out the best way to solve the ownership issues of current platforms and to offer a terms of use that is clearly communicated with our users, both artists and collectors. Our community members should know exactly what they’re buying and selling and what they can do with the rights they have. As we’ve mentioned above, we want to protect our members against fraud, impersonation, and breach of the terms of use by other actors in the system through special legal and economic incentives.

Informative material: We don’t want our users to fend for themselves in the NFT wilderness. We want to educate every single one of them about the simplest things like “how to mint an NFT”, “what are the copyright and IP terms of Artano”, to the more technical stuff like “what type of NFT standard we want to use”. We will use materials such as infographics, videos and simplified literature. We will address the issue of copyright and ownership to enable various kinds of transactions, while making the terms of use as clear as possible to our users. This is a great opportunity to both educate and empower the community and we want to be on the forefront of this movement!

Low tolerance to low quality content : We will filter out profiles that spam with low quality, copyrighted, offensive or otherwise undesirable content. We will use our unique curation system to identify who recommended the artist onto the platform in case of them causing trouble. This is not to punish the curator or artist - we want to learn how the curation process can be improved and what we can do better going forward. No other platform has this mechanism so far.


We will be applying to Project Catalyst more regularly to fund Artano. This breakdown will bootstrap our development for the first 2-3 months and help us build the website and some back-end API’s.

Our total ask is $20,000

Breakdown of the funds requested:

  • 2 developers working full-time for 2 months - $16,000

  • 1 Designer for the development of our branding strategy and website - $2,000

  • 1 Content Lead to help us accelerate our growth organically, and help with the “hype” around the platform - $2,000

We are aware that the funds requested won’t be enough to cover a large part of development, but it will be enough to get us started, work on the MVP and initial content creation as well as get some great people on board in making Artano come to life!

We are also looking for funding primarily from global VCs and we’ll keep you updated on any developments in that area.

The co-founders of the company, Mateja, Sandip, Ron and Marija don’t expect to be compensated by the funds received from Project Catalyst. These funds will be invested into developing Artano and compensating team members involved in initial design and marketing efforts.

So you’ll have a governance token?

Yes, we are planning to have a mechanism that will reward participants on our platform. We cannot disclose too much here yet, as that could undermine our business in the future, so we appreciate your patience regarding the tokenomics.

What’s the roadmap like?

We’re currently discussing the idea of dividing Artano into different phases (we call them “chapters”). This is our current timeline, but we’re aware that things change quickly in the startup world. For reference, we call different art styles “universes”.

Chapter One (July/August '21):

  • Working on several exhibitions that will launch within the first few weeks of Artano. Our first Artano-sponsored collection will push the understanding of NFT’s forward. We want to revolutionize not only the NFT marketplace space, but the art world in general. Stay tuned in the following weeks for the first Artano collaboration that aims to shift the NFT space forward!

  • The council is established and our members are ready to invite their connections to Artano.

  • The Visual Art Universe released, so that people are able to mint and trade their pieces

  • The users can buy and sell art using ADA

  • NFT Discovery I (one) - The first phase of discoverability will be a user feature that allows them to find art more easily, something that current platforms lack

  • Social features like likes, shares, views, follows, etc will be available from day one.

Chapter Two (December '21)

  • Governance Token has been released in the first airdrop to existing users who have helped Artano grow in it’s initial phases by participating on the platform.

  • First vote on disassembling the council/Creating a new Council…

  • Phase II Discovery - we add new features to enable users to find art more easily, including some ML/AI code.

Chapter Three (June '22)

  • Music, Photography and Video Universes released

  • NFT Discovery III - AI/ML now a serious part of our platform. Personas defined, users are able to get art recommended based on previous art they’ve seen.

  • Video-oriented art projects and collaborations started

  • Enable models to find work on the platform

  • Music labels enter the picture, it’s an additional channel for collaboration

The following developments are a bit far in the future, as we’re still discussing the future of Artano, but here’s what we planned:

Chapter Four (December '22)

  • Literature universe released

  • NFT Discovery Phase IV

  • More features TBD

Chapter Five (June '23)

  • Gaming Universe released (think integration with items, skins, loot-boxes)

  • NFT Discovery improvements and tweaks

  • More features TBD

How can I help?

Join the conversation: You can join the conversation on Telegram (artanonftmarketplace), Reddit (r/artano) or Twitter (@artano__io)!

Help us get funding : You can suggest a seed investor/incubator or a personal connection that might be interested in a project such as Artano!

Find potential Artists for our council : If you know artists with special skills (like a traditional art form or an art that’s hard to find) or you know an artist with substantial social media following, please reach out to one of us, so we can consider them for our council.

VOTE! : This one is obvious, but vote for us on Project Catalyst!

And again, To Conclude and thank you for going through this proposal with us

Artano already set us out on an incredible journey. We’ve met many amazing people along the way, from creatives to technologists, and we built a small community around us that makes us want to deliver this project even more!

At this point it’s all about patience, and being able to deliver a solution that will outlast the NFT bubble - a platform that people will know as the #1 NFT Art DApp, where art and artists will be respected and low-quality, make-a-quick-buck content frowned upon.

See you on the other side of the Artanoverse!

The Artano Team

Requested funds in USD 20000


Do you have a project roadmap or technical architecture you could share?

I am curious about the break down of tasks and timelines as I am having a hard time following the massive scope of features proposed here. The initial budget and raise here would cover a basic website and some modest content creation but it does not seem to be enough to integrate the marketplace features fully unless you already have a larger team of developers in house and are looking to pick up a couple entry level web developers to augment your staff?

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Hi Dino,

Thanks for reaching out! The features described here are very high level and we have arouond 25 people overall working on the solution, 10 “core team” members and 15 artists. Among the 10 core team members, 5 are technical, and we’re all working on solutioning and the architecture. Here is a high level image of our marketplace architecture:


When it comes to the roadmap, we usually took a high-level approach to appeal to a wider audience. Also, most of the plans we released here or on Catalyst are for the next few years, since we want to be a business that’s there for a long time, beyond the current NFT hype.

When it comes to a more recent timeline, here’s the major milestones:

  1. Finish the website (done mid-May)
  2. Deploy the first service (minting machine) Artamint, (Done, first of July)
  3. Incorporate KYC into our solution to comply with current and future legislation (all NFT marketplaces will have to employ KYC, otherwise they risk their business being closed, or worse, ending up in jail)
  4. Release the first auction on Artano that will bring artists from all over the world, especially underrepresented minorities in tech - est. end of July, we’ve already received all the pieces, and have to stitch them together.
  5. Work on the second auction (August)
  6. Release marketplace (End of Summer, if no smart contracts, collaborate with a few art groups on the third auction)

When it comes to the budget, we’re all working for free, since we believe in the mission of Artano and how it aligns with Cardano’s values… We’re really passionate, and will continue working on Artano, however receiving catalyst funding would definitely speed development up for us, and help us reach more people via marketing efforts. Fingers crossed and let’s see how it goes.

This is a rough plan, hope it answers your question. Let me know if you have any more questions, I’d be happy to answer them.

Take care and have a great week.

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That makes more sense.

Focusing on web based e-commerce platform first then as it develops there will be room to grow and expand the project. For some reason I thought you were aiming to do everything this year with only 1-2 developers that you still needed to find at first!

Related to components and modules do the data nodes labelled “Cardano Light Client” represent wallet integrations or is this referring to something in the IOHK repositories I have not seen yet?

I have been considering deploying multiple passive relay nodes into AWS in order to have a highly available cluster to submit transactions to for my project. I have yet to work out a truly decentralized and reliable P2P discovery method for Cardano.

If you have any ideas related to that I would love to compare notes.

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