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New NFT Protocol Offers New Royalty Options for Artists

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TreeTrunk is the latest company to see NFTs’ promise for new kinds of artist rights management and payments.

A year ago, NFTs were considered oddities, but now they’re recognised as a new method for artists to engage with their fans and be rewarded.

TreeTrunk, a startup, has created an NFT-specific protocol called ERC-721. TreeTrunk has updated the protocol to allow artists to mint master NFTs of their work and sell derivatives to fans who may resell them to other fans.

It also pays royalties to collectors who manufacture and sell approved digital reproductions, TreeTrunk noted in a news statement before launching the new protocol at ETH Denver on Thursday. “The purchasers of the prints can manufacture new prints from their NFTs up to the creator’s predetermined number of generations.”

TreeTrunk, which runs on the Polygon ecosystem (a Layer 2 solution built on Ethereum), has enlisted the help of a dozen graphic artists. They each donated an original piece of art, which will be offered to early collectors today.

The TreeTrunk team is currently working on the protocol and expects it to be ready by March. TreeTrunk is a subsidiary of Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin’s Consensys Mesh incubator. (ConsenSys also funds Decrypt, an independent publication.)

TreeTrunk is open-source and can be incorporated into any Ethereum-based platform, including OpenSea, says CEO John Wolpert. He told Decrypt that platforms would be able to help artists turn their NFTs into TreeTrunks, allowing them to reach a wider audience.

The notion of employing NFTs to track and collect creative royalties is new, but gaining traction rapidly. Popular platform Royal, founded by musician Justin Blau (aka 3LAU), allows fans to buy sections of an artist’s NFT and partake in future copyright revenues. Among the investors were Nas and The Chainsmokers.

Meanwhile, the son of a Sirius XM executive has started a company called Sound that allows fans buy NFTs with the opportunity to remark on songs.

Wolpert said TreeTrunk is starting with visual artists but will soon include singers, filmmakers, and others.


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