Frequently Asked Questions about Curio Cards
Curio Cards debuted on May 9, 2017. For context, that’s six weeks before CryptoPunks and a year and a half before Uniswap. The first week saw the release of three cards (Apples, Nuts, Berries) by the artist Phneep. The next three cards followed every week (with the exception of Cards 10, 20, and 30 which released solo on their respective weeks).
Curio Cards is the first original digital artwork NFT collection released on Ethereum, the most popular protocol for NFTs. A set of unique and rare digital collectibles, Curio Cards was released years before NFTs were popular, with no large fundraise or hype marketing. Instead, 100% of the sales revenue went to the artists. The few NFT collections that pre-date Curio Cards either covered a different category, such as digital land (example: Etheria World), or where located/started on a different network (example: RarePepe on Counterparty).
Today Curio Cards holds a prominent position in the Historical NFTs/Digital Collectibles category in the art world, including the distinction of the first Eth denominated auction at world famous Christie's New York auction house.
Curio Cards is the first NFT project (on any network) to showcase artwork covering different mediums, themes, and styles. This was the direct result of its day-one goal to help any kind of artist explore blockchain artwork. In total, seven different artists were featured over 30 different series of cards.
Curio Cards artwork covers visual storytelling (Cards 1–10, 21–23), social commentary and parody (Cards 11–16), charitable fundraising (Cards 14–16), the first dogs on Ethereum (Cards 17–19), Patreon-style support and membership (Card 20), a collection of pfp-style character avatars (Cards 21–23), physical art turned digital (Cards 24–29), hand-drawn patterns (Cards 24–26), collectively generative artwork (Cards 27–29), and animated gifs (Cards 23 and 30).
The Curio Cards smart contract is the first to use IPFS, a distributed file protocol, to secure the artwork. All of the metadata is immutable, with no admin keys or dependence on a single node. Owning a Curio Card is an irrevocable and distributed ownership of digital artwork.
Curio Cards is an artist-first project, conceived to support artists and demonstrate and promote digital art as a medium. 100% of the sales of the original Cards and 100% of the royalties go to the artist (or the charity of their choice). Released when NFTs were unknown, Curio Cards' mission was to educate people on crypto and digital artwork.
The price ranged from $0.50 to $1 per Card.
Curio Cards behave like digital prints, with the 'cards' concept used to explain their collectible nature. They work like baseball or Pokémon cards.
Curio Cards was created with two main goals: to promote digital art, and to promote digital artists. Both goals meant getting the artwork into as many hands as possible, something that prints do better than single-piece sales.
Each Card represents a whole series of that Card, a print run of multiple copies. Each of the 1-30 Card series is unique, with different artwork and supply, and each individual Card in the series is a non-divisible rare collectible. Since Curio Cards are always mint condition and share a common series (their Card number), each print can share the same market and trade under the same price, optimizing market liquidity and price discovery.
The amount of each Card's print run supply varied from week to week.
For cards 1–10, the supply was decided by the collectors. A large number of Cards were made available, but all the unsold Cards were destroyed at the end of each week.
For cards 11–30, the supply was decided by the artist being featured. This amount changed from week to week as artists learned from observing the effect supply had on previous artist releases.
The supply can never be increased beyond the number of Cards created in 2017.
The only way to get a Card now is to trade on a secondary market like OpenSea, where collectors buy and sell existing cards. All of the Card vending machines from 2017 are sold out, where one hundred percent of the sales revenue went to the original artists. The community voted for a 1% royalty fee on all OpenSea trades to be equally allocated to the artists. No OpenSea cut is taken by the team or community. Curio Cards has always been about supporting artists and promoting digital artwork as a medium.
Wrapping is only relevant if you bought Cards from the original 2017 vending machines, which are now sold out.
Curio Cards pre-date modern NFT standards and are unique in how they were created. While Curio Cards acted as inspiration for later standards (referenced in EIP-721 and EIP-1155), they are not compatible with those later standards. To resolve this, a contract called a wrapper was created by members of the original team and the cardholder community.
Wrapping takes a Card and "wraps it" inside a modern NFT token (specifically an ERC-1155 token). Imagine putting an old baseball or Pokémon card into a protective sleeve to allow easy trading; this is what wrapping does.
Modern platforms like OpenSea need the Cards to be in these new sleeves to allow trading. It is a compatibility tool, with nothing about the Card you own changed. You can unwrap a Card at any time, so there is no difference in value between a wrapped or unwrapped Card. And, unlike physical paper cards, Curio Cards are always mint condition.
Cards purchased through OpenSea will already be wrapped, so you don't need to do anything. Collectors tend to leave their Cards wrapped. Check out the Wrapping page for more info if you're curious or have an old vending machine-purchased Card.
Lack of testing frameworks and low gas costs made "testing on mainnet" common practice at the time of the project's development. When Cards 17, 18, and 19 were deployed and tested, an issue with the vending machines was found that made Cards 18 and 19 unpurchaseable. The issue was fixed, all of the week's contracts were redeployed, and Cards 17–19 were officially released.
However, the first 17 Card still worked. Its vending machine wasn't affected and still allowed purchasing. At the time, it wasn't listed for purchase, and was simply forgotten about; a leftover artifact of a standard test deployment.
Fast forward to March 2021: A wave of new NFT interest spurred NFT archeologists into exploring the Ethereum blockchain for lost treasure. During their search, they found an unknown, unlisted Curio Cards vending machine, full of a different 2017 Card 17 series. The community now calls this card "17b" or the "misprint card."
While it wasn't an "official" card, 17b is still a real and perfectly functional Card, created entirely in 2017, with a treasured history and a strong following. People consider 17b a necessary part of any full-set holders collection.
The artists retain licensing rights to their work that you will need to consider, with each artist potentially having a different policy regarding selling derivatives of their work.
To join the Curio Club, verify you're a cardholder or have at least 1 NFTx Curio Token (each token is backed by one floor-priced Curio Card). To verify this, type
#bot-commandsDiscord channel and verify with Collab Land. You can now see the
All Curio Cards were minted in 2017. The 2017 Curio Card contracts are locked and immutable — no changes can be made. Anyone can use the original 2017 token factory to make a new NFT with the (now wildly outdated) Curio NFT standard. However, any tokens made this way are not associated with the original collection. These are separate projects/NFTs that share the same token standard, similar to the way many NFT projects use the same ERC-721 or ERC-1155 token standard, and may even use the same codebase or constructor contracts.
If you want to make your own NFTs with the Curio standard, we recommend using the ERC-1155 or ERC-721 standard instead... but, if you're curious, it's a fun way to learn how the original contracts work(ed).