Async Art is bringing NFTs to life with a little help from Magic
There’s nothing new about direct collaboration between artist and viewer. Participatory art has existed for decades, dating back to the Italian Futurists of the early 20th-century and resurfacing in various forms ever since. But what happens when that collaboration moves from a gallery or theatre on to the blockchain?
The answer is, well, just about anything.
Async Art is pioneering a new kind of digital art crafted as a collection of live, editable “Layers”. Artists can maintain control of those Layers, sell ownership of individual Layers to collectors, or program the Layers to adapt programmatically based on anything from time of day to fluctuating stock market prices. What results is a fascinating realm of art that morphs and evolves, reacting to its community and the world at large.
Desert Clockwork, Cyrus James Khan, 4-state autonomous NFT, 2021
When Async launched, new users were required to log in using a crypto wallet. This seemed reasonable for a platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, but user onboarding quickly became a bottleneck for the company’s growth. As Async began branching out beyond the crypto art community, it was clear that using crypto wallets like MetaMask was a serious challenge for many artists.
“Before Magic, only a very small percentage of new artists actually ended up minting a piece.”
According to Lisa, “A lot of traditional artists aren’t even on Twitter. The concept of using MetaMask or buying ETH — these are huge user onboarding hurdles. Magic makes it a lot easier.”
Like any NFT platform that relies on wallets, the Async team regularly spent hours walking new artists and potential buyers through the wallet setup process. This meant that the startup production team had less time to spend on developing important new features, and only a certain percentage of artists ultimately minted and listed artwork. Something had to change.
To appeal to a wider audience, the Async team knew they needed an onboarding flow that didn’t rely solely on a wallet integration. On the flip side, they had an existing user base of NFT collectors who were passionate about crypto and decentralization. Magic provided Async with the intuitive user experience they needed while maintaining the security and integrity that are table stakes for a Web3 application. Check out the onboarding here.
“Having Magic there eliminates 4 or 5 steps from our onboarding funnel.”
Async’s top priority is enabling groundbreaking new forms of art, not necessarily exposing users to the tech stack that makes it possible. Lisa said it best: “Our vision for Async Art is to make this accessible for everyone. This is not just about NFTs, this is about utilizing digital technology to create artwork that could never have existed before.”
With Magic, new users simply enter their email address, click a magic link, and then dive right into the bold new world of programmable art. This streamlined onboarding flow translated to a smoother, faster creation process for artists. After implementing Magic links along with other additional features, Async more than doubled the amount of artworks created on their platform.
Considering Async has invented an entirely new medium of art, newcomers already have quite a bit to wrap their heads around. Magic authentication means login is one less thing for new users to worry about.
Almost 40% of Async’s new users are now onboarded with Magic
The Async team has seen a growing number of new users opt for passwordless login since implementing Magic just a few months ago. As of May 2021, about 39% of all new users opt for magic link login instead of using a wallet. For Lisa and the rest of the team, this has been immediate validation that choosing Magic has had a positive impact on Async’s growth.
“Magic makes everyone’s lives easier.”
In addition to providing a smoother, more accessible onboarding experience for users, Magic has helped the Async team get back valuable time. Lisa told me login-related support requests are now practically nonexistent. That means the Async team can stop worrying about wallet creation and instead focus on trailblazing the future of digital art with new offerings like Async Music.
Whatever comes next, I can honestly say I’m thrilled to see where the journey takes them.