Tycho first heard about cryptocurrency during the Silk Road era, when he called the underground marketplace "the coolest thing in the world." He's now officially launching his own "Tycho Open Source Community."

He claims to have bought his first hardware wallet in 2011 but never loaded it with Bitcoin. In 2016, he purchased Ethereum with the intention of never selling it, simply to see what happened to it.

"We should get this Ethereum," he remembered telling musician Jakub Alexander while on tour at the time. "Bitcoin is old school, but Ethereum is cool."

He then completely forgot about his cryptocurrency for years while continuing to create music and visual art. He created all of the album artwork and engineered his distinct melodic, unearthly electronic sound, which garnered him two Grammy nominations.

In 2021, Hansen released some NFTs on Nifty Gateway and OpenSea, which he describes as a "learning experience." Inspired by the likes of Beeple, Justin Blau (3lau) and artist Reuben Wu recognizes Web3 and crypto as a good match for his community.

"We knew each other from speaking at graphic design conferences back in the day," he said of Beeple, who recently collaborated with Madonna on an NSFW NFT collection.

Tycho's community, which he claims consists of VFX artists, musicians, and other graphic designers, began in the blogosphere but has since expanded to a token-gated Discord server.

It's similar to the one music producer Illmind is building through NFTs with his "Squad of Knights," which also offers holders IRL privileges like music studio space and musical partnership opportunities.

Hansen seems to see Web3 as a means for artists to bypass the social media middleman. He was intrigued when he heard about Medallion, a comprehensive crypto platform. He stated that he began working for the company because the terms were appealing to him.

However, "the artist owns the data" with his "Open Source" community, which offers holders access to services like advanced album listening parties and livestreams.

He stated that he always desires free NFTs (access tokens), but that future perks may cost money or cryptocurrency.

In terms of whether Hansen will start releasing any music NFTs under his Tycho alias in the coming years, he says he's looking into it. Hansen said that he has "a couple of releases on the horizon" that he may turn into music NFTs but hasn't made any firm plans yet.

Hansen's expertise in computer science, digital graphic design, and electronic music made Web3 and crypto seem like a natural fit.

Web3 hasn't leveled the playing field, in his opinion—still, it's difficult for new musicians to break into the industry—but he believes Web3 will ultimately become "the norm."

"I'm not looking at it [...] as this like a utopian vision that it was kind of touted as in the beginning," he explained. "But I definitely think it's another tool in the toolbox of artists, so whenever we have any other kind of leverage, I think it'll shift [the] power dynamic in some way."

Aug 30, 2022
Digital Lifestyle

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