6 Questions for John Crain of SuperRare

"People in crypto are focused on networks where you can’t trust anyone. In art you need to be able to trust people."

by Editorial Staff 3 min March 8, 2020
6 Questions for John Crain of SuperRare - Cointelegraph Magazine
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Each week we ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!

Each participant then gets to remove one blockchain question — and a personal one — and they can substitute in two of their own for the next victim.

This week’s guest is John Crain, co-founder and CEO of SuperRare. SuperRare is a marketplace for collecting and trading unique, single-edition digital artworks. Each artwork is authentically tokenized by an artist in the network, and is a digital item that buyers can own and trade

Prior to SuperRare, John led product for the ConsenSys spoke BlockApps, working with Fortune 500 companies exploring use cases for smart contracts and leveraging open data.

Before falling down the crypto rabbit hole, John worked in advertising as a creative technologist for Digitas North America. There he designed and built everything from apps that order you coffee, to interactive games that teach children about sustainability.

1 – What has been the toughest challenge you’ve faced in our industry so far?

The toughest thing I’ve faced in our industry is getting people to understand art collecting. Collecting art and designing crypto networks are quite different things. Early on we got lots of feedback that it wouldn’t work because it wasn’t logical, which is funny. Collecting art is an emotional experience, and is done within the context of a community. People in crypto are focused on networks where you can’t trust anyone. In art you need to be able to trust people. So there’s this interesting paradox at play.

2 – What do you drive… and what would you drive (or what other mode of transport would you use) if you had no restrictions on your choice?

My main modes of transportation are a beach cruiser bicycle and skateboard. If I had no restrictions I’d probably drive a catamaran. I love to sail.

3 – What does ‘inclusion’ in the blockchain industry mean to you?

To me inclusion means making things accessible. At SuperRare, we see art collecting as an activity and a market that is not accessible to the vast majority of people. With digital collecting, all you need is an internet connection. Traditional art markets are extremely exclusive, we’re helping creatives and art enthusiasts around the world gain access to a new art market.

4 – If you were to retire today with $5M in liquid assets, what would you do with your time?

I love what I am doing and what we’re building so it’s hard to imagine doing something else. I guess if I had to choose I’d spend my time growing my art and house plant collection. I’d also volunteer my time assisting in ocean cleanup initiatives. We all share one ocean and it’s such a vital part of our ecosystem.

5 – If you could have any career you wanted, what would you be doing?

Building SuperRare of course! All joking aside what brought me into the crypto space was the potential to build digital tools that benefit the communities using them. Instagram and Youtube are amazing, however the upside is captured by Facebook and Google. I want to build things that bring positive change to people’s lives. I think we can do this with great UX and more equitable business models.

6 – What are you personally doing that’s unique in the blockchain space?

We’re turning the data aggregation business model for social networks on its head. SuperRare is a social network for digital art. We’re creating an ecosystem that gives artists new income streams, and at the same time gives collectors tools to discover art that’s meaningful to them. I think what we’ve built has the potential to go mainstream and onboard millions of people to crypto.

John chose to replace questions 2 and 6 … so next week we’ll ask:

What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited, and why?

What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the rest of 2020?

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Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.