EulerBeats 101: An overview of the coolest new art+music+math crossover NFT project with an ingenious economic model
When I found out about EulerBeats early last week I was immediately drawn to it. I realized that I identified with the combination of math, art and music that makes it so unique, but I didn’t understand a lot of the economics and potential business opportunities that exist. So I dove in, started researching and followed the active community on their discord, and I’ve learned quite a bit.
Being so brand new, yet already capturing much attention, there are a lot of open questions already in the community. These range from beginner (what is EulerBeats?) to intermediate (how do the economics work) to the more advanced (how will this all play out?). I take a pass at answering some early questions in this post and make some early predictions as well.
What is EulerBeats?
EulerBeats is algorithmically generated art + music living on the blockchain as an NFT (non-fungible token, defined below). From the EulerBeats website, the project team describes this as “music as mathematical are on an NFT substrate”. Before we dive in to the EulerBeats explainer let’s take a quick pivot to explain NFTs.
What is an NFT?
Before you try to understand EulerBeats your first need to understand Non-fungible Tokens NFTs). And before that, it’s important to understand fungible vs. non-fungible assets. A fungible asset is one that is easily transferred because it has an agreed upon value. The US dollar is a fungible asset, as it can easily be exchanged for goods, services and other currencies as it has an agreed upon value. Artwork is a non-fungible asset. It is not easily transferred for goods and services for several reasons (others might not want your artwork, it might not have a clearly defined price, etc.). A non-fungible token is a non-fungible asset tokenized on the blockchain. Digital art is the easiest to understand non-fungible token and shares the same characteristics of physical art, except that its digital and exists only on the blockchain. EulerBeats are NFTs in the same regard.
Back to EulerBeats and what they are — essentially the creators use two algorithms, one for the digital art and one for the music, to generate a unique combination of a music beat with digital art. A geometrical image rotates and lights up, aligned to the beat.
No one has an advance preview of the beat before it’s created, including the owner or the project team. The way this process has been engineered by the Treum team is that at the time the owner buys the EulerBeat, they essentially “birth” it — meaning the algorithms run and create the music and art at the same time. This is all conducted via smart contracts written into the Ethereum blockchain.
Everything needed to recreate each EulerBeat is stored on-chain at that time, which is really important and a differentiator. This means that the formula isn’t stored in a blackbox or within EulerBeats “headquarters”; it’s embedded in the blockchain. Thus, even if the EulerBeats website goes down the product isn’t lost as the owner could recreate based on the formula written on-chain. This means it will last as long as the blockchain.
EulerBeats originals are deemed “ultra-scarce” as only 27 have been minted, or created. All 27 originals are labeled EulerBeats Genesis LP 01 through LP 27. All 27 have different geometry and music but are clearly a part of an overall “family” which becomes obvious upon viewing several of them. Each original can be printed, or copied, for a price based on a bonding curve. This is where the pricing economics come in and they are pretty cool (explained in the mechanics section below).
You can see a preview of what EulerBeats look like at this link, from EulerBeats.com: https://vimeo.com/510490782
How do the buying mechanics work?
When a person decides to become an owner, for the Genesis LP, they paid 0.271 Ethereum (+ fees) and generated the EulerBeat for the first time. At that time the owner gains all commercial rights to use of the EulerBeat, as well as an 8% royalty on all future prints. Once it was created, or minted, it became available for sale through its prints. Each LP has 120 prints available.
Prints are priced based on a bonding curve, starting at very low cost and raising exponentially. The important print terms to understand are the current volume of prints, the cost to buy at the current time, the current burn price and the price at next burn. See the image below from the EulerBeats website which a user would see as they’re about to purchase.
The burn price is the amount of ETH the print owner gets at that current point in time, if they choose to “burn” or get ride of their print (they do this by sending it back to the owner). At any given time the burn price is ~90% of the current buy price, which means a new print owner already has a current floor which serves as a potential exit. The burn price goes up with each print aligned with the bonding curve algorithm. This bonding curve provides liquidity for sellers as well as locking in reserves for the project (i.e. a print owner doesn’t have to worry about being paid out, the reserves will always exist based on the pricing model).
This is where things get interesting. As the first 50–60 prints are bought the entry price and burn price raise very slowly but once getting to print 60 and beyond, the stakes become much higher. The latter half of the bond curve is mapped out below so you can view for yourself, but key print numbers are print 100 (price of ~131 ETH and burn of 118), and then the 120th print which has a price of 870 ETH ($1.4MM at an ETH price of $1600) and a burn price of 783 ETH.
But just as the burn price goes up as you go up the bonding curve, it goes down as well if more prints are burned than are bought. Thus there is risk to buying a print that you could lose some/all your investment in theory (if everyone burned and you were holding the print 1). There is also a ton of game theory and strategy in ways to potentially use the bonding curve to one’s advantage, as well as which LP prints to buy (remember there are 27 options with 27 owners).
Why would an owner buy a EulerBeats LP?
Putting aside the coolness of the project and art+music itself (a driver on its own), and its value as a collectible being the first AI-generated art+music project on the blockchain (potentially huge), the royalty economics and use rights are the big incentives. The owner gets 8% of every print that is bought (and 2% goes back to the project team). Two weeks into the project over $1MM in royalties had been paid to owners, distributed based on print volume by LP (some cool charts to visualize this below). This is the simplest incentive.
Then there are all the potential ways to generate revenue through using the beat itself (i.e. partnering with a famous music artist on a remix). The owner has the rights to the EulerBeat and would stand to have the most to gain in any future use of the product. Thus in some ways, buying an original EulerBeat is like buying a business. Each EulerBeat has inherent revenue generation potential, which can be tapped into in several ways, and the community hasn’t yet even scratched the surface of potential ways to use these beats and they will continue to evolve over time.
Carrying forward the business analogy, if the original beat is the business then the prints are like stock shares. Prints allow print owners to participate in the success of the original LP. This is limited to the bond curve within the smart contracts, but there are other methods already underway where owners are sharing revenue in different capacities with print owners.
Why would an owner do this? There is a feedback loop in this economic model wherein the owner is incentivized to be a “good owner” and share royalties with his/her print owners in some capacity. This would drive the print purchasing up the bond curve, essentially increasing the “stock price” of the prints. Owners make more royalties as prints burn and turnover higher up the bond curve, so they have incentives to attract print buyers. The best way to do that right now is through royalty/profit sharing. I show some evidence where this is already happening later in this post.
Why would someone buy an LP print?
Some similar reasons exist for owners and print buyers. Each print is a collectible as well and has value on secondary markets (like OpenSea). And it has the same value of art+music that the owner would receive, as they’re exact copies.
The primary financial incentive though is to participate in the bonding curve. Print buyers who buy early in the bond curve get in for very cheap, and then can exit at a much higher multiple on the bond curve by simply burning their print. And of course most print owners have their eyes on the top “prize” — if the 120th print level is reached then the burn price is ~760 ETH ($1.2MM).
The intangible incentive right now is potential profit-sharing models with generous owners. That incentive isn’t well documented yet so I won’t elaborate further, but we are seeing some early examples. There is much discussion on future EulerBeats LPs and building more structure around profit sharing into the smart contracts, so this will likely be more embedded in future releases. But without profit sharing with owners, the primary incentive remains in participating in the bond curve.
This raises a lot of questions. First, wouldn’t every print owner sell at the time the 120th is bought? And second, if the value depends on future buyers to increase the price — is this a Ponzi scheme? Let me do my best to answer both questions based on my current perspective.
Is this a Ponzi scheme?
On the surface the bonding curve looks very much like a Ponzi scheme. Print owners buy low and try to sell higher. The only way a print owner can make a profit is by getting in early enough and hoping others buy after them (putting royalties aside for a moment). And meanwhile, the owner takes an 8% cut of every new print regardless of price point.
Bill Gates just recently went on clubhouse talking about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and stated that he doesn’t choose his investments based on whether they would be worth more to others. While he was talking about Bitcoin specifically, his logic would apply to NFTs and EulerBeats as well, right?
So Bill Gates is out.
But I don’t think this is a Ponzi scheme or a big game of chicken, and for three primary reasons — the value of the product as a collectible, the potential for royalty sharing between owners and print owners, and the value of the community.
First the product itself in inherently cool, being the very first combination of math+music+art on the blockchain, and thus has value as a collectible based simply on that. There are plenty of people who think EulerBeats are really cool and so it has value to them. They’re not trying to flip prints for a quick buck.
Second there is the royalty component. While the smart contracts only state that owners get 8% of all burns and print owners don’t have any rights — owners have the power to change that. Owners can provide royalties to their corresponding print owners outside of the smart contract mechanics. They have all their digital wallet addresses and have means of providing profit sharing.
Some innovative owners are already talking about this, like Beanie (@beaniemaxi on twitter) owner of LP01 and LP19. Beanie owned LP19 first and then paid over $600k to buy LP01, which is already looking like a steal. Beanie is engaging with his print owner community and already talking about royalty sharing. He’s executed a spin raffle, giving away 4 works of digital art to his print owners on February 27th (streamed live), and has announced other digital art giveaways to come.
Why would Beanie do this while he could just sit back and cash ETH all day??? For one, the idea of royalties is a huge incentive for the market to buy his LP prints over other owners. If LP18’s owner has been silent and LP19 is promising royalties and demonstrating it to his print community, the demand will move steadily to LP19.
We’re already seeing this difference in demand play out early on. Here’s some data from Dune Analytics (shoutout to @chubby_avocado for creating this sweet dashboard https://duneanalytics.com/chubbyavo/eulerbeats_2). Let’s look at royalty distribution.
Royalties here are defined as the 8% that the owner collects on each print. As you can see LP1 is by far in the lead, and this is to be expected as it’s the original and has the most anticipated long-term value as the true first EulerBeats. But LP19 is in second, and by a decent amount. This is clearly tied to Beanie’s connection to the community and what he’s been promising to act on as an owner.
Most owners are still anonymous, but Mark Cuban announced that he bought two of the LP’s recently, calling the royalty and pricing model “genius”, and the community is certainly anticipating some cool ideas on revenue sharing from Mark.
And that brings me to my last non-Ponzi indicator — the community. There is already a huge community forming around EulerBeats in their Discord chat. People are sharing really valuable ideas to the group at Treum on how this product could be improved, sharing ideas like fractional investing (likely the only way the bonding curve reaches 120 for very many LPs), providing owners ability to share royalties via the smart contracts, and many others.
Additionally, small communities are starting to form around individual Genesis LPs. Print owners want to connect with their owners and fellow print owners. There will be community pressure to push “bad owners” (defined as those who don’t share with their print owners or do much with the product) and to get new owners, or even decentralized owners via fractional investing, in the door.
We are in the very early stages, but there seems to be a growing DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) forming, where ideas are shared by the community, voted on and enacted upon by the project team if enough consensus is gained. This is not a guarantee but there is enough early momentum that this seems to be pretty likely to occur. The natural ending point for this DAO formation would be organizing to buy an LP original, anointing the first true community owner.
The community factor is the one that has struck me the most and is the biggest bullish indicator of EulerBeats’ long term potential in my opinion. A strong community is necessary to provide value to a new market and NFT product, and the EulerBeats community already appears to be quite strong.
Conclusion and Predictions
It is still incredibly early (project is only two weeks old) and there are a lot of unknowns. A really big and important unknown relates to future projects — how quickly they’ll come, how their economics might be different, etc. So it’s too early to make any meaningful projections for performance and how this will play out.
But I am going to make some “too early” predictions anyway.
1. I think LP1 will be the most successful, derived from its value as a collectible being the true #1 OG and from early indicators of good ownership by Beanie.
2. The path to maximum profitability for owners will be to find the most utility and value from their EulerBeats, whether that be through partnerships in the music industry, digital art crossovers, etc., is still to be seen.
3. Owners who figure out revenue sharing with their collective print owners will build the strongest communities and by far outperform the other LP owners, rising the highest up the bond curve. The bad owners may see some swings up the curve, but most likely driven by manipulation than true community investment.
4. Future LP releases (i.e. Genesis 2 or whatever it’s called) will include fractional investing capabilities and more methods of royalty sharing within their smart contracts. This may even happen for Genesis 1 organized by a DAO in some capacity.
5. A DAO will become an owner of an LP original. There is already growing chatter about this in the EulerBeats discord and it seems like only a matter of time until this happens.
6. I think we will see an LP reach 120 prints, but it will require enough revenue sharing with print owners to make that investment palatable. Fractional investing may help get there. All LPs won’t reach 120 purely due to their nature as a collectible.
I am incredibly excited to see how this plays out and will likely write follow up posts providing updates to the community — so stay tuned. Follow me on twitter @tyler_did_it if you’re interested in this topic as I’ll be actively posting about it for the near future.