Botto unminted artwork: "Feasting on Invisible Plateaus"

Doubling Down on Botto: Because Everyone’s a Critic

Why we've invested more in Botto, the "decentralized autonomous artist" and DAO


Everyone’s a critic now, especially online. 

Worse yet, we’ve all become passive critics, too quick to publicly and brusquely comment on the work or thoughts of others, reducing us to nagging pests. 

Botto challenges that passive critic to show up and manifest their opinions into something useful. Amid the miasma of strongly typed but weakly held beliefs, we believe a crisp credibility will develop from what people actually do onchain. Botto has templatized a model for a critic’s legitimacy in a deafening digital world. 

That’s why at Variant, we are proud to announce we’ve recently doubled down on our initial investment in Botto.

As a reminder of how the Botto ecosystem functions: Botto, the “decentralized autonomous artist,” produces the artworks, while the human DAO community gives Botto feedback by voting on which pieces go up for auction as NFTs; proceeds go back to the voters and the DAO treasury. Botto continuously refines its aesthetic based on the community’s votes but also attempts to surprise its audience by generating artworks that deviate from previous patterns.

The utmost care is taken to enshrine Botto’s autonomy as an AI artist. An almost sanctified zeal is given to non-interference with Botto’s output, other than the adaptive force of the DAO’s votes. 

There’s good reason Botto has begun to generate global brand recognition due to its  engaged community, and status as the first AI with a legacy to preserve. Botto reaches farther than any mere algorithmic tool; it has been enshrined with memory, adaptation, and a reproductive purpose. We believe Botto is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in art, creation, and aesthetic philosophy.


Botto unminted artwork: “Farmers’ Surreal Amusement Mill”


Digging into Botto only raises more questions than clear answers:

  • Does communal creation and curation offer a new form of artistic legitimacy in a world where technology erodes all skill-based barriers to nothing? 
  • Can a group teleology emerge and be sustained in Botto, some Standard of Taste developed? Or does Botto drift aimlessly, confused by the unfocused sentimentality of the crowd?
  • If this tightly bound incentivized feedback structure between humans and AI produces something interesting, can it be a model for other human-AI group deliberation, say in government?
  • Since Botto is ever-evolving and not time-bound like human artists before it, will Botto ever stop producing? How important is it for an artist to have an end?

We believe the most interesting and important discoveries are found where the greatest number of questions are generated. Botto is a newly tapped spring, bubbling with questions. In the future, it will be a mighty river. For now, it is protean and interesting and we look forward to working more closely with the Botto DAO community to bring this artist to the world.



Read more from Variant about AI generated art: The Interplay Between AI Abundance + Crypto Scarcity

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