What Is Art Blocks Engine?

Art Blocks Engine

Art Blocks Engine is a backend infrastructure solution from the Art Blocks generative art platform. It launched last year and is being put to use by a variety of Web3 platforms.
Users include art-focused projects such as Sotheby’s Metaverse and Bright Moments, along with projects that cross over into media and sports, such as CoinDesk and the ATP tour.

NFTs are often upfront and in your face, but behind the scenes, an infrastructure product called Art Blocks Engine has been quietly helping to power a range of art-focused Web3 platforms, and looks like an increasingly valuable part of the NFT landscape.

This is especially interesting right now, because when it comes to NFTs–amid arguments about the point and prospects of PFPs–art is looking like a solid use case that will stick around for the long term. Digital art, generative art, AI art… these are all actively busy creative arenas, and as it goes, they pair up perfectly with NFTs, although as we’ll see, Art Blocks Engine can also be used in other areas.

Why Is Art Blocks Important?

Before we look at Art Blocks Engine, let’s remind ourselves about its creator: Art Blocks. Art Blocks is a generative art platform that launched in 2020 and has been massively influential when it comes to generative art and the NFT boom. Fidenzas minted through Art Blocks, as did Ringers, William Mapan’s Anticyclone, and a huge number of other collections that can be explored on its website.

Art Blocks founder Snowfro is also the creator of the iconic Chromie Squiggle collection, which was the first ever Art Blocks mint. So, basically, Art Blocks has been a pivotal company in the development of NFTs.

What Is Art Blocks Engine?

Having established itself as a key part of the NFT-based generative art movement, Art Blocks then, in August 2022, expanded into providing backend infrastructure with its Art Blocks Engine product.

Essentially, Art Blocks Engine is an off-the-shelf blockchain solution for projects that want to create generative assets as NFTs, or, in other words, that are aiming for something similar under the hood–but not necessarily on the surface–to Art Blocks itself.

This relates most obviously to the creation of generative art, but the technology can be utilized for other purposes too, including, for example, gaming, media and events, and perhaps also in novel ways that haven’t yet been explored.

Art Blocks Engine Flex

In addition to Art Blocks Engine, there is Art Blocks Engine Flex, and the difference between the two is straightforward. While with Art Blocks Engine, generative systems are stored on-chain, with Art Blocks Engine Flex, generative systems can reference off-chain resources, meaning a project is no longer completely self-contained, and so may be less durable, but has added flexibility (which is probably why it’s called flex 🤔).

Projects Using Art Blocks Engine

Art Blocks Engine has attracted plenty of interest, so let’s go through some projects that are putting it to use and bolstering its reputation.

Sotheby’s Metaverse

When it comes to art world institutions, you can’t get much more high profile than the Sotheby’s auction house. This big-name institution has been involved in NFTs since 2021, primarily through its Sotheby’s Metaverse platform, which incorporates an auction facility and a secondary marketplace.

What Is Art Blocks Engine? - - 2023
Image credit: Vera Molnar

This month, Sotheby’s Metaverse is also launching its Gen Art Program, which is powered by Art Blocks Engine and is focused on new collections minted and sold in-house, starting with a drop from veteran digital creator Vera Molnar.


Competing with Sotheby’s in the arena of auction events and secondary marketplaces focused on digital art and NFTs, there is Verse. Like Sotheby’s Metaverse, Verse also works directly with artists to mint and launch new collections through its Art Blocks Engine-powered channels.

Although Verse may not be as huge a name as Sotheby’s, it has partnered with some prolific and highly respected artists, including the likes of Harvey Rayner and Richard Nadler, who both create impressive and very collectible digital artwork.

Bright Moments

Art Blocks Engine
Image credit: Jimena Buena Vida

The Bright Moments collective is well known for its IRL minting events that have taken place in major cities all around the world, from the Americas, to Europe, to, most recently, Tokyo. The NFT world can sometimes feel a little sealed-off and is very online, but Bright Moments is going out of its way to connect digital and physical, and emphasizes the social side of art collection.


This platform has a distinctly indie, homemade vibe, ties together physical artworks and NFTs, but is currently less widely known than the other platforms listed here. However, Plottables is deservedly building a knowledgeable following, and is a great place to discover new artists and curated craftsmanship that flies a little under the radar, and doesn’t come with gigantic price tags attached.


Demonstrating uptake beyond the art world, crypto news and commentary site CoinDesk earlier this year used Art Blocks Engine in its Microcosms NFT release. Microcosms items give holders a three year ticket for the Consensus annual crypto event (which is organized by CoinDesk), and on top of this function, they unlock rewards and (tying back in with art) feature generative work from a creator named Fahad Karim.

ATP Tour

Art Blocks Engine
Image credit: Martin Grasser and ATP Tour

In a use case relating to sports, the ATP Tour, artist Martin Grasser, and Art Blocks Engine collaborated very effectively to produce a stylishly minimal project called LOVE Tennis Art Project. Dropping last December, the result was a collection that utilized real life data from tennis matches in the generation of 300 unique digital artworks.

What Is Art Blocks Engine? - - 2023

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