In a sudden announcement today, Andy Chorlian, Co-Founder and CEO at the Fractional Token Company, revealed that Web3 platforms Tessera and Escher would begin slowly winding down operations in the near future.
Launched in 2021 under the name Fractional Art, Tessera made a name for itself as a Web3 service that specializes in the fractionalized ownership of NFTs, allowing fans to own a piece of blue-chip NFTs like Bored Apes or CryptoPunks. The platform also powers Nounlets, an experimental NFT initiative that allows for the collective ownership of a single Noun. Escher, which launched in March 2023, was designed as a marketplace that allows users to not only see all of an artist’s works in a single place but to discover editioned fine art NFTs as well.
The end of an era
In a heartfelt message, Chorlian expressed gratitude to all who supported the company and pledged to ensure the wind-down process would be conducted responsibly. He also emphasized that the team was taking this step while in the financial position to do so smoothly, aiming to focus on supporting their employees during the transition.
“We spent a long time carefully analyzing possible market scenarios, our company structure, and our financial situation and decided that this was the best choice for our team and investors,” Chorlian, a well-known Web3 figure and co-host of the We Do A Little podcast, wrote in the Twitter announcement. “As we really dug into the economic model for Escher, we saw that the targets we needed to hit to attain profitability – compared to the time and resource costs to scale there – just didn’t add up or make good business sense.”
The announcement came as a shock to many in the NFT community, which expressed their gratitude and sympathy under Chorlian’s tweet. Fractional Art was seen as a major innovation by the wider Web3 community when it was first launched.
Fractional Art (Tessera) quickly earned a reputation for innovation after launching, allowing multiple individuals to jointly own a single NFT. By August 2022, over 70,000 users collectively owned more than 6,500 NFTs on the platform, including a zombie CryptoPunk worth $3.46 million at the time of its purchase. Tessera also raised money for social causes, including an $8 million fundraise for Ukraine, and served as a birthplace for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) like Doge NFT and FreeRossDAO.
The news is especially bitter for fans of Chorlian’s work who were looking forward to the future of Escher. In April, Chorlian took to Twitter to share his vision for the platform, building a Web3 destination that would serve as an aggregator of the totality of an artist’s work. Starting with editions, an NFT drop mechanic that gained massive popularity near the end of 2022, the platform acted as a one-stop shop for all of a participating artist’s work. The platform featured work from the likes of Dave Krugman, Summer Wagner, Postwook, Alpha Centauri Kid, Bryan Brinkman, and more.
We hope to make showrooms the ultimate place to discover, view, and collect an artists entire portfolio of work
Over time, Escher will allow artists to easily and creatively express themselves through complete aggregation, showroom customization, and some fun tooling
— andy (@andy8052) April 21, 2023
In Chorlian’s wind-down announcement, he emphasized that he isn’t going anywhere, reassuring his followers that he will continue to stay in the space and build during what is increasingly coming to be seen as the coldest crypto winter in years.
“I have done a ton of reflecting on all of my mistakes over the last few years as a first-time founder,” he said, “and will share those thoughts at another point.”