NFT's as Keys (01)
TWO NEWSLETTERS IN ONE DAY. IS REGGIE MANICALLY TYPING EVERY SILLY THOUGHT WHILE A TROPICAL STORM HITS NEW YORK????
YES… YES I AM
this will probably morph into a larger series of my thoughts on nft’s, and warning I’ll probably throw out some intentionally triggering probes
I have so many thoughts about NFTs, it’s legitimately silly and frustrating. Because I read so many bad takes on them daily through the hellscape that is my Twitter addiction.
I want to start with something I find so painfully obvious… and yet *waves around*
NFT’s As Keys
The medium is the message. Repeated to death I know, but we consistently muck it up. The same way the medium isn’t the car, it’s the road. The car is just the current programming.
It can encourage and prime us in specific ways, of course (very ~ what technology wants by kevin kelly). But at the end of the day it’s not about the jpeg.
ETH itself is a social network. And when you embrace it as such, more behaviors and innovation unlock well beyond DeFi.
DeFi, was simply the most attainable model because it is the old medium within the new. Strip what’s wrong with Wall St. and improve it with the tools of the new medium.
Similarly, the jpeg is about stripping certain qualities of the art market and how it isn’t suited for the internet -> and pulling it into the new medium. And we’ve seen an insanely rapid embrace by Christie’s and the likes.
We’ve seen this time and time again. It seems to be a truth of media.
So where does that leave us? Well, let’s look at just a sliver of what ETH provides us with to understand the forming attributes of NFT’s.
public histories -> provenance, ownership verification
virtual machine -> new style of digital objects (code)
smart contracts -> transactions, fractionalization, party bids
These are just the basic first order effects of these qualities. It is quite simple to draw a direct mapping from ownership verification -> DAO structuring.
And there is the first example of NFT’s as keys.
The purchasing of 1:1 jpeg, abstracted from a wider “collection” is a very hard bet. It isn’t a key, or if it is, it isn’t a restructuring of the nature of audience. It’s buying art with ETH instead of the dollar. Other than forming the 1:1 around something like fractional.art — I find it hard to see how they are utilizing the medium effectively. (i have an idea around this but will pocket it for now)
The first obvious key unlock, is the purchase unlocking the marketplace of that collection. Because higher payouts excite, it’s not surprising we went that route automatically. But the access to marketplaces has been something abstract for quite some time. I don’t hold this initial unlock lightly, but at the same time it is also the most DeFi-esque
This was quickly followed up by remedying the sense of “where lambo sir” -> communities. Verify you have this NFT in your wallet, unlock the Discord. With varying degrees of unlocking within the Discord between holders and non… now your basic collection is mandated to have 2 unlocks with your NFT purchase.
Now that we’ve gotten to the base layer of where we are at presently… the problem is that these unlocks are hardlyyyyy touching the chain. The medium itself…
Obviously I’m slightly bias here, as a function of creating one of the originals and having the privilege of seeing this project from birth. But my primary point should still stand.
What Dom did that was taking a step beyond using generative art on-chain as the basis for new mints -> was creating a mechanism for the creation of the keys themselves.
If you’re unfamiliar with the project, here’s the rough idea of how it went down.
a group of artists created 100 original pixel art pieces
once those were minted you were able to pick a base + a palette, from the original pieces
in combining those you minted “a sibling”, a remix of a piece you owned and the original creators received a split of that mint
with a total collection of 1600 pieces, all community made on-chain
Humans are obsessed with being part of the creation process. It’s just how we are wired. It drives so many acts, as silly as looking through the window cutouts at construction sites to sex.
This on-chain mechanism for a community to craft their own keys is as simple and human as it gets. Already adding an on-chain layer to the Discord & Marketplace that we’ve come to expect.
And what’s more, is looking at future unlocks of the product roadmap. The Blitnauts, characters that you can mint if you’re a Blitmap holder that will incorporate your Blitmap without burning it. FOR FREEEEE 99! As well as game jams & more characters incorporated into holding your Blitmap.
If you’re thinking about NFT’s right now (from a business perspective, if you’re vibing off of 1:1’s or gifting to friends much love to you), you have to be thinking about (no pun intended) the chain of interactions you believe the object is helping to unlock.
Blitmap started on the creation side of interactions leading up to the mint. I think, similar to how gaming mechanics proliferate, this will become incredibly more common. As, in a way, it’s reference extension of avatar creation in games (extremely common).
Where I believe the innovation still is wide open, is everything that happens after minting —> beyond Discord and secondary marketplace expansion.
A fun initial prototype was Mark’s Habibi’s League. Where avatars represented teams that existed within a small e-sports league.
John and I have jammed on a creation of an NFT game where your purchase of the NFT allows you to enter the world. Death in that world strips you of the NFT and forces a sale. Very inspired by Hunter x Hunter’s greed island.
I don’t want my critiques on 1:1’s outstanding collections to come off as me being outright against them. I believe there’s deep cultural value, but it doesn’t fit this particular framework well… and this is the phase we are in.
What I want to expand on in my next piece on NFT’s… cultural liquidity. Which I think the entire ecosystem has an extremely inflated sense of understanding because of how much capital is moving through the system…
ok… this wine is starting to set in.
I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.
Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.
Live in the light