More on NFTs & Art
8 months ago
What is Vitalik Buterin's newest concept, the Soulbound NFT?
Decentralizing Web3's soul
Our tech must reflect our non-transactional connections. Web3 arose from a lack of social links. It must strengthen these linkages to get widespread adoption. Soulbound NFTs help.
This NFT creates digital proofs of our social ties. It embodies G. Simmel's idea of identity, in which individuality emerges from social groups, just as social groups evolve from people.
It's multipurpose. First, gather online our distinctive social features. Second, highlight and categorize social relationships between entities and people to create a spiderweb of networks.
1. 🌐 Reducing online manipulation: Only socially rich or respectable crypto wallets can participate in projects, ensuring that no one can create several wallets to influence decentralized project governance.
2. 🤝 Improving social links: Some sectors of society lack social context. Racism, sexism, and homophobia do that. Public wallets can help identify and connect distinct social groupings.
3. 👩❤️💋👨 Increasing pluralism: Soulbound tokens can ensure that socially connected wallets have less voting power online to increase pluralism. We can also overweight a minority of numerous voices.
4. 💰Making more informed decisions: Taking out an insurance policy requires a life review. Why not loans? Character isn't limited by income, and many people need a chance.
5. 🎶 Finding a community: Soulbound tokens are accessible to everyone. This means we can find people who are like us but also different. This is probably rare among your friends and family.
NFTs are dangerous, and I don't like them. Social credit score, privacy, lost wallet. We must stay informed and keep talking to innovators.
E. Glen Weyl, Puja Ohlhaver and Vitalik Buterin get all the credit for these ideas, having written the very accessible white paper “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul”.
11 months ago
$100M in NFT TV shows from Fox
Fox executives will invest $100 million in NFT-based TV shows. Fox brought in "Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon to create "Krapopolis"
Fox's Blockchain Creative Labs (BCL) will develop these NFT TV shows with Bento Box Entertainment. BCL markets Fox's WWE "Moonsault" NFT.
Fox said it would use the $100 million to build a "creative community" and "brand ecosystem." The media giant mentioned using these funds for NFT "benefits."
"Krapopolis" will be a Greek-themed animated comedy, per Rarity Sniper. Initial reports said NFT buyers could collaborate on "character development" and get exclusive perks.
Fox Entertainment may drop "Krapopolis" NFTs on Ethereum, according to new reports. Fox says it will soon release more details on its NFT plans for "Krapopolis."
Media Giants Favor "NFT Storytelling"
"Krapopolis" is one of the largest "NFT storytelling" experiments due to Dan Harmon's popularity and Fox Entertainment's reach. Many celebrities have begun exploring Web3 for TV shows.
Mila Kunis' animated sitcom "The Gimmicks" lets fans direct the show. Any "Gimmick" NFT holder could contribute to episode plots.
"The Gimmicks" lets NFT holders write fan fiction about their avatars. If show producers like what they read, their NFT may appear in an episode.
Rob McElhenney recently launched "Adimverse," a Web3 writers' community. Anyone with a "Adimverse" NFT can collaborate on creative projects and share royalties.
Many blue-chip NFTs are appearing in movies and TV shows. Coinbase will release Bored Ape Yacht Club shorts at NFT. NYC. Reese Witherspoon is working on a World of Women NFT series.
PFP NFT collections have Hollywood media partners. Guy Oseary manages Madonna's World of Women and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections. The Doodles signed with Billboard's Julian Holguin and the Cool Cats with CAA.
Web3 and NFTs are changing how many filmmakers tell stories.
6 months ago
What are NFTs 2.0 and what issues are they meant to address?
New standards help NFTs reach their full potential.
NFTs lack interoperability and functionality. They have great potential but are mostly speculative. To maximize NFTs, we need flexible smart contracts.
Current requirements are too restrictive.
Most NFTs are based on ERC-721, which makes exchanging them easy. CryptoKitties, a popular online game, used the 2017 standard to demonstrate NFTs' potential.
This simple standard includes a base URI and incremental IDs for tokens. Add the tokenID to the base URI to get the token's metadata.
This let creators collect NFTs. Many NFT projects store metadata on IPFS, a distributed storage network, but others use Google Drive. NFT buyers often don't realize that if the creators delete or move the files, their NFT is just a pointer.
This isn't the standard's biggest issue. There's no way to validate NFT projects.
Creators are one of the most important aspects of art, but nothing is stored on-chain.
ERC-721 contracts only have a name and symbol.
Most of the data on OpenSea's collection pages isn't from the NFT's smart contract. It was added through a platform input field, so it's in the marketplace's database. Other websites may have different NFT information.
In five years, your NFT will be just a name, symbol, and ID.
Your NFT doesn't mention its creators. Although the smart contract has a public key, it doesn't reveal who created it.
The NFT's creators and their reputation are crucial to its value. Think digital fashion and big brands working with well-known designers when more professionals use NFTs. Don't you want them in your NFT?
Would paintings be as valuable if their artists were unknown? Would you believe it's real?
Buying directly from an on-chain artist would reduce scams. Current standards don't allow this data.
Most creator profiles live on centralized marketplaces and could disappear. Current platforms have outpaced underlying standards. The industry's standards are lagging.
For NFTs to grow beyond pointers to a monkey picture file, we may need to use new Web3-based standards.
Introducing NFTs 2.0
Fabian Vogelsteller, creator of ERC-20, developed new web3 standards. He proposed LSP7 Digital Asset and LSP8 Identifiable Digital Asset, also called NFT 2.0.
NFT and token metadata inputs are extendable. Changes to on-chain metadata inputs allow NFTs to evolve. Instead of public keys, the contract can have Universal Profile addresses attached. These profiles show creators' faces and reputations. NFTs can notify asset receivers, automating smart contracts.
LSP7 and LSP8 use ERC725Y. Using a generic data key-value store gives contracts much-needed features:
The asset can be customized and made to stand out more by allowing for unlimited data attachment.
Recognizing changes to the metadata
using a hash reference for metadata rather than a URL reference
This base will allow more metadata customization and upgradeability. These guidelines are:
Genuine and Verifiable Now, the creation of an NFT by a specific Universal Profile can be confirmed by smart contracts.
Dynamic NFTs can update Flexible & Updatable Metadata, allowing certain things to evolve over time.
Protected metadata Now, secure metadata that is readable by smart contracts can be added indefinitely.
Better NFTS prevent the locking of NFTs by only being sent to Universal Profiles or a smart contract that can interact with them.
NFTS standards lack standardization and powering features, limiting the industry.
ERC-721 is the most popular NFT standard, but it only represents incremental tokenIDs without metadata or asset representation. No standard sender-receiver interaction or security measures ensure safe asset transfers.
NFT 2.0 refers to the new LSP7-DigitalAsset and LSP8-IdentifiableDigitalAsset standards.
They have new standards for flexible metadata, secure transfers, asset representation, and interactive transfer.
With NFTs 2.0 and Universal Profiles, creators could build on-chain reputations.
NFTs 2.0 could bring the industry's needed innovation if it wants to move beyond trading profile pictures for speculation.
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1 year ago
Fairness alternatives to selling below market clearing prices (or community sentiment, or fun)
When a seller has a limited supply of an item in high (or uncertain and possibly high) demand, they frequently set a price far below what "the market will bear." As a result, the item sells out quickly, with lucky buyers being those who tried to buy first. This has happened in the Ethereum ecosystem, particularly with NFT sales and token sales/ICOs. But this phenomenon is much older; concerts and restaurants frequently make similar choices, resulting in fast sell-outs or long lines.
Why do sellers do this? Economists have long wondered. A seller should sell at the market-clearing price if the amount buyers are willing to buy exactly equals the amount the seller has to sell. If the seller is unsure of the market-clearing price, they should sell at auction and let the market decide. So, if you want to sell something below market value, don't do it. It will hurt your sales and it will hurt your customers. The competitions created by non-price-based allocation mechanisms can sometimes have negative externalities that harm third parties, as we will see.
However, the prevalence of below-market-clearing pricing suggests that sellers do it for good reason. And indeed, as decades of research into this topic has shown, there often are. So, is it possible to achieve the same goals with less unfairness, inefficiency, and harm?
Selling at below market-clearing prices has large inefficiencies and negative externalities
An item that is sold at market value or at an auction allows someone who really wants it to pay the high price or bid high in the auction. So, if a seller sells an item below market value, some people will get it and others won't. But the mechanism deciding who gets the item isn't random, and it's not always well correlated with participant desire. It's not always about being the fastest at clicking buttons. Sometimes it means waking up at 2 a.m. (but 11 p.m. or even 2 p.m. elsewhere). Sometimes it's just a "auction by other means" that's more chaotic, less efficient, and has far more negative externalities.
There are many examples of this in the Ethereum ecosystem. Let's start with the 2017 ICO craze. For example, an ICO project would set the price of the token and a hard maximum for how many tokens they are willing to sell, and the sale would start automatically at some point in time. The sale ends when the cap is reached.
So what? In practice, these sales often ended in 30 seconds or less. Everyone would start sending transactions in as soon as (or just before) the sale started, offering higher and higher fees to encourage miners to include their transaction first. Instead of the token seller receiving revenue, miners receive it, and the sale prices out all other applications on-chain.
The most expensive transaction in the BAT sale set a fee of 580,000 gwei, paying a fee of $6,600 to get included in the sale.
Many ICOs after that tried various strategies to avoid these gas price auctions; one ICO notably had a smart contract that checked the transaction's gasprice and rejected it if it exceeded 50 gwei. But that didn't solve the issue. Buyers hoping to game the system sent many transactions hoping one would get through. An auction by another name, clogging the chain even more.
ICOs have recently lost popularity, but NFTs and NFT sales have risen in popularity. But the NFT space didn't learn from 2017; they do fixed-quantity sales just like ICOs (eg. see the mint function on lines 97-108 of this contract here). So what?
That's not the worst; some NFT sales have caused gas price spikes of up to 2000 gwei.
High gas prices from users fighting to get in first by sending higher and higher transaction fees. An auction renamed, pricing out all other applications on-chain for 15 minutes.
So why do sellers sometimes sell below market price?
Selling below market value is nothing new, and many articles, papers, and podcasts have written (and sometimes bitterly complained) about the unwillingness to use auctions or set prices to market-clearing levels.
Many of the arguments are the same for both blockchain (NFTs and ICOs) and non-blockchain examples (popular restaurants and concerts). Fairness and the desire not to exclude the poor, lose fans or create tension by being perceived as greedy are major concerns. The 1986 paper by Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler explains how fairness and greed can influence these decisions. I recall that the desire to avoid perceptions of greed was also a major factor in discouraging the use of auction-like mechanisms in 2017.
Aside from fairness concerns, there is the argument that selling out and long lines create a sense of popularity and prestige, making the product more appealing to others. Long lines should have the same effect as high prices in a rational actor model, but this is not the case in reality. This applies to ICOs and NFTs as well as restaurants. Aside from increasing marketing value, some people find the game of grabbing a limited set of opportunities first before everyone else is quite entertaining.
But there are some blockchain-specific factors. One argument for selling ICO tokens below market value (and one that persuaded the OmiseGo team to adopt their capped sale strategy) is community dynamics. The first rule of community sentiment management is to encourage price increases. People are happy if they are "in the green." If the price drops below what the community members paid, they are unhappy and start calling you a scammer, possibly causing a social media cascade where everyone calls you a scammer.
This effect can only be avoided by pricing low enough that post-launch market prices will almost certainly be higher. But how do you do this without creating a rush for the gates that leads to an auction?
It's 2021. We have a blockchain. The blockchain is home to a powerful decentralized finance ecosystem, as well as a rapidly expanding set of non-financial tools. The blockchain also allows us to reset social norms. Where decades of economists yelling about "efficiency" failed, blockchains may be able to legitimize new uses of mechanism design. If we could use our more advanced tools to create an approach that more directly solves the problems, with fewer side effects, wouldn't that be better than fiddling with a coarse-grained one-dimensional strategy space of selling at market price versus below market price?
Begin with the goals. We'll try to cover ICOs, NFTs, and conference tickets (really a type of NFT) all at the same time.
1. Fairness: don't completely exclude low-income people from participation; give them a chance. The goal of token sales is to avoid high initial wealth concentration and have a larger and more diverse initial token holder community.
2. Don’t create races: Avoid situations where many people rush to do the same thing and only a few get in (this is the type of situation that leads to the horrible auctions-by-another-name that we saw above).
3. Don't require precise market knowledge: the mechanism should work even if the seller has no idea how much demand exists.
4. Fun: The process of participating in the sale should be fun and game-like, but not frustrating.
5. Give buyers positive expected returns: in the case of a token (or an NFT), buyers should expect price increases rather than decreases. This requires selling below market value.
Let's start with (1). From Ethereum's perspective, there is a simple solution. Use a tool designed for the job: proof of personhood protocols! Here's one quick idea:
Mechanism 1 Each participant (verified by ID) can buy up to ‘’X’’ tokens at price P, with the option to buy more at an auction.
With the per-person mechanism, buyers can get positive expected returns for the portion sold through the per-person mechanism, and the auction part does not require sellers to understand demand levels. Is it race-free? The number of participants buying through the per-person pool appears to be high. But what if the per-person pool isn't big enough to accommodate everyone?
Make the per-person allocation amount dynamic.
Mechanism 2 Each participant can deposit up to X tokens into a smart contract to declare interest. Last but not least, each buyer receives min(X, N / buyers) tokens, where N is the total sold through the per-person pool (some other amount can also be sold by auction). The buyer gets their deposit back if it exceeds the amount needed to buy their allocation.
No longer is there a race condition based on the number of buyers per person. No matter how high the demand, it's always better to join sooner rather than later.
Here's another idea if you like clever game mechanics with fancy quadratic formulas.
Mechanism 3 Each participant can buy X units at a price P X 2 up to a maximum of C tokens per buyer. C starts low and gradually increases until enough units are sold.
The quantity allocated to each buyer is theoretically optimal, though post-sale transfers will degrade this optimality over time. Mechanisms 2 and 3 appear to meet all of the above objectives. They're not perfect, but they're good starting points.
One more issue. For fixed and limited supply NFTs, the equilibrium purchased quantity per participant may be fractional (in mechanism 2, number of buyers > N, and in mechanism 3, setting C = 1 may already lead to over-subscription). With fractional sales, you can offer lottery tickets: if there are N items available, you have a chance of N/number of buyers of getting the item, otherwise you get a refund. For a conference, groups could bundle their lottery tickets to guarantee a win or a loss. The certainty of getting the item can be auctioned.
The bottom tier of "sponsorships" can be used to sell conference tickets at market rate. You may end up with a sponsor board full of people's faces, but is that okay? After all, John Lilic was on EthCC's sponsor board!
Simply put, if you want to be reliably fair to people, you need an input that explicitly measures people. Authentication protocols do this (and if desired can be combined with zero knowledge proofs to ensure privacy). So we should combine the efficiency of market and auction-based pricing with the equality of proof of personhood mechanics.
Answers to possible questions
Q: Won't people who don't care about your project buy the item and immediately resell it?
A: Not at first. Meta-games take time to appear in practice. If they do, making them untradeable for a while may help mitigate the damage. Using your face to claim that your previous account was hacked and that your identity, including everything in it, should be moved to another account works because proof-of-personhood identities are untradeable.
Q: What if I want to make my item available to a specific community?
A: Instead of ID, use proof of participation tokens linked to community events. Another option, also serving egalitarian and gamification purposes, is to encrypt items within publicly available puzzle solutions.
Q: How do we know they'll accept? Strange new mechanisms have previously been resisted.
A: Having economists write screeds about how they "should" accept a new mechanism that they find strange is difficult (or even "equity"). However, abrupt changes in context effectively reset people's expectations. So the blockchain space is the best place to try this. You could wait for the "metaverse", but it's possible that the best version will run on Ethereum anyway, so start now.
9 months ago
Your Ideal Position As a Part-Time Creator
Inspired by someone I never met
Inspiration is good and bad.
Paul Jarvis inspires me. He's a web person and writer who created his own category by being himself.
Paul said no thank you when everyone else was developing, building, and assuming greater responsibilities. This isn't success. He rewrote the rules. Working for himself, expanding at his own speed, and doing what he loves were his definitions of success.
Play with a problem that you have
The biggest problem can be not recognizing a problem.
Acceptance without question is deception. When you don't push limits, you forget how. You start thinking everything must be as it is.
For example: working. Paul worked a 9-5 agency work with little autonomy. He questioned whether the 9-5 was a way to live, not the way.
Another option existed. So he chipped away at how to live in this new environment.
Don't simply jump
Internet writers tell people considering quitting 9-5 to just quit. To throw in the towel. To do what you like.
The advice is harmful, despite the good intentions. People think quitting is hard. Like courage is the issue. Like handing your boss a resignation letter.
Nope. The tough part comes after. It’s easy to jump. Landing is difficult.
Paul didn't quit. Intelligent individuals don't. Smart folks focus on landing. They imagine life after 9-5.
Paul had been a web developer for a long time, had solid clients, and was respected. Hence if he pushed the limits and discovered another route, he had the potential to execute.
Working on the side
Society loves polarization. It’s left or right. Either way. Or chaos. It's 9-5 or entrepreneurship.
But like Paul, you can stretch polarization's limits. In-between exists.
You can work a 9-5 and side jobs (as I do). A mix of your favorites. The 9-5's stability and creativity. Fire and routine.
Remember you can't have everything but anything. You can create and work part-time.
My hybrid lifestyle
Not selling books doesn't destroy my world. My globe keeps spinning if my new business fails or if people don't like my Tweets. Unhappy algorithm? Cool. I'm not bothered (okay maybe a little).
The mix gives me the best of both worlds. To create, hone my skill, and grasp big-business basics. I like routine, but I also appreciate spending 4 hours on Saturdays writing.
Some days I adore leaving work at 5 pm and disconnecting. Other days, I adore having a place to write if inspiration strikes during a run or a discussion.
I’m a part-time creator
I’m a part-time creator. No, I'm not trying to quit. I don't work 5 pm - 2 am on the side. No, I'm not at $10,000 MRR.
I work part-time but enjoy my 9-5. My 9-5 has goodies. My side job as well.
It combines both to meet my lifestyle. I'm satisfied.
Join the Part-time Creators Club for free here. I’ll send you tips to enhance your creative game.
2 months ago
What the World's Most Intelligent Investor Recently Said About Crypto
Cryptoshit. This thing is crazy to buy.
Charlie Munger is revered and powerful in finance.
Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is noted for his wit, no-nonsense attitude to investment, and ability to spot promising firms and markets.
Munger's crypto views have upset some despite his reputation as a straight shooter.
“There’s only one correct answer for intelligent people, just totally avoid all the people that are promoting it.” — Charlie Munger
The Munger Interview on CNBC (4:48 secs)
This Monday, CNBC co-anchor Rebecca Quick interviewed Munger and brought up his 2007 statement, "I'm not allowed to have an opinion on this subject until I can present the arguments against my viewpoint better than the folks who are supporting it."
Great investing and life advice!
If you can't explain the opposing reasons, you're not informed enough to have an opinion.
In today's world, it's important to grasp both sides of a debate before supporting one.
Does your Wall Street Journal article on banning cryptocurrency apply? If so, would you like to present the counterarguments?
I don't see any viable counterarguments. I think my opponents are idiots, hence there is no sensible argument against my position.
Consider his words.
Do you believe Munger has studied both sides?
He said, "I assume my opponents are idiots, thus there is no sensible argument against my position."
This is worrisome, especially from a guy who once encouraged studying both sides before forming an opinion.
National currencies have benefitted humanity more than almost anything else.
Hang on, I think we located the perpetrator.
Munger thinks crypto will replace currencies.
I doubt he studied cryptocurrencies because the name is deceptive.
He misread a headline as a Dollar destroyer.
Cryptocurrencies are speculations.
Like Tesla, Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.
Crypto won't replace dollars.
In the interview with CNBC, Munger continued:
“I’m not proud of my country for allowing this crap, what I call the cryptoshit. It’s worthless, it’s no good, it’s crazy, it’ll do nothing but harm, it’s anti-social to allow it.” — Charlie Munger
Not entirely inaccurate.
Daily cryptos are established solely to pump and dump regular investors.
Let's get into Munger's crypto aversion.
Rat poison is bitcoin.
Munger famously dubbed Bitcoin rat poison and a speculative bubble that would implode.
But the bubble broke. Since 2021, the market has fallen.
Scam currencies and NFTs are being eliminated, which I like.
Why does Munger doubt crypto?
Mungers thinks cryptocurrencies has no intrinsic value.
He worries about crypto fraud and money laundering.
Both are valid issues.
Yet grouping crypto is intellectually dishonest.
Ethereum, Bitcoin, Solana, Chainlink, Flow, and Dogecoin have different purposes and values (not saying they’re all good investments).
Fraudsters who hurt innocents will be punished.
Therefore, complaining is useless.
Why not stop it? Repair rather than complain.
Regrettably, individuals today don't offer solutions.
Blind Areas for Mungers
As with everyone, Mungers' bitcoin views may be impacted by his biases and experiences.
But Munger has always advocated classic value investing and may be wary of investing in an asset outside his expertise.
Mungers' banking and insurance investments may influence his bitcoin views.
Could a coworker or acquaintance have told him crypto is bad and goes against traditional finance?
Do you respect Charlie Mungers?
Yes and no, like any investor or individual.
To understand Mungers' bitcoin beliefs, you must be critical.
Mungers is a successful investor, but his views about bitcoin should be considered alongside other viewpoints.
Munger’s success as an investor has made him an influencer in the space.
Influence gives power.
He controls people's thoughts.
Munger's ok. He will always be heard.
I'll do so cautiously.