This piece, somehow, I managed to write at both a very high and low level. I didn’t intend this, but that’s how it turned out. If any of the topics in this go over your head, don’t worry. I don’t expect everyone to understand everything. There’s a wonderful community around crypto. You can always reach out to someone with a question and they’ll usually answer!
gm, lovely readers! Since last week, yet more history has been made with Ether and Solana both passing their all-time-highs!
Ether — $4,671.00 (USD→ETH) Nov 3rd, 2021 (via Coinbase)
SOL — $250.57 (USD→SOL) Nov 4th, 2021 (via Coinbase)
Bitcoin is still hanging around $61k last I checked.
It’s a pretty exciting time we’re living in. Lots of record highs, up-and-to-the-right assets, and a deluge of new projects every time we open our MetaMask wallets.
But even with all these incredible things going on, bad things can still happen. I’ve been hearing stories of people losing a lot of money in meme assets like AMC and the Shiba Inu token. I hope all of you are staying safe financially, physically, and mentally. It can be a tough world out there <3
Now, into the newsletter!
We’ve done the what, what about the how?
The first edition of CryptoCurious was about NFTs. What they are, how they work, and some cool analogs. I’d still rather have Starry Night over Mona Lisa, but that’s just me!
This week, by the suggestion of my sibling and community member over on our discord server (which you should totally join), we are going to discuss how NFTs can be used IRL.
NFTs are incredibly versatile. As I said in the previous piece on them, the most common uses currently are for art (SuperRare.com), collectibles (OpenSea.io), and in-game items (Axie Infinity). These have all been incredibly successful in their own right.
Digital artists like Beeple and X-Copy have become millionaires off of their works selling for hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. Crypto Collectibles projects like MoonCats, CryptoKitties, and CryptoPunks have all skyrocketed to success with intensely passionate communities around them. Web3 games like Axie Infinity have pioneered a new model of gaming: genuine play-to-earn.
There’s so reason to believe these will go away any time soon. Frankly, these are all killer applications for NFTs. Heck, I’ve even been dipping my toe into the wild world of NFT collectibles and have been looking at making my own project!
But what I want to talk about is a bit more philosophical than these specific applications. I want to talk about the future of NFTs on a broader scale and how our world might look if we adopt this technology into the mainstream.
NFTs: A True Protocol
Words like protocol can have something of a negative connotation with them. When I think of protocols, I think of almost militaristic processes for doing things in massive bureaucracies (not great lol). But a protocol, in this case, is a foundational technology layer for future technologies to be built on top of.
Let’s take the internet as an example. Early versions of the internet were fairly simple. Just ways of connecting two computers so they can communicate with each other. Not many of these methods could scale though, so some creative innovators came up with a protocol that we still use today: HTTP.
This Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) would allow two computers, a server and a client, to easily send information and requests back and forth. A client device sends a request to a server and the server sends a response back.
On top of this protocol, some more creative innovators could build something known as the World Wide Web, which you may have heard of. It’s a massive web of computers all sending information back and forth simultaneously. Both HTTP (now HTTPS, or HTTP Secure) and the World Wide Web (www) are the foundational building blocks of the internet as we know it today. True protocols.
On top of those, websites could now be created. Using these protocols and some others interwoven with them, domain names could be registered that, when entered into a web browser, can locate the Domain Name Server (DNS) where the site is hosted and display something a user can understand.
So what do NFTs have to do with this?
I think the ability to create ERC721 contracts on a blockchain (what enables the creation of NFTs) is a foundational protocol on the decentralized web. When I first discovered NFTs earlier in 2021, the buzz was all about Beeple selling one of his artworks for $69.3 million worth of ETH. All anyone was talking about on Twitter was this digital art thing that had just come out of nowhere and was apparently worth $69 million! That was what got me into Web3.
Since then, NFTs have split off in many different directions. The Bored Ape Yacht Club as a modern version of CryptoPunks, Axie Infinity with in-game ownable items with a real market value, the Loot project with D&D-like game items, ENS selling custom Ethereum domains for your personal wallet, and so many more.
All of these projects are powered at the core by NFT contracts.
But is that all there is?
I’m not sure. I want to say that’s not all, but it’s still way too early on to know all the things these can be used for. I can speculate, though.
One thing I’ve been thinking of for a while now is how blockchain, Web3, and NFTs can manifest in the real world. There are already organizations like Braintrust using Web3 to reinvent Fiverr-type marketplaces using decentralization. But what about NFTs specifically?
Dipping our toes into tomorrowland (no relation with Disney), I’ve had some ideas on this subject that get me really excited:
I’m still not entirely sure how this would work, but what if every item in the real world had a blockchain-verified counterpart as an NFT? There are the obvious ones like event tickets, limited edition drops (I’m still waiting for MSCHF to do an NFT drop), and things like that. But I mean everything else as well.
Imagine going to buy a car and instead of needing to fill out a tree’s worth of paperwork for licensing, registration, insurance, etc, you only had to connect to your crypto wallet, and the car is automatically registered to your identity. All the hassles of proof of ownership would be gone in an instant! Everything about your ownership of the car would be stored on the blockchain and accessible by anyone who needs it at the tap of a button.
The same could go for driver’s licenses. What if instead of waiting forever for an updated plastic license to come in the mail, you had a card that could be scanned by a police officer, employer, or anyone needing to verify your identity and instantly get the information needed from the information associated with your crypto wallet. Forgeries would be much harder, citizenship would be easily provable, etc.
The same concepts can apply to housing, loans, financial statements, and even buying things on Crypto Amazon (the name of the Web3 Amazon, of course) would all be stored and provable on an unchanging ledger!
I don’t know about you, but that’s a world I want to live in. I wouldn’t need to carry around so much junk if all I had to do was connect my Ethereum or Solana wallet and have it all right there.
I’m really curious to know what you all think. I haven’t been receiving as much feedback as I’d like and I want to hear from you! Let me know what you think the future of NFTs and other crypto protocols will look like. Tweet at me, reply to this email, comment on Substack, or send me a friend request on Discord! I’m at that1snare#8517.