Being enthusiasts of the potential of NFTs, we often wonder what the current painpoints are that various users might be facing. One big problem that we noticed is while open marketplaces are very useful for creators to mint and list their items, the markets often favor the already well-known creators. Listings created by smaller creators often get lost in the void and never get discovered. We see this as a distribution problem and wanted to develop a solution for it.
What it does
The product takes advantage of the mystery box mechanics, with a unique twist - the NFTs are contributed by the creators, and other users can take the role of a curator to curate them into series of chests. When a chest is purchased, the purchaser (collector) may receive a random NFT from the series.
The economics of series involve having one or more high value NFTs in the series and multiple lower value ones, so the collectors are incentivized to purchase chests as they would have a chance of getting the rare / high value NFTs. Creators that are less well known benefit from having their creations "tag-along" high value NFTs, and get paid (+get their creations out) when the chests are sold.
In addition, the minted chests are ERC721 NFTs which are themselves tradable. As chests in a series are opened, they will have an impact on the expected value of the leftover unopened chests in the series. This adds another dynamic to its economy where sophistication can be developed.
How we built it
The web application is built with Nextjs, React, and web3. The api is built with Rails and Postgres, and the smart contracts are built with Truffle. We also utilized OpenSea's Assets API for normalized NFT metadata, to display users' assets on their profile page.
Challenges we ran into
Biggest challenge is to manage our limited resources, as well as the scope of the project. In addition we had no dApp development experience going in so we had to learn everything from scratch.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We managed to create a fully functional platform that satisfies the project's ambitious scope, and more importantly we learned a tremendous amount about system architecture for dApps, as well as smart contract development.
- Integrate with IPFS to store token metadata
- Add an auction feature for chests in series to increase value capture for Creators and Curators
- Optimize contract functions to reduce gas cost, and longer term integrate a Layer 2 solution
- Expand the NFT offering coverage from collectibles to other commercial applications. We believe consumers (including ourselves!) will gladly pay a small "opportunity premium" for a chance at winning something much higher value. For example, when purchasing a economy class plane ticket, paying a 5% premium for a chance at getting a business class ticket - these use cases are enabled by the same randomized distribution aka mystery box mechanic.