The full story

Short version: I have been writing and drawing a graphic novel since 2017, but I'm too busy to actually finish it because I'm running the Tomorrow Tree Institute humanitarian reforestation and anti - nuclear war initiative engaging with DPR (North) Korea; btw, check out our executive summary one pagers here - we're building some really cool, innovative web3 stuff as well ! (Global Afforestation Incentive System, Sanctions Compliance Cryptocurrency System and an NFT based Participatory Direct Democracy Governance System).

What it does

Project BCG is a DAO - like organization that economically incentivizes multiple artists (writers, tracers and drawers) to collectively work on a single piece of art: the Black Clouds Gather graphic novel.

The fictional world is collectively owned through NFTs and the $CLOUD token - that will be backed by Black Clouds Gather's revenue streams and minted to the artists that have contributed to its creation.

In the future there are 2 ideas:

1) To enable artists to use the extensive fictional world to tell their own stories and introduce their own characters to which they own the copyrights to and have full control over them.

2) To enable businesses to plug into the DAO: these businesses can then promulgate Black Clouds Gather to their own areas, and introduce it to other mediums such as TV shows and video games (if the story is good enough).

Project BCG is either in: Future of Work track or Creators - Utility on top of NFTs track

How we built it

Note 1: For some reason I thought that NEAR is natively EVM & solidity compatible 😅, Note 2: Only 1 "real" developer was able to join this hackathon, and he writes solidity 😅 (see Vid Kalisnik's profile).

FIrst the system's technicalities were designed. Even though I had a vague idea of the technicalities before the hackathon, much of it was designed at NEARcon.

Next, the frontend was built through Squarespace because it's easy and cheap to build, maintain, make GDPR compliant, integrated for commerce and is secure. We did our best to integrate it with web3 through JavaScript code blocks and code injections, but how much we could get done in these 2 days was somewhat limited.

For the backend: 2 NFT smart contracts (access NFTs and creator NFTs) and 1 token smart contract were designed and deployed to Aurora. (Also see the challenges comment in the section below).

The Access NFTs have 2 functions:

1) Governance participation ( I'm building an NFT based participatory direct democracy Governance system for Tomorrow Tree, but it's far from finished. See the (incomplete) documentation on my personal website if you want to know more: Governance

2) Revenue streams for the BCG DAO. The idea is to fund the access NFTs with $CLOUD tokens every month for continued access to the graphic novel.

(more information in the pitch deck)

Challenges we ran into

In its entirety the project is too ambitious for a single 2 day hackathon.

1) The original design idea for the subscription service access NFTs was too complex for this hackathon, so a comparatively simple example NFT contract was attempted. A similar situation happened with the creator NFTs that were simplified for the purposes of this hackathon - both were made to simply illustrate and prototype the final design. More information is found in the pitch deck.

2) Regarding NFTs, there is currently still a lack of regulatory and legal clarity and understanding of NFTs. I have a lawyer in Slovenia I have not yet had the time and funding to talk to, but I have watched this YouTube video on the topic, to vaguely know about the legal problems of NFTs: specifically the contract part. LegalEagle NFTs

3) Token Gating: Mintable has a token gating service, but we couldn't find such a service in the Aurora ecosystem, even after visiting the Aurora booth on ecosystem day.

4) The use of Squarespace: Squarespace was used because it is quick, easy, secure, GDPR compliant (even though we ran out of time for GDPR compliance); but for the final version obviously a custom site is needed.

5) $CLOUD a lot has been done already regarding tokenomics, but it has not been finished or optimized. It's a good idea to take some time with this to avoid an Algorand - like situation. Regarding how $CLOUD is "mined" : an unoptimized version was incomplete for this hackathon, but basically: when an artist / writer uploads content and if it's approved by some mechanism (which will likely change throughout testnet and mainnet prototypes) $CLOUD is minted.

6) For the realization of the full vision we'd need Chainlink keepers and Moralis.

7) It was somewhat difficult to get mentorship: partly due to my personal introverted nature, partly because they were always busy.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Umm... very proud of all our work; doing what we can with what we have 😅

What we learned

Tonnes, thank you very much ! It was truly a real pleasure to explore NEAR's ecosystem, excited to learn about dynamic sharding, Aurora, Octopus, Mintable and everyone else.

This was also our first real crypto conference - probably wouldn't go if it wasn't for the hackathon because the tickets are quite expensive; thank you so much for organizing this, and for all of your help, resources and support 💙

What's next for Project BCG

Hopefully we can attend meta build.

Tomorrow Tree's talking to Chainlink about building the Sanctions Compliance Cryptocurrency System, possibly at one of their hackathons, so we'll see.

In general I really need funding to continue these projects and where the focus will be highly depends on where we can find funding. I bootstrapped Tomorrow Tree with ~6,000 EUR (which is a lot of money for me btw) and I can't pay developers / staff properly and nothing... In contrast to how I see things done in crypto, I actually care about regulations, labor laws and worker abuse / preventing team infighting.

Specifically for Project BCG I want to take a "Compound approach" :

1) build a rudimentary prototype on testnet

We've built one at this hackathon - hopefully we get to continue it in Metabuild

2) build a first live mainnet prototype, test it out in the real world, get artists and writers to start

3) build the final version.

Pitch Deck

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