Editions are a way for creators to mint a limited supply of identical NFTs at a fixed price. If a 1/1 NFT is a Picasso at Sotheby's, Editions are like the thousands of first-edition holographic Charizards released. As a stupidly obvious sidenote, a cool thing about NFTs is that they’ll never get scuffed, scratched or bent :)
To put Editions in context, they have a clear predecessor: the NFT auction. When NFTs took off this year, they gave creators a new way to prove scarcity around digital artworks. For digital artists, that was huge. They could finally unlock the latent value in their work that was traditionally reserved for physical mediums. They also adopted the fine art characteristic that works are one-of-a-kind, known as the 1/1 NFT. That successfully gave these assets a flair of distinction and collectors all the more incentive to raise their bid. Reserve NFT auctions became the most common and successful market mechanism for creating demand around the works (Mirror added reserve auction support earlier this year). The public nature of auctions met with a ticking clock has really turned out to be a viral mechanism.
We’ve always said Mirror is a sum of its community. What is Mirror = Who’s on Mirror. Beyond its crypto foundation, we’ve continued to implement features that reinforce a decentralized, collaborative effort. $WRITE RACE gives community members the power to influence how the platform grows. Splits allow creators to route value from their work to other creators, suggesting no idea is an island. While Splits cited multiple voices as responsible for a single work, those citations came from a single individual. One publication, one author.
We’re excited to announce that’s no longer solely the case.
Last week, we announced Splits, a new feature on Mirror that allows you to continuously route ETH to an unlimited number of Ethereum addresses, according to a set of percentage allocations. The feature took off in novel ways across the Mirror community, already demonstrating exciting signs of early product-market fit.
A music collective auctioned off songs as NFTs and used splits to share the upside. A visual artist used the feature to reward each of his previous patrons using the proceeds of a new NFT sale (aptly titled Infinite Players). A writer published an essay about micro-economies and embedded a split at the end of the post, functioning as a tip jar that’d be shared amongst the author and those who inspired the text.
As a new primitive of economic attribution, patronage, and giving thanks, Splits hold a lot of potential. In addition to the use cases we’ve already seen, they present a particular opportunity we believe is especially worth highlighting: the funding of public goods.
One of the earliest provocations at Mirror went a little like this: what if you had a great idea, and when telling the story introducing it to the world you could also enable the reader to participate in making that story come to life. What if that happened directly within the narrative as part of the story?
This scenario has informed our approach to interface since day one, and lead us to creating a series of Economic Blocks—embeddable interfaces you can place within a story enabling readers to interact by funding and sustaining great ideas. To be active participants of the story being created.
Clearly there was something to this. We’re beginning to lose count of how many successful projects have taken place during Mirror’s first few months! Projects like Colin and Samir’s NFT auction and split, Songcamp’s auctions and splits for three original songs, Emily’s crowdfund for $NOVEL, and many more.
Mirror recently introduced splits, a native feature that lets you route funds continuously to an unlimited number of Ethereum addresses, according to a set of percentage allocations.
But what did it take for splits to evolve from an idea to a set of efficient, production ready smart contracts on Ethereum? Read the full story in this post!
There were three problems that we needed to solve for splits:
Mirror introduces splits, a native feature that lets you route funds continuously to an unlimited number of Ethereum addresses, according to a set of percentage allocations.
Footnotes. Special thanks. Instagram tags. These are a few ways we incentivize and credit names and works that have contributed to or influenced our work—whether an old idea that sparked a new one or a hair and makeup artist who worked on a model’s latest cover shoot. These citations come with their own benefits. They reinscribe a thinker’s influence in academia. They loosely attach an intellectually generous friend to another friend’s project. They drive followers from one social account to another—yielding dividends of clout.
Splits, Mirror’s latest feature, present a truly exciting alternative to involving people in your work. From a monetary perspective, collaborators typically have to divy up their earnings manually. That process relies on trust, manual coordination, and sometimes a ton of paperwork and legal overheard. Split’s crypto-native approach replaces a social contract with code-enforced rules that can’t be fudged.
Today we're excited to officially introduce a new feature to the writers of Mirror: You can now embed reserve auctions for zNFTs into any entry!
The journey to get to this release is full of adventure. A month ago, Mint Fund had an idea to add timed auctions to the Zora Protocol, and decided to crowdfund the effort on Mirror. Mint Fund ran this crowdfund on March 5th, raising 7 ETH to hire a developer to build a reserve auction contract.
Writing is at the center of Mirror. The editor is where ideas begin, and when ready, made public. But Mirror is not only a tool for writing. It also proposes new ways to fund, sustain, and grow the practices of writers. Not only are these big ideas, it’s also the early days in Mirror’s story.
With these constraints in mind the Editor has been a no-frills expression of the bare minimum. This latest update retains that simplicity. It’s a plain text Markdown editor, but with a little imagination you may begin seeing hints of the future we’re aiming for.
We’re glad to get this latest iteration in the hands of writers today, and look forward to seeing what you create with it.
We’re proud to have released a beta block to crowdfund writing on Mirror. Our first two experiments were a total success. John Palmer raised 10 ETH for his essay Scissor Labels, which has since be published. Just last week Cooper raised 2 ETH for Net Value Capture Equation, which will be published imminently. The next step is to unlock this for all Mirror writers; all in time!
Mirror now supports embedding NFTs from several of the big platforms, including Zora, Foundation, Rarible, and SuperRare. In addition to images and videos there is also support for audio and text. Our plan is to progressively introduce greater coverage for metadata, such as display names for creators and owners, along with a few other surprises. You can see the updated NFT embeds in action on Jesse's entry and Cooper's entry on NFTs.
So far we've been onboarding users through Rinkeby, while evolving our on-chain protocol. We call our onboarding model "burn-to-register", because members need 1 $WRITE token to join, and the token must be destroyed once they do so. To do this, our $WRITE token's ERC20 contract has a
register function that burns 1 token before calling into a
registrar contract that registers the user's ENS name. That
registrar contract can only be accessed from the $WRITE token, and so these contracts are tightly coupled, and we have needed to take our time to make sure that they were working well and were very gas-efficient. Over the last two weeks, we finalized this system and deployed it to mainnet. Check out the code on GitHub and the contract on mainnet.
Over the next two weeks, we will migrate existing users to mainnet ENS, and start air-dropping mainnet tokens to new users. We will meticulously observe this process and ideate ways to improve.
Monetization of publicly accessible written content has never had a strong basis on the internet, since it suffers from the public goods problem. As publishing has moved online, funding for high-quality, long-form writing has broken down.
NFTs give us new tools to solve this problem — by representing previously infinitely-reproducible creative works as scarce, tradable digital assets. This means that artists can now sell a scarce digital asset representing an essay as a unique collectible or artwork, while the content itself remains open and freely accessible (a public good). Still, the problem remains for funding the time and work necessary for a creator to produce impactful writing.
We imagine a world where writers on Mirror can publish an intention to research and produce high-quality writing, and receive crowdsourced funding. In this model, the contributors who fund the project also receive a stake in the future financial upside produced by the work, captured by subsequent sales of the NFT. This improves considerably on existing crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter.
To achieve these outcomes, the content must be tradable as a single artifact (an NFT), and the ownership of that artifact must be fractional — allowing multiple people to own a small stake. By using Ethereum as the economic infrastructure, we can allow tradable, fractional ownership of the NFT using ERC20 tokens.
Mirror has the ambitious vision of redefining publishing online by empowering writers with the tools offered by crypto. We are delighted to share that we've officially closed our first full-stack engineering sprint: the MVP of the Mirror blogging platform. This will allow us to onboard our first writers and serve as the foundation for all the functionality in the future.
We have a lot to figure out over the next few months and years—from discovering new crypto-native business models for creators to supporting basic things like embedding NFTs. We knew that the starting point for the project was supporting a basic publishing experience; the ability to post text and share it with the world.
This post details our journey so far.