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.
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.