New Dimensions
April 21st, 2022

WTF can be built on Verse?

Since unveiling Verse, I’ve received a ton of enthusiastic interest to build with the protocol. At the same time, I’ve also noticed a question repeatedly come up in conversation: “Verse is a cool idea, but what are some use cases?”.

I think of Verse as not only a new way to exchange NFTs, but as an entirely new medium for digital objects. So today, I wanted to share some ideas I have for projects that can be built on Verse. Hopefully this will help to answer some questions about the protocol, and more importantly, catalyze interested creators to reach out so we can work together and bring some of these ideas to life!

Nouns 2.0

Nouns is one of my favorite NFT projects to date, and in my opinion, is the blueprint for the future of headless brands. The Nouns glasses are a memetic force that has rippled across the fabric of the internet and has shown us how CC0 can be used to create powerful infrastructure for a more composable internet.

The Nouns protocol has a fairly intricate structure, but can be summarized around a few core ideas. Every day, a new Noun is minted with randomly-generated on-chain traits. The Noun then goes up for auction, and the proceeds from the winning bid are sent to the Nouns treasury. The treasury is controlled by Noun-holders and the funds are spent according to governance proposals aimed at proliferating the Nouns meme.

While building Verse V1, I thought a lot about how Nouns could be structured differently today, taking inspiration from composable projects like Shields. Imagine the following mechanism: on Verse, there is a “blank Noun” NFT which can be redeemed using a $NOUN ERC-20 token. Anyone can buy and sell the ERC-20, and holders of at least 1 $NOUN can redeem to receive a blank Noun NFT. Holders of the NFT could then build their own Noun by selecting different traits, similar to how the Nouns playground currently works. Once a particular combination of traits is used, it can’t be used again, guaranteeing that each built Noun is unique.

The Nouns Playground
The Nouns Playground

Now, you have a way for anyone to directly participate in the Nouns ecosystem. Minted Nouns NFTs would still be considered a “luxury item”, and so the price of each NFT would likely remain high along the bonding curve. Thus, you can still have an elite group of NFT holders who are conferred the special status of owning a Noun NFT. You could even set a time limit on converting a blank Noun NFT to a built NFT to disincentivize people redeeming their NFT and just sitting on it. And at the same time, those who are priced out of minting an NFT can still trade fractions of the $NOUN token and invest in the upside of the Nouns meme.

For the community of builders in the Nouns ecosystem, the effect is even greater. Now, builders have direct incentive to build new products and experiences around Nouns and the $NOUN token. Additionally, the treasury is able to continually generate revenue from taking fees from each $NOUN transaction and every time a $NOUN token is redeemed for the NFT.

Neo Stem Player

Coinciding with the rollout of Donda last summer, Kanye West launched a curious new product. Shaped like a rounded stone with a silicon exterior, it played music and flashed bright lights in sync with the beat. But the real magic happened when you dragged your finger along the four grooves on the surface: you could instantly alter the composition of the song that was playing. You could deconstruct the song’s stems and remix it in real time.

Yeezy Stem Player
Yeezy Stem Player

The Stem Player is still an early-stage product, but it’s easy to imagine its natural evolution to be a new medium for composable music. What would it look like if there was an on-chain stem player built on Verse?

I think it looks a lot like OKPC. Imagine that there was a blank stem player NFT backed by the $STEM token. When you redeem $STEM for the NFT, you receive a blank, on-chain stem player. This stem player NFT can be used to create a song, similar to how an OKPC enables you to create artwork by interacting with a pixelated paint app.

OKPC & Paint App
OKPC & Paint App

Here’s where the fun starts. Once you publish a song, you could sell the stems as sub-NFTs that can only be purchased using the $STEM token. Other stem player NFT holders could buy stems and integrate them into new songs that they create. At a high level, this behavior is similar to OKPC holders being able to buy other artists’ artwork and displaying it on their unit. All of a sudden, you have a microeconomy where creators are building songs and stems are being bought and sold using the $STEM token as a native currency.

What’s really cool is that you can see an economy being formed within the digital object itself! The $STEM token isn’t just a means of trading the underlying NFT, but is also a currency that has specific utility within the stem player ecosystem.

Web3 Interactive TV!

Over the past couple months I’ve had a ton of fun seeing the growth of Mad Realities and their show, Proof of Love. Proof of Love is the first web3 show funded and powered by NFTs, where holders of the show’s NFTs have the power to vote on cast members and influence different events during taping. When I first started digging into what Mad Realities was building, my mind started racing at what the future could hold for web3 TV powered by Verse.

Mad Realities Website
Mad Realities Website

Let’s take the idea of “interactivity” a step further. Imagine a world (or reality ;)) where there’s a “Proof of Pitch” NFT backed by a $PITCH token. The NFT is initially a blank asset which lets the holder upload a 60s video of their choosing, pitching an idea or episode rough-cut that they want to appear on the show. Once the holder uploads the video, it’s set as the NFT’s new tokenURI, and can’t be changed. $PITCH holders can then stake their tokens to the different Proof of Pitch NFTs, effectively signaling and curating which ones they’d most like to see on the show. You could even implement a mechanism by which stakers are rewarded with more $PITCH tokens the more active they are in curating the pitch NFTs. At the end of the week, the pitch with the most tokens staked to it wins a spot on the show.

Effectively, you’ve now created a system that incentivizes active participation and growth of the TV show. As the show grows in popularity, creators will want their idea/pitch to appear on the show. Token holders will be incentivized to help build a high quality show and thus curate the best pitches. Now, each show can truly become its own economy.

Yeezy Yeezy Yeezy

I’ve been a sneakerhead since 6th grade. Over the years, it’s been fascinating to watch how rapidly the game has evolved and influenced an entirely new paradigm for product distribution.

The Yeezy Effect
The Yeezy Effect

Once a tradition of waiting in line for hours to acquire a pair of shoes now has become a much more technologically sophisticated process. Today, pretty much every “drop” follows the same storyline.

  1. Product launches on an app like SNKRS or CONFIRMED
  2. Bots quickly snap up inventory
  3. People get enraged and post their Ls on Twitter
  4. Product appears on StockX within minutes selling for a 5-7x markup
  5. Same begrudged Twitter people slowly take out their wallet to buy at resale price
Common SNRKS L
Common SNRKS L

Every day, more scarce products are following the same distribution arc. We’ve seen it happen for PlayStation 5s, Macbook Pros, and even membership/pass NFTs (albeit with slightly different dynamics).

This current paradigm sucks for pretty much everyone involved. For creators/manufacturers, each item is sold at a static price regardless of demand, and there’s no way to receive cuts on secondary sales. For buyers, it’s infuriating to have to enter a lottery, try and win an auction, or hunt for the lowest price. For sellers, it’s arduous to find the best price to sell your item and wade through lowball or bot-submitted offers.

Verse provides a better solution for distributing scarce digital objects. On Verse, every ERC-721 object is backed by an underlying ERC-20. Creators and manufacturers have the power to fine-tune the dynamic price curve for their object, choosing exactly how the price changes based on supply and demand and receiving instant royalties every time the token is exchanged. Buyers and sellers can exchange the token automatically, with instant liquidity, and never have to worry about price discovery. And those who wish to redeem their ERC-20 for the corresponding object can do so anytime.

It’s fun to ask the question, what if Yeezy 350s were sold on Verse? Suddenly, the shoe becomes this continuous asset that you can trade like a stock. 6th grade Kiran would have been so pumped!

Same Friends, New Benefits

I remember a conversation I had a couple months ago with Alex Zhang, mayor of Friends With Benefits, who at one point described the DAO as an “internet city”. That term has stuck with me ever since, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the new types of infrastructure necessary to build a city that’s fully digital.

High-level FWB City Design
High-level FWB City Design

We often describe Ethereum-based tokens as “programmable money”. It seems crucial to me that every internet city have its own currency specifically designed to catalyze development of the city’s unique cultural and focal points. FWB has taken steps to actualize this idea. For instance, 75 $FWB gets you into the private Discord, 5 $FWB lets you access the newsletter, etc. However, I think there’s a lot of room to rethink how the $FWB token can act more as a tool for development rather than just a unit of exchange.

Let’s start with imagining how the current access system could be rebuilt on Verse. You could have an FWB membership NFT backed by the $FWB token. $FWB could be traded along the bonding curve, like any other Verse ERC-20. You could then implement a system by which $FWB could be redeemed for a full membership NFT. As “city planners”, the FWB multisig could choose how they want the NFT’s price curve to behave over time. For example, if too many people are joining FWB too fast, the multisig could dynamically raise the price of entry. The full membership NFT could serve as your “dynamic passport” for FWB, having smart contract functionality that automatically tracks how long you’ve been a citizen, what other NFTs you own, and could even use that information to better match you with others in FWB whom you might want to be friends with.

Additionally, Verse could enable the creation of an FWB-native on-chain social graph. You could have a system by which $FWB holders stake their tokens to other members to signal their relative importance/popularity in the DAO. Such a system would have a powerful effect on mapping out the relationships between people in the city.

It’s enthralling to think of citizenship as a “digital object” - an entity that has a dynamic state, is programmable, and is fully networked.

I hope these examples help spark imagination for what can be built on the Verse Protocol. If you’re a creator or engineer interested in bringing some of these ideas to life, my DMs are open :)

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