Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & digital collectibles
Dear Bankless Nation,
NFTs can be anything — art, digital land, music, videos, you name it.
So how about writing NFTs?
This area of digital things is growing fast as more and more people are starting to explore the possibilities of non-fungible tokens + text.
For today’s Metaversal, let’s talk “why writing NFTs” and give you a quick tour of this blossoming new scene!
The power of writing NFTs is they allow you to create and publish and experiment with texts in ways that traditional media cannot.
For example, having a simple do-it-yourself process for digitally editioning texts into collectibles was never possible before NFTs. Now with a little web3 know-how and a few clicks, writers can turn text — e.g. articles, blogs, digital autographs, fiction, poems, etc. — into NFTs to connect with their audiences in new and composable ways.
As such, writing NFTs are sort of like self-publishing and DIY distribution on steroids. With this medium at your fingertips, you have the power to readily customize your release strategy, easily airdrop new content to your fans, and tap into many open web3 resources, with this all being atop global neutral infrastructure, e.g. Ethereum, that anyone can use.
Speaking of infra, that brings me to my next point: writing NFTs are also compelling because they can turn texts into durable digital things, digital artifacts, digital mementos, digital souvenirs, what have you. Once minted, an NFT lives forever on-chain.
Of course, when it comes to preserving/storing metadata, NFTs aren’t necessarily a catch-all solution (though through some on-chain techniques they can be), yet nevertheless they offer the possibility of total digital durability and writers have never had access to that before. I used to have a poetry account on Instagram and closed it years back, but now I wish I could return to those early works — with the writing NFTs I’m minting in the here and now, I know I can make it so readers and I will be able to return to them forevermore.
Currently, there are no NFT minting platforms on Ethereum that explicitly cater to writing NFTs. For shorter pieces, a simple workaround right now is taking a picture of a your desired text and then minting it as an image file, e.g. JPG, PNG, SVG, through your infra of choice. For instance, I’ve used this image-based approach before to mint poems via Zora and Foundation.
The 101: Mirror is a web3 publishing platform for writers that handles accounts through Ethereum, data storage through Arweave, and writing NFT mints through the Optimism layer-two (L2) scaling solution. This minting approach lets writers create writing NFTs for free, and the NFTs are affordable to interact with because they’re on an L2.
The 101: In July 2022, cent.co unveiled Cent Pages, a “premium NFT-publishing platform” built on Polygon. The system’s not just for writers, but it does offer free audience-management and content-distribution tools that are very user friendly.
The 101: Powered by Lens Protocol on Polygon, Lenster is a decentralized social media app where people can create and collect posts as NFTs. It’s like a web3-native version of collectible tweets!
The 101: Zang is an on-chain text NFT platform built on Polygon. The project is minimalist in design but it does support some interesting stuff like HTML + CSS creations.
The 101: Created by the team behind generative art platform fx(hash), fx(text) is the first web3 publishing platform on Tezos. The recently launched project provides a custom text editor and supports markdown.
The 101: typed.art is a text-based NFT platform on Tezos.
The writing NFT scene is very early, so the projects listed above that stick around from here will undoubtedly advance and evolve much further.
That said, as a writer and NFT minter, I’m a big fan of the efforts listed above, but personally my ideal writing NFT platform would be more expansive than the ones currently on the market are. Some features I’d love to see in a one-stop writing NFT platform going forward include:
Multi-chain support — choose whether you want to mint on Ethereum, Optimism, Arbitrum, Polygon, etc.
Customizable mint parameters — mint 1/1s or editioned series.
Mint featured images — make it possible for writing NFTs to be minted as text + a featured image.
Flexible text editor — offer a text editor that supports basic formatting, e.g. paragraph breaks.
On-chain and off-chain modes — offer the ability to mint a piece’s textual metadata completely on-chain or choose off-chain storage via Arweave, IPFS, Filecoin, etc.
Lazy minting — allow writers to post unminted drafts of writings that people can then mint on demand as they please.
Native marketplace — provide an in-built marketplace system so people can list their writing NFTs for sale directly on the platform.
Profile customization — let creators customize their profiles and segment their creations into collections/series for better discoverability.
What about you? What features would you request for your dream writing NFT platform? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts! And in the meantime, welcome to the world of writing NFTs ✍️
William M. Peaster is a professional writer and creator of Metaversal—a Bankless newsletter focused on the emergence of NFTs in the cryptoeconomy. He’s also recently been contributing content to Bankless, JPG, and beyond!
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