A Complete Newbie Sells a Redeemable NFT
With her silver and jewels at the ready, Jazz steps into the realm of redeemable NFTs to bridge the gap between the digital and physical art worlds.
The wild world of NFTs has oftentimes felt nebulous to me and that, in great part, is due to its intangible nature.
Whenever someone outside of this space learns about my dabblings in the digital asset market, they invariably ask, “But what are you actually selling?” From there, it’s an uphill battle to convince these baffled onlookers what the purpose or, indeed, value is when it comes to NFTs.
To be totally honest, there’s a large part of me that feels the same. While I believe wholeheartedly in the value and importance of art, in whichever form it might take, I harbour quietly lurking reservations about my own creations. My art has always existed in the physical realm, and this shift into digital drawing has left me squirming in imposter-syndrome-induced discomfort.
That, my dear friends, is where redeemable NFTs come in. The bridge between the digital and the physical has always been the most interesting part of this space for me. How can cryptocurrency liberate real-world markets? How can digital assets solve problems of logistics and distribution? How can independent artists circumvent traditional gatekeeping? These are the questions that really interest me.
So it will come as no surprise that my NFT collection was always built with redeemables in mind. My fingers are more adept at silversmithing than illustration and my cutesie scribblings were born with the express purpose of one day blossoming into fully-fledged redeemable jewellery NFTs.
After building up my collection with a few digital-only assets, the time had come to branch out. The summer solstice was just around the corner and I’d fashioned a sterling silver oak leaf pendant to mark the occasion. It was with this that I would pave the way to a bright and shining ‘phygital’ future.
The only thing left to do was transform my physical item into a digital asset that could then be transformed back into a physical item. Off I trotted to my digital drawing software and emerged several hours later with a digital rendering of the pendant. With all the pieces in place, I was ready!
What I quickly discovered, however, was that there isn’t yet a standard approach to redeemable NFTs. Everything in this space is still so new, and redeemables are at the very forefront of this still-burgeoning technology. In a market that, by and large, deals only in digital assets and anonymous wallets, the question of how to get a physical item to a real-life address remains largely unanswered.
So I set off on a quest to see how others had approached the same problem. I started with Funko – arguably the biggest redeemable collection on the WAX blockchain. These guys are the big guns and they use Droppp to manage all their NFT releases, as well as the redemption process. I, in comparison, am a dollar-store water pistol and the notion of setting up a Droppp account was far too daunting.
I wanted something simple, accessible, and personal since, for now, I’ll be dealing in small-batch handmade redeemable jewellery pieces.
What I did take from observing how Funko deal with phygital items, was the notion of a redemption token. At first, I had planned to use my NFTs as something like a gift card that could be traded in for the physical item. I quickly realised, however, that the lucky collector who bought my jewellery piece would end up losing the NFT in the process. This is where tokens come in.
With Funko as my teacher, I went back to the drawing board and designed a second NFT. This one – much simpler in design – would be airdropped to the buyer of the oak leaf pendant NFT. Instead of giving up the NFT itself, they could keep the NFT and use the redemption token to claim the jewellery piece. It doesn’t end there, though. If I made the token transferable, they could resell the token while still keeping the original NFT artwork.
My second lesson from Funko involved the redemption period. As much as I like looking at my own handiwork, I didn’t want to keep the oak leaf pendant in my possession perpetually. Like Funko does with their figurines, I decided on a redeem-by date, after which point the redemptive power of the token would be void.
My phygital plan was beginning to take shape. The last hurdle was how to get the oak leaf pendant to its hypothetical new owner once they decided to redeem their token. I kept exploring the newly-fledged world of redeemable collections for more tips and tricks and came across some alarmingly exploitable practices.
One well-known collection featured nothing more than a Google form in their redeemable NFTs’ description sections. Given the transparent nature of the blockchain, I could have simply found a wallet holding that NFT, typed the wallet address into the form, and waited to receive my shadily-procured goodies. There had to be a better way.
Without a direct way to contact the token-holder through the marketplace, I was at a loss. Or so I thought.
It was at that point that I remembered Honeycomb.
This much-loved Discord bot is the brainchild of the singular stuckatsixpm. If you’ve spent any amount of time in the NFT space, you’ll be familiar. Honeycomb allows users to link their WAX wallets with Discord and is the best way I know of guaranteeing a genuine connection between wallet-holders.
Stitching all these elements together, I came up with a plan. When the day came, I was excited and a little nervous to see how it would all play out – I was about to step into the realm of redeemable NFTs. It was a turning point for my humble collection.
I decided to bypass the complications of NFT drops, and instead minted my two NFTs straight to the secondary market through AtomicHub. First, I minted what I’ll call the original artwork NFT. Alongside the digital drawing, I included a photo of the IRL jewellery piece for potential buyers to lust over.
Then, using a series of text attributes, I outlined the basics of the redemption process, and added a link to my website where I’d created a dedicated page explaining the process in more detail.
After that, I minted the redemption token and, once again, included extra information in the descriptions, including the redeem-by date, and the instruction to send the token back to my wallet when the owner wanted to redeem it. I also instructed my would-be pendant-owner to join my Discord server, verify their wallet through Honeycomb.
In the background, I crafted a Google form that I would send to the Honeycomb-verified wallet holder when the time was right. When all was prepared, the only thing left to do was launch!
With great trepidation, I released my very first phygital NFT into the world, calculating the price to include world-wide shipping. I was prepared to wait a long time for it to sell – sterling silver jewellery is not cheap – so you can imagine my surprise and elation when the piece sold just three minutes into the launch!
Whatever happened next was lost to me because I spent the next few minutes screaming. This is not a literary exaggeration.
When I finally came to, I realised the buyer was none other than stuckatsixpm. In a community as tight-knit and supportive as this one, things have a tendency to come full circle. I find it perfectly fitting and poetic that the person who unknowingly provided the keystone to the secure redemption of my NFTs was the one to first make use of that possibility.
While much of the redemption process was a formality, given that I already knew Stuck’s wallet address, it was a good test to see if my concocted system actually worked. I went through the motions of sending Stuck the redemption token, which he dutifully sent back to me and I ceremonially burned.
With the help of my Google form, I collected his postal address and about a week later, he was in possession of a very real, very tangible sterling silver pendant!
What was first concocted as an idea, and lived a short time in digital form, is now a real-life jewellery piece, adorning someone I met on the internet (or the wife of someone I met on the internet, in this case).
It’s a sort of alchemy, one that drags the notion of purely digital assets out into the light of the real world. The next time somebody asks what it is I’m actually selling, I’ll be able to tell them proudly, “Phygital assets.”
I’m sure that will clear things up.