August 23rd, 2022

Mirror is a toolkit that empowers writers to own, share and fund content by leveraging web3 technologies.

When you first explore Mirror, it’ll look like any other online publishing platform. A place to write and read. Nothing special. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see how they’re enabling interesting use cases and experiences for writers and their readers using crypto.

I’ll go through:

  • the 3 key problems Mirror is trying to solve
  • who Mirror is for
  • what you can do on Mirror

Why Mirror?

There are 3 key problems that Mirror is solving:

1/ Written content on the internet has a public goods problem

The internet has made digital content, like long-form writing, easily accessible and infinitely reproducible. Because of this, writers are more limited in how they’re able to monetise. They can use ads, ask for donations, or create artificial scarcity of their content using methods like paid subscriptions.

New tools like Substack are making this easier, but the model of paid subscription brings others challenges. For example, they keep high-quality ideas and writing behind a paywall, limiting their reach. Meanwhile, with an audience paying monthly, writers have added pressure to produce quality content at a regular cadence.

Mirror’s answer to this is to leverage the power of NFTs, which makes it possible own digital assets. With Mirror, writing can be sold as a digital collectible, giving writers a new means to monetise their work.

At Mirror, we strongly believe that high quality, popular content is worth much more than $0 (source: Publishing on Mirror is Now Open to All)

As a result:

  • writers can keep their content publicly accessible, while monetising each piece they create. It could also be a way for them to source funding for in-depth research in advance
  • the most engaged fans are able to showcase their support and fandom by collecting their favourite writers’ works

2/ Lack of ownership over data and content

A common thread through web3 products is a shift of control and ownership away from centralised platforms, and towards users. Platforms play a valuable role, but we also have to trust that they’ll stick around and not mess anything up, or kick us off.

The alternative to trusting them to maintain your content, audience, and profile in their databases, is the promise of decentralised publishing on Mirror. With Mirror, data and content are stored on decentralised servers, meaning writers can choose to take it anywhere they want. They’re not locked in.

3/ The barrier to leveraging the capabilities of crypto is extremely high for creators

One big problem with crypto is that the complexity often creates a high barrier to entry. Regardless of what benefits NFTs and blockchain technologies have, people aren’t going to use them if it’s too confusing and overwhelmingly technical.

To help, Mirror abstracts away a lot of the complexity. You don’t need to build a website or write smart contracts - and you definitely don’t need to pay for someone to do it for you. You can simply click buttons on Mirror’s interface and make it all happen yourself.

Crypto empowers creators and communities with robust economic tools, but we don’t think that should come with added complexity or poor user experience (source: Publishing on Mirror is Now Open to All)

Who is Mirror for?

It’s important to note that so far, I’ve specifically talked about writers. But Mirror is really for anyone who wants to share ideas or stories.

The writing can be the end-product, like fiction, opinion pieces or long-form research. But it can also be a way to tell the world about something you’re working on, like ideas for new products or communities, or updates on existing projects - which essentially makes Mirror a product for everyone.

More than ever, we believe that every creative project starts with a story. Our goal is to make Mirror the best place to share your story with the world and build a highly-engaged community around it, powered by world-class crypto-native tools. (source: Publishing on Mirror is Now Open to All)

What is Mirror?

Okay, so what buttons can you click on Mirror, and what does it actually let you do?

First, there’s the basic functions of writing and reading articles. Mirror differs from usual publishing platforms as it enables writers to turn their writing into digital collectibles called writing NFTs. Meanwhile, readers can collect and curate writing on a public profile which ends up resembling a digital bookshelf.

Where I think Mirror shines, is as a tool for fundraising and community building. You can:

  • set up a crowdfund or auction, and leverage Mirror’s in-built tools to issue crypto tokens and/or NFTs to those who support your campaign. As this happens on the blockchain, there’ll be a permanent record of who your early supporters were, and you can even create token-gated experiences just for them
  • create and sell a limited supply of digital collectibles as editions, without needing to know how to write smart contracts. For example, this could be a limited-supply artwork, or a membership pass
  • set up splits, and use them to automatically distribute payments between multiple parties. For example, you may want to share earnings with people you collaborated with, or direct a portion to charitable causes. Mirror’s splits are an alternative to you managing all of that manually
  • build and maintain engagement with your community by collecting wallet-based subscriptions. This matters because wallets are the gateway to using web3 products, but we’re all still reliant on email or push notifications. So far, there’s been no good way of bridging the two. With Mirror’s subscription functionality, readers can connect an email to their wallet, and use their wallet to subscribe to Mirror publications

To bring all of that to life, here’s some examples of how creators are using Mirror:

Subscribe to denze
Receive new entries directly to your inbox.
View collectors
This entry has been permanently stored on-chain and signed by its creator.