January 3rd, 2022

After a month away from work, I kicked off this new year by replying to some snoozed emails, scheduling some yearly doctor checkups, paying my estimated taxes, and outlining a few things I’d like to do this month. It was a solid first cup of coffee. Upon completion, I looked down at Discord and noticed I had received a DM from CryptoBatz informing me that their Ozzy Osbourne NFT project was doing an early mint. 🦇 As a fan of Ozzy and a continuation of my web3 research, I bookmarked this campaign last month as one of interest so I quickly jumped at the opportunity to mint one of these batz. I headed over to the provided link and noticed that 550 of 666 batz were already pre minted. “Just in time,” I thought. I connected my wallet, provided the funds for a bat, and waited patiently to see which one I received.

And that’s when it dawned on me. I was just scammed.

Life’s a bitter shame.

Let’s rewind a bit. CryptoBatz was announced last month and has signed up thousands of interested users. They are offering 9666 blockchain pixel bats which were creatively directed by Ozzy Osbourne himself. Sutter Systems has done a great job of cultivating this popup community and they have achieved lots of hype for this offering. What they have not provided up to this point is a solid date and time of when the minting will take place. Instead, they have stated that this information would come directly from their communication channels. They also have told users to be wary of Discord DM scams and to disable DMs them altogether.

November 24th, 2021

My friend Taylor McKnight told me that until I actually participated in a Web 3 powered experience, I would never truly understand what was happening. Fair enough. Taylor is one of those few people I’ve discussed Web 3 with that didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth.

I didn’t seek out my first minting, instead I let it find me on Twitter. I’m not a huge deadmau5 fan by any means but I know he is supported by an incredible creative team and tech-forward fanbase. At head5.io, deadmau5 was offering up 5555 generative 3d collectable heads for display in your Polygon wallet and also integration with over 400 metaverse projects. I’ll be honest, I have participated in exactly 0 metaverse projects so my main goal here was to simply mint one of these generative heads into my wallet and OpenSea profile.

I noticed a couple of interesting things on the head5.io website. First, there was a countdown counting to a “pre-mint” moment. This date and time was also shared socially. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant but I just sorta figured this was similar to a concert pre-sale. You all know I love a good countdown clock. It was also stated that 300 of the 5555 heads were being held for giveaways and rewards. This made me roll my eyes a bit but alright. In addition, the “traits” were described a bit. Traits are the characteristics of a generative NFT that will be randomized upon minting. The rarer the trait, the rarer the NFT, and this potentially increases the value. I also couldn’t help but notice the 5 partner logos at the bottom. This is not something you’d find on one of my artist projects. Finally, the website also stated that holding one of these NFTs would grant you access to other future mau5 projects and integrations… 5ever. 😔

Anyway, the cost of minting was stated as 0.15 wETH. I did not know what wETH was but below the “Connect Wallet” button was a link titled “Show me how to wrap my ETH” which redirected me to a blog post. Apparently, my plain ol’ Ethereum was not going to cut it. Instead, I needed to bridge it to the Polygon blockchain as that is where this particular project was taking place. Yes, there can be different coins, chains, and wallets depending on the campaign. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing but by following the provided post and figuring out how to change my Coinbase Wallet network from Ethereum to Polygon, I was ready to mint. Oh, by the way, 0.15 wETH is like 700 fucking dollars. I also noticed that the mau5verse account had written an initial post about Understanding Blockchain. It is clear the deadmau5 team took education somewhat seriously before trying to launch this complicated offering.

November 21st, 2021

Almost two decades ago, I decided the web and music were how I was going to express myself in this world. I care so much about both of these things. My freelance dev blogs are mostly a front so I can write about changes in web standards. This is the kind of stuff that excites me and I am 100% onboard with the web’s constant evolution. So, it may come as no surprise that I have some thoughts about Web 3, NFTs, Crypto, and more. I found myself barging into far too many Twitter threads and fielding far too many calls that I decided I should organize some of them here. I’m going to try and keep this short and unfiltered. Disclaimer: this is mostly for established artists, managers, and labels as that is where my perspective lies.

The principle of accessibility has always been a major part of my work. What is the shortest line I can draw between a compelling marketing concept and my client’s goal? How can I make this user experience feel familiar but unique? What can I do to make this simple, safe, and easy for your fans? The web is most successful when it is accessible. Web 3 at the moment is not. It’s all confusing as hell. Chains, blocks, tokens, crypto, wallets… it truly takes some time to begin wrapping your head around the language and technologies which make up Web 3. I personally still don’t *get it.*This likely means that your everyday fan won’t get it either. At least not today.

So, for example, can you still have a successful NFT campaign today? Depending on what success means to you, sure. You could decide to educate your own fans on the opportunity and get them to set up wallets. Alternately, you could create a Web 3 campaign targeted towards the larger Crypto community itself. Maybe you could do both? Depending on the scale of your artist, the Crypto community may see your campaign as an investment opportunity. Is this a bad thing? Maybe… If your actual fans miss out on an opportunity simply because they did not understand how to participate or weren’t as fervorous as the Crypto community, that would suck. I have seen artist NFTs, sold at a fixed price, immediately relisted at a wildly increased price. At its worst, it reminds me a lot of ticket scalping. In general, if you’re doing this for your fans, make sure to educate them first and perhaps look into whitelisting some of them beforehand.

However, before you go sending out a newsletter to your entire fanbase, telling them to setup wallets, please try to understand why you are doing it and what the implications for your fans are. A lot of the Web 2 social platforms leaned on music and artists to sign-up their fans there. Their promise to us was a direct communication channel. In the end, this turned into a paid communication channel and our fans paid the price with the exploitation of their data. I’m not saying this is the same thing but I do think we owe it to our fans to stop and think a bit about what we’re asking of them before we start onboarding. I personally think the way Web 3 and Crypto seems to weave worth into every aspect of itself is a very weird proposition. Depending on what you’re trying to do in this world, this may cost your fans lots of real money. Decide if you want that money going to these new opportunities and/or your core sales of music, tickets, and merch.