There’s something obviously cool and important about the background trait of a pfp. It literally defines the world and context in which the character exists. It could both be a point of origin, a point in the present, or an aspiration for the future.
We think most pfp backgrounds aren’t intentional enough in this regard, and instead we see many projects prioritize matching color palettes, or just opt for simplicity in their backgrounds (as we did with the default / plain backgrounds for Citizens of Tajigen at mint).
A couple of months ago we published our note on a new kind of currency, describing how we’ve created a scarce ecosystem resource, in the form of art drops. Two art drops have already taken place, corresponding to Tajigen holder snapshots. What follows is the first use case for our art drops.
TLDR for those who don’t want to read this entire post:
Citizens of Tajigen are anonymous netrunners from many different backgrounds: athletes, hackers, scientists and soldiers, who have come together to fulfill a common goal: to bring back decentralization and free the people trapped in the new world order.
Tajigen holders can now burn art drops to customize & upgrade their Citizens of Tajigen with deflationary backgrounds from known & upcoming artists. Each background will only exist in a limited quantity because of the scarce nature of our art drops, and overwriting an existing background burns the old one forever.
We’ve implemented a handful of innovations in structuring the mechanisms behind this, and welcome any other NFT projects who’d like to use our system, along with TinyERC721, to do so.
Today we launch a new part of The Shelter experience, where you can customize & upgrade your Tajigen characters with custom, deflationary backgrounds from known & upcoming artists.
Via this experience, you are able to burn your art drops, then claim and apply available backgrounds to your Tajigen characters. Each background has been hand created by a known or upcoming artist, and has a story or place in the world we’ve created. Click in to each background to learn a bit more about it, and then ask yourself: what does this setting & background say about you, citizen?
Before and after shot of a Tajigen receiving their shiny new background:
The process of burning an art drop, then claiming & applying a background is simple & easy. As with our original mint contract (TinyERC721), we’ve applied a number of gas optimization techniques to keep gas expenditure to a minimum.
Once a new background has been applied, you’ll be able to see it almost immediately on OpenSea and other marketplaces:
As you browse & apply backgrounds, you’ll notice they’ve been created by different artists. Some artists like Tyler Foust (creator of Reddit x Foustlings) and Rojom (creator of Reddit x The Senses) and
REDACTED are known and their existing works are in high demand, others are upcoming & aspiring. We look forward to revealing more partner artists and backgrounds incrementally over time.
If you’re an artist and would like to have your work integrated with the Citizens of Tajigen, we’ll soon share more about the process to get involved. In the meantime, feel free to contact one of our co-founders, Vlad or Rob to start a conversation.
We’ve been working on this feature for our holders for a while, and aren’t the first NFT collection to offer changeable backgrounds. But we are the first to do a few things differently, and in our view, these changes lead to a better user experience and game theory:
We’ll be collaborating with new artists & projects on a rolling basis, to make new backgrounds available over time. Some of these may be tied to special ecosystem events.
Some backgrounds will require the combination of multiple different art drops to be burned, rewarding long term Tajigen holders over the course of 2023.
Backgrounds themselves aren’t a tradeable collection, and once a background has been applied to a Tajigen, it will be bound to & sold with the NFT, potentially increasing its resale value.
You can apply new backgrounds to the same character, but in doing so, any previously applied backgrounds will be written over, and lost forever. This means first generation backgrounds will potentially become more scarce over time, per the thesis we laid out in a new kind of currency.
And finally: swap protection, an elegantly simple solution to the problem of background swapping during sales/transfers.
Swap protection // full context: There is a theoretical risk (albeit low) that a bad-actor selling a listed Tajigen may overwrite their background with a different one before, say, accepting a bid offer. This would leave the buyer to receive a Tajigen with a different background to what they intended to buy. So we’ve implemented a revert function. (NB: although the risk is low here, this can of course be applied to scenarios where the risk is higher)
The way the revert function works is simple: every Tajigen NFT has a grace period of 10 minutes (note this time period can be customized, and we may extend it to an hour, or several hours) to revert a newly applied background, irrespective of whether the owner of the NFT has changed.
Similarly to how tweets now give you a grace period to edit them, if you apply a background, you have 10 minutes to unapply the background if you change your mind. This also offers new buyers a protective mechanism to ensure they receive the background they thought they were going to when they purchased it.
It’s worth noting that up until this point, the risk of this scenario has largely gone unaddressed by other projects, with most approaches basically extending the ERC721 standard with an event that indicates a change of token. This entire approach relies on marketplaces to adopt this standard, and to cancel listings when a change is detected. Ofcourse, marketplaces still haven’t adopted this, and so the risk is present for these other projects using dynamic NFTs.
As we continue to see more projects move towards dynamic & customizable NFTs, it’s important that the ecosystem has a makeshift solution like ours to offer buyers a safety net, until marketplaces offer proper in-built support.
➜ Why are backgrounds not tradeable as NFTs?
Backgrounds (in the form of ERC1155 tokens) introduce upgradability / customizability to our genesis collection, the Citizens of Tajigen. Their primary purpose is to be applied to your citizen, augmenting / enhancing their aesthetic and value.
Backgrounds become accessible by burning (or later, combining) art drops that our holders receive.
➜ So how do I access a background relating to an art drop that I missed?
Whilst backgrounds aren’t tradeable themselves, art drops are! Browse the Tajigen art drop collections in order to purchase the art drops you may need to acquire a certain background.
➜ How do we select & apply backgrounds?
Head over to the background claim page to browse available backgrounds. Clicking in to each one will tell you a bit more about the background and who created it. It’ll also show you the burn requirements to claim it. Once you’ve claimed a background, you will be able to choose which Citizen of Tajigen in your wallet you’d like to apply it to.
We will be adding more claimable backgrounds on a rolling basis as they are created by our collaborating artists, and remember: once a background is applied, it can only be overwritten! This is by design, so that gen 1 backgrounds become more scarce over time, perhaps some even become 1/1s through the overwriting process.
➜ I’m an artist. Can I create a background to be included?
Yes, we’d love to meet you and learn more about your art. Please feel free to contact one of our co-founders, Vlad or Rob to start a conversation.
➜ Will other traits later be upgradable?
Who knows ;) … Our advice is the same as always: follow the signal.