Evolving Treasure’s Free Mint Model
Treasure NFTs and MAGIC have been distributed for free. Treasure will continue to use this mint model for its products, but we are exploring ways to collaborate with projects that use paid mints.
Treasure was founded on the idea that decentralized metaverses should have fair launch origins. Rather than making users pay upfront, builders distribute the core building blocks of the metaverse for free and allow the community to create value with them. The long-term value of the metaverse is not determined by the initial mint cost but rather the work that users put into creating value. Fair launch ensures that the metaverse remains open, collaborative, and permissionless in design.
We believe that Treasure’s success can be largely attributed to the free mint model. Treasure distributed its NFTs and the MAGIC token for free, creating a strong, loyal community that took these building blocks and developed an expansive ecosystem around them. Foregoing upfront payment also aligned the Treasure contributors in our long-term commitment to MAGIC. We have worked tirelessly to build interesting, profitable things that drive value back to MAGIC because our equity in the project is denominated in this token.
As the project evolves into a more mature stage, our approach to scaling must also evolve. We are discovering in conversation with potential collaborators that our dogmatic approach to free mints is limiting the number of projects with which we are able to partner, thereby stunting the DAO’s growth. To scale exponentially from here, Treasure must now adopt a more nuanced, pragmatic approach. Founders will surely ask where the brightline is regarding paid mints. We plan to evaluate each project on a case-by-case basis. Projects with extremely high fundraising will have a much higher burden to prove their value-add to the Treasure ecosystem. Treasure is a community-focused initiative so we are looking to partner with projects with strong communities. We will consider how the mints were offered, the accessibility of the public sale, and other factors to determine whether the project is building on top of community’s ideas or simply extracting value from the community. (Below we discuss two projects with a partial paid mint that provide great value to the overall ecosystem.)
We have identified a few key reasons to update our mint philosophy given the current state of the project.
1. Treasure functions differently than other projects
We have maintained that Treasure is a neutral, permissionless foundation for metaverse building. Treasure is the base-layer ecosystem creating infrastructure on which others can build. Our building blocks (NFTs and MAGIC) have been and always will be distributed for free. However, we do not expect other products to play a similar role in the metaverse. Our goal — which is distinct from other metaverse projects — is to empower builders with the tools and resources to scale, creating network effects that all participants contribute to and benefit from. Ancillary protocols built on top of Treasure will be different in design and purpose than Treasure itself. Therefore, these protocols will naturally have a different approach to mint costs than Treasure.
2. Economies involve paid goods
While the free mint model was instrumental in establishing the base-layer of the Treasure economy, it is unsustainable to assume that every good or service in this economy will continue to be distributed for free. MAGIC functions as money, and users who have acquired it through gameplay are looking to spend or reinvest it.
3. Innovation requires pragmatism
To continuously innovate, the DAO must remain open to re-evaluating and adapting our strategy over time. Innovation is not only fluid by nature, but it also requires pragmatism to consistently execute. It became obvious that the DAO needed to revisit its mint philosophy very early into conversations with projects looking to integrate with Treasure. These projects showed us that the fair launch nature of the base-layer is actually bolstered by collaboration with paid mint projects. We would like to credit two projects in particular for demonstrating this idea.
- Battlefly, an excellent proof of concept for the MAGIC token, auctioned off its Founders NFTs as part of a fundraising strategy for the project. The Battlefly team brought to us the brilliant idea of letting partner projects purchase MAGIC from the Treasury as an in-game reward for their players. This strategy grows MAGIC adoption without diverting emissions away from Bridgeworld. It also functions as an elegant diversification strategy for the DAO, divesting MAGIC into the hands of long-term aligned builders while diversifying the DAO treasury into ETH and stables to pay contributors.
- Lost SamuRise is a project built on top of Treasure that spawned a very interesting innovation regarding paid mints: using raised funds to purchase MAGIC and locking this MAGIC into the mine for the long-term to generate constant yield for the project. Through this investment, the SamuRise project bootstraps itself as a guild in Bridgeworld. Treasure has tried to position itself as a DeFi protocol with MAGIC functioning as a yield-bearing asset on which second-order DeFi protocols can be built. SamuRise’s design is confirmation of this vision and an excellent example of the creativity facilitated by Treasure’s building blocks. Moreover, SamuRise creates a token sink to further reduce the circulating supply of MAGIC, reinforcing the scarcity of the asset. Token sinks ensure that MAGIC remains primarily held by actors that are invested in the long-term success of the DAO. We thank SamuRise for challenging Treasure’s free mint dogma and showing us the importance of a pragmatic approach going forward!
4. Exponential growth
Treasure scaled horizontally and vertically in its first six months more than anyone thought possible. The DAO has worked to the best of its ability to harness this momentum into hiring new builders and diversifying projects. Nevertheless, we have found that talent acquisition has been a persistent blocker in our scaling efforts. Onboarding new builders is time-consuming and directly trades off with the work of our core contributors. A better model would be to let projects interested in building on top of Treasure bootstrap themselves and increasingly fold into the DAO as the project matures. The network effect of Treasure is not determined by the number of projects that carry the Treasure brand name but rather the number of projects integrated into the base-layer infrastructure. This infrastructure includes not only Treasure NFTs and MAGIC but also products like the Treasure marketplace (and soon the Treasure-native AMM).
The core values of the Treasure project — decentralization, community building, storytelling — continue to endure. Treasure will also stay true to the free mint model for its own projects. However, it is time to expand the Treasure ecosystem to partner projects, some of which are designed differently than Treasure. The conversation about the free mint model is just beginning. The DAO has many important questions left to consider, such as whether paid mint projects are eligible for grants and MAGIC emissions.
We look forward to the community debating these issues and moving the project forward!