AMA Highlights: Refinable

By Gabriel Tan, Analyst
April 15, 2021–10 min read

Hillrise Group
Apr 15 · 10 min read

On Monday 12 April, we welcomed Nick Chan from Refinable into the Hillrise Group Telegram chat to talk about bringing mainstream adoption to NFTs.

Refinable is a BSC-based NFT platform addressing key issues within NFT markets. It will integrate NFT platform features with additions including NFT minting, trading, royalties, fractionalised ownership, and collateralisation.

Refinable is backed by Binance and MrBeast — arguably one of the most influential content creators on the internet with 59m YouTube subscribers.

In this post, we have compiled key questions and answers from the event.

Daniel Dal Bello
Hi Nick, welcome and thank you for joining us today. After your recent announcements of support from Binance and MrBeast we have been looking forward to this conversation — congratulations!

Binance Smart Chain and NFTs are both relevant topics on their own merits, so together is another story.

Could you start with an introduction to yourself and what you are building at Refinable?

Nick Chan
So hi everyone, this is Nick and I’m one of the co-founders of Refinable.

In short, Refinable is building an NFT marketplace on Binance Smart Chain. Many people want to engage in NFTs including retail and crypto-people, mostly because of the insane speculation that’s happening right now, but due to Ethereum’s scalability issues, it’s rendered a lot of people unable to explore and experiment with this new tech medium.

There are some great NFT platforms out there but the high gas prices have literally priced out many users and communities. So we see this as an immediate issue and we want to offer an immediate solution while also redefining the NFT experience.

What this means is we are exploring a different thesis for engaging with NFTs and one of our main differences is we want to be content and community agnostic. That means we are building the platform with the intention of supporting any digital transactions from day one across any content type and brand.

TLDR has always been: we want users, brands, and entire communities to be able to create, trade, and discover NFTs in a fun and accessible manner. And later, be able to leverage their owned assets all in the same platform.

Ray Reijnders
Let’s start with MrBeast. This likely puts Refinable light years ahead of competitors in terms of potential adoption due to such a massive fanbase that will be exposed to Refinable.

We’re interested to hear how that partnership came about and what kind of an impact you anticipate?

Nick Chan
So it happened quite serendipitously since one of our investors was mentioning the project to someone on the MrBeast’s team and it came about relatively organically with them trying to understand more of what we’re doing. Eventually, they liked what we’re doing and the thesis we have and decided to get into the action by offering us marketing support further down the line.

We’re still in talks to see how far we want to take the Beast NFT partnership but at least having Jimmy and his team’s backing was great validation for the work we wanted to do, especially when we wanted to support all types of communities on the platform.

Joao Lopes, Community Member
Why have MrBeast and Binance not yet spoken about this project?

Nick Chan
Since we haven’t officially launched yet, we have not scheduled when MrBeast is giving his marketing push yet, but rest assured it will come with the maximum impact!

Ray Reijnders
How do you envision someone like MrBeast possibly integrating Refinable into an avenue for engagement with typical YouTube videos?

Nick Chan
What we want to do is enable an NFT community to thrive FOR MrBeast’s fanbase, since that is where the community lies. An NFT, unlike fungible tokens, cannot do price discovery well and requires a community to impart value and meaning to it.

So the YouTube videos are a means of marketing to the community about certain events and campaigns that are happening, and influencers are free to market their goods in whatever manner they see fit. Refinable is coming in as a platform to host their primary/secondary markets for their NFT goodies.

We see a big separation as well with retail user and brand business support in this space and are building out our business suite of features as we speak. That is another point that I think is missing in the market that’s precluding other brands from joining in.

Rowan Zwiers
Besides the extremely strong financial and strategic backing Refinable has secured, how will the platform maintain competitiveness given the growth in both existing and new NFT curation platforms?

Nick Chan
I briefly touched upon this, which is the brands and IP vertical of our marketplace. Marketplaces are hard to build because they require a balance of demand and supply. We recognized a need for both users and brands to engage with NFTs that don’t cost an arm and a leg, which will help with user demand and supply.

But moreover, by attracting brands and other IPs to start engaging with NFTs as a new social media vertical on a platform that is built to support them, that is really going to help drive a lot of new and eager fan bases to our platform, which will definitely help our demand economics.

This is all possible also because the NFT ecosystem on BSC is still very new and we’re able to go into a blue ocean to redefine how people interact with NFTs.

Rowan Zwiers
Do you see Refinable as becoming an integrated element of an influencer’s social media engagement strategies?

Nick Chan
Oh definitely! This is really not something new. We see examples of community engagement platforms doing super well nowadays like Patreon, Onlyfans, etc. and this is really just the tip of the iceberg. What we’re building is to further enhance those communities with a new interoperable medium to trade ‘items/goods’ that matter to them.

Imagine a cross between Ebay/Etsy and Patreon/Onlyfans, which is an entirely new vertical that would be attractive for IPs and influencers to explore. This is still very new for everyone involved but we’d definitely like to be at the forefront of exploring this.

Ray Reijnders
Let’s talk NFT-fractionalisation. We’ve had a recent AMA with Unicly, an NFT fractionalisation platform — you might have heard of them. If so, can you run through how Refinable plans to do it differently?

In general, why are you working on fractionalising NFTs?

Nick Chan
Fractionalised ownership is on the roadmap but we understand this feature is not always applicable to all content. However, fractionalising ownership for high-value items has always existed for physical assets such as properties, antiques, high-value art, and other similar items.

Our immediate roadmap is to always deliver a cheaper, faster NFT marketplace that isn’t over-saturated with content. Once that is done and we’ve catered to users creating, trading, and discovering NFTs, we then want to go into offering advance and fun features for users to make the most out of their owned NFTs.

That’s where fractionalised ownership comes in because it’s the gateway to opening up a lot of interesting features for our user base — including automatic price discovery, NFT indexes, exchange trading, etc. We see a lot of synergy for having these features based on the same platform so users don’t have to constantly switch experiences.

There are also a lot of nuances to fractionalising NFTs that had to be taken into account such as governance protocols, and custody, that we think can be explored in many different ways, so no one project is going to dominate that space.

Miccolo Solis, Community Member
I am a content creator from the Philippines and want to be part of [minting] my NFTs on Refinable. I’ve been waiting for an NFT Marketplace in Binance Smart Chain. Is this open for everyone or by invite-only? I already sent a request to be a creator in Refinable. I love how you guys are giving opportunities for creators-fans engagement. And speaking of FINE, how do we get to invest in the coin as well?

Nick Chan
We’re open to everyone! Right now we’re looking to shortlist a few artists to try out our public beta from our creator form so hope to see you on our platform very soon! Happy to hear that this is of value to you.

R Mirzaei, Community Member
Nick, please talk about the pre-sale.

Nick Chan
There’s definitely a lot of interest in procuring our token. Our private sale is over, and we’re finalizing the details for our public sale right now. We’re looking to announce both our launchpad and TGE in the next 2 days so definitely stay tuned on how to get in on the whitelist lotto.

Daniel Dal Bello
As Refinable comes online and a flood of users and content creators on board, standing out will become increasingly difficult.

How will you approach user adoption and retention in such an increasingly competitive space?

Nick Chan
The plan has always been to offer an immediate solution to the Ethereum scalability issues, and also to reimagine the NFT experience in the process. BSC has been highly strategic for us because it’s so much faster and cheaper to run, the community is super popping, and there is great support within the Binance community itself.

As with most software companies, we want to release evergreen features that deliver the most value to our users, even past this NFT speculation bubble. So our intentions are long-term and hopefully, the product will speak for itself 3–6 months down the line.

Ray Reijnders
This might be a sensitive topic, but we’d like to talk about NFTs existing on different chains. There’s been talk about how all NFTs are expected to be primarily based on Ethereum as it is the most credibly neutral and functional blockchain. This argument does assume that the issue of fees is either ignored or solved by Eth2.

What’s your position on this?

Nick Chan
So we intend to be fully BSC on launch but shortly afterward, we do aim to integrate multiple chains and become a cross-chain NFT marketplace. Although there are a lot of developer concerns about the existing bridges, this is something we’re exploring and are excited about because it will only make the NFT community stronger.

It really depends on how the NFT space is looking as a whole but we have to give BSC a chance to make a name in the space first. I am definitely not a chain maximalist when it comes to that so I’m super agnostic, but since BSC’s value proposition was in line with our general go to market strategy, it was the obvious choice for us.

Ethereum is fantastic in a lot of ways but I do believe optimization should occur soon. It’s risky to put all your eggs in one basket because of both performance and security considerations. When the scaling solutions do come into effect, there’ll be even more work to do to integrate it all together so the roadmap looks pretty long to us. Of course, there is great synergy with having all your NFTs in one ecosystem but we do have to be conscious of other users and communities that may not have the same privilege as we do to play on Ethereum’s network.

Ray Reijnders
When assets are transferred cross-chain, for example, from ETH to BSC, the underlying token is held by an ETH-based contract while a wrapped version is issued on BSC. When doing this to an NFT, a similar process happens.

Does this devalue an NFT’s non-fungible nature?

Nick Chan
There are some interesting methods of bridging assets from one chain to another so we have not made a judgment on how best to do this for Refinable. That is definitely one possible way of doing it, but regardless of your bridging method, I don’t think it will devalue an NFT’s nature when done correctly.

What this means is the method of bridging has to make sense for the content itself. As long as the integrity of the asset’s fungibility is maintained, then I do not think it has devalued the NFT in any way. The only way I think devaluation occurs is if the asset is duplicated on the bridge so it’s technically violated.

Ray Reijnders
Further, how will the royalties tagged to an NFT and user on Refinable accrue if said user chooses to transfer the underlying NFT cross-chain?

Nick Chan
Great question! This is a huge talking point when it comes to bridging and from what I can tell, it’s been an honor-based system between different marketplace to honor these rules. It becomes difficult when we consider multiple networks and wrapped tokens. So this is what I mean bridging tech is not as robust as we need it to be.

But most of these are considerations for the team, not showstoppers so we’re still excited to offer these features soon.

Ferenc, Community Member
Hi Nick, Are you planning to combine your NFTs market with VR technology in the future?

Nick Chan
Possibly, we are content-agnostic so it’s really a question as to who will do this first.

Rowan Zwiers
You plan to use FINE token balances to determine eligibility for exclusive sales. The demographic for potential users coming into Refinable is likely more skewed towards collectors and fans rather than speculators.

The rapid growth in the platform is sure to place upward pressure on the FINE token, benefiting early speculators and users. How will you democratize access to exclusive sales for the majority of users just getting into Refinable?

Nick Chan
Great question as well, so the exclusive sales will really be dependent on how other IPs want to distribute their content to their community. You raise a great point about fair access and we had this discussion with the team earlier and are shifting away from exclusive sales to early access on NFT releases.

We do think our token holders will be some of our most valued users so having an incentive for them makes a lot of sense for us.

One other strategy would also be offering direct NFT membership on Refinable to the community, so even though they were not able to participate early in holding our tokens, they may still be able to access the same benefits through this program. Details to be determined of course.

I’m not a big fan of binary options, so exclusivity is not my ideal way to move forward.

Hillrise Group supports ambitious Web3 startups with early-stage venture capital and fundamental research.

Refinable is an upcoming BSC-based NFT platform bringing NFTs to the masses.

Connect with Hillrise Group

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