What Is An NFTBook?
The new decentralized writing platform from WIPP delivers big content. Yes, there’s a whole book in there. Here’s how it works.
NFTs are taking the market by storm. From $385M in total market cap at the end of 2020, we’re up to a total of $22B in total NFT value and it shows no signs of slowing down. Beeple sold an NFT for $69M at the Christie’s Auction earlier this year, and even companies like Cryptowriter are getting into the mix with collectible art projects that fans simply love. The Rare Pizzas project is creating art that buys people pizza, and yes, why not? Here at WIPP, we are creating NFTs around books, with the idea to make them better in a variety of ways that nobody saw coming.
Wait, NFTs and Books? Why?!
Our first concept is the NFTBook Genesis, a very basic platform that resembles the webpages we’re all so familiar with, except it doesn’t live on the internet, it lives on IPFS and the blockchain it’s minted to! This gives authors a high level of control and saves them from needing third party actors to keep their content online when they’re not around. It also helps ensure that hosting services don’t make writing too costly for new or young writers who don’t yet have the cashflow needed to ensure an excellent website gets built and stays up.
NFTBook Genesis objects have 3 components: an actual NFT minted to the Ethereum or MATIC blockchain; a Hub, which is a lot like a webpage except for not being on the internet in the same way Medium.com is on the internet; and the Content, including PDF full-text and more. Each NFTBook is essentially its own tradeable platform all about that particular author and book, and the authors can update this content to include translations of the text, links to purchase physical books, audiobooks, and more.
This platform is remarkable in a variety of ways, so here’s a short list of the most game-changing characteristics of NFTBooks:
When we started WIPP, we decided to keep costs low by minting and trading via the MATIC blockchain instead of using Ethereum — benefitting authors by unburdening the readers and collectors from ungainly transaction fees. Beyond this, the NFTBook concept allows WIPP to keep costs low on the publisher side, which means we don’t have to pay for a lot of things accepted as necessary in the literature market today.
We educate authors to act as their own promoters, publishers, agents, and so on if they need help selling (reach out to us via Discord if this is you!), but mainly we aim to help writers spend more time writing by maximizing the return from each book they sell, which in turn allows them to spend less time focusing on volume and more time making their books as good as they possibly can be.
- NFTBooks feature decentralized storage via IPFS (but possibly also others later!) which renders the content immutable. The idea here isn’t that this thing will last forever, but rather simply as long as the IPFS system stays around — no GeoCities takedown is likely to come along and allow a few executives to shut down the network! Plus it automatically error-corrects content, so even if your files get corrupted at some point in the distant future, they’ll be restored to their full glory without any extra work on your end.
- Customization is the name of the game with the NFTBook — each features a Hub, an NFT, and Content displayed in the Hub or as part of the Text the Hub links the user to.
- Everyone knows the NFT marketplace is famous for bringing digital scarcity and collectibility to the art market. It can do the same thing for books! As NFTBooks become more popular and people learn to navigate the cryptocurrency environment, these useful tokens will become more scarce. As scarcity increases, so do royalties collected by creators.
- NFTBook Genesis tokens are a form of cryptocurrency backed by the value of the creative works they contain. For writers, this may mean that they can be directly traded for other cryptocurrencies as adoption picks up, but for readers it creates an entirely new aspect of acquiring and/or maintaining a library: scarce digital assets will be even easier to resell than today’s print books!
In addition to each of these core characteristics of NFTBooks, the decentralized content-oriented NFTBook platform allows writers to create, monetize, and supplement their works over time. It’s a lot like a webpage, but there’s no centralized server endlessly charging fees only to eventually be taken offline. The NFT serves as the primary reference point that can be shared and circulated to let people know about the book, and the author can update content easily by contacting WIPP staff.
NFTBooks are the culmination of a variety of complex new technologies, finally all rolled into one new innovation that doesn’t even appear all that remarkable. And beware of the early-day bugs: the PDF reader that works so well when accessed via desktop web browser breaks when accessed from a mobile device because of a “data saver” feature that’s baked into all mobile browsers — but make no mistake. This new technology creates more value than other forms of NFTs and has the potential to reshape the way we live and work online.
Customizable as anything on the web today, a standard NFTBook Genesis Hub consists of an iframe which displays the NFTBook’s text file in the desktop browser. A big, beautiful cover art image is next, followed by an important hyperlink intended to allow mobile users the ability to simply pull in the PDF — early testing revealed that the iframe breaks on mobile due to a data-saving feature that clips most of the file off. We are working to find a solution here, but for now it’s just a hyperlink that takes the user to the full PDF of the text.
The tokens also feature copyright notification and any number of additional text boxes: about the author, the making of the book, other books by said author, or even additional content such as an audiobook or a podcast the author appears on to discuss the work.
Picture: ONE book. Printed or read on an electronic device, or perhaps even listened to. All formats available through one universal gateway. And this gateway is money. It is a token which can be traded for other tokens at any time, thanks to liquidity pools and automated market makers. Some of these features will take some time to build, but since NFTBook Genesis tokens are updatable, we’ve already released them and will be working with authors to update them as time goes on.
NFTBook Genesis tokens do not yet feature the encryption which would allow the author to require that anyone who attempted to access the book files own the book’s token. Token ownership is still relevant because it can prevent the token’s being burned or hidden, not to mention that they represent the value of the work they serve.
How To Buy An NFTBook:
The NFTBook Genesis standard is designed to be as simple as possible for one reason: to make them easy to use. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to even navigate the market to get your hands on one! We’ve rolled out to OpenSea.io and Unifty.io at this point, but ETH gas fees are a real killer in the book market because the price is lower than the transaction required to buy!
The new focus is on avoiding these fees by using the MATIC Mainnet, an L2 scaling solution designed to process the transaction off of the Ethereum blockchain to save money on the gas. Matic has recently rebranded as Polygon and is ramping up a variety of L2 scaling solutions to solve precisely the problems we face here at WIPP in attempting to release a large number of comparatively inexpensive assets (each collection is valued at approximately 1ETH, but contains 100 assets priced at .01ETH).
Here are the basic steps you’ll need to take to start using MATIC to buy and sell NFTs:
Step 1: Have Ethereum in your Metamask wallet.
Step 2: Use Plasma Bridge to wrap your ETH.
Step 3: Transact freely on the MATIC Mainnet.
How To Use Your New NFTBook:
Okay, great! You’ve purchased an NFTBook by a WIPP author. Now you want to read it, but all you’re seeing is the OpenSea.io page. What you need to do is go to the top right and click on the box with the arrow in it.
At Unifty.io, this flow is a bit different. Fortunately for all of us, all you actually need to do to make it work is to click the title of the NFTBook as it appears on the site.
There is no WIPP NFTBook reader for now, so please bear with us and use OpenSea or Unifty to render your NFTBook content for a while longer! We’re focused on making the NFTs as packed with value as they can be for now and it’s best if we let the people who have already built amazing NFT Marketplaces continue to do their job.
If you’re on Ethereum, we recommend having a look at Polygon (MATIC) because their stack is the same, even down to using Metamask to make the transactions happen, but MATIC costs far less to transact on. Just one transaction to send your ETH over and wrap it (that’s what the W in WETH stands for), then you’re ready to trade for next to nothing on MATIC!