Building web3 experiences that matter.

Published by Straith Schreder
February 03, 2023
Building web3 experiences that matter.
Building web3 experiences that matter.

In web2, brands create content. In web3, brands create context. 

The internet we build next is about more than posting. It’s a shared virtual space that’s interactive, immersive, and real. NFTs are key to understanding the on-chain evolution of the web. They’re the emerging technology standard for community engagement. 

Every successful NFT project is driven by user-centered design. By a cute jpg. ʚ₍ᐢ. .ᐢ₎ɞ Also, by features that add meaning and context to individual experience. These projects build community by creating space. 

NFT features provide value and virality for fan communities. 

NFT features refer to the types of values, benefits, and rewards that are provided to collectors. The simplest example of an NFT feature is ownership. But many projects leverage expansive feature sets to cultivate fandom. These can include holder benefits like event access, physical merch, commercial licensing, and much more. 

Before you launch a project, consider: 

  • What are fans getting when they mint your NFT?

  • What context can you create with fans? 

  • What experiences can you uniquely provide?

  • How can you empower agency? 

A drop is not an endpoint. (It’s only Act I, actually.) It’s the beginning of a dialogue; a deepening relationship within the community that matters to you. 

A guide to NFT features.

NFTs are more than assets. They’re a technology that can be applied to many use cases for creators. And what they can provide through features; as connective experiences, is nearly limitless. Over the past year, we’ve seen NFT features further expand to include physical-digital products, ticketing, music royalties, in-game rewards, digital fan clubs, and more. As major brands continue to grow their web3 footprint in 2023, we can expect to see feature innovation increase, too. 

Today, there are four basic categories for thinking about NFT features. Access features grant owners entry into communities, events, and experiences.  Engagement features reward and incentivize project participation. They transform fans into protagonists. Ownership-based features allow people to share, commercialize, and connect their digital and physical goods. Identity-driven features  allow users to see themselves in a project, with the tools to broadcast it wide.

Access Features:

NFTs that become portals: keys that unlock the world of your brand. 

Channels: Channel access features provide holder entry into member-only channels like private Discord channels or servers, blogs, sites, archives, or metaverse meetups. 

Events: Event access features provide holders with digital tickets or token-gated access to online or IRL events. These can include shows, panels, parties, premieres, workshops, live streams, and more. 

Membership: Membership access features give collectors perks for holding. These can include free and discounted merch or tickets, early access to product drops, and more. Some projects will grant members voting or curatorial permissions, allowing them to shape the experience.  

Content: Content access features give owners the ability to unlock exclusive content: BTS videos, comic books,  games, and more. 

Engagement Features:

NFT experiences that transform collectors into main characters. 

POAPS & Digital Certificates: POAP (Proof-of-Attendance Protocol) refers to NFTs earned for attending an event.  Projects can use POAPs or digital certificates to incentivize event participation, interaction, or course completion.

Play-to-Earn: These NFT features provide users with the ability to purchase and earn skills, loot, and in-world items that can used or traded 

Badge & Ranking: These NFT features allow users to signify their status within the community via tokens distributed for their achievements, dynamic updates to the NFTs they hold, or ranking on a project leaderboard. 

Dynamic: Dynamic NFTs function more like software than a static object, responding to various data inputs and rules to create a continually evolving experience that incentivizes engagement. 

Storytelling: Storytelling features  give fans a role in shaping IP, and broader project lore. These can include narrative voting, fan fiction submissions, and transformative works. 

Crafting: These features allow fans to combine NFTs to create new assets, and drive a story forward. These mechanics can include simple merge-and-burn recipes or complex genetic formulas. 

Ownership Features:

NFTs that give fans a meaningful stake in the world of your brand. 

Fractionalization: This feature provides the  ability to divide NFT ownership into smaller shares. Owners have the ability to fragment their NFT, and sell portions. 

Physical-Digital: Physical-digital NFTs grant holders access to the physical counterpart of their virtual good, with off-chain items that the owner can redeem, in addition to, or in exchange for, their NFT.  

Licensing: NFT licenses can empower fans with a stake in the brand and IP they love, allowing them to use and even commercialize their NFT, depending  on the license associated with the work. 

Identity Features:

NFTs that distill the power of recognition, creating a world we can see ourselves in.

PFPs & Avatars: These types of NFTs are designed to be used as social media profile images. PFP projects use a series of base skins with traits that can reflect a rich storyworld and audience diversity, creating an iconic image that fans can share as their profile picture. 

Lens & Wearables: These NFTs include access to digital fashion or filters as a benefit to collectors, allowing users to wear and share their unique NFT on social channels. 

Conceptual: For conceptual NFTs, the idea is the object, the feature, benefit, and point of recognition. These NFTs tap into the power of provocation: the purpose is asking “what if”. 

Generative: Generative NFTs use algorithms to create content, yielding collections wherein every edition is 1:1. These NFTs provide the benefit of hyper-personalization to the collector; each piece is unique to them and can encompass a range of permutations from source material/IP.

The evolution of NFT feature design. 

For as much innovation as we’ve seen in this space, for as fast as we’ve seen it all unfold: we’re still at the beginning of the beginning. NFT feature design feels expansive now, because it is. Everything is possible. As more brands continue to enter the space, we’ll see NFT features be applied to an increasing number of use cases. For fans, buying and participating in web3 will become easier. And platform proliferation will mean that NFT experiences will become richer and more vibrant. 

For a project to thrive in this emerging landscape, it’s not enough to ask fans to buy a low poly character or click on the in-wallet version of direct marketing. The worlds we build have to be useful. They have to center a story. They have to provide orientation: the context that connects us to the experiences that matter, whether that’s loyalty, or lore. Successful NFT projects recognize digital experiences as inherently spatial. In turn, they create space for us.