Be the punk you want to see in the world – Building an inclusive NFT ecosystem

Patti Smith is a hero of mine and often described as the Godmother of Punk. Yes, punk is a style; a freedom-loving, anti-authoritarian, non-conformist style but it’s also a representation of determinism to explore another way of living and to showcase the multitude of vibrant aesthetics that make up punk culture. 

To be a punk is to have an attitude. To adopt a punk attitude one reaches into their imagination often and be fearless when approaching new ideas. Smith believes in the power of the people to “turn the world around”. Are Web3 projects looking at the world from a punk’s viewpoint? 

As more and more people are witnessing the negative effects of increased inflation, how are institutions leading the way to a fairer future? Is it acceptable that our grandchildren will be paying for all of the mistakes made by what Satoshi termed ‘trust-based systems of the past? 

One project is sticking by the values of decentralization and showcasing the potential of NFT technology. Unique Network is democratizing access to premium digital assets by tearing a punk into pieces. Why you might say? To demonstrate how NFTs will be fractionalized in the future. But also to remain true to the values of fairness, equality and freedom that were originally associated with peer-to-peer advocacy, and importantly, the punk itself. 

Punks for the people

In June, the team at Unique Network announced that it had bought Cryptopunk #3042 and will use it to demonstrate the value of blockchain interoperability. With over 57,000 registrations and counting, this project is certainly garnering attention in the Web3 community. To date, the punks, apes, and other exclusive NFT collections have been bought and shared by a tight-knit community. Often, collectors will have several punks stored away in wallets for rainy days. Is this the longer-term vision for what Yugalabs hopes for the punks? If so, then we may see the punks in the Antique Roadshow alongside some other forgotten prized possessions. 

However, fractionalized sharing of NFTs in the future could potentially lead to more innovation than originally planned. The campaign titled ‘Punks for the People’ matters because it opens up access to this gated community. Now that there is a punk to pave the way, It may be the ideal time to lower the barriers to entry. Let’s bring blockchain communities together and give everyone a taste of true ownership of digital assets.  It will be fascinating to see how putting one torn-up punk in the hands of the Polkadot community does.

Demonstrating the power of interoperability

Blockchain interoperability isn’t just a buzz term that keeps popping up. It is a way for blockchains to work together. The transfer of digital assets from blockchain to blockchain is exactly what is required for the scalable future of NFTs.

Rebelling against exclusivity by ripping up a Cryptopunk and distributing it amongst the community. Unique Network is outlining the potential of transferring assets between blockchains and building inclusive NFT ecosystems that avoid restrictive behavior. 

Interoperability done right will hold out a hand to the waiting public and guide them into the world of blockchain. It shows off all of the technological attributes they can use in the future.

Overruling the scarcity effect

This is the opposite of what is termed the scarcity effect often used in the marketing of traditional art collections. Making something scarce isn’t necessarily encouraging mass appeal. Scarcity may arouse interest in those who value luxury first. However, by distributing the punk to the wider community you have the chance to reach the masses. 

In such a new industry with new technology, new languages and new entrants, scarcity may be the wrong approach altogether. It is more appealing if the technology can help us to escape from our traditional notions of exclusive, luxury, unaffordable brands to a more equal access society where values of fairness, accessibility, and attainability make it open for all.

Developing a fully interoperable future with all of the speed, security, and user-friendliness needed will be difficult to implement as each blockchain is unique. However, the more blockchain projects, like Unique Network, work to demonstrate the value of transferring data between networks, the more cross-industry collaboration in the creation of valuable new products in the future.

Moral rebellion with an inclusive Cryptopunk NFT

Jumping into the world of NFTs for the first time is both daunting and overwhelming. Firstly, there are thousands of NFT projects vying for your attention.

Each project has unique attributes, each project wants you to become an active community member and each project is dismissive of the others. Secondly, there are certain NFT collections that have become emblematic, status icons. Celebrities have begun using their NFTs to demonstrate allegiance to communities. 

However, isn’t decentralized finance supposed to be about moving away from this centralized idea of power? Decision-making and ownership are more broadly defined by all community members, rather than a handful of players.

Using a torn-up Cryptopunk to highlight this distribution of innovation is one way to get the crowd to think differently. As the use cases of NFTs expand, the technology will need more users and increased access. All doors should remain firmly open to participation as projects, like Unique Network and others, push the limits of this new technology.

In order for the future of NFTs to flourish, a concerted effort to work together, bridge communities and alleviate any accessibility pains is required. At NFT.NYC, there were many ticketed events and NFT holder-only sideshows.

In addition to education, product design, and security, there is a need for openness and sharing if Web3 is going to succeed in its ambitions. Only together can the future of NFT technology flourish. To quote one of the greatest punk icons once again – 

“I imagined myself as Frida to Diego, both muse and maker. I dreamed of meeting an artist to love and support and work with side by side.” Patti smith, Just Kids

Lisa Gibbons is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily.