This post originally appeared on Twitter.
In 2017, @dfinzer and I set out in search of the “killer app” for crypto. In an industry ripe with noise at the time, we began to wonder if the next paradigm shift - after the Internet and mobile - was indeed here, after all. But NFTs presented a new hope, for several reasons:
1) An economic dream for the internet
An NFT is the ideal good: provable ownership, easy to transfer, and radically transparent. NFTs de-risk digital ownership for end-users, and they de-risk community ownership for creators.
A few extremely unique applications in different verticals almost immediately emerged:
- 🎨 one in digital art (@larvalabs' CryptoPunks)
- 🏔 one in virtual land (@Decentraland)
- 🙀 and one in gaming (@dapperlabs' @CryptoKitties)
Many people dismissed these projects as mere toys. But new industries are often disguised as toys in the beginning. Apple started as just a hobbyist computer kit.
These projects were also modest: they acquired users by word of mouth & without the customary ICO marketing fluff. This helped us see the other possibilities ahead: domain names, licenses, tickets, memberships, & new ways of engaging fans.
2) Radical transparency
The early NFT projects were all radically transparent. You didn’t have to be in the community to participate. You just had to be watching the blockchain. Radical transparency on an information superhighway like the Internet leads to dramatic economies of scale.
In the early days, NFTs were limited by their purely digital nature, which was another reason that much of the world overlooked them. But that helped keep the early OpenSea marketplace simple and nimble as we explored what NFTs really meant to the community.
3) Extensibility and composability
Finally, as engineers ourselves, we simply enjoyed building with NFTs.
EDIT: It’s hard to pin the exact reasons for this, but in retrospect, I think it mostly comes down to composability and durability.
- Composability: You can use them as building blocks for new applications that couldn’t exist before, and “compose” new products (including OpenSea) that just rely on shared standards.
- Durability: There’s no need to rely on a single company’s API keys or developer interfaces — Ethereum is one big playground that (in theory at least) will last for decades.
Without enjoying this process, we would not have lasted as long as we did, waiting for the world to discover them this year.
We think the internet is about to undergo a fundamental shift: from merely transferring information to also transferring value.
NFTs will be the protocol for that new internet. And @opensea's job is help users discover it.
So how can you be a part of it? Many of you already are. NFTs are a community effort. A huge thank you to all our users, creators, and partners - you are early adopters of a historical shift in technology, and you should be proud.
If you want to go deeper, you can join our team: https://opensea.io/careers ❤️