The Good, the Bad, and the Fungible
Early this year, it seemed like everywhere you turned people were hyping NFTs. I knew NFTs were having a moment when not only did the San Francisco 49ers release an NFT, but my mom started asking me what those ‘internet pictures’ were that everyone was so worked up about.
While we were generally pretty skeptical of NFTs at Steamclock, it seemed like everyone and their dog was releasing one. We’ve had clients inquire about blockchain projects in the past, and while we had a high-level understanding of how they worked, we hadn’t had a chance to dig into them ourselves yet.
Planting the Seed
While discussing the newest ridiculous NFT offering one day, this little back-and-forth struck a chord.
Is it too on the nose to make SteamNFT for April Fools?Brendan
I feel like the right April Fools gag here would be fungible non-fungible token, where you mint and sell a bunch of NFTs, but all the NFTs are for the same thing, so are, in fact, fungible.Nigel
This seemed like a good opportunity to explore NFTs without taking anything too seriously, poke fun at the over-hype, and maybe even change our minds on the whole thing. Or (spoilers) confirm our suspicions.
It Started as a Fun(ge) Idea
We started with a modest proposal: a quick two-week project to dip our toes into the crypto-verse. We could learn some new skills and maybe even make someone laugh along the way.
The plan was to mint and sell a fungible non-fungible token. We weren’t exactly sure what the token would be yet, but we decided it should be mushroom themed – you know, fungible fungus? However, our fixation on only releasing work we’re proud of, mixed with our tendency to sometimes get too caught up in the fun of a side project, caused us to go a little overboard.
We spent some time kicking the tires on a handful of different blockchains, settled on one that seemed reasonable, and began to dig in. This was the fun part. We had brainstorming sessions to name and market our fungible non-fungible tokens, came up with a really sweet design for a website, and generally had a lot of laughs.
Blocked on the Blockchain
Of course, these things took time. What started out as a short two-week project was starting to balloon, and we still had so many great ideas we wanted to try out. Meanwhile, the only thing out-pacing the ridiculousness of NFTs was the ridiculousness of NFT scams. While we were mid-project, the general consensus on NFTs shifted from “Huh, this is kind of a neat thing, but not for me” to “yikes”.
So, we decided to step back and take stock of what we had, what we’d learned, and decided to end the project and just share the fun here. Working with cryptocurrencies and blockchains presented all sorts of interesting difficulties we hadn’t anticipated – like exorbitant transaction fees, trouble buying currencies, and how hard it was to find a payment processor that would allow us to sell NFTs for real dollars. Those challenges combined with how quickly the general outlook for NFTs took a nosedive made this side project a real whirlwind.
But as with any side project, the most bankable returns were the lessons we learned along the way.
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