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 Infinite Design Space
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We’ve written about sub-cultures and how people will literally organize over anything on the Internet. Today we explore how NFTs take that a step further and offer us an Infinite Design Space.
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Since the beginning of time, one remarkable thing about human beings has been our ability to come together over shared values, goals, etc. — a.k.a. our ability to organize.
This ability to organize has enabled us to make strides and advancements no other species has been able to achieve. Among other things, it’s led to the formation of societies, companies and really any (social) circles we belong to.
Web 3 technology and NFTs are enabling us to find new ways to organize around shared goals and interests.
NFTs supercharge our ability to organize in a more grassroots and decentralized manner — especially in an increasingly digital first world.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. 🧊 🧊 🧊
We think NFTs will be a critical primitive to how we organize on the Internet and in the Metaverse.
Let’s unpack. 📦 📦 📦
Organizational lego blocks
Let’s take a look at a traditional system of organization: a business.
As an employee of a company, you can be part of many different groups based on a variety of different variables:
[Employment Status] You are an employee.
[Function] You are an employee who works on the Product Team.
[Location] You are an employee who works on the Product Team in London.
[Level] You are an employee who works on the Product Team in London who is a manager.
Each segmentation variable is used to organize employees into sub-groups. The reason these are important for organization is because you might have a corporation with 10,000 employees, but your work, project, goal and immediate reason to organize and assemble probably needs way less than 10,000 people to come together.
What this looks like in practice is, you might want to assemble a team of product managers, who work in London, who are at the manager level to work on a specific initiative.
All these segmentation variables help us organize — they are organizational lego blocks.
However, in a traditional company the organization structure was decided “top-down.” I.e. the creators / employers (not the employees) created this organization system.
But what if we flipped this on its head? 🙂 🙃
For grassroots (bottom up) efforts, we can use NFTs to organize groups based on programmable preferences.
With NFTs, we have a definitive coordination mechanism that’s interoperable.
Let’s unpack through another example. 📦📦📦
Let’s say in a particular society there are two popular schools of thought: the Green 🟩 School of Thought and the Orange 🟧 School of Thought. Each side is on opposite ends of the spectrum. And in this particular society, there are 5 key issues that individuals care about.
In this society, people are forced into arbitrary choices for the sake of convenience. If you live in this hypothetical society, you only get two choices when you vote and align yourself… you're either on Team Green or Team Orange.
This begs the question, are these two choices effective in capturing people’s views, preferences and values?
In this society, if you were Team Green on the first 3 issues, but Orange on the last 2 issues, there is no way to organize around that with others.
Or you might not care about the last 4 issues and only care about the 1st issue.
Or you might oscillate somewhere in between.
You can imagine there are a variety of combinations here.
But again, the system only allows you to align with either Team Green or Team Orange. You don't get to explore any permutations here because the way this system is structured inherently forces you to choose either / or.
Is real life really this binary?
Of course not.
Yet in many aspects of our lives, we are forced to align ourselves with one variable, even if we feel differently when we look at the different sub-variables. Under this system, in choosing one door, another door closes in a mutually exclusive fashion.
Now in a world with NFTs, you can actually release a collection with the different variables mapped out for individuals to choose.
It might look something like this:
NFT Type 1: I am Green on Issue 1, and Orange on Issue 2,3,4,5
NFT Type 2: I am Green on Issue 1 and 2, Orange on Issue 3,4,5
NFT Type 3: I only care about Issue 1 and am neither Green nor Orange
NFT Type [x]: So on and so forth
We can do this with NFTs because they are programmable. They are an endless blank canvas. 🎨
All the “NFT Type 1” holders may want to collaborate with “NFT Type 2” holders, while the “NFT Type 3” holders may want to keep their community exclusive. This allows for a larger society to drive action with smaller (grassroots) groups, but still have a mechanism to boil things back up (i.e. all the NFT holders still belong to the larger community).
And we can program NFTs to organize around other things too! (Remember it’s an endless canvas).
You design an NFT that represents preferences around any specific set of values, decisions, rights and any other variables. Then you can organize around any of those preferences to form groups, niche communities, sub-groups, etc.
This means you can then have products, experiences, content targeted toward specific groups, niches, communities, etc.
The potential for customization around preferences is infinite.
Humans have already proven preferences are important. Preferences are about expression — if there is an opportunity for humans to express themselves, they will.
Look at all the customization and different products out there. They are all beyond utility.
If we just lived in a world of utility, then we’d have just one form of a bag to hold things.
But how many different designs / types of bags are out there?
Finding your niche
Okay… but do people actually want to organize and come together in this way?
Of course they do… the internet has led to the proliferation of sub-cultures and niches. It broke down the barriers for people with commonalities, no matter how specific, to come together and organize. This happens in chat rooms, on forums, etc. (See our article on Subcultures.)
NFTs just takes this further, by allowing us to organize and coordinate around programmable preferences, whereby we can design experiences and utility on top of asset ownership, identity, reputation, value capture and much more — all in a trustless and decentralized manner.
In short, NFTs formalize the behavior we already exhibit on the Internet.
By providing us with endless options to design, NFTs enable us to carve out our own corner of the internet for our unique and specific communities.
The optimist in us believes that this allows anyone and everyone to find their sense of belonging without making massive tradeoffs to their preferences / personalities.
The design space to create and curate is infinite.
And with an infinite design space and endless combinations, people will naturally seek out and self-select into their niches.
If you don’t like a community because of some nuanced issue, then fork that community and change that nuanced issue to create a new one.
Those who want to be part of the original community can stay.
Those who want to be part of the new community can join it.
Those who want to be part of both communities can do so, too.
NFTs are a critical primitive for how we will organize and come together in the Metaverse. NFTs are the organizational lego blocks of the Metaverse.
The Endless Metaverse
In the Metaverse, it's only natural that we form communities — single player mode is not nearly as fun as multiplayer mode. 🤝
If the internet has taught us anything, it's that people will organize over literally anything.
The Infinite Design Space within NFTs enables endless subcultures to exist.
Infinite Design Space = everyone can find their own corner of the Metaverse. And since the Metaverse (of the future) can support an endless amount of communities and experiences, there is no need for zero sum games.
Here is the formula:
🧵🪡 [Programmable Building Blocks] means the number of ways you create communities are endless. You can serve any number of preferences.
🧵🪡 [Coordination Mechanisms] allow people to participate and find others who are similar to them across a bunch of variables and then organize. NFT primitives like identity, reputation, value capture supercharge how we work together digitally.
🧵🪡 [Differences in Preference] creates a natural tiering system where each person chooses how they value one thing over another and how strongly. (Maybe you join 5 communities, but really only contribute to 1, whereas someone else may join 5 communities and contribute at a high level to 3 of them.)
= Infinite Design Space
♾ 🎨 🪐
Builders, creators, coordinators, organizers will create products, services and experiences for an endless number of communities.
In this magical digital world that is the Metaverse, having an infinite design space is the key feature.
And we like to think this is a good thing!
In the Metaverse:
We can be whoever we want
Associate with whoever we want
Create communities however we want
Design whatever experience we want
NFTs help make the Metaverse an open and endless canvas.
Why is this important?
An Infinite Design Space powers our ultimate need for expression.
After all, expression is what makes us human.