Interview with Alex Salnikov, Rarible, on how to improve holiday traditions through NFTs.
If you have any last-minute gifts to buy for any of the big seasonal holidays, a popular trend within and outside of blockchain circles is NFTs — the breakout hit of the cryptocurrency world with a market that generated over $23 billion in trading volume in 2021.
Hypothetically, an NFT is nearly the perfect holiday gift — you can do all your shopping from home, there are endless varieties and derivations to meet your recipients’ tastes, and you can effectively start your shopping now and have it done in an hour if you know what you are looking for.
A Very Rarible Christmas…
Rarible, one of the leading NFT marketplaces, wants to make the process easier by adding a “send a gift” feature to its platform, allowing users to give and receive Ethereum ETH/USD NFTs, without having to know the wallet address of the recipient. Instead, the feature generates a link for the recipient with instructions on claiming their NFT.
In an exclusive interview, Alex Salnikov, Head of Product & Co-Founder of Rarible, said of the new gift feature:
So obviously, if you want to give somebody an NFT, you have to ask for the person's address. Now, the problem with that is, (if I ask for the address) I spoiled the moment a little, you already know that I'm going to send you something. And also, the recipient might not have the blockchain address altogether – a lot of my friends don't.
And we were thinking, how can we solve that? So we partnered with Link drop and created a special flow with which you can create a link for the NFT, then you can send that link to the person who would be able to either claim that NFT to their new address or their existing address on the blockchain. And they don't need to pay gas for that. They don't need to have crypto, they don't need to have wallets. So, it's either onboarding or receiving your gift without paying gas prices on the receiver side. The sender is paying gas prices for that.
The gas fees for people gifting NFTs on Rarible are 0.02 ETH, or about $100. The feature is a permanent addition to the Rarible platform and Salnikov anticipates that it will be used for onboarding outside of the holiday season.
We like the gifting feature, and it seems like a step in the right direction toward making NFTs more giftable, which is going to go over well with users of all levels of experience. And how appropriate for Christmas — if you’ve spent the rest of the year on Discord talking about NFTs and you still have to do shopping, check out the Rarible gifting feature.
But we had a goal in this interview with Alex as one of the most insightful people I’ve spoken to this year in the NFT space; someone who truly lives the idea of digital ownership.
We wanted to get Alex’s take on whether you can make an NFT Christmas and if you do, can you make it in some ways superior to the existing RL model of the holiday.
Can people convey Christmas cheer, warmth, affection, generosity, and fellowship through NFTs? Is a new, better modality possible through blockchain?
Alex Salnikov, an NFT Christmas
Is it possible to express Christmas in NFTs? Can we approximate the experience of a holiday?
“That's obviously a difficult puzzle. But I have a couple of thoughts.
Christmas is a very family-oriented thing, right? You have a special dinner with your friends, with your parents, and with family. So it's a lot about people and touching things, which is usually very hard to do digitally.
But imagine you happen to be in the quarantine or everyone is in different countries, and you can't really meet with your family. How can that look like, right? So you have a zoom priority with your loved ones and that way you can exchange digital presence.
So, you can have a token-gated zoom call…
Or if you can meet physically, using Bored Ape Yacht Club as inspiration, you can have a token-gated event for the holiday dinner and issue tokens to all of your friends and family. So those NFTs are tickets to the event and you can use digital displays for decorations,” Salnikov said.
Can you reach the same level of variety and personalization as RL objects when you are buying gifts?
“I think the variety and the level of personalization are actually quite easy. This year, I was literally looking through my collection of NFTs. And when I saw a match, I was like, oh, yeah, that matches with the personality.
Recently I gifted my girlfriend an NFT rose. That was very personal.
Or, for example, I had amTwerky NFT in my collection that I gave to a friend who is just really light-hearted and fun. Or there was the cute, there was a very cute digital toy that I bought on Nifty Gateway that I gave to one of my female friends, just because well it was really cute.
Lirona has a collection of NFTs called Boiz. And one of them is called a Romantic#Boi and another is called Romantic#Gurl. These are pair-bonded NFT's. I gifted one of them to my girlfriend. And one of them I kept to myself. They make a great pair,” Salnikov said.
How can we leverage the holiday NFTs to enhance future holiday participation?
“Well, it's a programmable asset. So, this is usually more for a corporate setting but you can issue POAP attendance protocol.
Conferences are adopting and issuing POAP guest badges to people. Then when you look at somebody's profile and say oh, that person was at 10 conferences. And then you can make an airdrop only to people who were at the blockchain conferences because it is a great way to distill high-quality communities that you want to work with. You can do the same for Christmas,” Salnikov said.
What about using NFTs to make memories in immutable blockchain?
“Imagine we all came to the party, and there were 20 people of ours. And we made a common photograph of all the 20 people, right? It's a family unit, it has you take a picture of 20 people, you can go and mint 20 NFTs 20 editions of this common photograph that they all took together. And there were only 20 owners of that NFT.
I think I also have a view set up on my phone that shows me random NFTs from my collection every time I open up my screen. And from time to time you will see your family Christmas NFT,” Salnikov said.
A Blockchain Leader Chorus
Alex Salnikov provided a pretty good structure for a holiday, themed entirely around digital ownership — at least a starting point based on the latest developments in NFTs and some imagination. Imagination and innovation are things the NFT space has in abundance, and — to some leaders in the space — a starting point for crypto is one of the main points of an NFT Christmas.
“Gifting an NFT is a great way to introduce friends and loved ones to the digital asset space. Most NFTs have a creative and playful element that can be more relatable than other types of digital assets. And NFTs truly are the gifts that keep on giving. The space is still extremely new, and there’s still very high growth potential -- many assets have the potential to grow their value many times over,” Francesco Sullo, Blockchain Lead at Syn City and EverDragons2 said.
Of course, the benefits of convenience and efficiency that accompany digital ownership are more than just a matter of no-shipping.
“If you gifted NFTs that represent the ownership of physical goods, you can skip the stressful shipping, and items that end up getting returned could just be resold to the seller (or anyone else). If the receiver likes the gift, they can "redeem" the physical item at a later date… What follows from this example is that digital ownership will actually represent physical ownership as opposed to competing with it,” Nico Ramirez, co-founder and CEO of Verilink said.
To some blockchain leaders, like Nadja Bester, co-founder of AdLunam, NFTs are far from impersonal.
“Our household actively steers away from buying labels, yet we'll be gifting one other NFTs… As a family, we have a ritual of personalizing X-Mas, from the quirky trees we put up that prizes creativity above tradition, to hand-made gifts that have no "value" other than expressing the identities of both maker and receiver and marking the special relationship between them. This year, we'll be doing it NFT-style by creating our own custom NFTs. Will this become a thing? Who knows? But the early tech is here now, and we're making it our own…,” Bester said.
To David Waslen, co-founder of Wilder World, 2021 is a perfect time — and reason — to have an NFT Christmas.
“If ever there was a way to personally try this it would be Christmas 2021. Everyone is worn down from COVID and all the accompanying challenges. An NFT Christmas could mean no shopping malls, no wrapping gifts, and no packages delivered. It would give everyone a break when they need it most and instead delight them with something shiny and new, and digital.
If you don’t have time to send physical Holiday cards and you find Christmas cards boring and mundane, you could try an NFT Christmas card. It also is great for conversation and opening people’s minds,” Waslen said.
This year, NFTs have all the buzz of a hot new gift with the immutable value of blockchain, so we expect many people – whether they are crypto fans or not – will be receiving their first NFTs as gifts this year.
Of course, a holiday loses a certain something without actual human contact, but with some more thought and innovation, in our increasingly global world, it’s possible that many human celebrations may be expressed as digital exchanges. As digital transactions, perhaps the traditional formula for Christmas — which is largely the product of Charles Dickens as described in his legendary novella A Christmas Carol (1843) — can be improved with a keen understanding of this new world of digital ownership.
Rarible spokespeople would like to add that it’s easy to make custom NFTs on their platform and with its recent Tezos integration, the platform is working toward becoming an increasingly multichain marketplace. It’s never too early to start preparing for the next holiday season, I suppose.
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