It’s 2016, I was working on my first startup and traveling around Oregon taking drone photos. I started to see many of my photos pop up across the web without mentioning me. The excitement eroded and in its place came frustration looking for credit, attribution, or pay. Shortly after, I started to learn about a network of media startups like Mediachain, Po.et, and Ujo leveraging Ethereum to build a more equitable media ecosystem. Little did we know that the core of these projects was a simple data structure that would become popularized as "NFTs".
Today, there are over 70 million Ethereum addresses with over 2 million of them holding an NFT. Projects like Bored Apes have taken over Twitter timelines, created debate across dinner tables, and become a new kind of container for the disbursement of culture. Money talks and is reflected with projects exceeding market caps of 2 billion and trading volume totaling more than 23 billion last year alone.
These numbers have catalyzed creators across all mediums to contribute their work as NFTs. Ethereum has emerged not only as a financial protocol, but as a universal media database where creators can share their works with the world while retaining ownership. Meanwhile, social platforms have brought on a world of commentary where any and all IP becomes the subject of memeification and remixing at a global scale. We’re seeing a unique collision of creator empowerment through crypto infrastructure and loss of control of IP through social interfaces.
The next generation of great products will position themselves within this collision. They’ll understand NFTs enable our media to move freely between interfaces just like our crypto ownership moves across financial products. They’ll take advantage of how media portability unlocks new ways to create, compose, and express ourselves online. They’ll build for how digital media are now digital assets and with that come better ways to reward creators for their work. Lastly, they’ll consider how assets imply value and with that comes a new consideration in what makes our heads turn in the attention economy.
Titles believes that NFTs are the modern conduits for storytelling. Just like artists use space and materials as physical containers for extending ideas, NFTs are containers for extending digital goods as storytelling material. However, the interfaces we have to express ourselves with NFTs don't exist yet. Most interfaces today take a market-first approach meaning they're designed around prices and transactions. The medium is the message and the interfaces we create for cryptomedia should understand this.
Our ambition with Titles is to connect the stories, community, and creators behind web3. As media breaks down to its smallest parts, we're building for expression through intertextuality and bonding between mediums. As culture becomes legible, we're creating an ecosystem for compounding reference and conceptual provenance. As the space asks for accessibility, we're building a simple experience for participation without thresholds.
If what we've outlined here excites you, sign up for early access and reserve your username, here.
In the coming weeks we’ll be dropping some fun experiments, opportunities to participate, and sneak previews. If you have things you’d like to discuss, we’re on Twitter @titlesxyz. Lastly, if our mission and ambitions resonate, we're always hiring and would love to hear from you.