With a bunch of ads in the Super Bowl last night, twitter was lit with people discussing how crypto's gone mainstream culture.
It does seem so, and like with many other things, I'm afraid we often are blind to the complexity. We get excited, then let down when the real-world hits.
I saw this tweet:
Polygon is known as a Layer 2 chain. Simply, it's designed for situations that can't easily be provided on Layer 1 chains – like Ethereum. It's not important to get into the details for the sake of this short post, but if Ethereum does something – say, provide a very high level of security – and as a result, performance is sacrificed... you can imagine a situation, a use case, where that level of security isn't needed but better performance is. In this second case, a different set of trade-offs would be made. Neither is right or wrong in abstract. They just solve different problems.
One of the advantages of Layer 2's is that they have dramatically lower fees and that makes them compelling for NFTs. NFTs minted directly on Ethereum could have fees in the hundreds-of-dollars range, where fees for NFTs minted on a Layer 2 like Polygon could be a few cents.
Each chain often has a big community behind it. Sometimes the community is technically segemented (speed vs security vs privacy), other times it's values-segmented (athletes vs artists vs musicians).
The challenge though becomes one of customer experience.
For the NFL to deliver NFTs of Super Bowl tickets to fans, they could have had two choices, they chose the first:
- Mint the NFTs on a specific chain and then tell all their fans to download a supported wallet. They require that their fans use Polygon, regardless of the "usual" chain/wallet they use. A fan that's in the Flow community (another Layer 2; focused on Athletes and so one might expect sports and sports memorabilia fans would be adopting Flow) now has to learn/adopt and store their NFTs on a chain that's not familiar. They could have chosen any chain, it didn't have to be Polygon, but the point remains. Their choice impacts customer options, creating friction for some segment of potential buyers.
- Create a solution that's chain agnostic. The NFL could mint the NFT using whatever tools they choose. Fans could use the crypto and wallet of their choice. The NFL gains because there's much less customer friction. Fans win because they get to choose what works for them.
I'd add, because crypto really is new in the case where customers are new to crypto (as could be reasonably expected), the NFL could also offer a much better onboarding experience with much less developer effort when they abstract away all the chain-specific dependencies. Again, they can make technical choices around minting that meet their sophisticated needs, without customers having to also become sophisticated. (Forgive the over-simplification.)
Some of the smartest people I ever had the pleasure to work with at TIBCO have been hard at work for a few years solving this problem (among others).
Have a look at this blockchain agnostic NFT solution they're about to launch.
- Enables Makers to choose the NFT minting solution that meets their needs.
- Enables customers to use fiat, or any cryptocurrency they're familiar with to purchase the NFT (independent of any decision made by the Maker).
- Enables a simpler buyer onboarding experience, even for people who've never used cryptocurrency before ensuring that Makers can reach the widest community possible.
There's more so stay tuned. In the next few weeks, I'll share even more as they launch an app that uses their platform to create a very specific solution.
And of course, if you're a Maker yourself, get in touch so they can help you launch your own NFT offerings and learn more about the emerging crypto-culture we got to see a little more of in last night's Super Bowl ads.