Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & collectibles
Dear Bankless Nation,
There are a variety of NFT drop styles.
Of those styles, open edition (OE) releases have been surging in popularity lately.
OE drops involve a creator or project releasing an NFT with no hard supply cap, and they can come in different styles.
For example, “timed” OEs are only open during customizable periods of time, while “infinite” OEs never close.
For today’s post, let’s get you up to speed on the basics of the ongoing open edition boom!
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From rarity to abundance: the shift in the NFT market toward OE drops
What’s up ❓
OE drop stats are up and to the right recently as more creators are turning to “do it yourself” NFT minting systems like Manifold and Zora, both of which activated their latest editioned NFT drop infra in Fall 2022.
The context 💯
DIY OE services like Manifold Claim Pages or Zora Editions democratize access to flexible NFT minting to all web3 creators; in contrast, it wasn’t that long ago that all the prominent NFT art platforms with the best NFT minting features were invite-only.
It also wasn’t long ago that the OpenSea Shared Storefront, which has key disadvantages like NFT quality because of the shared smart contract, was really the only venue to do simple DIY NFT minting, and even then only 1/1s or capped collections were possible.
Accordingly, the democratization + quality + more advanced mint possibilities afforded by Manifold and Zora have been propelling these projects to new heights and increasingly popularizing OEs, which are now among these projects’ most in-demand use cases.
Lastly, the 2022 crypto bear market drama renewed an emphasis on the values of decentralization and self-sovereignty in the NFT ecosystem, and as such a growing number of creators are turning to Manifold and Zora as infra that embodies and actualizes these ideals in superior fashion!
By the numbers 📊
Manifold Claim Pages, which is the system within Manifold that lets creators easily create limited edition or OE NFT drops, has seen some impressive growth since publicly launching last October.
According to the Manifold Claims Dune dashboard, there have been nearly 12,000 distinct Claim Pages drops that have accounted for over 40 million NFT mints and nearly 9,000Ξ (or +$11M USD worth) of total volume to date.
Not too shabby right! As this same Dune dashboard shows us, the number of volume, Claim drops, and Claim mints over time have also been uptrending considerably over the past couple of months:
Some of these stats are from “limited edition” drops and not OE releases, of course, but there’s no question that OEs have been a massive driver of this recent growth.
As for Zora, the NFT protocol now has among the best daily active user (DAU) numbers in all of crypto, and the growing popularity of Zora’s Editions and Drops services are big contributing factors here.
Recent OE examples 🆕
To give you a better idea for how many OE drops are launched, here are a few examples I’ve recently seen announced on Twitter:
Finding OEs 🔍
Following the social media accounts of creators you’re fans of is probably the best way to find OE mints that will be tailored to your tastes. However, if you’re not one to be glued to social media, there are discovery services you can check from time to time to try finding ongoing OEs.
One of these services? The NFT marketplace aggregator Gem.
If you go to the “Discover” tab on Gem and surf through the real-time mints, you can periodically come across OE drops right as they’re happening. This route obviously takes some digging, and many of the mints that appear won’t be OEs, but this dashboard is still really useful UX-wise.
Another similar service is mint.fun, where you can use the “Minting Now” dashboard to also periodically discover OE drops.
The bottom line 🧠
OEs are an interesting avenue creators can explore for expanding their audience and collector bases. For example, if you’re an artist who’s only done 1/1 or small editioned series before, an OE drop is one way to let more fans directly into your community.
Additionally, OEs can pave the way to new sorts of collaborative experiments, from “burn to redeem” mechanisms to crypto-native production houses and beyond:
Collector vs. investor tensions 💢
Nouns DAO recently conducted its first OE drop for “This Is Nouns,” an incredible ad created for the Nouns ecosystem. The mint was purely commemorative and no additional promises were made around it, but that didn’t stop some investors from complaining afterwards once they realized no roadmap or direct utility was in store.
Notice there that I said “investors” and not “collectors,” and that distinction is important when it comes to expectations. Betting on OEs financially isn’t wise. Collecting OEs as digital memorabilia and to provide patronage to creators you like is the ticket, though, and anything that comes beyond that is just icing on cake.
Who knows? Maybe in 50 years or less the near-free OE you grabbed in 2023 will be extremely valuable. In many cases that likely won’t be true, though, so if you treat OE mints as interesting souvenirs rather than financial instruments, you’ll spare yourself some frustrations.
Similarly, some investor types don’t like OEs because they argue the larger supply influxes can dilute the value of a creator’s existing 1/1s and small series. This is a short-sighted take, and in my opinion the opposite is more often to be true. When done shrewdly, creating and publishing NFTs via OEs is a viable way for creators to strategically grow their communities and potentially achieve that much more success.
Look out for OE drops — Use Gem and mint.fun to to watch for ongoing OE mints
Check out my previous write-up if you missed it: New Year, New NFT 🎉
William M. Peaster is a professional writer and creator of Metaversal—a Bankless newsletter focused on the emergence of NFTs in the cryptoeconomy. He’s also recently been contributing content to Bankless, JPG, and beyond!
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Pretty cool stuff. Had no idea about mint.fun and OE mints.