On the 21st March 2021, WIP PUBLISHING launched its first market offering: the NFTBook Genesis Tokens. The aim? To bring NFTs and publishing together.
I admit my frequent encounters with general members of the public outside of this world to be consistently dumbstruck. NFTs? Gas fees? Cryptocurrency? The amalgamation of the worries of these new frontiers can be summated to one thing — fear of change. And yet many of us both in and out of the blockchain world might certainly be privy to the news article announcing that yet another non-fungible token has been sold off to the highest bidder — perhaps a million dollars, perhaps two million. One cannot deny it has already amassed a large amount of attention in the comparatively tiny scale of time the technology has been established.
And yet, while prolific social media personalities such as GaryVee have claimed that the NFT portfolio will come to replace the portfolio of one’s own art one might display on Instagram, a notion I find to be an immensely large possibility, I find that even then, books as NFTs make even more intuitive sense to the general member of the public because we already largely trade books digitally. The only difference is the technology instilled in Web 2.0 hasn’t improved much at all, and more — writers have no justified reward or earnings for their works.
The NFT Craze: Why It’s Not Crazy At All
My first quarter working with the people behind this project has taught me one thing if anything: these people aren’t superfluous miners and programmers that try anything at hand to get rich quick through volatile markets, volatile the crypto market certainly is — these people are driven by people’s stories, creative expressions, and philanthropy with a proud dose of fun. And of course, www.wippublishing.com has all the official information you need, but I have personally conjured up a few personal reasons why this is not only a successful business venture, but also the potential start of the most important opening up of opportunity to the general writer we’ve seen in a very, very long time.
- Symbols of Value
First of all, you can read my book, and all WIP books, for free. Here’s how:
Of course, all other books on the WIP collections that can be found on https://opensea.io/collection/wip-publishing-genesis-nftbooks-v2 have the same icons. And once you click on that one…
Boom. There the full e-book is. Not a penny out of your wallet.
So then, why buy it at all?
Or perhaps we may rephrase the question: Why buy an original print of artwork you can just download a picture of? Why buy a ticket stub to a Queen show? Why buy a Fortnite skin or a Runescape party hat? Why buy a sports card? Why buy a collectable of any sort? Why buy a first edition copy of a book?
The answer is simple: its value is symbolic. And the way this first generation of WIP books works is that blockchain technology has rendered these tokens artificially scarce — only 100 each, forever. Most of our commodities are symbolically valuable in this economy anyway — so in the digitisation of our entire workflow and economy, is the leap for digital collectables far-fetched at all? Or perhaps when we couple the hesitation to welcome NFTs with the obvious fact that the digital book industry is already a multi-million dollar enterprise, we may propose another reason to ensure the maintenance of scarcity — only the scarcity of writers that make a good enough living.
2. All NFTs are Potential Assets
Not only do you have to buy the digital book to read an Amazon copy of a book — a form of bribery no less — but the book once bought is still suspended by Amazon’s terms, remaining on their computer servers. This means that, for example, unlike being able to lend a physical book to a friend, the Amazon equivalent is saying you really do own a book to lend, but they must come to your living room or device to buy it. Even after you purchase the book, it hardly seems like yours at all.
Where do NFTs change things? As well as being able to read the book for free, you can purchase it as a token. The scarcity of the token is what makes its ownership by a customer valuable, and the nuclear-grade strength of blockchain technology ensuring your transaction to be your digital property is what turns your NFT into a potential asset.
Such a marketplace is only just beginning. But if you believe that NFTs will go up in value, Ethereum (ETH) will go up in value, Polygon (MATIC) will go up in value, NFT books will go up in value, my name (James Riordan — Waters) as an author will go up in value, this book will become more valuable in general — then your purchase might be worth more in time than when you bought it.
3. Artists Should Win
I find it amusing when certain people say that art is significantly less important than serious occupations, such as technology, stockbroking, retail work, or otherwise. What the pandemic of 2020 last year demonstrated to us was our dependence on art as human beings — from music, to TV series, to literature, to occupy our attention. This demonstration taught me nothing new. Art is the subjective expression of our spirits, and has been earlier in our growth as beings than any aforementioned occupations, and such expressive means have too, been caught up in the madness of the empire — mediated art for mediated reasons, be it Netflix shows adapting scripts of naive writers in a way that injures their talent, to Amazon devouring the revenue of new (and possibly similarly naive) authors. What this new digital space of blockchain technology offers is still unknown, as it is unprecedented. But as far as artist power is concerned, no space touches it. Anything can be minted, from canvases to films, to books, and artists have found immense power in the minuscule time its awareness has been established.
And when I say this space shows unpredictable potential, I mean it. Take “rarepizzas”, the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO) that within three months, no formal funding, and the collaboration of over a thousand volunteers globally, raised over a million dollars selling NFT pizzas, spending a large portion of that on pizzas for unknowing customers all across the world.
I see this as nothing short of charity work — funded by the hard work of artists.
We may have dreams of the future in technological and political prowess, along with the desire to tell meaningful stories with our lives. But we may never forget the visionary artists’ primary influence, be it the science fiction filmmaker, the dystopian novelist, or the exceptional playwright in how we think of ourselves and our lives today. The artist must win, and win they hardly have in recent times. With this technology and unrealised potential for immense revenue, recognition, and success free from middlemen and gatekeepers offers the chance that soon? They might.
Do we embrace innovation in any sense whatsoever? I quote a paragraph from the last chapter of my book;
“The great revolutions of art, mathematics, music, science and philosophy have all come under great initial scepticism and scrutiny from all those who grow comfortable with what came before, and it would seem as though we would eventually become used to this fact of revolutions and changed to welcome the new eras of these fruits. And yet we haven’t, and we will always continue to initially scrutinise. Once we learn to understand that the revolutions of these fruits will always come under such initial views can we learn to accept them as potentially ingenious and, in one sense, part of our rightful path of growth……Much shame to those who opposed the mathematics of complex numbers, of impressionist paintings, of jazz music, of Darwinian biology, of general relativity and of existential philosophy, for how fruitful these directions have been for formal experience. And how fruitful will the future directions of these fields be if we finally give them the seriousness and credit they deserve!”
Of course, in discussing advancements of the past 30 years, this mockery of evolution and innovation couldn’t be truer. Was the Internet assumed to be a fad at its inception? Was TikTok laughed at? Could we have foreseen meme-makers and content creators to become essential marketing employees to businesses? The answer my friend, is whirring on your screen.
Our openness to innovation must be predicated on knowing how useful it could be as a tool for people; not current popular belief or opinion. NFTs have already demonstrated to me to be incredibly useful tools — so I don’t listen to the white noise. My openness to NFTs comes from my openness to anything else — how they could improve the quality of lives and livelihoods. How the next few years will shape the NFT world specifically is unknown, and that’s the fun part.
5. Frick Amazon (and Spotify, Netflix, etc)
Someone well respected in this cryptographic space of ours works in the visual effects industry. He told us that many aspiring screenwriters will often turn to Netflix and get picked up by them. Naive and young as these writers often are, Netflix has no problem adapting the script as they see fit. Do the writers get their due? The answer should be obvious by now.
The notion of the servile Amazon employee or struggling bedroom pop artist has become something of a digital fable by now, a meme if you will. This notion is often neglected when brought up in conversation with a thought-terminating cliche, “it’s just the way it is”, and this is funny to me. Independent creators and contributors and billion-dollar industries have never been so level with their access to technology, equipment and capability as right now.
When what drives these industrial processes (money), too, has the opportunity to be decentralised and democratised, we have to question ourselves. What is the way it is but a movement towards the way things could be? We talk of the great revolution as if it is in the constantly postponed future by one movement. In fact, revolutions are happening every hour of every day, by anyone that wants to revolt. Of course, what we like at WIPP is books, and as an addendum, the liberation and freedom of what those books contain. We had two options as authors. Self-publish to painstaking and meagre rewards, or sell ourselves to the monopoly, taking years for success if it ever arrived. When the motivation to create books is rewarded by this monopoly, freedom of expression is diminished.
So, when over at www.WIPPublishing.com we have as our first genesis an erotica (Confessions of a Cryptomaniac by Jillian Godsil, a book on the philosophy of happiness (Bring Back Satire by Thomas Dylan Daniel), a hermetic book (Sovereign Etheric Being by HighestPriestesS), a book in Spanish (Bitcoinpendium by David Noya), and a comic-book (HappyMan by Erick Stow) just to name a few, it illustrates our intention. What is the intention? To emancipate expression.
And when unmediated expression is free to read and prosperous for you, rather than punished or reconfigured to a stale market, it indicates this change people are uncomfortable with.
For me, personally? I enjoy comfortable things, like bed and staying indoors. I don’t grow until I get up and run. Please, feel free to get involved with WIP Publishing if you’re an aspiring author or if you would prefer to get more value out of your reading experience!
Simply head to https://wippublishing.com/ to get access to the Discord, sign up as an author, receive invitations to upcoming events, and more!