Note: This is part 1 of a 3-part series dealing with Wargaming and NFTs. Lookout for parts 2 and 3 coming soon, but first I need to set the groundwork for this series.
“How does a cartoon ape relate to my collection of space soldiers?”
That’s the big question.
“I know that’s why i’m asking you”
Oh, yeah. I see… Sorry, I should get started then…
You may be aware that people are making thousands, if not millions, of dollars selling jpegs online, if you are reading this, you will have an interest in jpegs. So your curiosity might have been piqued.
“Maybe. Tell me more…”
In this series of posts we will discuss:
- What they are and how they relate to you.
- A ton of problems with them.
- The future of NFTs for miniature gamers and painters.
Before we get started, this is not financial advice, I’ve added a disclaimer to this website for that purpose.
“Too late, I’m already preparing to drop jpegs of my painted minis on OpenSea for $3k each”
That’s probably not a great idea, at least hold on until I’ve finished.
“I hate them and I hate you”
This subject involves money and so will ferment a lot of strong feelings on both sides.
- Not all NFTs are run by scammers pumping $1mm profile pictures they stole from deviant art.
- Not all NFT communities are filled with people trying to get $100mm to buy their own island.
- Not all miniatures are topless women or the Wet Nurse.
- Not all scale modeling books are about building your own concentration camp.
- Not all wargamers are nazis.
…but some of the above -are- and that’s where the media spotlight shines.
“I can ignore this, it’s just a phase we are going through”
Possibly, but Web3 and NFTs are going to be everywhere.
- Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are deep into them.
- Twitter allows you to add them to your profile picture.
- YouTube is looking into them.
- Reddit is looking into them.
- Photoshop is going to have a “create as NFT” button built into the interface.
“Games Workshop will never do anything like this”
CMON are already building a NFT sales platform for an upcoming project.
Assuming it makes money, and there is a good possibility that it will given the climate, do you think Mantic, Kingdom Death, Wyrd Games or Privateer Press won’t?
Games Workshop is keen to licence out its products in computer games, board games, plush toys, Funko Pop miniatures, clothing and even sticker books. Its a public company that needs to provide income to its shareholders. NFTs would be an easy win for them.
“But I don’t want to buy artwork, I just want to enjoy my hobby”
The artwork is just the start, in part 3 I will discuss other potential applications of this technology. Its a very real possibility that the Web2 platforms that miniature wargamers currently use like Reddit, Pinterest, Patreon, Kickstarter, YouTube and Instagram either get drawn into Web3 or supplanted by newer, better Web3 media platforms.
“Hold on, wait, we are going too fast, what is an NFT?”
NFT stands for Non Fungible Token. On the surface an NFT looks like an image or animation on a webpage. Under the hood an NFT is a digital token stored on a decentralised blockchain. You can think of it like a cell on a massive database. A cell that you own the password for and a database that is copied by thousands of servers worldwide. A key takeaway is that a creator can earn a percentage of all resale rights.
“But I can right click and copy an NFT?”
Yes, but you’ll only get the media, not the ownership. It’s the difference between owning the Mona Lisa and buying a print at the gift shop. You, and anyone else can prove who owns the NFT. Also, depending on the NFT in question you may get the copyright and/or reproduction rights.
“How does Web3 relate to this stuff?”
- Web1 was Read Only. Think of your standard webpage that you look at. Basically almost all of the webpages of the 90’s and early 00’s.
- Web2 is Read and Write. These are platforms like Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Kickstarter, Patreon, etc. You can interact with them and people can read what you have written.
- Web3 is Read, Write and Own. This is where NFT’s come into play. If you can prove that you own an item that can be verified by a webpage. it becomes a key that can access digital services.
No-one has a solid idea of exactly what Web3 will look like and humans are generally terrible at predicting the future. There is a lot of hype around a Facebook metaverse in the style of Ready Player 1 but staring at a pixelated punk NFT and trying to imagine what Web3 will look like is the same as staring at the Million Dollar Homepage in the 90’s and trying to see what the internet will become. Even Steve jobs thought this is what computers would become.
“I’ve just Googled them and all I get are pictures of Apes and Punks”
This brings us to the current versions of NFT’s that you may have seen on news sites trading for millions. I can break them down into a few different types.
- PFPs, or Profile pics.
These are the apes, punks, penguins or whatever. People buy them and use them as their social media profile pic to show they are part of that community. Before you jump in to mock them, remember the amount of people you like who use Warhammer, Gundam or Anime IP to as part of their online identity. You are all the same. They just paid for it.
- Actual generative or non generative art.
This is where we put the $69 million NFT that Beeple sold at Christie’s. Its a lot of money and a lot of people have strong feelings about it. But as least its not a £2.5 million unmade bed.
Remember that with NFTs the creator can take a percentage of all resale rights. This turns the market for art on its head and removes a lot (but not all, and we’ll get to that in part 2) of the exploitation of poor artists by rich collectors.
- Music and other media.
This is where we see high resolution artwork, music, comics and videos. I’m not going to go into too much detail here because its going to go out of date fast, but look up Mike Shinodas’ Ziggurats, Punks comic and Loot or examples of weird and wonderful things people have made.
- Metaverse tokens.
Remember Second Life. Remember Ready Player 1, except without all the nonsense that would have made it a total mess (being zeroed out, pvp everywhere). You can own plots of land in various in development metaverses and visit them. These communities look pretty basic at the moment but god knows where we will be in 10 years time.
- Gaming tokens.
Imagine playing a game and opening a treasure chest to get a sword, then logging out of the game and selling the sword. This either works terribly (turning the game into a pay to win miseryfest) or drives player involvement (Eve online has been doing this for years).
- Access to DAOs.
This is the finance part that is largely outside the scope of this article, for clarities sake DAOs can be a investment vehicle coded into a blockchain but i’d invite you do do your own research.
The mindbending part is realising that NFTs could be -all- of the above at the same time. You could buy a piece of art that works as a login to a game and allows you to access discord server. This is the dream that fuels a lot of speculation.
Now you know a little bit more about them, we can discuss major problems with NFTS in part 2 and some use cases in the hobby in part 3.
If you think that was a trip, just you wait for part 2...