Using Nft's in real life

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Using NFT's in real life

The Goal & Ideation Phase There had long been the outline of an idea discussed at Vervaunt, around the concept of a ‘Black Card’. Partly, this came down to it just being a cool idea that we enjoyed discussing the potential of. But mostly, with the boom of the NFT market (especially at that point in time) and the speed of innovations in the Web3 space, it felt like there was a good opportunity to at least explore something around a cross-brand membership scheme. An ecommerce version of Amex rewards. While this idea was very much in the background, in the foreground we were planning for Vervaunt’s inaugural conference - the Pulse Ecommerce Summit ‘22. Web3 was on the agenda for the day, and so I was having conversations with a lot of new people that had experience and knowledge in the space. Andy Doyle (RadicalEcom) & Gary Carruthers (UWP) being two of these, and between us all, we agreed this could be the perfect time to get a working MVP off the ground and into people's hands on the day. The timeline was just about feasible, and with an agile approach we’d look to do something to give value to guests on the day such as free entry, drinks or merch. The v1.0 of Vervaunt Black Card was born. “I've long been interested in Web3 technologies and their implications for ecommerce. NFTs in particular offer a whole host of solutions for brands looking to engage new audiences, enhance their loyalty programmes, generate new streams of income and more. This Black Card project was a way to demonstrate those opportunities to merchants and agencies alike in an uncomplicated, user-friendly way.” - Gary Carruthers The Technical Approach & Architecture As with any project, we approached this with some defined must-have requirements, and then a set of considerations that were uncovered in the early planning stages. These would impact how we would deliver, and the concrete timeline and requirements would be at the heart of each of the decisions. Our requirements agreed for this piece of work were: Tech comes second While the primary purpose of this piece of work was to highlight an innovative new technology that maybe hasn’t been widely used, we couldn't rely on people just being interested in the tech. The success of this - as is true for the success of mainstream use of NFTs - is for the focus to be on the benefit to the user. No fees There was absolutely no compromise on the fact this could not involve a fee to the user. More to come on this, in relation to crypto and gas fees but it was an important discussion which influenced the eventual outcome. Digital wallet Likely to be a possible friction point, the digital wallet aspect had to be as flexible as possible. Ideally this would work for anyone already using a digital wallet, but to cover most bases of what people would have heard of and trust most, Metamask and Coinbase wallet were essential. Minimise friction The target audience we were aiming for was a room full of ~300 people with an expertise in ecommerce. With a mix of (majority) merchants, tech vendors and agencies, there was a good chance that a large percentage of the audience had not even read about NFTs, let alone have hands-on experience. So regardless of the concept, this had to be easy to use. Ability to demo Building on the last requirement, being easy to use wasn’t enough to be confident of uptake on the day. Whatever the concept, the ability for an end-to-end demo being held during the conference was key. Ideally, guests would demo between each other. 5 bullet rule Extending on the above further, we needed the ability to summarise this concept in just five simple bullet points. This would mean printed collateral and/or landing page content on the website should be enough to explain how someone would get the NFT, how they would use it, and what they would get from the process. Minimised development effort More of a consideration than a requirement, but with time and development resources at a premium (thanks again to RadicalEcom and UWP for keeping momentum up on that side), there was a risk of over-engineering this MVP. It had to be kept simple with a small idea executed really well. The Approach & Tech Stack With these considerations and requirements set, a deliverable for v1.0 of the Vervaunt Black Card was agreed. The overall concept and tactics used to hit the goal were as follows: The initial concept The ultimate vision for the concept discussed within Vervaunt never really changed, and there is still a roadmap in the longer term to deliver what we think could be really game-changing. But given the requirements and hard deadline, it was important to reach a realistic deliverable. So the concept was to release an NFT based membership card, which would be limited to 25 available (first come first serve). Holders of this membership card could connect their digital wallet to our ecom store and unlock access to claim just one of the 25 rewards. The rewards were the hook, so it was important that they were the exciting part of the process rather than the shiny underlying tech. We also wanted rewards to vary in value and prominence to create some hype and urgency. The ecommerce platform and why we used Shopify Plus Aside from briefly looking at Squarespace for a content site with gated content and simple buy functionality, utilising Shopify made perfect sense. It would be quick to get something up and running using a theme from the store, and give all of the out-of-the-box product and order management functionality needed. This would be launched onto a subdomain of the Vervaunt site - and no-indexed at this point given it starts as a temporary MVP. As part of this store, there would be one product for the Black Card with 25x inventory. Then 25 individual products with a single inventory to be claimed, which would display an obvious out of stock label on the frontend when it had been claimed. On the frontend, we considered making the whole merch collection token gated but we decided that allowing everyone to see the products would drive more demand to get involved and claim something. So instead, everything would be visible but add to cart CTAs would be disabled until connecting a wallet which contains one of the 25 Black Card tokens. Blockchain network selection Similarly to ecommerce platforms, there are several different blockchain platforms which could be developed onto. More than several in fact, but some that are more well known would be Ethereum, Solano, polkadot - and the one we opted for, Polygon. Some of the differences between these, and the considerations before opting for Polygon, are things like: complexity to work with, transaction speed, transaction fees, digital wallet support, security etc. NFT management The final piece and the biggest learning curve, was the part around distributing and minting each of the NFTs. In an act of agile project management, the plan for this did change shortly after some development started. This initial plan was for each of the 25 Cards being added as a product in Shopify, and would each be listed on a Collection page. This meant that customers could select a specific number (if that happened to be of interest), and in theory each of the Black Cards could have been different in appearance and tied to a specific one of the rewards. When claimed, the minting and transfer to digital wallet was going to be a custom piece of development. However, during this process we’d discovered a newly released app on Shopify App store called Novel who had created a more robust and broadly tested way of handling the minting, distribution and tokengated content logic for the use of NFTs on Shopify. The compromise was a change to a single product listing for the Black Card with a quantity of 25 - but this was certainly worth the change to avoid reinventing the wheel and focus our resources on testing and polishing as much as possible. The guys at Novel were great, and worked with us to test and take on some feedback we had to make changes themselves - so this is certainly an App to look out for in the space. “I’d been involved in a few interesting projects through the year pushing the boundaries of what NFTs could be used for. The more we discussed this, it seemed like a chance to put together a really slick and streamlined way of real customers utilising the technology and to gain some good learnings.” - Andy Doyle