After long and careful deliberation, I’ve made a decision about the future of Love Machine. After I finish and mint the remaining NFTs in Shorts #2 (there will be 13 singles in total) I will not mint any more Love Machine collections on Cardano until something is done to streamline and decentralize verification.
Project verification, the term used by the NFT platforms on Cardano, is a misnomer. It’s really policy verification. When you create the minting policy for your NFTs, you decide whether or not the policy locks (analogous to breaking a mold) and how long it will remain open if it does lock.
As long as the minting policy is open, the creator can mint or burn (destroy) as many NFTs under that policy as they want. If a policy is still open, it’s a deterrent to many collectors who are concerned about rarity-based value.
That’s understandable for people who see NFTs as an investment. They want that investment to accrue value over time. If a collector buys a 1/1 NFT, they want assurance that the creator will not be able to mint more of the same, thereby decreasing its value.
So, if I create a policy that locks in one month, I have one month to draw and mint all the NFTs I want to mint under that policy ID.
That’s not necessarily the problem I’m facing. My problem is two-fold.
1. an ongoing project requires multiple policy IDs
Love Machine is an ongoing small-run project. I’m the sole creator. I have to plan, organize, storyboard, draw, and mint each collection. Shorts #2 is the sixth collection in this project, so I’ve had to create six different policies so far.
And I’m not going to stop, so I’d need dozens of policies.
I have to submit a policy for verification separately on each CNFT marketplace I want to sell on. Each platform has someone to verify policies. That means I have to submit the same policy multiple times and wait for someone on each platform to:
- Look at my Twitter profile.
- Visit my website.
That’s all they do to verify that I’m the authentic creator of these NFTs and that my work is original. It’s not some mysterious process that requires special skills. A five-year-old can do it.
Which brings me to the second problem.
2. Cardano’s NFT policy verification is centralized
Having to rely on a handful of individuals to verify creator policies is really starting to piss me off.
For one thing, that should never happen in a decentralized environment. There aren’t supposed to be any gatekeepers. That’s the whole point of blockchain. But every CNFT marketplace has its own gatekeeper, which means I have to wait outside multiple gates for someone to get around to unlocking them for me.
This is particularly aggravating because buyers can easily do that themselves. Anyone can peruse my Twitter posts and website. I want them to. That’s one of the reasons I have a website in the first place, dammit. Why is that in the hands of a few individuals who are subject to the same biases as everyone else?
DYOR (do your own research) is the battle cry of the cryptoverse. Out of one side of our mouths we encourage people to thoroughly investigate everything, but out of the other side we urge them to look for a green check mark that means someone else did it for them.
We can’t send out those conflicting messages to the masses and expect them to successfully navigate Web3.
We just can’t.
centralization leaves the door wide open for abuse
Guess what happens if your policy isn’t verified? Your CNFTs are blighted by a warning in red that discourages people from buying.
So if buyers, who can verify for themselves in less than two minutes that I’m who I say I am and do the work I say I do, see that someone from the marketplace didn’t do that yet, they usually won’t buy. Even though I already have verified policies for the same project.
I’ve seen platform developers abuse that power by suddenly revoking verification on projects they previously verified to funnel buyers towards larger projects that can make more money for them. They can also drag their feet about verifying a policy.
In other words, if a platform developer wants to throttle your sales or hurl obstacles in your way for any reason, they can (and will) do that by not verifying a policy. Don’t be lulled into thinking no one would be that unprofessional. It’s already happened to numerous creators.
I’m done with that mess. I don’t have to do that on Tezos. I can just mint Love Machine NFTs under my existing collection without the hassle of submitting policy after policy for verification.
But I’m done waiting outside gate after gate, every single damn time I want to create a new batch of work. The CNFT community will always be like family to me, and I’ll still be active in that community and continue to help promote other artists’ work.
And now I’m more determined than ever to help the Cardano community decentralize verification. There are other creators who have the same concerns, and I created a Discord server for us to come together and talk about how to move forward with that.
the plan for Shorts #2 and #3
I’ve got three days left to mint Shorts #2 before the policy locks. Because I got so busy making holiday gifts, I’ll probably have to create a second policy to mint the remaining NFTs in that collection. I’ll mint those as singles only for Cardano and make a Shorts #2 album for Tezos similar to the one I made of Shorts #1.
After that, I’ll begin work on the story and images for Shorts #3. It will pick up where #2 left off and introduce a very special new character. (In fact, if you were active in the CNFT space this fall, you’ll probably recognize the name even though the spelling will be slightly different.)
I’ll mint and sell those — along with all future collections in the Love Machine project — on Tezos.
For each series of shorts, I’ll make an album to mint on Cardano.
Cardano community — we deserve better than this. And we’re going to do it ourselves. Join me in speaking out.