Newsletter: New Tools, Same Rules?

What The Next-Gen Of Creator Tools Means For Collectors And Creators Alike...

By Forefront - Oct 9, 2023

Happy Monday!!

Welcome to edition 161th edition of the Forefront Newsletter. If you’re new here, we give you a weekly roundup of the best news and insights at the intersection of crypto, culture, and community.

This week we're covering:

Let's get into it...

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Week’s Highlight

There's a whole slew of NFT creator tools that launched over the last few weeks, each taking a different approach to UI, fees, and overall experience.

William Peaster of Metaversal wrote about a few of these new tools and updates:

  • is a create tool from, making it insanely easy for's massive collector base to start minting their own NFTs. Most importantly, the tool is integrated with's rewards program, incentivizing collectors to create, and creators to use rather than alternative tools.

  • OpenSea Studio is OpenSea's no-code hub designed to help creatives mint and manage NFTs on their own independent smart contracts. This creator-owned contract model takes inspiration from Manifold, but also marks the end of OpenSea's "lazy minting" tool, which they popularized near the beginning of the NFT bull market a couple of years ago. However, hidden in the docs is the fact that OpenSea is taking a 10% creator fee on *every *primary sale from Studio... a steep price relative to the market.

  • Finally, while OpenSea is sunsetting lazy minting, Zora just introduced their own version that allows anyone to "upload their creativity to Ethereum" for free. The token is not minted onchain until the "first mint," where the first collector pays fees to collect the token. In exchange, that collector will receive a share of the protocol fee in perpetuity for that token's sales.

There's a lot to discuss here, but I think two key points are worth noting today.

First, as protocols seek to minimize fees (e.g. Zora with their L2 + small protocol fee), it remains to be seen why creators would look to OpenSea and other high-fee alternatives, especially if fees are accruing to a company with no community governance structure in place.

Second, tools like will likely survive and grow on the back of their own brand. Loyalty programs like those of and Spotlight incentivize creators and collectors to use a specific client -- possibly with slightly higher fees -- because of the in-community reputation they can build and the support they could potentially give back to the community (in fees paid).

Take Note. We're excited to see more communities and apps leverage open tech to build novel experiences around NFTs and marketplaces. A great example is, Forefront's experimental marketplace to help folks find "first mint" opportunities on Zora and earn protocol fees!

What's Poppin'

When the World Goes Phygital

There is a lot of conversation around how our physical and digital worlds will interact, especially in the world of fashion, but very few people are able to speak to the present and future of the "phygital" world like Aleksija Vujicic can. This essay takes a forward-looking view on what a phygital world might look like, breaking down each pillar of technology, the tailwinds driving them, and the current experiments making those visions a reality. Fantastic work by Aleksija -- look out for Part 2 this week!

In Crypto, Apps Need Infrastructure Like Infrastructure Needs Apps Gaby of TCG Crypto is back with another banger. The article underlines the reciprocal evolution of infrastructure and applications in the crypto space. It revisits the ongoing debate on what drives what, showcasing the shift from the initial crypto wallets designed for crypto-natives to the later versions aimed at easing the onboarding for mainstream users, and hints at a balanced approach in the emerging Wallet 3.0 era. Gaby suggests that understanding and catering to consumer needs, while balancing ease-of-use and interoperability, are critical for the crypto ecosystem's growth​.

Welcome to the Hardware Renaissance 

The indie hardware era is upon us, and it's accelerating at a rapid pace. This article discusses a burgeoning era in personal hardware illustrated by recent innovations like Humane's Ai Pin, Rewind Pendant, and Tab, which exemplify the shift towards contextual computing. These devices capture and interpret real-world data to provide personalized user experiences. The author reflects on evolving beyond mobile phones towards seamless hardware integration into daily life, akin to Mark Weiser's vision of ubiquitous computing, where technology becomes an indistinguishable part of our everyday existence​​.

The Consumer Crypto Stack

Nicholas of Web3 Galaxy Brain has been all over the consumer crypto wave, especially from a technical perspective. This talk, titled "The Consumer Crypto Stack, explains how developers can make self-custody crypto apps that regular people can enjoy. He explains the 100x UX improvement enabled by Passkeys, Smart Contract Wallets, L2s, and Gasless interaction design. It's a must-watch for anyone building in consumer crypto.

Exploring the Design Space for Dynamic NFTs

The 1kx team has a knack for catching waves just before they hit the rest of the industry. This article explores the potential of dynamic NFTs that evolve over time, unlike traditional static NFTs. These dynamic NFTs add layers of interactivity and can reflect algorithmic or user input, creating new possibilities in art, gaming, and digital identity. In art, dynamic NFTs could evolve with time, ownership changes, or user interactions. In gaming, they can reflect game states or be upgraded, enhancing gameplay. Moreover, dynamic NFTs can represent an individual's identity and reputation within digital communities, evolving with their on-chain activities, which lays a foundation for more interactive and engaging digital experiences​.

Culture Beat

  • TWL First Drop + $57.8k gifted. The World's Largest launched their first drop last week, a video where you could mint individual frames as an open edition NFT. Not only was the drop one of the most fun minting experiences in a while, but the team also airdropped $57.8k to a random minter! Much more to come from TWL.
  • Pudgy Toys x Smyths. After a successful Walmart rollout, Pudgy Toys are now available in all Smyths Toy Stores across the United Kingdom.
  • Art Blocks' Marfa Weekend. Last weekend, hundreds of digital art devotees descended on Marfa, the tiny West Texas artist's oasis, to partake in what's rapidly become a can't-miss cult favorite in digital culture circles: the Art Blocks Marfa Weekend.

Inbox Signal TL;DR

The 12th edition of Inbox Signal just went out to Forefront Members this weekend. Here's a taste of the stories:

Forefront Members get full access to Signal  -- our daily curated feed on consumer and creator crypto -- every day. You can become a Forefront Member by minting a  2023 Annual Pass here to explore opportunities to collaborate!

Fun with Fundraising

  • Blackbird -- building web3 loyalty programs for restaurants -- closed a $24M Series A led by a16z.
  • Phaver -- helping onboard more folks to web3 social -- raised a $7M seed round.
  • AirDAO -- a fully-integrated layer one blockchain -- raised $7.5M from DWF Labs.

Take Check

The information in this newsletter is not intended to constitute legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied upon as such. Any opinions reflected are the opinion of the author(s) of the newsletter only and not necessarily of Forefront. Please DYOR.

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