Hi, I’m Sari Azout and this is the the 60th edition of Check your Pulse, a tech and startups newsletter designed to make you feel human. I try to make this one of the best emails you get every few weeks(ish). Join me, with probably no regular cadence, while I spiral.
Yesterday, I shared an essay I co-authored with Jad Esber on the future of the Internet. The core thesis is that several cultural and technological trends are converging that make us optimistic about the future of the Internet: a renaissance of individualism, the unbundling of Internet communities, a shift away from ad-funded models, and Web3 technologies that unlock infinite remixability.
Our hope with the essay was to not only share a conceptual vision for a better Internet (where more people can participate in the upside), but to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, and come up with an example of how this future might work in action.
To that end, the essay is the first ever experiment (actually, the second - of course Packy beat me to it) in Attribution+, where we not only cite sources of inspiration, but route economic value to them.
How? That’s where NFTs come in.
We minted the essay as an NFT and are splitting the proceeds of the NFT sale with the group of people who inspired the ideas we share, and with YOU, if you help us share it. Quote tweet this and you will be entered to share in 10% of the upside of the NFT sale. This is only possible because of our collaboration with Mirror, a startup changing the way writers fund and sustain their work.
Why would I (or anyone) want to own this NFT?
Good question. There are several benefits, from the intangible to the very tangible.
Be a proud owner of an experiment that honors the original ideals of the Internet - users and creators, unconstrained by intermediaries, sharing ideas and economic upside
A powerful signal to the world that you support the “win and help win” worldview, and are, unabashedly, an Internet optimist.
A 1hr Zoom call with Sari and Jad to dive deeper into the thesis (all bidders are invited to participate)
A lifetime Startupy membership
The prospect of turning a profit by reselling the NFT down the line (Patronage+)
Own the underlying illustrations we created for the essay.
We’ll send you physical prints of the four illustrations we created for the essay - below. They’re 1:1 because this is the only time we’ll ever print or sell them. And tbh, I’d hang these in my powder room - they’re also great dinner conversation starters for the intellectually inclined.
Who gets the money?
The funds will be split as follows:
55% goes to the authors (Jad and I).
30% goes to the thought partners we cite throughout the post. Full list here.
5% goes to my dear friend, Josh Nissenboim, the man behind the illustrations.
10% goes to readers and supporters who help us spread the word. If you want to be part of this pool, Quote Tweet this and add your ETH address. The more clever the tweet, the more likely you are to be selected.
Sounds complicated. Why do we need crypto to do this?
Crypto makes it easy to distribute value across stakeholders in more granular ways. That’s legitimately useful; it automates something that can be onerous in the web2 context. Imagine trying to compensate all of the people we cite in the essay using Venmo or PayPal + a spreadsheet to track? Crypto and NFTs are built for this new world. Writers win by earning money for their work. Thought partners win by earning money for their ideas. Collectors win by owning a piece of Internet history. And you, my readers, can also win by sharing the essay here. WIN AND HELP WIN.
An NFT is simply a unique token representing a digital file. And because you can have a limited set of tokens, it introduces scarcity to digital life. Scarcity in the physical world is what drives value - there’s only a limited set of any physical thing, but until now, there was an infinite amount of anything on the web. What this unlocks for creators is powerful: creators can capture value without limiting propagation of their work. When you buy this essay you are not buying this essay you are buying an entry in a ledger that associates your identity with this essay. A lot of people seem to think that it is completely insane to spend money for something that is freely copyable or accessible. But that misses the point: humans are status-seeking social creatures; we are driven by the need to assert our identity and belonging through what we own. NFTs make public access and private ownership of any digital media file possible.
Questions of provenance, authenticity, and scarcity are solved by using the blockchain which is transparent and verifiable. Each NFT has a unique ID and metadata, which you can think of as a digital passport. Moving forward, anytime this essay is distributed on another platform, anyone can "check its passport" and see its entire history, without the need for any third party to intermediate that ownership.
Perpetual royalties - this is perhaps my favorite advantage of all. The ability for creators to automatically gain a percentage of every sale of their work in the secondary market in perpetuity.
Crypto is hard. How do I bid on this NFT?
Anyone with an Ethereum wallet can place a bid by clicking the Place a Bid button here. If you don't have a crypto wallet yet, don’t be intimidated. Follow the steps below and consider this your foray into this weird, wonderful world:
2. Once you’ve setup a Coinbase account or Rainbow Wallet (iOS) purchase some Ethereum.
3. On desktop Install a browser-based Ethereum wallet called MetaMask. (Click here for a tutorial on how to install Metamask). On iOS you should already be using Rainbow Wallet.
4. Next send your purchased Ethereum from Coinbase to Metamask (Click here for a tutorial on how to send Ethereum to your Metamask wallet.) On Rainbow wallet you should already have the Ethereum you purchased with Apple Pay.
5. Once you have ETH in your Metamask or Rainbow address, voila, you’re good to go. Click here to bid.
The NFT auction closes at 9pm EST tonight. Until then, if you have any questions or comments, tell me everything.
That’s all for now. Let’s see how this goes.
Internet, do your thang! 🔮
If you’re wondering who’s behind this newsletter:
My name is Sari Azout. I am a design-thinker, strategist, early stage startup investor at Level Ventures, and founder of Startupy. My mission is to bring more humanity and creativity to technology and business.
Thanks for being here!