No one appreciates just how much goes into developing a kick-ass brand than a Design Studio - but so often we don't afford ourselves the same opportunity to dive deep as we do with our clients and partners.
Our brand has already gone through a few iterations in a few months time as we've invested a ton of time to make sure that our identity represents who we are today and where we aspire to go.
In the early days, we'd explored a more sci-fi version of the Spark + Mint brand where we'd be creating these abstract artifacts that would represent the projects we're working on - and they'd exist in a familiar yet, completely foreign and almost otherworldly environment.
We want to create a video that represented the "Sparking" and "Minting" of these artifacts within this imaginative world and we developed a 3D animation in the process.
It was going to be one of the primary pieces we'd showcase at the top of our site.
Although we dedicated to move away from this strategy to the one we've got today (which is another post in and of itself!) we did enjoy the process and the outcome and we thought it would make a nice open source gift to the design community knowing that so many other entities are also vibing on these themes at the moment as they create their own new realities.
Ok - so it's not an NFT and you're not really minting anything, but - the headline just felt right ...
If you'd like to shout out the share - you can feel free to send us some love on Twitter or LinkedIn, but your enjoyment is really all the thanks we need.
To download this video you can click on the top right hand corner of the video above, and it will direct you to our google drive download link!
Currently blowing up in popularity, it seems like DAOs are all the rage... But how do you start one, and how exactly do they function? Find out in today's blog!
So you want to start a DAO…
Well, the first thing you need to do is read this blog.
See, DAOs are the latest fashion for a reason. And getting started could seem like a monumental task if you don't know where to begin your research.
But hey — don't sweat it.
At Spark + Mint, we're a team of experts in everything from Web3 to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations… So you're at the right place to learn how to start your next DAO adventure while skipping the learning curve.
Or at least most of it.
So, without further ado…
Let's talk DAOs, shall we?
A DAO is an acronym for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. This is an emerging legal structure for organizations with no central governance structure.
Every member within a DAO shares a common goal and responsibility of acting in the organization's best interest. Thus, the community has an intrinsic value here — something that almost every Web3, Crypto, and Blockchain entity shares.
It's been popularized by cryptocurrency enthusiasts and Blockchain technology lovers to enhance decision-making in a bottoms-up management approach.
Sounds lovely, right?
Well, that's not it. There are several layers to peel off to get to the bones of it.
Like Investopedia says, there are many benefits and crucial factors of getting started with a DAO, like:
But it all began long ago in a computer lab far, far away…
Continuing with Investopedia on this subject…
"The DAO was an organization that was designed to be automated and decentralized. It acted as a venture capital fund, based on open-source code and without a typical management structure or board of directors. The DAO was unaffiliated with any particular nation-state to be fully decentralized, though it used the Ethereum network.
The DAO launched in late April 2016 thanks to a month-long crowd sale of tokens that raised more than $150 million in funds. At the time, the launch was the largest crowdfunding fundraising campaign of all time."
But… It was not just smiles and laughter.
Eventually, things came crashing down, as this was one of the first Web3 attempts the Internet remembers.
Clearly, there was a lot to fix. The intention was there, but when you're managing capital… Security must be on point. That was The DAO's Achilles heel.
Like Gemini says:
"The DAO had raised more than $150 million from more than 11,000 investors, making it one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in history at the time. However, even before the token sale had concluded, several onlookers expressed concerns about vulnerabilities in The DAO's code. More specifically, computer scientists were concerned that a bug in The DAO's wallet smart contracts would allow them to be drained. While programmers attempted to fix the bug, an attacker exploited the vulnerability and began siphoning funds from The DAO.
In the meantime, the Ethereum community debated how to respond to the attack. The DAO's failure would not only mean financial loss for investors, but it also bore dire repercussions for the nascent Ethereum network. The DAO had become such a heavily invested project that its contracts contained approximately 14% of all ether (ETH) in circulation at the time. At only one year old, the promising Ethereum technology and community faced a genuine existential threat…
…initially, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a soft fork of the Ethereum network, adding a snippet of code that would effectively blacklist the attacker and prevent them from moving the stolen funds. However, shortly after that, the attacker — or someone posing as the attacker; it has not been verified — published an open letter to the Ethereum community claiming that the funds had been obtained in a "legal" way, following the rules set out in the smart contract. The attacker also said they would take legal action against anyone who attempted to seize the ether."
Words less, words more… This ended up with two competing Ethereum Blockchains. One of them being the pre-forked version known as ETC, and the other Blockchain presently known as Ethereum — now one of the World's most used Blockchain channels.
So, was The DAO crisis crucial? Yes, it was.
But luckily… It didn't affect Web3 negatively. In fact, it opened up the gates to new and enhanced security procedures.
At a high level, Chainalisys explains how a DAO works here:
While this process is often described as a way to decentralize power, governance token data suggests that DAO ownership is highly concentrated.
Furthermore, IT Business Edge says that:
"In a Web3 world, the management of platforms and systems is through the consensus decisions of its users. They also have ownership and control of their data.
Early adopters believe that DAOs have the potential to completely change the way that humans think about cooperation, collaboration, and collective resources. DAOs present an opportunity for communities and organizations to rethink how we work together to provide more equitable participation and incentives.
If anything, with the trend towards remote work because of the pandemic, DAOs are much more amenable to people. They essentially provide for operations across any geography at any time."
But… If this Web3 effort requires every involved individual's willingness to push in the same direction, how does disruption or innovation happen?
That could cause several delays in decision-making… Or missed opportunities on genius ideas because of roadblocks.
Yet, that's not the main issue for DAOs in the Web3 space as of today: It's security.
As it's still in the early stages, most of these companies are offering big stacks of cash to whoever finds significant bugs to fix — always trying to protect themselves from another "The DAO" crisis.
Getting started with a DAO doesn't have to feel like a mission impossible.
In fact, there are a few steps to create one effectively — which, to be frank, are not just clapping and making it happen… But you shouldn't have BIG trouble if you do things right and seek some advice.
To get started, you'll need to:
This means: Even before determining what tools you'll use, you need to understand the WHY behind your efforts. If there is a problem… How are you planning to solve it?
Why are you trying to fix what's not broken if there's no problem?
So, in short, you must figure out first:
Ask yourself these questions, and then move on to the next step.
Now that you have an idea of the problems you want to solve, it's time to determine what framework you should use to create your DAO.
101 Blockchains does a great job explaining this step here:
"The second step in starting a DAO focuses on determining the type of DAO you need. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, are still in the stages of infancy and can serve many use cases. Therefore, you can choose many practical paths for creating your DAO according to your objectives. You must go through different types of DAOs and their functionalities to find the models which can fulfill your goals. Some of the most common types of DAOs include protocol DAOs, social DAOs, venture DAOs, collector DAOs, and social media DAOs.
At the same time, you must also focus on common goals between DAOs and traditional businesses for improved efficiency. For example, if you are wondering how to start a DAO, you can use a nation-state governance framework for mapping out the general DAO structure. With a good overview of the type of DAO you want, you can develop a definitive approach for building the DAO."
See, DAO tokens can be used for several things. Rewards, voting rights on the company's direction, and other types of benefits. But, these DAO tokens can play a massive role in the DAO creation process.
So, if you want to push things forward and make everyone happy… Be wise in determining the types of use you'll give your DAO tokens.
Sure, pricing is essential. But it's not everything.
Token supply matters, and setting the demanding standard instead of just offering a random value of the original coin supply is what will get your DAO far.
Let's say you've cracked the initial coin supply:
Now, you'll need to focus on allocating these DAO tokens.
This means finding focus on providing appealing rewards to your community.
We say this because there are countless projects STUCK on finding out the best way to make their DAO work while also being tangled trying to discover new ways for token distribution.
So, token utility? Hard nut to crack, definitely. That if you do it yourself, obviously.
101 Blockchains elaborate more on this by saying:
"Many companies opt to develop their own systems, while some choose DAO tools and templates to create the DAO. The tools and templates can help you define the legal framework for the DAO you wish to make. In addition, the tools also offer the required infrastructure for DAO token minting tools, creating the DAO name, and supporting the teams and founding members.
Some of the popular Ethereum-based DAO tools for starting a DAO of your own offer multiple functionalities. You can choose Aragon, the comprehensive DAO toolkit with functionalities for dispute resolution and governance. Here are some other promising DAO tools you can use for creating your DAO."
This is also BIG.
See, before allocating your resources, money, time, and energy to building your next Web3 project or DAO, you need to understand how these work from the inside.
Joining a DAO to see what they do.
That said, it'll be ideal to find one, buy some of its currency, and get familiar with its processes. A great way to do this is by exploring pages like DAOlist and DeepDAO to find exciting projects that align with your particular goals, taste, and values.
Most will highlight their core mission, governance structure, and guiding principles.
But, if you're more of a hands-on type of person…
We recommend diving deep into the subject by directly collaborating with the DAO.
You can join their Discord channel, introduce yourself, and engage in conversations to contribute.
And, if you're more of a seasoned Web3 professional or have an ability you could exploit like design, programming, or copywriting…
You could apply for a job. These projects are constantly hiring and benefiting from a diverse range of skills. For example, your contribution will always depend on your abilities and your hunger for knowledge and changing how the Internet works.
Now that you know what it takes to create your own DAO, it's also important to keep an eye on what seasoned companies are doing to minimize learning curves here.
For instance, Binance considers these three DAOs (MakerDAO, Aave, and Uniswap) the most prominent ones to date:
MakerDAO is one of the oldest, most successful DAOs on the market. The organization manages the crypto-collateralized DAI stablecoin. They split proposals into Governance Polls for non-technical decisions and Executive Votes for smart-contract changes. Anyone holding MKR, the project's governance DAO token, can participate.
Aave is a DeFi lending platform on Ethereum that lets holders of the ERC-20 token AAVE or staked AAVE participate in its DAO. Along with project changes, Aave governance also votes on new projects built on the protocol and Aave Grants to fund ideas.
Uniswap is a multi-chain Automated Market Maker (AMM) that has inspired a generation of DeFi projects. It's one of the largest decentralized exchanges, and UNI holders can vote on and create proposals. To submit a new proposal, you need to hold at least 0.25% of the UNI's total supply. To encourage healthy discussion, there is a governance forum for community members to debate changes.
At Spark + Mint we're committed to helping our community discover new ways to impact the World through Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, Web3, and Blockchain Technology.
That said, we'd be more than happy to give you a walkthrough of some of the projects we've been working on — and answer any questions you might have.
Our CEO and Founder, Jason Goodman, is taking some calls this week to Q&A some DAO-related questions.
And you're cordially invited to schedule a call with him.
Brightside? If you decide to move forward, you'll skip the trial and error, learning curve, and deadly mistakes getting started with a DAO could mean.
And what's more — even if you decide not to move forward… You'll still leave knowing exactly what needs to be done to create your next DAO project.
You can schedule a call with Jason by clicking here.
P.S. Not ready for a call? That's okay! You can still subscribe to our Newsletter and get familiar with DAOs, Web3, and Blockchain every week — for free!
That was it for today's blog, friend.
Hope we were able to provide value!
Until next time,
- The Spark + Mint team
What is the metaverse, why you should care, and how you can invest and take advantage of this new universe brewing...
If you've been around for the past two years, you should have heard the term "Metaverse" several times. Or more.
In fact, you may have seen some news related to the Metaverse on Facebook just today, for example.
But the thing is…
Does anybody really know what the Metaverse is?
Or how does this affect Web3?
Or whether you should be investing in Metaverse projects?
Because, if you don't, don't sweat it — that's what today's article is about.
To explain what the Metaverse is, why you should care, and how you can invest and take advantage of this new universe brewing.
So, now, without further ado…
Suit up, because we're going on a trip around the Metaverse!
On a high level, the Metaverse is a fictional universe in which integrated virtual environments coexist with users.
Which means… It's a VR space in which you can have a character (or Avatar) to move around, engage with other people, and sometimes even own assets.
Just like The Conversation says, the Metaverse is…
"An integrated network of 3D virtual worlds. These worlds are accessed through a virtual reality headset — users navigate the Metaverse using their eye movements, feedback controllers, or voice commands.
The headset immerses the user, stimulating what is known as presence, created by generating the physical sensation of actually being there.
To see the Metaverse in action, we can look at popular massively multiplayer virtual reality games such as Rec Room or Horizon Worlds, where participants use avatars to interact with each other and manipulate their environment."
Now, there are several layers to this that ACHE for clarification:
To enter the Metaverse, you'll need a VR headset — a head-mounted device that provides an immersive experience to the user.
Also, while navigating through the Metaverse, you'll be able to move, touch, and even communicate with other users. But rest assured, the 'feel' aspect is limited. It's not like you'll get hurt or anything.
It's like having a way to "fool" your brain to think you're actually in the spot the Metaverse is set on.
And while only the imagination can give us a glimpse of what the Metaverse could be, developers are currently cooking some wild stuff to wow our brains.
And that's always worth keeping an eye on for future investment purposes… Especially if you're into Web3 investing.
Pretty much like a 3D social network, to put it that way.
See, the Metaverse is on ongoing expansion. Developers are getting more and more creative. And with the current efforts focused on Web3 development, we're at the point where you'll soon be able to do the unthinkable inside this virtual world in a good way.
Wired, like they said in their Metaverse article, states that to sell the future look of what this new cyberspace could be, Web3 developers must rely on some sense of familiarity for users to "buy it in":
"The paradox of defining the Metaverse is that you have to define the present for it to be the future. We already have MMOs that are essentially entire virtual worlds, digital concerts, video calls with people from all over the world, online avatars, and commerce platforms. So to sell these things as a new vision of the world, there has to be some element of it that's new.
Spend enough time discussing the Metaverse, and someone will inevitably (and exhaustingly) reference fictional stories like Snow Crash—the 1992 novel that coined the term "metaverse"—or Ready Player One, which depicts a VR world where everyone works, plays, and shops.
Combined with the general pop culture idea of holograms and heads-up displays (basically anything Iron Man has used in his last 10 movies), these stories serve as an imaginative reference point for what the Metaverse—a metaverse that tech companies might actually sell as something new—could look like."
Another great way to explain what the Metaverse looks like right now is simply looking at Decentraland. A Web3 OG.
This DAO allows users to create their Avatars and explore LANDS (as they define it) — all designed by community members.
To make it more interesting…
You can even sell LAND. Invest in LAND. And trade LAND as well.
So, essentially, we're witnessing the origins of a new digital economy — very similar to what NFTs are and what cryptocurrencies once were.
And sure, it's fine. But you may be thinking…
Let's put it this way:
Facebook (now META) changed its name for a reason. They are and will continue to be heavily invested in the Metaverse, and, therefore, Web3.
Marketing, socials, and transactions as we know them will eventually transform.
And being ahead of schedule is always the right thing to do. Especially if you're into investing.
Like a wise man once said: "3 days before a deadline is where excellence is."
And the deadline for investing in Metaverse seems far away…
But time's running out. Each day that goes by.
And you should also care because the top 1% of companies worldwide are taking the Metaverse more seriously… Putting their money where their mouth is.
For example: Nike. They filed seven trademark applications in 2021 to make and sell virtual sneakers.
Or Walmart, who appears to be venturing into the Metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of NFTs.
And, of course, Microsoft's massive US$68.7 billion acquisition of game developing giant Activision Blizzard.
So, what does that say to you and us?
We're at the edge of something big. And it has a lot to do with Web3.
If big companies are investing… We'd say it's safe to assume that everyone else should.
Disclaimer: most of the following information is purely assumptive.
This means there's no sure way to know where the Metaverse will be in the next 10 years… But that doesn't mean we cannot do our best to read the room.
There are 3 "predictions" that we, Spark + Mint, consider most accurate.
First one would be The Economic Times's take: The Metaverse being the new normal for remote working.
"With major players like Meta entering this space and confidently signaling it could be the new future, it is only a matter of time before we see other entities following suit. It could lead to an exponential expansion of the boundaries of the Metaverse and unlock vast volumes of value hitherto unknown to consumers and investors alike.
The future of Metaverse also spans on an idea of running openly, almost without any interruption from a single community or company, as the participation of creators will be from across the world as more brands are looking to open their outlets on the broader Metaverse just like on the internet of the current times."
Now, for the second prediction, we'll take The New York's Post words here: We might actually be able to travel the world inside the Metaverse.
"Imagine scaling Everest, swimming with hammerheads, or skydiving over the Grand Canyon — without ever leaving your living room. All will supposedly be possible in the Metaverse, a new level of virtual reality being developed by the world's top tech gurus.
In its fully realized form, the Metaverse promises to offer true-to-life sights, sounds and even smells, where a tour of ancient Greece or a visit to a Seoul café can happen from your home, Curry said. Decked out with full-spectrum VR headsets, smart clothing and tactile-responsive haptic gloves, the at-home traveler can touch the Parthenon in Athens or taste the rich foam of a Korean dalgona coffee."
Finally, the last prediction comes from META — through Digitaltrends's words: Metaverse's complete form or capacity may be in sight already. And it's 5-10 years ahead.
"We think the metaverse will build on this foundation to become the next generation of the internet and the next evolution in social technology," said Ruth Bram, Meta executive producer. "Both the hardware and software need more work, and it may take five to 10 years to fully bring it to life."
Bram went on to emphasize that the Metaverse has been pioneered by gaming in how it has allowed developers to build in 3D and people to connect in new ways. But according to the quote above, it might take longer for the larger concept of the Metaverse to be fully realized."
And… If you ask us, it's as real as Web3 developers want it to become. Facebook is hands-on. Investing people are into it too. So, it's just a matter of time…
A matter of 5-10 years, to be precise.
Crypto, Metaverse, and Web3 are thick as thieves.
Just like Fool says:
"The Metaverse, cryptocurrency, Web3. Besides all three of these things being hot technology buzzwords, what do they have in common? For many tech developers and investors, the Metaverse and Crypto are intertwined and will become part of Web3 -- a decentralized internet controlled by individual users rather than big companies."
But not only that.
Crypto technology and Metaverse come from the same mind: Satoshi Nakamoto.
Thanks to Blockchain technology, both Web3 and Crypto are co-existent.
It's what reduces the cost and speed between transactions and information sharing. What gives life to this virtual ecosystem.
To add importance to the use of Crypto in the Metaverse, it's important to remember that cryptocurrencies were precisely designed to allow the users to regain control of their finances — and its decentralized autonomy that the Metaverse enables the user to experience as well.
Allowing Fool to continue with the subject…
"There are lots of 3D immersive worlds in existence today, such as video games where players can interact with each other in real-time. By some definitions, though, these 3D worlds don't truly become part of the Metaverse until they have a fully-fledged digital economy.
Many of these games and services allow users to purchase digital items. For avid video gamers, this is a common practice. Outfits and accessories can be purchased to customize your in-game look or improve player performance. Cloud computing-based services utilize a similar concept, enabling a free-to-use or cheap starter package but locking premium or add-on features behind a paywall."
So, your BTC, Solana, or Ethereum might come in handy for a quick shopping sesh at the Metaverse after all.
As of today, there are three main ways to get yourself into the Metaverse investment world:
Let's break each one down to lay out more details.
Virtual land. Same as Real Estate, but in the Metaverse. You can buy pieces of virtual land and trade them for other assets — or, like Crypto, you can invest and hold your virtual land for when prices go up.
It's still early, so as general advice, waiting until prices go up seems like the wisest thing to do.
You can learn more about virtual land in Decentraland, for instance.
Gobankingrates lays out the details on investing in NFTs (in the Metaverse), and they say:
"The world-famous art gallery and auction firm, Sotheby's, runs a digital art gallery in Decentraland, Sotheby's Metaverse. Here, you can purchase NFTs of digital art. You can also purchase merchandise in the form of NFTs from top brands like Gucci or Adidas.
If you're purchasing NFTs in the Metaverse, you'll need to login to the Metaverse through the platform or world of your choice, connect your cryptocurrency wallet and make your purchase."
On a high level, you can buy NFT art from the Metaverse as it's easy to accomplish. It's a fan favorite because NFTs are becoming more common over the years and people know what to look for and avoid. So, it's also a safe bet.
You can also invest in the Metaverse by purchasing Crypto. Coins like MANA and SAND are in places like Coinbase, so finding their value and fulfilling the transaction shouldn't be any issue.
But, as with any type of Metaverse investment… Doing your own research is the best way to go first. And we recently released a blog showing you how to do just that.
For more insights, there's just one more thing to do…
We launch weekly updates and insights on everything Crypto, Web3, and Metaverse, so your research takes less time, and you get a trusted source of information in a noisy world.
Thanks again for reading, fellow enthusiasts.
Until next time!
- The Spark + Mint Team
Developing the brand identity for the free artists dao
Innovation shapes culture and culture shapes innovation.
The Web3 world that we're trying to shape together isn't just about tech - it's predominantly about improving the way we operate, collaborate and create opportunities for one another in this world we share.
It's about taking the power away from the few and putting it into the hands of the many or at least - creating the opportunity to give the voiceless a voice.
The music industry is far from perfect and most would describe it as pretty archaic and top down with the power and control resting in the hands of the Label.
Web3 is giving new hope to empower music makers looking to start creative projects and build communities around them.
While NFT's are becoming an essential piece of any Web3 Musical strategy, It's the DAO's (decentralized autonomous organizations) that hold the largest key to shaping the way artists raise funds for their work and create communities that can share in the future value the artists create.
Spark + Mint is humbled to have had the chance to help one such DAO - The Free Artists DAO, get their ball rolling through core Brand definition and identity work.
From a design perspective, what could be more fun than creating a new record label - let alone a decentralized one called "Free Artistis".
It was and remains one of the most creative and inspired brand work any of us have engaged with in our careers. The brand ambitions were bold:
In order to be able to complete our goals for this collaboration in a short period of time and allow our team to be unblocked to activate their community building and marketing efforts and get into Product development mode, we needed to work fast and rely on frameworks and processes to accelerate Brand Development work.
Ultimately, the process was super collaborative and because of that ongoing and constructive approach - we were able to come to an identity we were all excited about.
The Free Artists DAO is still in development. If you're interested to connect with their team re: investment, careers or partnerships - let us know and we'd be happy to make an intro.