ith all of the hype surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it’s easy to lose sight of the actual technological revolution unfolding before our eyes. As someone interested primarily in the technical aspect of NFTs and crypto, I often think about the more practical takes on what’s occurring.
One use case for NFTs I’ve been interested in is their use as marketing devices for companies and brands. In the world of publishing, the best example of this has come from the TIME Magazine NFT project.
In September 2021, TIME Magazine announced TIMEPieces: Building a Better Future, their genesis NFT project. The goal of TIMEPieces is to highlight the artistry and specific artists that make each new magazine cover iconic.
To accomplish this, TIME reached out to artists worldwide, including previous cover artists, to develop each NFT.
D.W. Pine, the Creative Director for the magazine, wrote a piece on the genesis project, stating:
We reached out to 19 artists from nearly every continent and a wide range of artistic disciplines and backgrounds. We asked each to create a piece of art centered around the theme of building a better future – the blank canvas was theirs to fill.
To date, TIMEPieces contains five distinct NFT collections and a new decentralized magazine issue:
My favorite so far is TIME: Issue 01. You can flip through the pages of the issue directly from the OpenSea marketplace, where all of the TIMEPieces NFTs are listed. Plus, it highlights Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the revolutionary Ethereum blockchain.
TIME Magazine has established itself as a leader in Web3
The release of the TIMEPieces genesis project marks the publication’s heavy investment into the Web3 community and infrastructure. They’ve created spectacular examples of NFTs done right and utilized just about every Web3 standard for their projects.
For starters, they created a special subdomain for their latest NFT launches. Using smart contracts, this acts as a landing page for users to mint new NFTs (minting is when a user writes an object onto the blockchain via a transaction). The subdomain is Web3 compatible, meaning that users can connect to the site with a non-custodial wallet extension. After that, they can manage their NFTs directly on the site.
Second, TIME also links to their listings on the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea where users can view the secondary market. This is where users who have minted TIME’s NFTs can relist them. Users who missed out on the initial launch sale can buy them this way. NFT marketplaces also provide users with additional information and statistics surrounding each listing.
Token holders and others interested in following TIME’s Web3 endeavors can join the publication’s official Discord channel. Building a solid community is a cornerstone to the success of an NFT project. By extension, these communities help with brand loyalty. Discord has become a favorite among NFT communities.
Finally, with their pivot into Web3, TIME Magazine allows readers to subscribe to traditional magazine issues with cryptocurrencies as payment.
I won’t lie — for every tastefully done NFT project, there are hundreds of cash grabs and scams. Given the lack of a regulatory framework for this nascent technology, it’s no surprise there’s a Wild West feel to it all. However, that’s not stopping industry leaders from showing others how it’s really done.
TIME Magazine’s foray into Web3 should reveal to other publications where the world is headed. In my opinion, every company in existence will eventually need to establish an NFT strategy to stay relevant. NFTs are more than just an investment vehicle. They’re a technology that adds provenance, transparency, security and accessibility to digital objects.