30 votes

Reddit launches NFTs

27 comments

  1. TavisNamara
    Link
    There's an ongoing crash and they chose now of all times to release it. Tonedeaf, absurd, very nearly insane. Even aside from the simple fact that the blockchain has zero practical uses that...

    There's an ongoing crash and they chose now of all times to release it. Tonedeaf, absurd, very nearly insane. Even aside from the simple fact that the blockchain has zero practical uses that cannot be better addressed by pre-existing tech that's safer, more easily managed, and vastly easier to set up, this is just the worst possible time to try this nonsense. I'm still using reddit here and there, but every day that passes I feel less and less inclined to return, and their adamant refusal to ever fix things (like the freaking video player, for goodness sake, they can set up a blockchain scam but can't fix a video player?!) while constantly rolling out ideas nobody asked for, nobody wants, and which end up being a net negative for the site's enjoyability, usability, and more... It certainly isn't helping.

    34 votes
  2. [3]
    Diff
    Link
    Am I getting hit with deja vu? Didn't we already do this almost exactly a year ago now? Struggling to figure out the difference between now and then other than they toned down the prices and...

    Am I getting hit with deja vu? Didn't we already do this almost exactly a year ago now? Struggling to figure out the difference between now and then other than they toned down the prices and eliminated the ability to pay with crypto.

    16 votes
    1. [2]
      shiruken
      Link Parent
      They seem to be going out of their way to avoid calling this product an NFT, probably because of the reputation that NFTs have earned over the past year. Functionally, I'm not sure there's any...

      They seem to be going out of their way to avoid calling this product an NFT, probably because of the reputation that NFTs have earned over the past year. Functionally, I'm not sure there's any difference between the Cryptosnoo NFTs you linked and these new Collectible Avatars. The card design is identical and the url used to customize your avatar with these styles is the same: https://www.reddit.com/avatar/nft.

      5 votes
      1. Fiachra
        Link Parent
        They're definitely avoiding the word in the post, probably because it's a downvote magnet, but in the 'Read More' link at the end they almost immediately call them NFTs:

        They're definitely avoiding the word in the post, probably because it's a downvote magnet, but in the 'Read More' link at the end they almost immediately call them NFTs:

        Collectible Avatars are limited-edition avatars from Reddit that provide owners with unique benefits on the Reddit platform. The Creator Collection was made by independent creators in partnership with Reddit. They are powered by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Polygon blockchain, so you’ll need a Vault (your digital wallet on Reddit) to store them.

        10 votes
  3. [2]
    Fiachra
    Link
    Why release it now, at seemingly the worst possible time? My guess is either: It was in development until now, and by the time it was ready for release the market had crashed and they weren't...

    Why release it now, at seemingly the worst possible time? My guess is either:

    1. It was in development until now, and by the time it was ready for release the market had crashed and they weren't willing to just abandon the project.

    2. They think enough people will try to 'buy the dip' to make it a success. I highly doubt we're at the bottom of the crash yet but I'd believe that crypto bros on Reddit believe that we are.

    10 votes
    1. raze2012
      Link Parent
      #1 was definitely a factor. Reddit is a huge site and you can't just whip up something like this in a month. as for #2, who knows? Stocks are weird enough and crypto is even weirder. Maybe they do...

      #1 was definitely a factor. Reddit is a huge site and you can't just whip up something like this in a month.

      as for #2, who knows? Stocks are weird enough and crypto is even weirder. Maybe they do think they are close to the optimal "buy low sell high" point

      1 vote
  4. HotPants
    Link
    Oh man, you have to watch the short announcement video... https://old.reddit.com/r/CollectibleAvatars/comments/vtab05/introducing_collectible_avatars/ I can't even tell if that is serious, tongue...

    Oh man, you have to watch the short announcement video...

    https://old.reddit.com/r/CollectibleAvatars/comments/vtab05/introducing_collectible_avatars/

    87 to choose from!

    Buy them all!

    I can't even tell if that is serious, tongue in cheek, or what?

    You can subscribe here then see all 87 NFTs here.

    There are some going for $75 that only have 100+ available, presumably that means 100-125, and presumably because none of the 87 are sold out yet or under the 100+ threshold, that means there are not a lot of buyers?

    7 votes
  5. [4]
    Fiachra
    Link
    Okay, reading over the details: So it sounds like the minting is centralised at Reddit, I'm guessing this is so they can attempt some sort of moderation process and avoid the PR disaster of having...

    Okay, reading over the details:

    on primary sales Reddit charges a total fee of 5% to cover minting and related blockchain fees, as well as to support the creator program.

    Creators are also entitled to 50% of the 5% royalty fee if Collectible Avatars from their series are resold by owners; Reddit is entitled to the remaining 50%.

    So it sounds like the minting is centralised at Reddit, I'm guessing this is so they can attempt some sort of moderation process and avoid the PR disaster of having a bunch of extremist imagery associated with their company on an append-only ledger.

    I wonder if this is also covering gas fees? It'd be interesting to see if a spike in gas fees would be passed on to customers or if Reddit would just eat the losses. Might be why this is only a limited-time offer - they're putting an element of their business in the hands of a blockchain that they don't control. Who knows what could happen.

    Also, is it me or is a 50:50 revenue share for the artists a bit steep?

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      Gas fees? I'm not into crypto/NFT so not sure what this is. The 50/50 as I'm reading it is, a split on resales. So if I buy a NFT for $100, the creator gets $95 and reddit takes $5. If I then...

      Gas fees? I'm not into crypto/NFT so not sure what this is.

      The 50/50 as I'm reading it is, a split on resales. So if I buy a NFT for $100, the creator gets $95 and reddit takes $5. If I then resell it for $200 later reddit still takes a 5% cut ($10), but splits that cut with the creator 50/50. I could be wrong though.
      I think this is the real reason it's on the blockchain, so they can track it and keep getting a cut each time it's resold and half that cut goes to the creator as well. Which isn't that bad of an idea and I think a way for things like digital games (looking at you Steam) to be resold like physical copies.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Fiachra
        Link Parent
        Gas fees are the transaction fees every time you alter the blockchain in any way, so creating the NFT, transferring it or buying/selling it all incur a gas fee. They vary based on demand, so if a...

        Gas fees are the transaction fees every time you alter the blockchain in any way, so creating the NFT, transferring it or buying/selling it all incur a gas fee. They vary based on demand, so if a blockchain is very busy it can spike the gas fees to ridculous amounts for a while:

        For nearly two years, between Jan. 2021 and May 2022, the average gas fee required by the Ethereum network was roughly $40, with May 1, 2022 recording the highest average daily gas cost of $196.638.

        The question is, if this blockchain that Reddit doesn't control sees some turmoil and starts charging $50 or $100 fees on top of the sale price of these Reddit avatars, is Reddit going to eat that loss, or will they endanger the project by passing the cost on to buyers? I know some NFTs go for thousands but I can't picture many people wanting to sink $100 into a Reddit avatar, but maybe I'm wrong and gas fees will just be a drop in the bucket.

        I think you're bang on that the appeal to companies is that they can collect a commission on this secondary market, more or less passively. But blockchain projects can be chaotic, and trusting a component of a business to it can be risky. There's any number of disasters that could happen to that blockchain that are out of Reddit's control to prevent, but would still make them look really bad or just sink the project altogether.

        I'm guessing that's why it's a limited-time offer; it's a trial run.

        5 votes
  6. [14]
    Macil
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm not sure I expect this to be successful but I'm interested at seeing experimentation happen like this. Digital collectables and marketplaces are interesting in some Steam games like TF2; I...

    I'm not sure I expect this to be successful but I'm interested at seeing experimentation happen like this. Digital collectables and marketplaces are interesting in some Steam games like TF2; I think the choice of doing them in a forum (reddit) is weird, but so was doing it in games at first, and I can't think of any principle that suggests it's inherently more permissible to do in a game than a forum.

    Some people suggest NFTs are completely different from and worse than Steam inventory items because they involve blockchains, but I've never seen critics actually explore what features are gotten by involving blockchains: the big difference between this and Steam/TF2 skins is that these could officially be securely resold at outside marketplaces (that the creator isn't required to have any relationship with) and have sales cashed out instead of kept as Steam company scrip, which seems like a strict improvement over Steam/TF2 skins. Even if you're someone who thinks this is an anti-feature, saying that NFTs don't get anything from using a blockchain is just misrepresenting it. (I could kind of see the case for painting it as an anti-feature, but it's weird to me to imagine someone who likes the idea of the Steam inventory and marketplace, though also thinks it's actually important that the the financialization is hampered by shoddy insecure options for cashing out. The idea of that argument feels like something that would come from a status quo bias.)

    I can see part of an argument against this experimentation: maybe the Steam inventory and marketplace was good as a strange small niche but that the growth of the model to more of the tech industry is concerning because maybe say it encourages gambling more than it should be. But I worry following this logic just means that the Steam marketplace can't ever have competition and is owed a monopoly on the idea.

    Ultimately I think the advertising-supported model of the internet is deeply flawed, in that it incentivizes breaking people's privacy on a mass scale and in that it's bad at supporting good content that people actually want, and so I'm interested in seeing more experiments in getting site funding. Subscription-based sites/games/etc where access is entirely gated on payments usually fail to grow at all, but it seems like a promising model to have places where a subset of users pay for features that can be lived without who then subsidize the site for all the free users. Accepting money from people who want superficial cosmetic signifiers seems like an effective way to do it. It's basically what YouTubers with Patreons offering credit shoutout rewards are doing. The Steam inventory / NFT way just has the interesting benefit on top of that as if you could sell off your Patreon reward when you were done with it, which seems like a useful property for digital things to have that has been shamefully absent from most marketplaces.

    4 votes
    1. [10]
      TheJorro
      Link Parent
      I don't think comparing NFTs and crypto to Steam Inventory and Marketplace is as good as a comparison as it initially seems, even though there are immediate parallels. They serve two rather...

      I don't think comparing NFTs and crypto to Steam Inventory and Marketplace is as good as a comparison as it initially seems, even though there are immediate parallels. They serve two rather different intentions and aim for a different result in the end, and the big thing about Steam Inventory/Marketplace is more the method than the product or asset. Even though lootboxes and microtransactions (note: I'm going to just refer to both of these as lootboxes for the sake of brevity) are nearly inherent parts of the conversation around it now, it's important to note that the Steam Inventory and Marketplace functions are actually another product on a level above even those things, and something that doesn't really exist anywhere else.

      Steam Inventory and Marketplace introduced a net new ability for players to trade in-game items, even before lootboxes were introduced, and was designed as an official and secure alternative to grey market sites and trades that had already been going on. I suppose sort of in a similar spirit to how Steam was designed to combat Valve's theory on piracy: convenience trumps sketchiness.

      Even though the funds come in as Steam company scrip (amazing, btw), it's still a result of you getting a dollar value where previously there was none to be had (unless you engaged in some shady dealings). Before, what would I have done with all my duplicate TF2 weapons? They'd just sit there. Now I could essentially get a retailer discount on buying new games. Neat. Even eventually the when lootboxes came into the picture, one thing that set CSGO apart from every other game with lootboxes was that I could sell the lootboxes directly for that retail discount. I used to buy the $15 battlepasses on launch in CSGO and then make my money back and then some within 2 hours by selling those lootboxes without opening them. Every other game made you sit there looking at it, prompting you to microtransact for a key before you could do anything with it. I have never been able to turn lootboxes into actual dollar-value rewards outside of Steam Inventory and Marketplace, there is simply no mechanism for it. Maybe there are a few games out there where it's possible but they're more exceptional than the rule.

      With NFTs, it's not quite the same approach. Instead of being able to sell what you already have for a dollar value, they are instead asking you to purchase something for a dollar value with a chance that you can eventually turn it back into a dollar value. You start at a net negative and then go from there, hoping the value increases over time and you can turn it into a net positive. It's not using something you already had and giving you the ability to turn it into a net benefit for yourself, it's an investment. There is even an argument to be made that NFTs are a front to get dollars moved into crypto in the first place.

      I have a lot of ill feelings towards lootboxes, microtransactions, and NFTs, but I do not towards Steam Inventory and Marketplace, and even the concept of cryptocurrency itself. If anything, I wish there were more things like Steam Inventory and Marketplace but it is very much a knife's edge walk to do it, as Diablo 3's Real Money Auction House showed.

      I hope I explained this well but I'm getting the feeling I've thrown out a jumble of ideas and buzzwords.

      9 votes
      1. [9]
        Macil
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I find it strange that you start off emphasizing it's a good thing that you only get Steam company scrip from reselling. It's like if you could only return things to Walmart for Walmart credits,...

        I find it strange that you start off emphasizing it's a good thing that you only get Steam company scrip from reselling. It's like if you could only return things to Walmart for Walmart credits, and you also were prevented from being able to resell things you got there outside of Walmart for actual dollars. Surely it'd be better the other way; praising Steam for only allowing it being cashed as Steam company scrip only makes sense if you think the alternative is not allowing cashing out at all and seems weird to praise it in direct comparison to an option that is more open.

        I have never been able to turn lootboxes into actual dollar-value rewards outside of Steam Inventory and Marketplace

        I don't know if you're saying that A) you've never been successful at selling Steam inventory outside of Steam's own marketplace, which probably has a lot to do with Steam restricting their inventory to their systems and outside marketplaces have trouble because they operate outside of the terms of service and are untrusted because they have the technical ability to run away with people's deposited items; these are all things that blockchains/NFTs directly solve by creating an open ecosystem. Or B) you're just pointing out that Steam inventory and marketplace don't have many competitors, which is a weak reason to argue that they should continue to not have competition or competition that does things differently.

        There is even an argument to be made that NFTs are a front to get dollars moved into crypto in the first place.

        The linked video part talks for a while about the weird economics of pay-to-earn, which sure they only do work out in the seemingly weird case that there's enough speculative money flowing in, but that same type of system is exactly what you were just praising TF2 for doing and also criticizing NFT-using systems for supposedly not doing ("Before, what would I have done with all my duplicate TF2 weapons? They'd just sit there. Now I could essentially get a retailer discount on buying new games.", "With NFTs, it's not quite the same approach. Instead of being able to sell what you already have for a dollar value, they are instead asking you to purchase something for a dollar value with a chance that you can eventually turn it back into a dollar value.").

        I think NFT's proximity to cryptocurrencies and the way that could possibly overly encourage broader cryptocurrency speculation is one downside to them, but given how profitable it is for Valve to operate the Steam marketplace, I don't think one has to ascribe any ulterior motives to a company wanting to do something similar in a way that looks easier and better to them (since they don't have to operate the resale marketplaces themselves).

        1 vote
        1. Diff
          Link Parent
          I thought that was the interesting part of his comment. With Steam you're getting something from nothing. For example I was playing Rust and just happened to get a skin for a mask with a skull on...

          I find it strange that you start off emphasizing it's a good thing that you only get Steam company scrip from reselling. It's like if you could only return things to Walmart for Walmart credits, and you also were prevented from being able to resell things you got there outside of Walmart for actual dollars. Surely it'd be better the other way; praising Steam for only allowing it being cashed as Steam company scrip only makes sense if you think the alternative is not allowing cashing out at all and seems weird to praise it in direct comparison to an option that is more open.

          I thought that was the interesting part of his comment. With Steam you're getting something from nothing. For example I was playing Rust and just happened to get a skin for a mask with a skull on it, it was just a random drop but it got me a few dollars off the next game I got. It wasn't a return, it was something I got from nowhere. That's pretty similar conceptually to how mining works even, except instead of burning electricity as a sacrificial offering for the unholy void, I'm burning electricity to play the games I enjoy.

          That's different from the Walmart return and NFT situations where it's exchanging money for a thing, then back for money. And the NFT situation has added forces in the form of gas fees. At least with Walmart and other retailers, if you're unhappy you get back the money you put in. With an NFT, the only way for you to escape the thing you bought is to sell it to someone else at a substantially higher price. The situation is different with Steam because you don't put money in expecting to extract value back out of it. It's not speculative in the same way.

          3 votes
        2. Fiachra
          Link Parent
          But it's reselling a thing you got for free, as a byproduct of using the service - the thing popped into existence as you were playing the game. It's company scrip but you're getting it for free,...

          you only get Steam company scrip from reselling

          But it's reselling a thing you got for free, as a byproduct of using the service - the thing popped into existence as you were playing the game. It's company scrip but you're getting it for free, so it's not a problem. If I bought it for real money and got company scrip on resale, now that'd be a problem.

          Steam I think is a case where I think the scrip approach is a positive thing - communities behave differently when money is involved vs. when they're just having fun, so the scrip limits the potential for situations where people chasing profit crowd out the people playing just to enjoy the game.

          In the case of Reddit, I don't think we know enough yet, but if these NFTs become speculative assets like other NFTs have then the price gets inflated. Reddit might make money and crypto investors might be happy flexing a $500 avatar on their profile, but the vast majority of the user base will automatically be excluded. So if the core functionality of having custom avatars for users is the main goal, this is a potential reason NFTs are not going to serve it well. Like why not just have PFPs the way other sites do?

          3 votes
        3. [6]
          TheJorro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          That actually is the alternative I'm pointing out, yeah. It's Steam credit in dollars or a crowded video game inventory. I'll take the money. Further, I was also pointing out that NFTs are not...

          Surely it'd be better the other way; praising Steam for only allowing it being cashed as Steam company scrip only makes sense if you think the alternative is not allowing cashing out at all and seems weird to praise it in direct comparison to an option that is more open.

          That actually is the alternative I'm pointing out, yeah. It's Steam credit in dollars or a crowded video game inventory. I'll take the money. Further, I was also pointing out that NFTs are not actually an alternative despite the immediate parallels because they are intrinsically tied to cryptocurrencies.

          Basically: I like free money. That's all it amounts to. I play a round of CSGO because I enjoy the game, I get a fancy skin, I sell it for $3. Boom, I'm $3 richer in pure profit. It's not praise for actual company scrip, it's simply enjoying a discount for nothing. I bought a bunch of games off the back of this. Heck, last year I traded in all the Steam cards I built up over the past 10 years for $180 total. This cost me nothing except figuring out a Greasemonkey script.

          • Sidenote: I've been collecting Air Miles rewards for 12 years. I've spent thousands of dollars with Air Miles points in grocery stores, gas payments, travel costs, and more. I've somehow only got enough saved for a $150 item. Freakin' Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has given me more return on my time and money than an actual, widely recognized, and legitimate consumer points program. Can you blame me for being pretty keen on the Steam Marketplace? I also loathe lootboxes and microtransactions (more than most people, I promise) but I've experienced the benefits of the Steam Marketplace distinct and indepdentently of those two poison pills. There is something good happening there.

          This is not the same as returning something to Walmart for store credit because I would have had to pay for that thing in the first place. It's not profit. It's breaking even via exchanging cash for a gift card, and locking cash into company scrip. It's also not the same as NFTs because nobody's going around handing me an NFT for playing a video game. Instead, they're trying to sell me NFTs to use inside a video game. Sure, I could then trade it elsewhere but it's not pure profit. If a game is doing that and I'm unaware of it, then neat! But clearly I'm not playing that game, and the only NFT video game markets I've peeked at are all cash upfront to crypto, and then use that for your starter NFT.

          I don't know if you're saying that A) ... Or B)

          Neither. I'm saying Steam's the only game in town. If Epic was doing it with Rocket League, I'd be doing it there as well.

          The linked video part talks for a while about the weird economics of pay-to-earn, which sure they only do work out in the seemingly weird case that there's enough speculative money flowing in, but that same type of system is exactly what you were just praising TF2 for doing and also criticizing NFT-using systems for supposedly not doing

          No, there's very big difference: TF2 doesn't require you to put down money to start recouping dollars, whereas it is so required by the NFT game that players have created that "scholarship" for brand new players, a system that's basically venture capitalism. I linked that video to show that NFTs have always been designed to basically be another version of microtransactions (where you must put money down first) but using crypto whereas the Steam Marketplace was created to create safe trades between player inventories—and for actual dollars, not made up Steam Bucks.

          Yes, this does mean that someone had to input dollars in in the first place for dollars to even exist in the system but the whole theory is predicated on the idea that there are people who legitimately want to spend their money this way. But yet it is not required to participate in earnest at all. With NFTs, an initial investment seems to always be required.

          but given how profitable it is for Valve to operate the Steam marketplace, I don't think one has to ascribe any ulterior motives to a company wanting to do something similar in a way that looks easier and better to them (since they don't have to operate the resale marketplaces themselves).

          Sure but my point is that they're not really doing what Steam Marketplace actually does, even though it seems like it at a glance.

          2 votes
          1. [5]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            I'd be very interested in that Greasemonkey script if you'd be willing to share. The process of manually posting all the cards and things has been the sticking point for me selling off all the...

            I'd be very interested in that Greasemonkey script if you'd be willing to share. The process of manually posting all the cards and things has been the sticking point for me selling off all the unwanted stuff.

            3 votes
            1. [4]
              TheJorro
              Link Parent
              Here you go: Steam Economy Enhancer

              Here you go: Steam Economy Enhancer

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                Awesome, thanks!

                Awesome, thanks!

                1 vote
                1. TheJorro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  This prompted me to run it again along with some more CSGO skins I've picked up in recent years. I now have $160 in my Steam Wallet, from $0 when I linked that to you.

                  This prompted me to run it again along with some more CSGO skins I've picked up in recent years.

                  I now have $160 in my Steam Wallet, from $0 when I linked that to you.

                  2 votes
              2. cfabbro
                Link Parent
                Thanks a lot for sharing that. There is no way I could have done this manually without dying from the tedium. But now I will hopefully get a few free games out of it, once it's finally all sold. :)

                Thanks a lot for sharing that. There is no way I could have done this manually without dying from the tedium. But now I will hopefully get a few free games out of it, once it's finally all sold. :)

    2. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      I can't get past the fact that if Reddit had PFPs like other social media sites, I could get the same outcome by hiring an artist to draw me a good avatar, and Reddit wouldn't be taking a cut. I...

      I can't get past the fact that if Reddit had PFPs like other social media sites, I could get the same outcome by hiring an artist to draw me a good avatar, and Reddit wouldn't be taking a cut. I can still take that art and use it on other platforms.

      The only thing missing is that I can't resell the art later but, honestly I'm not sure it's even desirable to be able to resell someone else's intellectual property. It just seems like that the extra functionality of reselling would come with increased price, increased by however much the market thinks the functionality will be worth. But if I'm getting an avatar drawn by a skilled artist, I'm getting it because I want something personal to me, so I'm probably not going to be interested in reselling it. So in the end I think I, the person who just wants a custom PFP, is going to end up paying more for a reselling functionality that I'm probably never going to use cos I want to keep the art.

      5 votes
    3. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      These things are a cancer in TF2 and CSGO. Adding in a blockchain cranks my Scam-o-Meter up to 11. This kind of artificial scarcity goes against everything I found appealing about the internet...

      These things are a cancer in TF2 and CSGO. Adding in a blockchain cranks my Scam-o-Meter up to 11.

      This kind of artificial scarcity goes against everything I found appealing about the internet back in the '90s.

      4 votes
    4. raze2012
      Link Parent
      I'll be honest: I'm not against NFTs as a concept because it's not even the most asinine thing I've seen people collect. And to be frank, while I understand the environmental angle, I'm not gonna...

      I'll be honest: I'm not against NFTs as a concept because it's not even the most asinine thing I've seen people collect. And to be frank, while I understand the environmental angle, I'm not gonna pretend a much larger volume of servers being run are doing some noble cause and aren't instead just powering a bunch of mobile games, which are just as controversial as of late. So overall, it's a whatever concept that at worst is a solution to a problem no one had (outside of the obvious shareholder question of "how do I make even more money?")

      I've just never really jived much with how reddit has been trying to monetize a forum. The concept of being paid some subscription coverage for QoL features that should honestly be in base Reddit for a forum because someone paid real money and really liked your comment seems antithesis to a proper discussion platform, which Reddit has admittedly been diverging away from for the better part of 5 years.

      I didn't really care much about the profile customization personally, but I get that it can be appealing to people who value their accounts. But now even THAT is being monetized and gamed. I just wanted a place to talk about some niche media

      4 votes
  7. guts
    Link
    I really believe the young crowd is really going to buy them as they are available to pay with USD.

    I really believe the young crowd is really going to buy them as they are available to pay with USD.

    1 vote
  8. acdw
    Link
    My literal face reading this headline: :|

    My literal face reading this headline:

    :|