Dirt: Our NFT crowdfund campaign

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Dirt is a daily email about entertainment.

In order to fund its future, keep posting and paying contributors way more $$$, Dirt is selling NFT editions! One of those NFTs, Dirty S1 Pearl Pink, which comes in an edition of 30, is below. And you can find all the details and buy buttons here on Mirror, a crypto platform. Think of it like crowdfunding, only instead of a totebag you get some digital swag and a chance to participate in Dirt’s future. The rest of this newsletter explains it better, in the plainest language possible.

We’re the first newsletter funded by NFTs. The crowdfund is currently at 6.58 ETH or $17,000, so we’ll use at least that amount to make Dirt even better. We’re super excited!

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Wait what the fuck?

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are little bits of blockchain data that are attached to a digital image or video, making it a scarce object. In April 2021, Kyle sketched a plan for a NFT-based media company:

What would make publication NFTs compelling is strong art, a connection to the brand (provenance), and context, building a coherent body of NFT production that functions alongside and through the publication. It's important that the NFTs have a logic just as the editorial has a logic.

What we have been building with Dirt is that kind of context: a publication both about the cutting edge internet and of it. The three NFT editions that we released (100/100, 30/30, and 1/1) will fund the future of Dirt. Like any media company, we need to make money to pay for staff and generate the next season of Dirt content.

Why do the NFTs look like that?

These NFTs might look familiar to you: We’ve given our mascot Dirty the crypto treatment. Interactive designer Mark Costello brings our mascot to life in several colorways — the different gradients like different digital-aesthetic vibes. Using Dirty as a signifier of our community is part of the plan to cultivate a sense of belonging around this wacky experiment of ours:

Dirty is like the avatar of Dirt: they’re a formless, muddy blob that floats around the internet. What will Dirty do next? Dress up like a TV show character? Become animated or CGI? Imagine a kind of Pokemon or Cryptopunks-esque culture around the publication’s mascot, which gets translated into NFTs and other assets, which fund the publication over time, accruing value. (It’s like if The New Yorker’s Eustace Tilley were an NFT.)

This early sketches look toward a future universe of Dirty art!

What am I actually buying?

The NFTs are original digital art. You get the limited-edition animation (authenticated on the Ethereum blockchain) and you get a “social token” called $DIRT-S1, which is a kind of bespoke cryptocurrency that represents the Dirt community. Think of the token like a membership card or a magazine subscription: It’s another form of content.

The amount of token you get depends on how much you pay for the NFTs. In the future, token holders will get member rewards like new NFTs, more tokens for future seasons, and early access to content or new features. We’ll make an email listserv for all our crowdfund participants to discuss ideas and new development.

OK how do I actually buy this?

You’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet and some Ethereum currency. If you already have that, great: Just go to our post on Mirror and click on one of the NFT edition or auction boxes. Your wallet plug-in should pop up and ask if you want to spend your ETH.

If you don’t have any of that, it’s actually not that intimidating. Two options: 1) Buy some Ethereum using Coinbase Wallet and then pay on Mirror with Coinbase Wallet. 2) Install the Rainbow wallet app on your phone and you can use your debit card to buy some Ethereum right away. Rainbow will create a crypto wallet address for you; you can then install the Metamask plugin on your browser, load your wallet, and then log in to Mirror on the post.

You’ll need enough ETH to pay for the NFT as well as a “gas” fee, which pays for the computing power needed to authenticate the transaction. The 100/100 edition is about $130 USD and the 30/30 $512. The auction is currently at $3,200.

Is this a crazy scam?

This transaction is only about buying NFTs and tokens in order to crowdfund Dirt content, like getting a sticker for backing a Kickstarter. If you enjoy NFTs or tokens, or want Dirt to keep existing, then no, it’s not a scam.

Can I support Dirt without all this crypto bullshit?

Of course! The nice thing about the NFT sales is we don’t have to get that many people to support us to run for a long time. You’re supporting us already by being newsletter subscribers and hopefully weekly readers. We’ll come up with non-crypto funding methods in the future after this total experiment.

You could also throw us a RT or share on your favorite social network, though:

I still have a million questions…

Feel free to email newsletterdirt@gmail.com and we’ll answer in any way we can.

The Dirt: We don’t know what the future is but we’re willing to find out.