Short Story

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Ideascale link

Problem statement :

Many NFT marketplaces (such as Superrare) only let approved applicants mint NFTs. The NFTart market should be accessible to all.

Describe your solution to the problem

Building a decentralised, low-fee NFT marketplace on Cardano where barriers to entry and high fees are not a problem!

Relevant experience

Azeez (Marketing Manager)
Farouk (Designer/Arist)
Matt (Software Developer/Artist)
Marija (Financial Consultant)
+ ~20 Deisgners/Artists

Detailed plan (not required) – Fill in here any additional details

SOMINT- A Cardano NFT Marketplace

Cardano, get ready for a revolution within the NFT space that will bring a bottom-up, affordable approach to selling digital art online!

Today, many NFT exchanges/marketplaces (such as Superrare) heavily monitor who can put art on their platforms. For example, Superrare’s fees and commissions are significantly high for both the buyer and the artist, 15% + gas fees, and 3% + gas fees respectively.1 We believe this defeats the purpose of the crypto decentralisation movement. If artists, designers and tech enthusiasts had a place to share art freely, and if they could benefit from it financially, they would be more likely to use blockchain technology (read Cardano) to sell their art and expose the world to it.

In December 2020 NFT Art sales reached an all-time high of $8.2M. Currently the supermajority of NFT activity to date has taken place on Ethereum which suffers from scalability issues due to high gas fees. This is a barrier to entry to a clearly lucrative & growing market for artists, as they are faced with high NFT minting costs which Cardano could eradicate.
SOMINT, an NFT marketplace built upon Cardano, could be the place for people to auction, exchange and sell their art within a free market, without barriers to entry.

 

SO, what’s SOMINT’s current state?

We have already formed a team of six people. We are at the initial funding phase and we’re currently constructing the main architecture for our DApp. We have acquired the domain for our website, which is under construction.

 

SO, What is SOMINT?

SOMINT is a digital art marketplace, a secondary market and exchange for Cardano-based NFTs. So far, there has not been a large-scale attempt to implement token-exchange on Cardano, and we believe we’ve found an ideal team for that. Our aim is to be as decentralized as possible, where the community dictates the art they see, not us.

We want our platform to be artist centric! There will be 0 fees until the artist reaches 1000$ in sales. The highest fees would be recurring 2.5% process fees, since the transaction fees on cardano are so low, we can afford this and still be profitable.
We want to have an approach that is the opposite of existing art platforms, both in the physical and digital world, where only a select few have the privilege of posting art.

 

SO, Who is SOMINT?

SOMINT is a team of artists and designers, developers, financial professionals and marketers. We are currently a team of 6 people from Ireland, Nigeria, Germany, Serbia and the Netherlands. We will be working with a variety of artists across the globe, including established and up and coming artists. We are committed to making the platform a welcoming environment for artists at all stages in their career. We’ve received multiple inquiries via Twitter and Telegram, and they are enthusiastic about the potential of such a marketplace and also interested in helping us however they can.

The cofounders are Azeez and Matt, with Marija, Farouk, Ronald and Sandip’s team playing a crucial role in our inception process. We collectively speak 10+ languages (including major ones like Mandarin, Spanish, French, German and of course English).

Azeez is a marketing manager and creative who is passionate about showing the opportunities that exist within the blockchain ecosystem for all people, especially creatives and others who may think this technology is only for tech orientated individuals. He’s the mind behind our marketing and branding strategy.

Matt is a software developer with years of experience in front and back-end development. He’s also working on DeFi Authority, an art project of 25 pieces and is currently setting up a pool for SOMINT. He’s the product owner, the brains behind the architecture, and a developer for the project.

Marija is our consultant for developing a financial model and a long-term business plan with several years of experience working in the finance and consulting sector, advising startups on growth and development strategies. She’s responsible for figuring out our financial plan.

Farouk is our designer, artist and an experienced curator. He’ll be responsible for designing the SOMIN brand world and visual approach as well as the web page and bringing the art scene to SOMINT. He’ll also be working alongside Azeez to develop our marketing and branding strategy and campaigns to introduce artists to the platform.

Ronald and Sandip are our partners from the Netherlands who are active within the Cardano ecosystem and have built multiple blockchain projects – specifically NFT projects. Their past experience and insight has already been of great use to us. Ronald is running the stake pool and is committed to the Cardano ecosystem since early 2017 and offered to assist Matt to get the stake pool for our project up and running.

This team’s experience consist of:

  1. Full stack and blockchain development with a deep knowledge of devops, 5+ years experience.
  2. Full stack developer with 3+ years experience

 

Whether Ronald and Sandip join the team depends on this funding! So your vote for our idea is super important!

 

We’re SO excited to have everyone on the team and believe we have all the skills we need to be successful. Also having such a diverse team helps with ensuring as many perspectives as possible are taken into account within our design and development process. If this is to be for all people we need views from all people.

SO, how can I help?

Funding is our top priority, so that we can build a dedicated development team that works on the delivery of the Dapp. Further funding is needed due to legal fees surrounding such a platform, which will take the bulk of our budget (up to 200k Euros!). We plan to seek this funding elsewhere. By applying for Fund 3 we wanted to ensure that there is a market for the Dapp and that it brings value to the Cardano ecosystem. It’s important for us that we approached the Cardano community first, to ensure this platform is something that is wanted and it’s value to the protocol is seen.
We’re open to experienced developers who’d like to contribute to realizing our idea. We are also looking for funding and advisors who would like to help us make our DApp come to life. We’d also like to collaborate with people who have created NFT marketplaces and/or NFT art on Ethereum.
We are always interested in skilled people that like to contribute to our project, so feel free to reach out!

SO Costly:

We’ve tried to make our budget as low as possible, and have found amazing deals within this community!

Team costs:

  • We have already found a development team (see the “Who is SOMINT?” section). They are willing to work for 20,000 USD for the first 6 months of development.
  • Marketing and Business development costs 3000 USD
  • Financial Expert’s fees to pay out (preparing the funding proposal): 1,500 USD
  • Designer fees to pay out (Logo, Website Design, Branding): 1,500 USD

Setup fees:

  • Domain costs for the first two years: €94.79 Euros (for somint.io and somint.art)
  • Costs of registering a company €300 + VAT.

Founder compensation:

  • We’d like to allocate ~3000 USD for Matt and Azeez to be able to have greater involvement in the development and realization of this project as they will be less involved in their current full-time jobs

Therefore, we’d propose 30,000 USD in Ada as a total cost for the first 6 months of SOMINT.

SO, how will our business model work?

We planned to use a model that has low fees and low barriers to entry. This means we will have many users compared to other markets such as SuperRare, Niftygateway, MakersPlace, KnownOrigin and other similar platforms, who have a very limited group of artists and collectors in comparison to the number of artists in the cryptoart space.

 

The total number of artists on these platforms is ~4,073 , which we believe to be only a small fraction of the artists in the digital art world. Our platform can surpass that number in less than two years after we are fully operational. The current marketplaces are less favorable due to their exclusivity and higher transaction fees (while Cardano transaction fees are estimated at 0.16-0.17 ADA). Our goal is to create a platform where all digital artists can participate in this growing marketplace, and eventually having a platform of 8,000+ users while charging a lower sales commission which will allow us to maintain and keep growing the platform.
We plan to allow premium users later, in case our costs aren’t covered.

 

SO, what’s the timeline?

As these usually go, we are speculating how our development timeline will look like. Here’s one possible timeline for our team

.

Funding Stage 1, Q2-Q3 2021:

  • Gather data on user experience from artists and buyers in the NFT space.
  • Create storyboards for the different actors in the system.
  • Design the solution architecture. Security and scalability of the solution are playing a major role as well as the modularity of it.
  • Preference here is to build the solution on the basis of microservices to create isolation and separation of concerns, achieve modularity and scalability and reduce downtime of the platform in case of maintenance and software updates.
  • Setup of different environments and automatic pipelines (devops).
  • Start working on an MVP. The majority of the work has to be done on the marketplace for NFT’s
  • Smart contracts are just a small part but an important part of the total solution. We will use the Plutus Playground in the MVP phase to build them.
  • Once NFT functionality is released by Cardano on Mainnet >>>
    We will proof that the solution works and showcase the first transactions done by artists from various backgrounds
    Next we will apply for funding, incubators, accelerators EU-based funds (usually 50-100k for 5-10% equity)
  • In case NFT functionality is not released on he Mainnet >>>
    Work on the Dapp in our test environment, prepare everything to be released as soon as NFTs are deployed to. production. Go to Stage 2 if not ready by Q3.
  • All art is stored on our server at this stage.

Funding Stage 2, Q3 2021 – Q2 2022:

  • Apply for funding on Fund5/Fund6 and other fundings, accelerators
  • Apply for regulatory bodies in the EU to allow us to host financial transactions that conform to legislation. Payments (in fiat or cryptocurrencies) and measures like KYC and Anti-money laundering should be an integral part of the solution to be compliant with legislation. Here we will be dependent on third party service providers. We will need to find the right partners to collaborate with to keep the costs of the platform acceptable. Costs for these services can be substantial and our business model has to cater for this. Estimated costs for these services are ≅ 200k and can become a magnitude of this depending on the volumes of NFTs being traded
  • Support of hardware wallets to store NFTs safely
  • Find a cloud service provider where we can safely store (preferably not at organizations with a lot of power to switch us off)
  • Start working on an algorithm that will prioritize art based on popularity, but also add randomizers that display less known artists’ work.

Stage 3 Q3 2022:

  • Add a pro user subscription model (only if costs and salaries aren’t covered by fees)
  • Work on sustainable business model where we are independent from investors, we cover costs though transaction fees and different levels of user accounts (ex. pro users)
  • Refine the front end to potentially host other types of NFT’s
  • Determine which NFT art is seen (example, the one with most likes/views/recommendations).
  • Take 30% of the NFT market 🙂

SO Conclusive!

There is already evidence of how NFTs have helped drive user adoption, just look at the craze that came about from the Ethereum based CryptoKitties game that rocketed to popularity in late 2017, this project raised huge awareness of the concept of non-fungible tokens. This would be an opportunity for Cardano to do the same but better as the infrastructure to handle such volumes of transactions has already been thought about within the development of Cardano.

Sources

  1. https://superrare.co/about
  2. https://cryptoartpulse.com
  3. Experience and wisdom 🙂

Useful links

– Tokenized art: NFTs paint bright future for artists, blockchain tech (https://cointelegraph.com/news/tokenized-art-nfts-paint-bright-future-for-artists-blockchain-tech)
– NFT Painting of Buterin in Harlequin Garb Sets Record in Weekend Crypto Art Sale (https://www.coindesk.com/nft-painting-of-buterin-in-harlequin-garb-sets-record-in-weekend-crypto-art-sale)
– NFT Art Sales Reached All-Time High of $8.2M in December (https://www.coindesk.com/nft-art-sales-reached-all-time-high-of-8-2m-in-december)

Requested funds in USD. Only use numbers! No symbols, letters, fractions. Payment will be in ada. 30000

Which of these definitions apply to you? Developer, Stakepool operator, Entrepreneur

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SOMINT – A Cardano NFT Marketplace

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