Upcoming NFT Broadside is a unique new project that is aiming to build a complex and engaging 'storyworld' and it could just make the New York best-seller list. Like all good NFT projects, if you're one of the 7,290 anonymous heroes of this story you could be a part of a new best-seller.
We've been talking about NFTs for a while, and my guide 'What are NFTs?' goes into detail, but essentially non-fungible tokens are a way to register digital files on a blockchain and create scarcity.
This isn't the first time Broadsider's co-create Vector Meldrew put together a list of the best NFT games for Creative Bloq. The VJ and artist has sold out collections with Bonhams, Nifty Gateway and Foundation to name just some successes. Co-creator Charlie Stratford-Rex, the author behind Broadside's story, is a longterm NFT collector and writer.
One of the advantages of NFTs is buyers can own a work of art and its uses, and Broadside NFTs will come with either cc0 (license free) or full commercial rights – take a look at the Broadside website (opens in new tab) for more details. If you get a Broadside NFT you could develop your own fiction, decide how your character is used and more. You can truly begin to tell your own stories. But also, so perhaps can others (which we go into a little more later).
An upcoming NFT years in the making
There will be 11 episode NFTs and artefacts dropped to each owner of a Broadside, telling a deep and involved story of a decentralised future. The story took creators Stratford-Rex and Meldrew 10 years to develop and became an NFT because traditional media failed to grasp how this story could be told.
Stratford-Rex tells me he's had many meetings with DreamWorks to develop the script but the animation studio had cold feet about a film with an anonymous hero and couldn't make the project work.
"I wanted to make this very fun, fictional book. And we wanted the main character to be anonymous and sort of decentralised, so then it was in development at DreamWorks for a while but they didn't really understand what a decentralised anonymous hero is," explains Stratford-Rex.
"I had this story about these kids in the future playing this weird AR game and they decided to pirate it and hack it," says the writer of Broadside. "It all goes horribly wrong, of course, and they're forced to think about abundance and scarcity in decentralisation and centralisation, but in a very personal journey, a hero's journey, [with an] action movie story arc."
NFT Broadside could be a best-seller
This story is told as an NFT 'book' released in chapters that features an owner's specific character, both in the text and on the cover. Once all 11 'episodes' are dropped owners can burn these chapters into a 1/1 book NFT featuring their Broadside character on the cover. Owners can print and sell this book and each one will feature an ISBN number so you can sell it on Amazon, which is where Broadside gets ambitious.
"All 7,290 possible versions of Broadside will have different ISBN numbers. We can hack the New York Times bestseller list if we get everyone to start selling these on the same day. With so many it's going to look more like a DDoS attack," jokes Stratford-Rex.
He continues: "Let's take this into the most old-school publishing possible with the community that's growing around Broadside. And let's do something crazy to put this story about decentralisation into a completely different context, a completely different medium at the end of Phase One."
Who really owns a Broadside?
There's a playful approach to Broadside that can be found as Stratford-Rex discusses the underlying themes of the project that plague NFTs in general. The reason for offering both cc0 (effectively creative commons, licence free art) and commercial licences for Broadside is to cause debate and focus the attention onto how NFTs are used.
"There's been this big debate in NF T's about full commercial rights versus cc0," begins Stratford-Rex, explaining Meldrew brought some big names to the Broadside project, including XCOPY, Cryptopunk #5046 and Rektguy.
Some Broadside NFTs will feature art from these major NFT artists, but they'll be on cc0 contracts. "That means you can go and open a restaurant and make a movie or do whatever you want with it," adds the writer. "So can anyone else, it's not just not exclusively yours."
Broadside the story will dive into a future of decentralisation but the NFT itself, right now, is asking questions about how far decentralisation can go, what communities can do and create around these unique ownership and copyright models.
There's a "tension" at play to owning a Broadside says Stratford-Rex, as the models ensure you can do whatever you wish with your Broadsider, and those already involved are developing video games and new fiction, but there is a tussle between ccO and full commercial licensing, with different Broadside NFTs holding one or both licensing models.
Stratford-Rex clarifies: "The only tension there that we had to play with was you're able to do anything, as much as you can, with your Broadsider, without affecting what anybody else can do with theirs."
Broadside shows ambition
It's been a while since I've seen an NFT project quite as ambitious as Broadside. In some respects the current downturn in the value of NFTs and the 'crypto winter' the scene is suffering means that creative NFTs like Broadside that look at new ways to use non-fungible tokens may have gone under the radar a year ago as all that interested people was flipping NFTs and not collecting.
Artist Vector Meldrew has his view: "We saw that crazy, low effort stuff, people just getting stuff out just because they knew the market was hot, and people ready to flip. And it just led to a mania. […] We felt that a lot of the things missing from there was starting with a story, which we feel is the root of all good projects or all good IP. So we definitely wanted to be story led, and then we wanted to take our time on the ark."
Tellingly Meldrew says, "Even if we wanted to, we couldn't have really minted during that period that's known for that kind of work [NFTs such as Pixelmon] because I just want it to be right and that's why it's taken this long."
Broadside has been years in the making, the Rex-Meldrew duo have worked together since school. And it shows in their passion for what Broadside represents. "Hopefully it does change people's opinions on what NFTs are," says Meldrew thoughtfully.