In late August, NFT social network Showtime announced that users could mint for free on Polygon. The addition to the platform was well-received by many crypto artists using Showtime. Last week minting began in earnest and artists began sharing their work on Twitter where a variety of responses were also shared.
Showtime, founded by Alex Masmej, features the NFT art portfolios and collections of both artists and collectors. One might describe it as an NFT gallery site with social media components more than a social network. However, an easy to use NFT gallery is a strong place to start, and now Showtime has added free NFT minting on Polygon with sales on OpenSea.
Integrating With Polygon
The integration with Polygon was a smart choice. Polygon is a complex entity that was originally known as the Matic Network, a layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution. But it is difficult to sum up easily, as this article discussing its current architecture reveals.
To quote Polygon’s home page, which describes it as “Ethereum’s Internet of Blockchains:”
“Polygon is a protocol and a framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. Aggregating scalable solutions on Ethereum supporting a multi-chain Ethereum ecosystem.”
Polygon’s importance to crypto art seems to grow by the week. Its NFT-related integrations include some of NFT Land’s most important players, including OpenSea and Decentraland, as well as a variety of community projects, such as NFThub and the Museum of Crypto Art. The overall directory of projects reveals how extensive Polygon’s integrations have already become.
Minting NFTs on Showtime
On August 26th, Showtime announced that free NFT minting was on the way with the option to create 1/1’s or editions of up to 10,000 using an ERC-1155 contract. Initially opening minting in batches, Showtime rolled out the option to all of its creators on September 8th. As you can see by browsing Showtime’s Twitter feed, many artists dived right in and began enthusiastically minting NFTs.
Currently, Showtime users can access this option via a notification bar at the top of the site’s pages. It shows that uploaded art has a maximum size of 50 mbs and is stored on IPFS. At the moment, one cannot set a price on Showtime, but the NFT does appear on OpenSea with the option for collectors to make an offer.
Creators then pick the number of editions, from 1 to 10,000, and set royalties. There is also the option to designate one’s work as “Explicit Content” for those 18 and over.
Crypto Artists Respond to Showtime Minting
Overall, response to the new feature has been quite positive on the part of users as one can see from scrolling through a Twitter search for ‘Showtime minting.’ While free minting is definitely a draw, such positive engagement is often difficult to gain for new NFT platforms. It seems quite likely that positive feelings about Showtime itself prepared the stage for strong participation.
I spoke with a handful of crypto artists on Twitter who had minted NFTs via Showtime and they described the full process as quite easy and painless. However, their responses revealed the emergent nature of the effort.
As the collaborators, rust and moth, pointed out, their NFT, These marbled skies, is displayed on Showtime but has a default image of the Showtime logo showing up on OpenSea. This situation is true of many other pieces. However, in the case of the artist, Aissa, her NFT, La Duquesa, shows up on OpenSea with an image of her original work.
Another concern is that, on OpenSea, the NFTs designate Showtime as the creator and the artist as the owner, as one can see from the above examples listed on OpenSea. This was a dealbreaker for both myself and for the artist, shaolin shoppe, who was initially enthusiastic:
When informed of this issue, shaolin shoppe changed course and burned his Showtime NFT:
However, as Aissa responded, her piece La Duquesa does show up in her Showtime gallery as her creation. She also expressed a sense of trust in the Showtime team and its project as well as the community gathering on the site.
The Future of Minting on Showtime
The current version of Showtime is not the final product and there is more to come. In a Medium post, Polygon Studios summed up some of what’s ahead:
“Minting is the first step. Later this year, Showtime will add marketplace features so that users can list, buy and sell their work on the Polygon network. Those features [will] include:
- List an NFT to sell at a fixed price, in tokens such as USDC, WETH (wrapped ETH), and more
- Get instant royalties from your sales, directly on Showtime
- Buy NFT[s] with USD and other fiat currencies (EUR, GBP, and more)
- Create NFTs from your email address, no crypto wallet required!”
Assuming the issue of default images on OpenSea is worked out, many artists will likely be happy with this free minting option when fully developed. However, the issue of authorship is definitely going to be a dealbreaker for more established artists and those with an eye to the long-term if not resolved.
While future developments will make a huge difference in the success or failure of minting on Showtime, the basic concept is sound. Minting as a feature is an excellent way to differentiate social platforms in the space, especially given Twitter’s de facto position as the social network of NFT Land. With this move, Showtime is showing the potential to move ahead of more direct competitors and establish a pace of development that makes it an essential site for crypto artists and collectors.
Featured Image: Screenshot of Showtime