Adventures in Onchain Ownership

Crypto is fun. Embrace it.

botto playing with fire

Botto piece “Playing With Fire,” owned by CyborgDAO


I largely did nothing onchain in 2022, but this year I’ve made it a priority to dive into a number of our portfolio companies’ products. 

In the last few months, I have gone deep into NFTs, first into everything that looked cool on and now more and more into 1/1 pieces. This coincided with me discovering Botto, a community-governed generative AI art project whose governance model and incentive structure I found compelling. The Botto community is really passionate about AI art and is great about teaching novices like me. Generative art is a fascinating new medium that I get more excited about the more I learn and play around with it. 

I want to go over some of the “cool stuff” I think I do onchain, which may give you inspiration. I am sure there are plenty of great companies out there, but this is limited to Variant’s portfolio, so please recognize the bias:

  1. I just sit at my computer with open in a tab. Once or twice a day, I check it, see something cool and reasonably priced, and mint it. In my opinion this is the perfect gateway into NFTs.
  2. I do close to the same thing with, except it has a cool feature that will start playing a song when the drop goes live (even if you’re not on that tab). The sudden audio may scare the crap out of you, but you will not miss the drop.
  3. In January, I minted my first essay, about hybrid token design, on Mirror. Only after the fact did I realize I was asking people to pay good money to mint my writing as an NFT; this essay should be free. I am not historically a blogger, and I find Mirror the most obvious place to start. 
  4. I’ve taken my experimentation in AI art to Foundation to mint 40-odd NFTs. On the AI side, I found it to be much harder to get a desired result from a prompt than I previously believed. I have the utmost respect for people like Roope Rainisto, who is doing wild things with photography, because I found it to be particularly challenging. Everything—and I mean everything—I tried was grotesque. Foundation was extremely easy to set up. Once you do, you can customize a collection on it and burn the NFT if you mess up, like I did a few times. I have not tried selling anything on Foundation yet, but I plan on checking out its “Worlds” feature next.
  5. OnCyber, which lets you design worlds using NFTs, is already a game-changing metaverse platform, and I think its potential is not even close to being fully realized yet. I got my first real taste while curating the gallery for Variant’s Botto announcement with my son — a great experience with a UI that my 4-year-old can intuitively understand. 

OnCyber unlocked a few things in my head. First: a real usefulness for NFTs. In OnCyber they hit in a way that the haphazardly-arranged thumbnails on marketplaces do not. More than that, the platform lets me bring a lot of different aspects about my online identity together in one place and allows for artistic expression where the time/effort/cost would have been prohibitive before. You can envision a resurgence of an artisan class as the cost and barriers to create diminish. 

I created two OnCyber galleries based on the AI art I made and minted on Foundation, and I was able to incorporate music NFTs from to set the right tone. (Maybe forthcoming, and maybe lost to oblivion, still undecided). 

Yet probably the most fun I have on OnCyber is creating puzzle-like games within the spaces that require the user to think (or fly, or enter the OnCyber void, or whatever). These puzzles represent a largely untapped experience—one of countless possible in OnCyber. 

This is only a sampling of what I have explored. There are a ton of great products out there right now that we do not have to wait on. Web3 is very tactile—getting people to try out these tools is what will ultimately turn them on to the space. In short: do more dope stuff onchain.

You can track my activity at shough.eth. Show and prove. 


Disclaimer: This post is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investment and should not be used in the evaluation of the merits of making any investment decision. It should not be relied upon for accounting, legal or tax advice or investment recommendations. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by Variant. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, Variant has not independently verified such information. Variant makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This post reflects the current opinions of the authors and is not made on behalf of Variant or its Clients and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Variant, its General Partners, its affiliates, advisors or individuals associated with Variant. The opinions reflected herein are subject to change without being updated.