Fingerprints Strategic Plan 1.0

Intro

The point of this document is to outline basic thesis to how Fingerprints intends to generate and capture value.

Part of a good strategy is focusing attention and resources to increase leverage and deliver high performance. An in-depth understanding of the context in which Fingerprints operates is a crucial step in developing an effective strategy.

For the full contextual diagnosis, refer to this document.


Contextual Analysis

The main insights about the diagnosis of Fingerprints’ operating enrivonment are the following:

  • technological developments have allowed for the formation of a digital assets market (i.e. the NFT market)
  • the creation and commercialization of art is one of the areas in which application of this technology is compelling, along with collectibles
  • the wealth generated by the growth of DeFi applications in the Ethereum ecosystem has funded a boom in demand for NFT art and collectibles in the recent years
  • this has in turn attracted more attention and demand to the market
  • as in traditional art markets, supply of art quickly outpaces demand for art, and there is a large component of subjectivity around the quality of art being made
  • this presents a problem for collectors, which struggle to form consensus around which collections are the most valuable
  • this formation of consensus becomes driven by authority and branded figures. The formation of such consensus allows a few collections to retain their value regardless of general increases in the production of art
  • we’ve seen this happen in the NFT Fine Art segment with ArtBlocks and renowed artists like Larva Labs
  • curatorial DAO’s have become great hotspots for consensus-formation, obtaining authority (and other useful network effects such as visibility) from their lively communities
  • Fingerprints thus has an opportunity to be the main driver of consensus formation in the Fine Art NFT segment, generating value to collectors and helping to develop the space

Guiding Policies

The main strategic policies for Fingerprints, as informed by the aforementioned diagnosis, are as follows:

  1. foster and maintain a substantial and cohesive collection of blockchain art to obtain exposure to the kind of art we believe to be truly valuable. Keep this collection highly curated to increase the quality of our signal and influence.
  2. involve and grow the Fingerprints community in all our activities to generate positive network effects, authority and engagement
  3. live up to the expectations of the DAO model, to make Fingerprints an exciting and remarkable institution
  4. utilize marketing initiatives such as content creation and presence in IRL events to further our brand. Actively foster our relationship to our customers (tokenholders and drop holders) to deliver more value to them
  5. capture the value generated from our work via $PRINTS and partnering with great artists in projects that generate revenue (“Fingerprints Studio”)

To sum it up: Curation, Community, Marketing and Projects in a DAO.

Concrete Actions

  1. Curation
    • maintain a high curatorial bar for blockchain art in acquisitions
    • make our curatorial thesis clear to our members and other market participants (e.g. explain it in our website)
  2. Community
    • create sustained value to our members at different thresholds and to the Fingerprints Studio drop holders
    • design a mechanism to allow valuable members without the means to afford a membership to join, conditional to contributions
    • engage the community in a decentralized curatorial system
  3. Marketing
    • map the important marketing considerations in a marketing plan (segmentation, positioning, value propositions…)
    • design a custom website which explains all the interesting stuff about Fingerprints and our collection
    • continue to make notable appearances in IRL art events
    • ramp up content production
    • build a CRM system to understand and track our member base and Fingerprints Studio customers
    • build a conversion funnel for those seeking to become Fingerprints members
  4. Fingerprints Studio (Projects)
    • use the Fingerprints Studio initiative to expand into other relevant art forms
    • draft a more effective project launch process
    • creation of Fingerprints Pass
  5. DAO Model
    • formalize the proposal submission and approval process
    • eventually build a completely decentralized compensation system which incentivizes long-term contribution and provides opportunity for newcomers and DAO members to join the work

This is great stuff Lucas. Particularly how you really boil down the guiding policies to inform where our priorities should lie.

In terms of actions, I do feel that at some point we should go through the exercise of looking at all the actions available to us and force ranking them to prioritize our resources (both human and financial capital).

But overall this is a great reference document to look back at when making decisions.

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Thank you!! Yes we definitely need more member feedback around the policies and actions.

My intent indeed is for this text to serve as a reference around which the discussion and ideation can happen in a more organized manner!

Excellent document Lucas. I mentioned some feedback to your personally but I will place it here as well:
Under “capture the value generated from our work,” along with the concrete actions, there should be an addition of “occasional incubation and/or investments.”
While we learned last year that active investments are probably not something we want to do often, we should leave room for the DAO to take unique, mostly passive, incubations and/or investments. Imo it should not be something we dedicate immense time or resources towards, such as our collecting, curating, marketing, projects, etc. but it should be something that has a place in our objectives.
Our mission is to be the taste makers of culture in web3. We do this by being a signal in the NFT market, creating meaningful art, lifting up our artists and members, and also by investing in meaningful creations in web3.
While this topic needs much more discussion and likely a ceiling on how much we can allocate towards this type of thing, there are two things that are important to include in this doc: (1) we have the flexibility to assess incubations and investments; and, (2) the incubations and investments will need to be almost exclusively passive and not too encompassing on our resources (monetary and otherwise).

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yes I think you’re correct and should amend it like you mentioned.

Looks great, thank you @lucaspon!

A few thoughts:

  • I think our curatorial thesis is so core to our strategy that it should be explicitly mentioned in this plan. For referernce, I think the most up to date draft wording is at Discord
  • I’d be a bit clearer about the wording of “engage the community in a decentralized curatorial system”. I am assuming that we are not looking to get rid our our curation committee, so is this action meant to be about community engagement in suggesting things to them; or is it the creation of a parallel community collection? Or both?
  • Agree with @glory that the actions could do with some prioritisation in due course.
  • Wonder if there is a group of ‘thought leadership’ actions aligned to consensus formation? Stuff like the fingerprints spaces / potential podcasts are currently classified as “marketing” – I think that’s doing them a disservice.
  • the 5th guiding principle seems a bit awkward, I think it’s confusing the core policy of capturing value via $PRINTS with the creation of value via projects. Two separate points?

I think there’s a lot to digest here. If I had to summarize, I would say that the basic thesis of Fingerprints is that:

(1) The NFT Art Market will be more valuable in the future than it currently is

(2) Building a collection of blockchain art (as defined by our Curatorial Thesis as @bamboo mentioned) is a step into acquiring a credentials as a credible curator/tastemaker in this market, because we believe that these artworks will be more appreciated in the future, as more artists are influenced by the innovations they introduce and more collectors start to understand and appreciate it.

(3) If (1) and (2) are true, and other genres will also be valuable, Fingerprints can participate in this value creation by co-creating and acting as a platform for artists of different genres (not only blockchain art).

This is the basic idea. Now we go to the DAO part of the thesis, and delve into the membership concept.

Being organized as a DAO gives us a more credible claim as a tastemaker, because of the very ethos of web3. Open organizations, with transparent decision-making processes should be seen as more credible curators when compared to private companies with centralized control and opaque decision making. It’s also a native organization on this market. If working properly, the DAO can accelerate the convergence of the market in appreciating blockchain art.

Fingerprints is currently structured in a way that after a certain threshold (5k PRINTS) you become a member. Members have full access to the DAO, and are also responsible for governing the DAO. The way members capture value is primarily through the appreciation of PRINTS tokens.

However, PRINTS price has not been reflective of the value creation through projects accruing revenue to the DAO.

The suggestion then is to airdrop the artwork directly to members instead of selling to the public and have the revenue accrue to the DAO’s treasury. In a way, the DAO would be creating art primarily to members, and then to the rest of the market.

Being a Fingerprints member then would be a ticket into not only owning the DAO with the best collection of blockchain art, but also as a way to build a personal art collection, curated by the DAO. Members can choose themselves if they’ll keep the art or trade it.

Not only this has a potential to increase PRINTS demand, but also incentivizes members to participate more actively in the process of enabling of these art project to come alive, given they will be direct recipients of the projects.

Members have stronger incentives to protest and complain if the quality of the projects deteriorate, or if we lower our curatorial bar.

Everything else is important but accessory to this main part of the strategy, as I see it. Yes, we need to create content, improve our brand, improve general community engagement, feedback and happiness. But the core thesis we need to get consensus on is this.

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Think there’s some really interesting thoughts here, thanks @luiz .

Sold on the concept of directly dropping new works to members. Agree it aligns both value creation and curation far better. Needs some proper thinking about the mechanics, though, if we’re opening up ‘membership’ (in some form or another) to those without 5k PRINTS – but think the separate discussion on this is a good start.

Only bit I’m not convinced on is “…Fingerprints can participate in this value creation by co-creating and acting as a platform for artists of different genres (not only blockchain art)”. I’d personally prefer if, at least for now, we restricted our efforts as a platform to art/artists that are well aligned with our Curatorial Thesis. Don’t have to be an exact match, and we could always revisit later, but I think concentrating our efforts is best. I think it’s also easier to understand for prospective members, especially if things like airdrops are part of the offering.

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Totally agree that focus is essential, specially in this moment.

“there is a large component of subjectivity around the quality of art being made… this presents a problem for collectors, which struggle to form consensus around which collections are the most valuable… this formation of consensus becomes driven by authority and branded figures. The formation of such consensus allows a few collections to retain their value regardless of general increases in the production of art”

This is spot on. I strongly think that marketing and producing high-quality content creation will be extremely useful in terms of making our voice heard in the discourse around canon formation and the development of a consensus on what’s valuable. A big part of what distinguishes Fingerprints and makes the work’s we collect potentially canonical is their art historical value and I think marketing; social media; content should highlight this. For example, Unit and I are starting a new regular Twitter thread focusing specifically on placing NFTs in an art-historical context, and with a particular focus on the Fingerprints collection. Things like this are a good start, but I would really like to launch a Fingerprints YouTube turning these threads into high-quality video content. NFT YouTube is oversaturated with fairly low-quality content focused around making a quick buck, and some well-produced, thoughtful and visually stylish content could really stand out in that space.

I also think that if we’re going to be a leading voice in the formulation of this consensus, then we need to look like one - our forthcoming rebrand and website redesign should help with this massively. Beyond this, I agree that a CRM system and conversion funnel will be super helpful from a practical perspective.

As a small addendum, short video content was also the most popular response to the poll Luiz recently posted on his Twitter (https://twitter.com/dgntec/status/1520062460165828611)

Second and third were blog posts and podcasts, respectively. I think both of these would also substantially raise our profile as tastemakers and as an authoritative voice in the space. I believe Sam is already in conversation with someone to develop an editorial strategy which will largely answer that first strand; as to the second, I think HBH could be a one of the best podcasts in the space, but just needs to take that step.

This is the dream for me. For some reason, people get scared about producing video content because they fear the hard work, but we can choose to partner with those who are already making high-quality video content, and sponsor them to make a video on our collection and DAO.

However, I think it’s such an strategic process for us that we should eventually have it done fully internally.

Agree. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since joining the DAO, so would love to get the ball rolling on it soon and have a call to ideate around it.

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I’d personally prefer if, at least for now, we restricted our efforts as a platform to art/artists that are well aligned with our Curatorial Thesis. Don’t have to be an exact match, and we could always revisit later, but I think concentrating our efforts is best.

The way I see it is that there should be a distinction drawn between the Fingerprints Collection and Fingerprints Studio, unified under the umbrella of the Fingerprints DAO brand.

The Collection would retain its focus on blockchain art, serving to define the canon of that emerging and important but highly specialised field of artistic practice. It should be accompanied by non-profit initiatives like a high quality editorial pipeline (currently in the works), potentially syndicated to a respected arts publication; educational initiatives such as workshops, panels, etc; and occasional art events like exhibitions. The combination of a highly intentional collection and sincere efforts to improve education and visibility around art in the space is what will win us fans and partners in the wider cultural landscape. Our upcoming partnership with Rhizome in NYC, and the opportunity to support the Albright-Knox museum with their landmark NFT auction in November, show that it’s already done so.

The Studio, meanwhile, should interface principally with the space (NFT artists, NFT art collectors, other DAOs and platforms, etc). It can also serve to generate benefits for members, as discussed above, and therefore strengthen our community. While there are currently several organisations and platforms in the space that have earned reputations for excellence in particular kinds of art (for example, Art Blocks are seen as the leaders in generative art; SuperRare are the leaders in 1/1 crypto art), there still isn’t an entity that represents excellence in art across the board. This kind of hypothetical entity would be analogous in certain ways to a blue chip gallery like Gagosian or Pace. When an artist joins one of these galleries, the brand association alone can increase their prices fivefold. The rosters of these galleries aren’t usually dedicated to any single genre of art (though they do often skew a bit commercial), but more generally represent a selection of “the best/hottest artists around”.

Despite the specialised nature of the Collection—in fact, by virtue of it—I think that we are well placed to build towards this position in the market, which @lucaspon describes as “the main driver of consensus formation in the Fine Art NFT segment”.

When it comes to projects, specifically, we need to consider the desires of both collectors and artists. My assumption is that:
(a) Collectors want to purchase art by the best and biggest artists in the space;
(b) Artists want cultural validation and legitimacy. They want to be ‘fine artists’, not just ‘crypto artists’.

The top artists in the space could launch with any platform or DAO and probably guarantee a sell-out. What can we offer them? Well, very few if any of those partners can provide the kind of high-touch treatment and proximity to the fine art world that we can—if we try. Which is where the Collection comes in…

Through our collection, our education, and our events, we build ever-stronger ties with cultural players beyond the NFT space. And as those ties strengthen, we are increasingly able to offer a bridge for artists to stand on between the NFT space, on the one hand, and the fine art world, on the other. We can also learn from traditional art players about how to make each release feel special. For example, with every project, we should provide a well-designed custom micro-site, a text/essay commissioned by a real art writer, a Twitter space or discussion with an esteemed curator, possibly even an IRL display or event or activation. Sure, NFT collectors might not care about that stuff, but artists do. And if we can deliver it for them, I’m pretty confident that they will be open to partnering with us.

Ultimately, the hope is that the prestige generated for the Fingerprints brand through these projects will benefit the Collection itself, forming a virtuous cycle of cultural and financial value.

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Really like the strategy to establish our collection as a reference in the art NFT space and how you want to generate value for artists, therefore bringing the best ones and creating amazing projects.

Overall, I agree with everything you said, just have one question. When we launch a project of an artist we don’t collect, how do we explain this to the community? If we think the artist is amazing, why don’t we collect it? Maybe if the DAO keeps some of the pieces, it could be the answer: “It’s also a way for us to collect it”.

It’s a great question. This is the key strategic separation that I try to make a case for above, and which will be elaborated further in the Studio strategy document that’s currently in early development.

The continued specialisation of the collection (as the world-leading collection of blockchain art) should serve to strengthen and distinguish the artistic and curatorial brand of Fingerprints such that top non-blockchain artists (who we don’t collect) want to work with us. In other words, the narrow scope and exceptional quality of the Collection should make possible the broad scope and (equally) high quality of the Studio. Thus the core Collection is as much a brand-building vehicle as it is an investment. We just need to make the separation between Collection and Studio to be clear, so as not to confuse people, which I believe is possible.

However, from a NAV perspective, as you point out, we should retain a few pieces from each Studio project, just as we’ve done with our other projects in the past.

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I like that line of thought. By separating our collections we could collect more broadly without potentially hurting our brand.

Sorry @samspike I’d missed your thoughtful replies on this topic from a few weeks back. Completely understand where you’re coming from on the Collection vs Studio line, and really like the idea.

My fear for a while has been Fingerprints becoming too confused as an entity to really make an impact. I think this sort of clear branding and communication of purpose of the different parts definitely alleviates that.

Look forward to reading the Studio strategy doc when it’s ready.

Hi, I am not a member of DAO, but some ideas that go through my restless mind as I read this discussion are:

I firmly believe that symbols > brands. Symbols become better rooted in people’s culture and minds and are more quickly associated with their meaning/purpose.

Since symbols are better fixed in popular culture than brands, having an effort to turn the fingerprints DAO brand into a symbol that represents/is associated with crypto art is something worth thinking about and working on. Some small and quick ideas that go through my head are traditional merchandise like shirts, sweatshirts, and hats*; and making a presence at IRL events…

My thought is the following: “Print” the collections and brand fingerprints in popular culture, in people’s heads, and increase the value of the pieces consequently.
For example, Monalisa is “printed” constantly in popular culture which adds to the quality of the art and increased its value exponentially. Not everyone understands the nuances and importance of the Monalisa as a piece of art, but everyone appreciates the “image” and its familiarity of it.

As far as increasing the prestige of the DAO I think it goes something like this: increase prestige in the NFT space by following the ethos and helping the space as a whole thrives; increase prestige in the rest of the world by doing something memorable, fun, and that makes the “normies” feel something.

*an old idea I have: onchain generative merchandise. The buyer chooses the type of merchandise he wants, then he mints a token that contains a hash, this hash is used in a generative algorithm that will create a pattern that will be printed on his merchandise.

Blockchain art → Art clothes → Blockchain clothes.

I agree 100% with the proposal of video content in the model of a youtube channel. A great channel that can serve as inspiration is Great art explained (https://www.youtube.com/c/GreatArtExplained). I think it is also worth looking closely at young influencers who use platforms like TikTok and Instagram. As these young people have an almost “natural” desire/ability to create viral content that reaches a large mass of people on a daily basis and this type of content is probably what will define much of the global culture in the coming years, using these young influencers as an infrastructure that puts the fingerprints/crypto art symbol into the mainstream is something worth exploring if it makes sense for DAO. This more accessible content besides helping to reach the mainstream, can also help us show fine art as something that everyone has access to and can/should enjoy. Because of market dynamics among other issues obviously, not everyone can buy a piece of fine art, but everyone should be able to appreciate/understand/support crypto fine art in other ways, and if fingerprints DAO can position itself as the gateway to this world, it can be a big deal for DAO. Then this content closer to the “general population” can say “Hey, you don’t need to buy a piece, appreciating is the most important part of an artwork. Let us show you how.”, and this understanding/appreciation by a larger group leads us to become more intricate into the “global everyday culture” which increases our exposure, collection value and so on.

The only caution I could point out in relation to using this type of influencer is in relation to the quality of the content. So if it is implemented it is necessary to look carefully at the influencers, type of content, and goals with them.

Well, this is just a bunch of nonsense coming out of my head, but I’m happy to share and hope to help at least a little bit in the discussion.

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This is fantastic stuff - really appreciate you taking the time to put this all out there. I’m going to think on this.

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