Primitives wants to turn your crypto wallet into a social network – TechCrunch

Only a handful of “whales,” or large spenders, still own most NFTs. Although digital assets have aroused widespread consumer interest, the user experience associated with creating or purchasing an NFT is still complex and sometimes intimidating.

DJ Gabeau, one of the first Snapchat engineers and founder of the social network web3 Primitives, told TechCrunch that he thinks NFTs can be a really nice way for people to connect digitally and make memories. Still, Gabeau acknowledged that most NFTs are too expensive, complicated, or scammed to appeal to a wide audience today.

Gabeau, who previously worked as an investor at Union Square Ventures supporting startups at the intersection of crypto and climate, said he began using the Solana blockchain chain last summer. He began writing a dissertation on NFT and social media while visiting Amsterdam, where he had the opportunity to observe closely how social media was formed in person in art galleries, restaurants and parties around a shared interest in Solana.

Despite his own interest in web3, he said he was disappointed with many of the existing use cases for NFT at the time because they tended to focus on inaccessible and ultra-expensive profile imaging (PFP) projects. That’s when he saw the opportunity to build a social network where users could connect via NFT to the Solana blockchain, which is much more profitable and cheaper than Ethereum.

“It simply came to our notice then. I’m excited about connecting these networks via NFT, because if people keep the same asset, as you’ve seen in Ethereum, they’ll build around it if it makes it easy to do, ”Gabeau said.

He showed the thesis to a Redpoint investor friend, and that conversation ended up being the first step in raising capital for Primitives. The startup came out of the stealth today and announced that it has raised an initial $ 4 million round led by Redpoint with the participation of Union Square Ventures, Harlem Capital, Stellation Capital and others.

Primitives is unlike any other NFT platform on the market and with David’s training in social media, the company has the opportunity to make adopting NFT easy and fun, “said Nick Grossman, a Union Square Ventures investor who supported the startup. , in an email to TechCrunch.

Primitives is designed to be easy to use, Gabeau said. App users can create their own customizable NFT-based avatars called Primojis, which look like scribbled emoji sketches. They are then encouraged to share these Primojis via text messages with friends, who “claim” these NFTs by joining the network and can create their own, starting a cycle.

Users can also collect NFT based on “times, which are linked to their attendance at specific events or venues,” Gabeau said. Its NFTs are stored in a digital portfolio of Primitives, which Primitives created using a white label API. The wallet may contain NFT for a user who purchased it outside of Primitives, he explained.

Creating and sharing a Primoji is free for users because Primitives buys smart contracts to coin NFTs in advance, Gabeau said. Users do not have to go through several steps to claim assets, he added. Like many free-to-use social networking platforms, the company plans to make money primarily by sharing user data with advertisers, according to Gabeau. Gabeau compared Primojis to Snapchat filters, which brands often use as a means of advertising.

Primitives user interface Image Credits: Primitives

Primitives ’ultimate goal is to make the digital wallet a central place for a user to have NFT and cryptocurrency, interact with friends, store music, play games, and more, Gabeau said. Imagine a future where “your data, links, and content coexist in your personal cryptographic portfolio,” similar to what people use on mobile phones today.

According to Gabeau, the company, which currently has 9 employees, is working to add features that include integration with Ethereum wallets and peer-to-peer messaging through wallets. It also envisions an active secondary market on the Primitives platform itself, which would allow Primitives to make money with royalties every time an NFT changes hands.

Primitives is currently in beta mode with plans to launch publicly next month, Gabeau said. As for monetization, he said Primitives is not yet focused on courting brand partners.

“Our goal is to focus on friends, and brands will come with that,” Gabeau said.

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