Moreso than almost any industry before it, Web3 owes its very existence to science fiction and storytellers who crafted digital worlds that developers are now trying to recreate. At Camp Decrypt, a group of Web3 creators and futurists—including Jason Michael Primrose, Amanda Terry, Artemysia-X, and Kas Vegas—sat down with moderator Shira Lazar to discuss storytelling in Web3.
“[205Z] was my anchor into Web3,” said Primrose, author of 205Z: Time and Salvation and co-host of LorePlay on Rug Radio. “Taking a sci-fi, futuristic world and having that be a collectible experience.”
For Primrose, storytelling is freedom, and being able to tap into his imagination allowed him the ability to do anything.
“In claiming my writing and storytelling power, it opened me up to freedom in terms of technology, lifestyle, and relationships,” Primrose said.
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Web3 stands on the shoulders of giants. Science fiction has played a major yet under appreciated role in developing digital currency, art, and the growing number of projects that label themselves Web3. From the artificial intelligence of Isaac Asimov, William Gibson’s cyberspace, and Neal Stephenson’s metaverse.
Like Primrose, digital nomad Artemysia-X started her storytelling journey before getting involved with Web3.
“When Web3 came along,” she said, “I realized this is a much better model for authors to build [intellectual property] that they own and control with the possibility for abundance.”
In June 2021, Artemysia-X launched the collaborating storytelling project “The Book of Worlds.”
“I’m really passionate about multiplayer media, first coined by Tim Shel,” Artemysia-X explained. “Immersive, participatory experiences, that’s how I got started building rewards programs for Rug Radio.”
Artemysia-X says what fascinates her the most about storytelling in Web3 is the blockchain, and she has used several chains to produce digital content. In addition to building programs, Artemysia-X is the writer behind the Saiba Gang manga using the Solanablockchain and is a loremaster for several projects, including the Cybervillainz NFT collection from Broccoli DAO, and the co-host of the LorePlay podcast on Rug Radio.
“In Web3, the community is what drives value for a project,” Artemysia-X said. “When a participant drives value, it’s only right that they receive value in return.”
Artemysia-X says that since attention is being called the new oil, the people who come to these projects and give their attention are giving something of incredible value.
“Literature as a medium is often left behind,” Primrose said. “When we think about what’s foundational to everything from music to a movie script, it’s all written first.”
Primrose says there is an opportunity to champion literature and literacy, bringing it into the technological realm first instead of last.
“Literature may not be as sexy as film or music,” he said. “But it’s still powerful; we should be champions for that and empower people to create stories associated with technology.”
“Technology has to move in parallel with the creative side,” added Kas Vegas, head of community at Feature, the company behind “Huxley,” an Ethereum NFT comic book series by artist Ben Mauro that’s dedicated to non-fungible tokens and the future of intellectual property rights. “While most are focused on how lucrative NFTs are, what attracted me to the space were the problems.”
She said one of the problems was the lack of diversity and representation in the space.
“So for Feature and Huxley, we took a big Web2 artist, Ben Morrow who did Call of Duty and Halo infinite,” Vegas said. “We brought him to this insane world where we promised him all this community that we’d have to rebuild from scratch, even though he’s coming from a big web to community.”
“No one was doing IP and licensing on-chain,” Vegas said. “If you think of the blockchain as a public ledger for transactions, that’s great, but what else can we make transparent on the blockchain? Can we make deals, licensing, and IP transparent? It’s that intricate balance between tech and creativity coming together to meet each other half way and push the limits.”
“So in terms of storytelling and the creatives that have been involved in our community, we basically literally came up from our community, our karma collection.” added On-Chain Monkey COO Amanda Terry. “We’ve done wealth creation for our community and social good,” Terry said, noting an on-chain auction of an on-chain monkey NFT that raised 12.5 ETH. Proceeds from the auction went to UNICEF’s Giga connect project, which brings internet to schools worldwide.
“One more example of storytelling,” Terry continued, “Last Saturday, Julia Landauer was the only female driver in a NASCAR race and we have an on-chain monkey on her car, we created racing jackets that are going be sold at Fred Segal with 95% of the proceeds gonna go to Julia and 5% to like a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), nonprofit that she wants to support.”
Primrose describes his book series “The Lost Children of Andromeda” as a path of freedom through literature. And while having millions of followers is something to aspire to, having a dedicated community of readers is more important and attainable.
“[Having] a thousand to two thousand people who want to read and consume my stories, that’s a living,” he said. “People can do that.”
Primrose says the plan for the “Lost Children” ecosystem is to create a community that can continuously create stories and that is invested in the growth of the world because they are a part of it. Primrose envisions this community as being a tokenized, read-to-earn system where readers can earn collectibles from their favorite books by reading their stories.
For Artemysia-X, the goal is to democratize storytelling and not have it siloed inside corporate entities. “Culture is a story,” Artemysia-X added, “Everything we interact with is based on a matrix of stories; the people who are telling the stories are the ones creating our concepts of reality and self.”
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Looking at the current crop of stand-alone “metaverses” being developed today, Primrose said that the idea behind Web3 is about freedom. Still, Primrose questions how free can we be if we lock ourselves into digital worlds.
Primrose says the goal should be to create a place where people can explore, connect with others, and thrive in virtual worlds.
“The philosophy behind Web3 is interesting and a bit Utopian,” Primrose said. “But if we are trapped in our own minds, it doesn’t matter what freedoms are accessible outside of ourselves.”
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