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DRiP: Crypto's Best Shot At Mainstream Adoption | Vibhu Norby

By Lightspeed

Published on 2023-08-01

Explore how DRiP is transforming NFT distribution and creator economics on Solana, with insights from founder Vibhu Norby on mainstream crypto adoption.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!

What is DRiP?

DRiP is a revolutionary platform built on Solana that enables creators to distribute free digital collectibles to their audience on a regular basis. Founded by Vibhu Norby, DRiP has quickly become one of the most successful applications in the Solana ecosystem, minting over 18 million NFTs to approximately 800,000 wallets since its launch in October 2022. The platform leverages Solana's compressed NFT technology to make large-scale distribution of digital content both feasible and cost-effective.

The Origins of DRiP

DRiP's journey began at Solana Spaces, a set of retail stores designed to onboard people into the Solana ecosystem. Norby and his team discovered that giving away free NFTs and artwork was an incredibly effective way to introduce newcomers to cryptocurrency. As the initiative grew beyond their control, they decided to focus full-time on developing DRiP as a standalone platform.

How DRiP Works

At its core, DRiP partners with creators, artists, brands, and projects to distribute free digital collectibles to subscribers on a weekly basis. These collectibles span a wide range of content types, including:

  • Art from typewriters (DJMPO)
  • Music videos from live shows (Vault Music)
  • Comic books (Bork)
  • Scientific content (McQuinn)

The platform sends out approximately 3 million NFTs per week, a scale that was previously unheard of in the NFT space. This massive distribution is made possible by Solana's compressed NFT technology, which significantly reduces the cost of minting and transferring NFTs.

The Unique Value Proposition of DRiP

DRiP's approach to NFTs represents a paradigm shift in how we think about digital content distribution. Norby describes it as "D2C content" - direct-to-consumer content delivery using NFT technology. This model offers several advantages:

  1. Direct creator-to-audience connection
  2. Composable layer for content (the NFT wrapper)
  3. Ownership and transferability of received content
  4. Potential for new economic models for creators

Why DRiP Could Drive Mainstream Crypto Adoption

Norby believes that DRiP has the potential to be crypto's best shot at mainstream adoption for several reasons:

  1. Free and Accessible: Unlike many crypto projects that require users to purchase tokens or go through complex onboarding processes, DRiP is free to use and requires minimal technical knowledge.

  2. Familiar Content Types: DRiP focuses on distributing content that people already enjoy consuming, such as videos, music, and images.

  3. Low Barriers to Entry: Users don't need to understand crypto terminology or deal with seed phrases to start using DRiP.

  4. Creator-Centric Approach: By empowering creators with new distribution and monetization tools, DRiP attracts established creators who can bring their existing audiences into the crypto ecosystem.

The Growth Strategy Behind DRiP

DRiP's rapid growth can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Viral Word-of-Mouth: Early users were highly engaged and shared invite codes with friends and family.

  2. Invite-Only System: This created a sense of exclusivity and drove organic growth.

  3. Partnerships with Creators: DRiP works with creators who have large existing audiences on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to transition their followers to the platform.

  4. Focus on Daily Active Users (DAU): The team prioritizes features that encourage daily engagement, such as the "legendary lock-in" game where users can open a daily treasure chest.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its success, DRiP has faced some challenges and criticisms:

  1. Community Pushback: Some early critics worried that DRiP's free NFT distribution would dilute the value of existing NFT collections.

  2. Balancing Financialization: There's ongoing tension between crypto users who want more financialization of the platform and the team's vision of creating a mainstream-friendly product.

  3. Multi-Account Prevention: The team has had to invest significant effort in preventing users from creating multiple accounts to game the system.

The Future of NFTs According to Vibhu Norby

Norby predicts that the future of NFTs will be characterized by a bifurcation of the market:

  1. Mass-Market NFTs: Freely accessible or highly accessible NFTs with large supply, focused on content distribution and engagement.

  2. Exclusive NFTs: Smaller communities (potentially even smaller than 10,000 members) that function like digital country clubs.

He believes that the current 10,000-piece collections occupy an awkward middle ground that may not be sustainable in the long term.

Why DRiP is Exclusively on Solana

Norby is adamant about keeping DRiP exclusively on Solana, stating:

"We will not launch on other chains. If you want free art, comics, music, videos and in-game assets, get a Solana wallet and join 400K+ on Drip House. If you don't want to try Solana, that's fine. You'll be missing out on the most fun and accessible products in crypto."

His reasoning includes:

  1. Solana's scalability and low transaction costs
  2. The belief that jumping to other chains doesn't solve the fundamental challenge of attracting non-crypto users
  3. A focus on growing the overall user base rather than competing for existing crypto users across chains

The Mobile App and Future Plans

Norby revealed that DRiP is working on a mobile app, which he believes will be crucial for onboarding mainstream users. While not yet announced officially, the app is expected to play a significant role in DRiP's growth strategy.

DRiP's Business Model and Monetization Strategy

While DRiP is currently free for users, Norby has a clear vision for future monetization:

  1. Scale First, Monetize Later: Following the model of successful social media platforms, DRiP is focused on growing its user base before implementing monetization features.

  2. Advertising Potential: Norby sees potential in an advertising model similar to Facebook or Google, which can generate significant revenue per user at scale.

  3. Creator-Centric Monetization: The long-term goal is to develop monetization features that benefit creators while maintaining the platform's accessibility for users.

  4. Avoiding Short-Term Financial Pressure: The team is careful not to implement monetization features that could compromise their long-term vision for mass adoption.

Lessons from Gaming and Product Design

Norby's background in gaming and his experience working with Tony Fadell at Nest have significantly influenced DRiP's design philosophy:

  1. Feedback Loops: Incorporating positive feedback loops and balanced reward systems inspired by successful games.

  2. User Experience: Focusing on creating an enjoyable and intuitive user experience, similar to how games guide players through increasingly complex systems.

  3. Virtual Economies: Drawing inspiration from successful virtual economies in games like World of Warcraft and RuneScape.

  4. Attention to Detail: Applying the meticulous approach to product design learned from Tony Fadell, considering every aspect of the user experience.

The Importance of Distribution in Crypto

Norby emphasizes the critical role of distribution in crypto projects:

  1. Beyond Product-Market Fit: He argues that great products often create their own markets rather than fitting into existing ones.

  2. Building in Public: The need for crypto founders to engage with their community regularly through platforms like Twitter.

  3. Global Audience: The challenges of building for a global, 24/7 audience in the crypto space.

Competition and Moats in the Crypto Space

When discussing competition, Norby highlights several unique challenges in the crypto space:

  1. Public Data: All user and growth data is public on the blockchain, making it easier for competitors to analyze and potentially copy successful strategies.

  2. Vampire Attacks: The risk of competitors using public wallet data to target and poach users.

  3. Creator Relationships: Currently, DRiP's primary moat is its relationships with creators, but Norby acknowledges that long-term success will depend on developing sustainable monetization strategies for these creators.

The Vision for Mainstream Adoption

Norby's ultimate goal for DRiP is to onboard millions of non-crypto users into the Solana ecosystem. He believes this will happen through:

  1. Partnerships with Major Influencers: Bringing on board significant content creators who can introduce their large, mainstream audiences to DRiP and, by extension, to Solana.

  2. Improved Onboarding: Developing easier sign-up processes and more intuitive user experiences.

  3. Mobile-First Approach: Leveraging the upcoming DRiP mobile app to reach users where they're most comfortable.

  4. Content-Driven Engagement: Focusing on delivering valuable, engaging content rather than emphasizing the underlying blockchain technology.

The Impact on Solana's Ecosystem

DRiP's success has the potential to significantly impact the Solana ecosystem:

  1. User Growth: By potentially onboarding millions of new users, DRiP could dramatically increase Solana's user base.

  2. NFT Innovation: DRiP's use of compressed NFTs and its content distribution model could inspire new applications and use cases within the Solana NFT space.

  3. Creator Economy: By providing new tools for creators to engage with and monetize their audiences, DRiP could attract more creators to build on Solana.

  4. Mainstream Perception: Success in onboarding non-crypto users could help shift the perception of Solana and crypto in general towards more practical, everyday uses.

Challenges in Web3 Founder Experience

Norby shares insights into the unique challenges of being a founder in the Web3 space:

  1. Building in Public: The need to constantly engage with the community on platforms like Twitter, which wasn't necessary in his previous Web2 ventures.

  2. 24/7 Engagement: The crypto market never sleeps, requiring founders to be available and responsive at all hours.

  3. Younger Ecosystem: The crypto space is dominated by younger participants, which can create generational gaps in communication and expectations.

  4. Investor Dynamics: Crypto investors often have different expectations and timelines compared to traditional venture capitalists, with a stronger focus on token economics.

The Future of Blockchain Networks

Norby offers a controversial take on the current state of blockchain networks:

  1. Overvaluation: He believes that most blockchain networks are currently overvalued relative to their actual utility and economic potential.

  2. Infrastructure vs. Network Value: Norby predicts that in the future, the largest applications and infrastructure companies built on networks like Solana may become more valuable than the underlying blockchain itself.

  3. Sustainability Concerns: He raises questions about the long-term economic sustainability of next-generation blockchains, particularly in terms of generating enough fee revenue to support network costs at scale.

Advice for Aspiring Crypto Founders

Drawing from his experience, Norby offers several pieces of advice for aspiring crypto founders:

  1. Trust Your Vision: Don't let external pressures from investors, customers, or even team members sway you from your core beliefs and vision.

  2. Embrace Non-Linear Paths: Understand that the journey of building a successful company is rarely straightforward, and it's okay to experiment with ideas that don't immediately fit the long-term vision.

  3. Maintain Optionality: Be cautious about making decisions that close off future possibilities, such as launching NFT collections or tokens prematurely.

  4. Build a Support System: Cultivate relationships outside of the crypto bubble to maintain perspective and emotional stability.

Conclusion: DRiP's Potential to Reshape the Crypto Landscape

DRiP represents a bold new approach to NFT distribution and creator empowerment in the crypto space. By focusing on accessibility, familiar content types, and creator relationships, DRiP has the potential to bring millions of new users into the Solana ecosystem. As the platform continues to grow and evolve, it could play a pivotal role in driving mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Vibhu Norby's vision for DRiP challenges many of the assumptions that have dominated the crypto space, particularly in the NFT market. By prioritizing user experience, content quality, and scalability over short-term financialization, DRiP is carving out a unique position in the market. If successful, it could not only transform the way creators distribute content but also reshape our understanding of what blockchain technology can achieve in terms of connecting creators and audiences.

As DRiP prepares to "open the floodgates" in the coming months, the crypto community will be watching closely to see if this innovative platform can indeed bridge the gap between the crypto-native world and the mainstream audience. Regardless of the outcome, DRiP's approach offers valuable lessons for anyone looking to build accessible, user-friendly applications in the Web3 space.

Facts + Figures

  • DRiP has minted over 18 million NFTs to approximately 800,000 wallets since its launch in October 2022
  • The platform sends out approximately 3 million NFTs per week
  • DRiP turned on compression when they had around 120,000 users
  • The cost of creating a tree for onboarding a single creator into the compressed NFT data structure is close to $75
  • DRiP has between 300,000 to 500,000 active wallets per day
  • The platform works with creators who have audiences of 200,000 on Instagram or millions on TikTok
  • DRiP's growth has been primarily through word-of-mouth and an invite code system
  • Vibhu Norby previously raised over $100 million in Web2 ventures
  • DRiP is planning to launch a mobile app to facilitate mainstream user onboarding
  • Successful social media platforms like Facebook and Google make between $10 to $40 per user per month from advertising
  • Vibhu Norby worked at Nest with Tony Fadell, who designed the iPod and iPhone
  • DRiP is exclusively built on Solana and has no plans to launch on other blockchains
  • Norby believes that most blockchain networks are currently overvalued relative to their actual utility and economic potential
  • The team at DRiP is focused on growing its Daily Active Users (DAU) as a key metric
  • DRiP's business model is currently focused on growth rather than immediate monetization

Questions Answered

What is DRiP and how does it work?

DRiP is a platform built on Solana that allows creators to distribute free digital collectibles to their audience on a weekly basis. It partners with creators, artists, brands, and projects to send out various types of content as NFTs, including art, music videos, comic books, and scientific content. DRiP leverages Solana's compressed NFT technology to make large-scale distribution cost-effective, sending out approximately 3 million NFTs per week.

Why does Vibhu Norby believe DRiP could drive mainstream crypto adoption?

Norby believes DRiP has potential for mainstream adoption because it's free to use, requires minimal technical knowledge, and focuses on distributing familiar content types that people already enjoy. Unlike many crypto projects, DRiP doesn't require users to purchase tokens or go through complex onboarding processes. By lowering barriers to entry and empowering creators with new distribution tools, DRiP can attract established creators who can bring their existing audiences into the crypto ecosystem.

How has DRiP achieved such rapid growth?

DRiP's rapid growth can be attributed to several factors. It spread virally through word-of-mouth, with early users sharing invite codes with friends and family. The invite-only system created a sense of exclusivity that drove organic growth. DRiP also partners with creators who have large existing audiences on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to transition their followers to the platform. Additionally, the team focuses on features that encourage daily engagement, such as the "legendary lock-in" game where users can open a daily treasure chest.

What is Vibhu Norby's vision for the future of NFTs?

Norby predicts a bifurcation in the NFT market. He foresees mass-market NFTs that are freely accessible with large supply, focused on content distribution and engagement. On the other end, he expects exclusive NFTs with smaller communities that function like digital country clubs. Norby believes that the current model of 10,000-piece collections occupies an awkward middle ground that may not be sustainable in the long term. He emphasizes that NFTs can be used for any type of content, not just static images.

How does DRiP plan to monetize its platform?

While DRiP is currently free for users, Norby has a clear vision for future monetization. The platform is following the model of successful social media platforms by focusing on growing its user base before implementing monetization features. Norby sees potential in an advertising model similar to Facebook or Google, which can generate significant revenue per user at scale. The long-term goal is to develop monetization features that benefit creators while maintaining the platform's accessibility for users. However, the team is careful not to implement short-term monetization strategies that could compromise their vision for mass adoption.

Why is DRiP exclusively on Solana, and does it plan to expand to other blockchains?

Norby is adamant about keeping DRiP exclusively on Solana due to its scalability and low transaction costs. He believes that Solana has the tools to scale to a billion users right now, which aligns with DRiP's vision. Norby argues that jumping to other chains doesn't solve the fundamental challenge of attracting non-crypto users. Instead, he's focused on growing the overall user base rather than competing for existing crypto users across chains. As such, DRiP has no plans to launch on other blockchains in the foreseeable future.

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