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How DRiP Is Able to Give Away Millions of NFTs for Free

By Validated

Published on 2024-02-14

Discover how DRiP is transforming the NFT landscape by distributing millions of digital collectibles for free, leveraging Solana's compressed NFTs and innovative creator economics.

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

DRiP: Revolutionizing NFT Distribution on Solana

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, DRiP has emerged as a groundbreaking platform that's reshaping the way we think about NFTs and digital collectibles. This article delves into the insights shared by Vibhu Norby, CEO of DRiP, in a revealing podcast interview that explores the company's journey, innovative model, and the transformative potential of their platform within the Solana ecosystem.

What is DRiP?

DRiP is a revolutionary platform that distributes digital collectibles to its community for free. At its core, DRiP operates similarly to familiar Web2 content platforms, where creators such as artists and musicians distribute content to their fans on a weekly basis. However, DRiP adds a blockchain twist by placing all content on-chain, granting it unique properties like scarcity and tradability.

The Genesis of DRiP

The idea for DRiP originated as a side project of Solana Spaces, a retail-focused Solana and Web3 experience. Initially conceived as a simple list for NFTs, similar to a MailChimp email list, DRiP began by sending out a single piece of art or a couple of pieces to subscribers each week. This seemingly modest start would soon evolve into one of the fastest-growing applications in the crypto space, particularly within the Solana ecosystem.

From Side Project to Core Business

The transition from a side project to DRiP's core business was not immediately obvious. Vibhu Norby recounts a pivotal moment in January 2023 when they did a drop with an artist called Flag Monkeys. This event marked the first time they "caught lightning in a bottle," a phenomenon they've since replicated numerous times over the past year.

The overwhelming interest in DRiP's model became apparent as Norby found himself constantly distributing invite codes and responding to Twitter DMs. The team realized they were dedicating an unsustainable amount of time to what was supposed to be a side project. Despite the lack of a clear business model at the time, Norby and his team sensed there was something worth pursuing.

The Impact of Compressed NFTs

Compressed NFTs played a crucial role in making DRiP's vision a reality. Prior to the implementation of compressed NFTs, each drop was costing the company between $8,000 and $12,000. This expense was unsustainable, especially as they were funding it out of pocket after Solana Spaces shut down.

The introduction of compressed NFTs was a game-changer. Norby explains, "We went from -- I want to say like $11,500 for the last drop we did with Real NFTs to like $50 the next week." This dramatic reduction in costs allowed DRiP to scale its operations significantly, enabling them to distribute content more frequently and to a larger audience.

The Technology Behind DRiP

DRiP built most of its infrastructure in-house, but the team also relied on the composability of the Solana ecosystem. Ensuring wallet compatibility was crucial, with Phantom being the first to support their compressed NFTs. For several months, DRiP operated without any trading functionality until marketplaces like Tensor implemented support for compressed NFTs.

While the technology wasn't simple to implement initially, Norby notes that today there are numerous tools available for those starting from scratch who want to replicate what DRiP does.

Creator Economics on DRiP

One of the most intriguing aspects of DRiP is its approach to creator economics. Initially, convincing creators to give away their NFTs for free was challenging. Norby admits, "The first conversation didn't go that well, because that wasn't a very compelling value prop." However, they were fortunate to partner with creators like DJN Poet, who valued audience building above immediate monetization.

DRiP's vision was to make it accessible for users to give back to creators they appreciate while also expanding on existing crypto business models. Norby believes that the inefficiencies in Web2 content monetization present an opportunity for platforms like DRiP to create more direct and fair compensation models for creators.

The Droplet Mechanism

At the heart of DRiP's creator compensation model is the "droplet" system. Droplets are not tokens but rather an in-game currency, similar to arcade credits. Users can collect droplets for free every six hours, accumulating about 20 to 30 cents worth per day. Additionally, users can buy droplets in bulk.

Droplets serve multiple functions within the DRiP ecosystem:

  1. They are spent when receiving collectibles from subscribed creators.
  2. They can be donated to put users on a creator's leaderboard.
  3. Creators outline perks that users can receive for donating certain amounts of droplets.

Every 24 hours, DRiP automatically redeems these droplets for USDC on Solana, providing a seamless payout system for creators.

Revolutionizing Payment Models

One of DRiP's most significant innovations lies in its payment model. Traditional platforms often struggle with high transaction fees and minimum payout thresholds, which can be prohibitive for smaller creators or micro-transactions. DRiP leverages Solana's capabilities to enable tiny increments of subscriptions, allowing users to support creators for as little as one cent or even half a cent per month.

This model addresses a fundamental issue in content consumption: the mismatch between the vast amount of content available and individual users' ability to financially support multiple creators. By allowing for micro-subscriptions, DRiP makes it possible for users to support hundreds of creators affordably while ensuring that creators can receive compensation for even the smallest contributions.

DRiP's Fundraising Journey

Raising funds for DRiP was no small feat, especially given the challenging market conditions in the crypto space. Norby credits Chris Bernesky at Placeholder for having the vision to invest in DRiP when many were hesitant to back Solana-based projects. Bernesky's commitment opened the doors for other investors to join in.

Norby emphasizes the importance of Bernesky's patience and understanding, noting that his approach differs from many crypto VCs who tend to have more of a trader mentality.

The Evolution from Retail to Digital

Vibhu Norby's journey as a founder has been marked by significant pivots. From high-end retail with B8ta to the crypto-focused Solana Spaces, and now to the entirely digital DRiP, each iteration has challenged existing structures and business models.

Norby sees a common thread in his projects: the desire to build things that challenge existing structures and business models. He views DRiP as a continuation of this mission, offering a new perspective on NFTs and digital ownership.

Pitching Crypto to Mainstream Audiences

One of the key insights Norby shares is the need to rethink how crypto is pitched to mainstream audiences. He suggests framing blockchain technology as "the new internet" where users have more control and potentially more favorable experiences.

Norby uses the analogy of a decentralized Amazon where users own a piece of the company and benefit from its economics. He believes that when presented with equal alternatives, people will prefer the option where they have ownership and a say in the platform's direction.

The Future of Digital Ownership

DRiP's model taps into a growing desire for true digital ownership. Norby points out that people are already accustomed to paying for digital goods, from software to in-game items. The controversy surrounding game companies switching from ownership to licensing models demonstrates that consumers value owning their digital purchases.

By leveraging blockchain technology, DRiP offers a way for users to truly own their digital collectibles, bridging the gap between traditional digital purchases and the new paradigm of blockchain-based ownership.

Advice for Web3 Founders

For founders looking to build user-facing products in the crypto space, Norby offers several pieces of advice:

  1. Start free: Make your product accessible to as many users as possible from the beginning.
  2. Leverage financial incentives: Use crypto's unique ability to provide real financial incentives to early users.
  3. Focus on user desires: Remember that people want both fun and rewards.
  4. Reinvent Web2 models: Look for opportunities to disrupt existing Web2 services with better incentives and ownership models.

DRiP's Impact on the Solana Ecosystem

DRiP has quickly become a significant force within the Solana ecosystem. By distributing millions of NFTs for free, it has changed people's perceptions of what NFTs can be and how they relate to artists. The platform has demonstrated the scalability and cost-effectiveness of Solana's blockchain, particularly through the use of compressed NFTs.

Moreover, DRiP has expanded the collector base for NFTs on Solana. Norby reveals that there are now 3,000 collectors for every creator on DRiP, a ratio that far exceeds the typical NFT marketplace where creators often outnumber collectors.

The Creator-Collector Relationship

DRiP's model fosters a unique relationship between creators and collectors. By making it easy and affordable for users to support multiple creators, DRiP enables a more diverse and vibrant creative ecosystem. Creators can build larger audiences, while collectors can engage with a wider range of content without significant financial barriers.

This model has proved beneficial not only within the DRiP platform but also for creators' activities outside of it. Many creators are seeing increased interest and value in their other NFT projects as a result of the exposure and audience building they achieve through DRiP.

DRiP's Economic Impact on Creators

The economic impact of DRiP on creators has been substantial. In just 45 days since launching their droplet system in December, DRiP has paid out $150,000 to a group of about 80 creators. This represents a significant new revenue stream for many artists in the space.

Additionally, creators are seeing positive effects on their non-DRiP projects. The expanded audience they gain through DRiP often translates into higher values for their other NFT works, demonstrating the platform's ability to boost a creator's overall profile in the digital art world.

Accessibility and User Experience

A key focus for DRiP has been maintaining accessibility and a smooth user experience. Unlike many crypto projects that require significant upfront investment or technical knowledge, DRiP allows users to participate for free. The platform's design makes it easy for newcomers to the crypto space to engage with digital collectibles without facing high barriers to entry.

This approach aligns with Norby's vision of crypto as an accessible financial system. By making it possible for users to participate without any initial investment, DRiP is opening up the world of NFTs and digital collectibles to a much broader audience.

The Role of Solana in DRiP's Success

Solana's blockchain technology plays a crucial role in enabling DRiP's innovative model. The network's high speed and low transaction costs make it possible for DRiP to distribute large numbers of NFTs efficiently and economically. The introduction of compressed NFTs on Solana was particularly transformative, allowing DRiP to scale its operations dramatically while keeping costs minimal.

Furthermore, Solana's ecosystem of wallets and marketplaces has been essential in providing the infrastructure needed for users to interact with and trade their DRiP collectibles seamlessly.

Challenges and Future Directions

While DRiP has achieved significant success, Norby acknowledges that there are ongoing challenges. Balancing free distribution with preventing exploitation by "airdrop hunters" and maintaining the value of collectibles is an ongoing process.

Looking to the future, DRiP is exploring new ways to enhance the creator-collector relationship and expand its economic model. The recent introduction of sponsor collectibles hints at potential new revenue streams that could further benefit creators while maintaining the platform's accessibility for users.

DRiP's Vision for the Creator Economy

Ultimately, DRiP's vision extends beyond just distributing NFTs. Norby sees the platform as a way to reshape the creator economy, providing more direct and fair compensation models for content creators. By leveraging blockchain technology and innovative economic models, DRiP aims to address many of the inefficiencies and inequities present in traditional content platforms.

As the platform continues to evolve, it has the potential to set new standards for how creators are compensated and how audiences engage with digital content. DRiP's success could pave the way for a more equitable and dynamic digital creative ecosystem, not just within the Solana network, but potentially influencing the broader world of online content creation and distribution.

In conclusion, DRiP represents a bold experiment in reshaping the NFT landscape and the broader creator economy. By leveraging Solana's technology and introducing innovative economic models, DRiP is not just distributing digital collectibles; it's potentially redefining the relationship between creators, collectors, and digital content. As the platform continues to grow and evolve, it will be fascinating to see how it influences the future of digital ownership and creator compensation in the Web3 era.

Facts + Figures

  • DRiP has distributed millions of digital collectibles to its community for free.
  • The platform went from spending $11,500 per drop with regular NFTs to just $50 with compressed NFTs.
  • DRiP has paid out $150,000 to about 80 creators in just 45 days since launching their droplet system.
  • There are 3,000 collectors for every creator on DRiP.
  • Users can collect 20 to 30 cents worth of droplets per day for free.
  • DRiP allows for micro-subscriptions as low as one cent or half a cent per month.
  • The platform started as a side project of Solana Spaces before becoming a core business.
  • DRiP built most of its infrastructure in-house.
  • The platform operated for three months without any trading functionality until marketplaces implemented support.
  • Vibhu Norby has a history of challenging existing business models, from B8ta to Solana Spaces to DRiP.
  • DRiP's fundraising was led by Chris Bernesky at Placeholder during a challenging time for Solana-based projects.
  • The platform aims to address inefficiencies in Web2 content monetization.
  • DRiP redeems droplets for USDC automatically every 24 hours.
  • The platform's growth was catalyzed by the introduction of compressed NFTs on Solana.
  • DRiP's model allows users to support hundreds of creators affordably.

Questions Answered

What is DRiP?

DRiP is a platform that distributes digital collectibles to its community for free on a weekly basis. It operates similarly to Web2 content platforms but places all content on-chain, giving it unique properties like scarcity and tradability. DRiP has become one of the fastest-growing applications in the crypto space, particularly within the Solana ecosystem.

How does DRiP's economic model work for creators?

DRiP's economic model for creators is based on a system called "droplets." Users can collect droplets for free or purchase them, and these are spent when receiving collectibles or donating to creators. Every 24 hours, DRiP automatically redeems these droplets for USDC on Solana, providing a seamless payout system for creators. This model allows for micro-transactions and subscriptions, enabling users to support multiple creators affordably.

What role do compressed NFTs play in DRiP's model?

Compressed NFTs are crucial to DRiP's model as they dramatically reduced the cost of distributing NFTs. Before compressed NFTs, each drop cost between $8,000 and $12,000. With compressed NFTs, the cost dropped to around $50 per drop. This significant cost reduction allowed DRiP to scale its operations, distribute content more frequently, and reach a larger audience.

How is DRiP different from traditional NFT platforms?

DRiP differs from traditional NFT platforms in several ways. It focuses on free distribution of NFTs, uses an innovative "droplet" system for creator compensation, and allows for micro-subscriptions. DRiP also emphasizes accessibility, allowing users to participate without any initial investment. The platform aims to reshape the creator economy by providing more direct and fair compensation models for content creators.

What impact has DRiP had on the Solana ecosystem?

DRiP has significantly impacted the Solana ecosystem by changing perceptions of NFTs and expanding the collector base. It has demonstrated the scalability and cost-effectiveness of Solana's blockchain, particularly through the use of compressed NFTs. The platform has also boosted the overall profile of creators in the digital art world, often leading to increased value for their non-DRiP projects as well.

How does DRiP address the challenges of Web2 content monetization?

DRiP addresses Web2 content monetization challenges by enabling micro-transactions and direct creator support. It allows users to support multiple creators with small amounts, overcoming the limitations of traditional subscription models. The platform also provides a more direct link between content consumption and creator compensation, potentially offering a fairer model than ad-based revenue systems.

What advice does Vibhu Norby offer to Web3 founders?

Vibhu Norby advises Web3 founders to start their products for free, leverage crypto's unique ability to provide real financial incentives to early users, focus on what users truly want (both fun and rewards), and look for opportunities to reinvent existing Web2 services with better incentives and ownership models. He emphasizes the importance of making products accessible and understanding user desires.

How does DRiP envision the future of digital ownership?

DRiP envisions a future where digital ownership is more tangible and valuable. By leveraging blockchain technology, DRiP offers true ownership of digital collectibles, bridging the gap between traditional digital purchases and blockchain-based ownership. The platform taps into the growing desire for genuine digital ownership, reflecting a shift away from licensing models towards more user-centric ownership paradigms.

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