A Solution to Apple's Big (Unjustified) Block on NFT Transfers | Own Your Crypto: Episode 7
Apple allegedly requested a 30% NFT network fee from Coinbase, strong-arming the crypto exchange into disabling the NFT transfer function. But Xverse has found a solution by making NFT network transfers free.
The Own Your Crypto show is hosted by Elizabeth Olson joined by Ken Liao from Xverse, the most advanced Web3 Bitcoin wallet, with special episode guests Alex Miller, CEO of Hiro, all you need to build Bitcoin apps, Mark McKenzie, Founder of Megapont, an NFT community for pioneers, and Nick Sainato, Co-Founder of Gamma, a Bitcoin NFT marketplace and home for the world’s Web3 social identity.
Elizabeth Olson (Host): Thanks again everyone for joining us to discuss this hot topic around a solution to Apple's block on NFT transfers.
To give our space some context, on December 1st, Coinbase announced that their iOS app update had been blocked by Apple, who allegedly wants to take a 30% cut on all NFT network or gas fees. This means anytime you're transferring to NFT, now this is not technically possible through the Coinbase iOS app, not only would this be quite complicated for Coinbase to do with Ethereum and we'll get into that technically later, but it's not even possible for them to comply with Apple's request. So, essentially Apple has strong armed Coinbase into disabling the NFT transfer function on its iOS wallet app.
Today, we'll get into the trenches around why Apple is requesting these fees in the first place. Why this request is really unfair and absurd when it comes to blockchain technology. We'll get into that from a technical perspective as well and how we can work around this issue now with Xverse, with our new sponsored wallet options and other workaround possibilities on Bitcoin and beyond and how we can continue to mitigate these kinds of frictions for, ultimately, crypto's mass adoption.
We do have a number of speakers so we can do a quick round of introductions. Ken, I know everybody's here is probably familiar with you, but just in case for those who are joining us for the first time, would you like to kick us off?
Ken Liao (Xverse): Sure, yes. I'm Ken, CEO of Xverse. I've been working in the Stacks ecosystem for quite a few years now.
Elizabeth (Host): I see Mark and Alex are here. Would you both like to go next perhaps? Mark.
Mark McKenzie (Megapont): Yes, sure. I'm Mark, I'm one of the co-founders of Megapont, an NFT project on Stacks and also a builder in the wider crypto ecosystem.
Alex Miller (Hiro): I'm Alex. I am the CEO of Hiro, which is the dev tools company for the Stacks ecosystem, so I spend all my day talking to developers and what they care about.
Elizabeth (Host): Amazing. Well, it's great to have you all here and I believe we have a few others who are going to join us as speakers later on who are just running from other meetings, but welcome to everyone here. Before we get deep into technical innovations and solutions here, just wanted to take a step back and talk about the issue at hand.
I would like to start us off with your opinion on why is Apple requesting this network fee, and why is this unfair? I think it would be interesting to hear why is this not even possible to comply with in the first place.
Alex (Hiro): Yes. The thing with Apple is that they love their rules. I think they're very worried constantly about people trying to create workarounds on them. They care about their rules. They don't really care about what your particular use case is or helping you fit into it. They saw something that looks like an attempt to workaround or that could set a precedent as a workaround and they just don't care enough to try and look into it deeper.
Ken (Xverse): Yes. Just to give a little bit of background on this rule. Apple has a policy for its app store. If the app is selling a digital good, for example, like a subscription to a streaming service in-game items or even NFTs, you have to enable payment through their proprietary in-app purchase system from which Apple takes a 30% cut of sales. I think Apple's app store policies have been really problematic for crypto developers for a really long time now. They used to not even allow NFTs in apps at all because one of their other policies forbid apps from showing digital items purchased from outside the app unless you also offer them for sale in the app through Apple's payment system so that it can take a cut.
If you bought NFTs from a marketplace and then you're holding them in a crypto wallet that's an app, that falls into this category. You can't even display the NFTs. They've since backtracked on this one, but if you sell NFTs in your app you're still required to use the Apple in that purchase system. To give a little bit more background to the issue encountered by Coinbase wallet, Apple wanted them to have 30% of the even the network fees paid to transfer NFTs. If you even remotely understand how blockchains work, that would seem really absurd because the fees are not even paid to the app makers. It's paid to the validators on the blockchain network. I would definitely not categorize that as a purchase of a digital good. Additionally, the network validators have no contractual relationship with Apple. How does Apple have the right to demand 30% of the fees that are being paid to them? It's quite absurd from many different perspectives.
Elizabeth (Host): Sounds like there's issues around the definitions behind what is a digital good versus the purchase fee versus the actual network fee. There's this lack of understanding on Apple's part and no regard and respect for the blockchain technology here.
I would be interested to know a little bit more detail into why it's not even possible to comply with them because they're not accepting crypto payments as I understand.
Ken (Xverse): Yes. The funny thing is Apple's in-app purchase system doesn't even support crypto. Even if you wanted to give them the money for crypto purchases, you can’t.
Elizabeth (Host): Why do you think that is? Do you think they're trying to intentionally block NFTs or is this more of a matter of these big corporations still not understanding how blockchain technology works? How is Apple actually benefiting from this policy?
Ken (Xverse): This is less about Apple not understanding blockchain technology or crypto, but more they're trying to hold onto their profit margins because if they allow crypto to circumvent this policy of 30% on digital goods, then what stops Epic Games, which had a whole lawsuit with Apple? What's stopping them from just saying that all of their in-game purchases are NFTs and users are going to use crypto to buy them, so then they don't have to pay that 30% fee to Apple? I think Apple is trying to not open this up for anyone else to take away their profits.
Elizabeth (Host): Yes. Maybe there's more going behind the scenes here. For example, Apple did request a cut earlier with Coinbase. Maybe Coinbase said, “Oh no, this is not possible,” and maybe they're now just strong-arming them and demanding some workaround. But it's crazy, it's not really good strategy here if you're not creating a win-win scenario. If their goal is to have some revenue and retain users, it doesn't make sense to create a policy with which apps can't apply and to enforce that before it’s even there. It's just creating more friction and making people leave the app. As much as Apple is a monopoly, the thing is that people can restore their Coinbase wallets and transfer their NFTs elsewhere. So, if you enforce this, it's essentially ensuring that apps at least have that capability of complying technically, and if not, that they have the time it takes to do so. Otherwise, you're simply losing that traffic now because people have to go elsewhere to transfer their NFTs.
Alex (Hiro): To Ken's point, I think Apple definitely understands what they are doing here and so they don't want to risk their margin on this elsewhere. They've done this repeatedly with the app store when they've taken heat over like the 30% margin. One of the things that always struck me as just a weird business choice on Apple's part was when they were taking over the last few years over the 30% and the no sideloading and all this stuff. Why didn't they just cut the take rate on the marketplace to 10%?
I can't think of very many developers who would be complaining that loudly about a 10% take rate. Obviously this is still a special situation because of the payment method thing, but more in general, nobody had been complaining about 10% because you'd be losing 3 or 4% to your credit card fees anyways. There is value on it, but Apple is very firmly stuck to this 30%. They just don't want to do anything to undermine or create a loophole. Ken pointed out how gaming companies could use this by calling everything an NFT and then bypass a huge amount of revenue. They don't want to take that chance. They have too much revenue coming in through that side to care about the relatively small amount of revenue that they might be losing in regard to this choice.
Elizabeth (Host): But even taking a step back further, it still seems like there's some issues in placing this charge on a fee that's a network fee essentially. I think Coinbase mentioned this is almost charging for sending an email and just finding a way to impose a charge that would be fair that wouldn't be about the network fees regardless of what that percentage is perhaps. But would be interested to hear from others. Mark, did you want to weigh in as well on this? Why do you think Apple's network charge is unfair or do you?
Mark (Megapont): Yes and no. I mean it makes up a huge part of their revenue. I think it's something like 10 billion per year. Might even be more than that now after 2021, but when I was looking into this, it was about 10 billion a year. To mention the last few years and the pushback that they've had against this 30%, they had that massive legal battle with Epic Games, who just left the app store completely, or they might have been kicked off it. I think they had a favorable ruling actually from the first case where the judge upheld that they were allowed to charge their 30% and allowed to kick off anyone that doesn't adhere to that role.
I just think the landscape's very different from where it was when Apple implemented this policy, where the app store really was a distribution channel. It, in itself, was a big part of marketing. Just being on the app store was putting you in front of eyes. I do think that gone are the days of when someone loads up an app store, has no idea what they're looking for, and discovers new apps. Maybe if it's in the curated editors part. It's probably a bit greedy but it's a monopoly. They just don't have to move on this. They're certainly probably nervous. I do think that a lot of people don't understand how the payments network works and how Apple has favorable business relationships with the settlement layer within payment networks.
People have no idea that when you insert your credit card detail or pair with Apple Pay, what actually happens behind the scenes and how Apple are making money from that. They can't do that with the blockchain. They can't go to Hiro, or Muneeb, or to Vitalik, or the Ethereum Foundation, and say, “Hey, we want a cut of these transaction fees to transact on your blockchain.” It's just not going to work like that. Maybe create their own. They just don't see a way of having that monetization path. I don't think blockchains are very public. If you can transfer an NFT from within wallets that are approved on Apple, there's no reason that you then just don't leave the Apple ecosystem and live on OpenSea after that, or live on Gamma, or other marketplace. They're just worried that the blockchains aren't a closed garden. They can't have ownership of protocols and infrastructure layers like they can with the legacy payments network. They probably just see it as a bigger long-term risk. Maybe they're just stalling until they come up with some blockchain-approved solution.
One interesting thing about all of this is that Coinbase is probably the most well positioned entity in terms of facilitating blockchain payments for a global blockchain payments network. They have relationships with the large card networks and they're probably in a better position than else to deliver on this. The fact that they have a hostile relationship with Apple is probably telling you that if Apple are doing anything with blockchain payments, they're certainly not doing anything with the legacy players that we know of today. It's probably in-house. That's interesting. I don't think they would publicly be calling each other out if Brien was working with Apple to implement some blockchain payments later, which is probably the most interesting part of the whole thing really, more than anything else.
Ken (Xverse): Yes, I think that's a really good point because if you think about it, Apple's walled-garden approach is essentially the antithesis of crypto and decentralization and removing the middleman.
Elizabeth (Host): All right, so either Apple's going to make their own blockchain, or we have to make our own app store.
To your point there, Ken, with crypto being the antithesis of a lot of these big tech companies, how do you think we can work around them or work with them to achieve crypto mass adoption? Is there always going to be this friction? Do you think there's going to be a time where we meet in the middle here or is there going to be a need for creating new workaround solutions?
Ken (Xverse): It's going to be difficult, at least in the short term. Just because Apple is a public company and they have to act on behalf of their shareholders and maximize their profit. The only way to change their behavior is when crypto has so much adoption that if you cannot do these things on an iPhone or any device that Apple makes then people will not use Apple. People will have to vote with their money, but we're still pretty far away from that level of adoption where we can demand Apple to change their behavior.
Elizabeth (Host): What do you think is the next step here? We have even seen— there's rumor about iOS allowing other app stores. Maybe there could be some potential there. But how else can decentralized protocols compete with Apple and these big corporation pseudo-monopolies?
Alex (Hiro): I think it's going to have to start on or continue to build more on desktop and open web. Especially because Google for their part— You can at least sideload things onto Android, but sideloading is not exactly a super mass adoption consumer way of implementing anything as any developer who's ever tried to get people to sideload things knows. It really is just going to have to be a balance of power shifting first, and Elizabeth, to the rumor you were talking about, from what I’ve read, in order to be compliant with EU laws, Apple is going to allow other app stores on EU-based devices only. Given the amount of resistance that we have seen from governments towards Bitcoin and crypto, it would be deeply funny to me if one of the major unlocks for getting crypto adoption through mobile devices was driven by their own laws about open competition and forcing Apple and Google to open up APIs and things to developers that they had previously restricted them from.
Elizabeth (Host): Nice. Let's all move to Europe and get some European iOS phones. I assume that then wouldn't be available worldwide, so that would just be within Europe.
Alex (Hiro): Yes, there is no reason to think that Apple given their history is going to extend openness any farther than they are absolutely legally required to do. At least not until their hand is forced by something else.
Elizabeth (Host): Yes, that makes sense. It's funny. When this news came out, I was like, “Ken, we have to make an Xverse phone.” I would be curious. I know there's efforts to build a Solana phone out there.
Is that something that we're going to see efforts around, building some phone, moving forward? Would that be of interest to the community?
Mark (Megapont): I wouldn't use anything but an iPhone right now. It's just so easy. In the real world, it's so practical. I use it for like ticketing when I go to places. I use it to get into my gym. I use it to pay for things on a day-to-day basis. I use it to see where my children are, interact with all my stuff at home. Leaving that ecosystem would be impossible. Even Android: I have an Android device for some of the Bitcoin stuff that I do. I tried to make an effort to use the Pixel 7 and I just can't leave the Apple ecosystem. I'm just stuck in it. I know that I'm probably someone who's spent a lot of time trying to leave it, but I just got sucked into how easy it is. Maybe we just move to a world where perhaps there's a setup whereby you are using a separate device to interact with blockchain. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing to do. I know Android perhaps isn't as open as we maybe once thought it was, but it's certainly nice even just to have a separate device. It's just in the bedside drawer. I only take it out when I need to interact with various blockchain apps. My iPhone is something that I keep away from it because I carry it everywhere with me and I'm more likely to lose it or have it stolen. If we do, I don't think we'll see the rise of a general-purpose device. It would be more like a Ryder, so it could end up being more like a Ryder device where you've got this specialized blockchain device that perhaps does more than, right now, just signing things.
Alex (Hiro): I mean, you already almost see this with the new ledger device that was just introduced. That's starting to look or move the hardware wallet closer to almost a fully featured device. But I think you're absolutely right, Mark. Ecosystem-level phones are a joke. At most, people might make some customized Android devices or something like the freedom phone or whatever these things were, but nobody at this point until there's an order of magnitude-level change in the devices like what we saw 15 years ago with the introduction of the iPhone and Android things.
Too much of phones these days is applications from third-party developers and that's very heavily network dependent. Unless you can figure out how to bootstrap yourself to 10 or 20% of the market and convince all of these developers to port all of their applications to whatever your mobile OS is, you're not going to get end users to use your device because there's no use case you're going to come up with that's compelling enough to give up the fact that, yes, I can have the United App on my phone and board an airplane with my phone or use FreshDirect to get deliveries from groceries or Uber.
Elizabeth (Host): Yes, right. I was looking at when was the first iPhone released. This is back in 2007. We're 15 years sucked in and it's time that we have to figure out a way to bring our products to the people. This is tech that is integrated and woven into society and we need to find solutions that are going to be able to be compatible with it to a certain degree.
To that end, it would be interesting now to talk about what we've achieved and announced this week here at Xverse with sponsored transactions. This is something that has possible to do on this Stacks blockchain. But Ken, maybe you can speak to that more and how this is now possible with NFT transfers on Xverse?
Ken (Xverse): Yes, so just to recap, we made NFT transfers free on our mobile app so that Apple can't block our app because there's no fee to transfer NFT. How do we make NFT transfers free? Every transaction on the blockchain has to incur cost because computing power has to be expended by somebody and there's just no getting around that, but there's a special mechanism on the Stacks blockchain called sponsor transactions, which allows someone else other than the sender of the transaction to pay for the network fees.
Essentially, the sponsors co-signed this transaction and they agreed to pay the fee, but they can't change the transaction itself. We've set up a few sponsor wallets, which will accept all these NFT transfer transactions from Xverse Wallet, and those wallets will pay for the network fees of these transfers. On the Stacks network, the fees required for a NFT transfer are so low that the sponsor wallets can be easily funded by Xverse and donations from the rest of the community and ecosystem. By doing this, we've made NFT transfers that are sent from Xverse Mobile wallet free of any network fees. There's no need to integrate with Apple’s in-app purchase system and pay that 30%.
Elizabeth (Host): Ken, just a frequently asked question here, why are there three wallet addresses?
Also, to everyone here, please check out NFTsnotfees.com. You can see where you can actually help contribute towards these sponsored addresses. This has definitely been a community effort. Hiro's been very supportive in this and a number of other community members but really anybody can contribute to these wallets.
Ken (Xverse): Yes. The main reason for having three wallets is that there's a limit to the number of pending transactions per wallet. If you have lots of sponsored NFT transfers going out in the network, then you run to limit of however many that pending transaction limit is. We've created three wallets for now, which we think we'll be able to handle increased load, and it's also scalable. So, if we see that there's a lot of transactions being sent, then we can increase that number of wallets to make sure that all the n ft transfers can go through.
Elizabeth (Host): Awesome. Thanks for delving into that. I do want to just give a heads up. We're about coming to the Q & A time, so for those who want to step up on stage and ask some questions, feel free to go ahead and raise your hand and we'll you bring you up. In the meantime, around the community effort initiative.
Alex, perhaps we can hear from you and your perspective from Hiro. Why was this something that you at Hiro, really wanted to get behind and support this campaign?
Alex (Hiro): Sure. Just maintaining flexibility and getting rid of middlemen is an underlying ideal of the entire crypto world and mindset, and it was just really frustrating to see. Again, you could think it was because of ignorance or more likely because of the greed, but just that fundamental proposition that they, Apple, was in a position to disintermediate it. Just being able to show that, “Hey, there's always a workaround. There's always something that can be done in situations.” That felt a lot of fun and just an important thing to reinforce as a message to the community.
Elizabeth (Host): Yes, absolutely. We're really hoping that through this initiative, this is going to bring more eyes to solution that Stacks provides. Not only with this workaround and potential other frictions that are caused by these big corporations, but also just the fact that all the value propositions that Stacks and Bitcoin has to offer here. We really want to see more people building on Stacks, more creatives coming with their NFTs and really just flourishing the ecosystem in that way.
Mark, I would also love to hear from you. What does this mean for Megapont? Is this something that when you saw this announcement from Xverse, something that you guys were pretty excited about?
Mark (Megapont): It's actually the first implementation that I’ve seen that makes a lot of sense. Friedger actually said to us during one of our mints last winter, “Hey, do you want to have sponsored transactions?” My first thought was, “Hey, these are going to cost about 10 to 50 Stacks to mint,” and Stacks was $2 at a time, so, “Please, no, let's not do that.”
But I could certainly see some of the potential for especially around onboarding people to web3. I could download a wallet and I could play around with NFTs and not actually have to have any dust. I’ve sent NFTs to say my partner and some friends, and the first thing they say to me is “I can't move this.” I can't list it or do anything with it because I need to now fund a wallet. It's really good for onboarding people to a blockchain, but I'm more excited around the big picture, especially with sponsored transactions of Stacks because you can quite easily get to a situation where obviously, after the sBTC whitepaper, at some point in the future, we've got people buying and trading NFTs on Stacks in Bitcoin and just generally have no idea that Stacks as a token exists, which I think is certainly more exciting to me as an individual. Obviously there's a big UX challenge there from a wallet perspective that hopefully both Xverse and Hiro are going to solve. But that's more exciting long term especially for Megapont as a project where we can really push on that Bitcoin marketing angle of “these are truly on Bitcoin NFTs.”
We can say that now when we can try to educate folks as to how Stacks is secured on Bitcoin and why Megapont NFTs are considered NFTs on Bitcoin. But ultimately when you then have to tell someone they have to go to an exchange and buy a Stacks token to then interact with it, their mind is saying this isn't on Bitcoin, and it's very hard to push them over that sort of mental blocker that they have. I'm just really excited where the combination of sBTC and sponsored transactions can get us to. In terms of abstract in a way a whole lot of a token that let's face it, isn't readily available on some of the most popular DEX’s and CEX’s at the moment.
Ken (Xverse): Yes, I think definitely it's just the beginning. There's so much more you can do with sponsored transactions. We've basically just set a demo. You can do lots of other things like you mentioned. One thing that maybe is more immediate that you can do is if you're using some NFT ticketing system now, you don't need any STX to transfer your NFT ticket or being able to claim NFT ticket without having to have STX in your wallet. I'm sure marketplaces like Gamma could really make use of sponsor transactions to reduce the onboarding friction for their users as well. I don't know if that's in their plans.
Elizabeth (Host): To Ken's point, it's huge in regard to events. A lot of people reach out to Xverse often to see how we can support with NFT ticketing. An issue with events is oftentimes we're trying to reach people who are outside the Stacks ecosystem, perhaps even new to the crypto space. It might be their first wallet that they're downloading. To be able to easily mint the NFT without having to go through the purchase steps to get Stacks, which is easier now within Xverse. We have Transak, Binance, and MoonPay. There are options to buy Stacks easily within the wallet, but now we're making this one less step that people have to do, especially in the business of an event where that's just one less step.
Another question for Ken, this could be for you, but do all sponsor wallets have to go through Xverse for sponsoring these NFTs, or can people set up their own wallets for the same purpose?
Ken (Xverse): Yes, so we actually made the sponsor web service open source. Basically, anyone that wants to sponsor a specific type of transaction for their use case can make use of it. We have a link to the GitHub repo for that on the nftsnotfees.com webpage. If you're interested, please check it out.
Elizabeth (Host): Great. Nick, I see you're here too. Did you want to add to the conversation here around anything that's been discussed so far?
Nick: Thanks for inviting me up. I don't have any concrete things that we're working on quite yet, but really excited to see you guys. I'll say partially because Xverse just moved at a ridiculously fast pace here, so kudos to you guys. I think it was maybe a week ago that we saw this tweet that came out about the whole Coinbase situation and Apple and now your campaign was live on, I think Monday or Tuesday or something. Definitely exciting to see the, I guess you could call it, pace of innovation here. Yes, there's definitely a lot that can be done.
One pretty obvious low-hanging fruit is just for new user onboarding and if you want to do something like mint your first NFT, maybe it's a free NFT or something like that. Just being able to clean that NFT and get your first profile picture or something like that. Not having to buy any Stacks because, as we all know, there's already quite a bit of friction. You guys at Xverse and Alex is here from Hiro and the Hiro Wallet. It's not difficult to set up, but that's already one friction point to go and set up your wallet, so to add another layer of saying you need a Stacks token and you have to go use a credit card and get KYC-ed through there, or maybe you need to go to an exchange and get KYC-ed through there. This just adds even more friction points. So, if we can say that you need a wallet in order to have a non-custodial wallet, let's make that a base requirement, but maybe you don't have to go through that effort just to get a free NFT claim or something like that, just to dip your feet in the water and get started. I think that's one area that's ripe for the picking.
Elizabeth (Host): I totally agree there. This is going to be huge in regard to just making it so much easier for the user experience in Xverse and for all the NFT projects out there.
Hero, I see you're also up on stage. Do you see any other use cases here for sponsored transactions in the community?
Hero (Gamer): Yes, I'm quite interested in Bitcoin onboarding or onboarding Bitcoin-ers side of things, which we had a chat about with Mark some month ago and with everybody else as well. Therefore, my question is, is there opportunity where after Stacks 2.1 goes live and sBTC, with those two functionalities coming on board, are there ways that we can utilize those to onboard Bitcoin-ers, such as the only thing they need to do is to download the wallet and they just go to a site and click a few buttons and get NFT? It feels like a very easy onboarding process. I just wonder, what do you think how easy would it be after Stacks 2.1 and how easy would it be after sBTC launch?
Ken (Xverse): I can share my version of this. I think it'll definitely improve with sponsored transactions and sBTC. The way I imagine it is that you can send a Bitcoin transaction that essentially pegs into the Stacks network as sBTC and you execute a smart contract, which will give you that NFT. Depending on how you implement it, there might be a Stacks transaction that's needed, but it would be really bad user experience if you make the user who's making that purchase send a Stacks transaction because then they have to go and get Stacks to fuel that transaction. Perhaps you could either use a sponsorship action to do that and have the smart contract pay out a small portion of the Bitcoin that's deposited into the Stacks network to pay the sponsor with that. That way, you create an incentive system for people to sponsor these transactions and potentially make a little bit of money, but also simplifying user experience and removing stacks as a requirement for you to do anything using Bitcoin smart contracts.
Hero (Gamer): How much would that cost? Let's say, 5,000 PFPs or 5,000 unique looking NFTs realistically?
Ken (Xverse): I think it depends. Stacks transaction fees are really low, so you probably just take thousand stats or something like that from the Bitcoin that you deposit and transfer that as sBTC to the sponsor.
Hero (Gamer): That's based on sBTC coming live. What about before that, before sBTC coming live?
Ken (Xverse): I think before that, maybe the creators of NFTs themselves can sponsor these transactions because they're getting paid the minting fees in Bitcoin. They could afford to take a small part of that to fund the transactions or sponsor the transactions for their buyers.
Elizabeth (Host): Nick and Mark, how do you think the artists on your platforms would react to that? Do you think they would be okay with sponsoring their own transactions to help mitigate the friction for the buyers?
Mark (Megapont): That's just an educational thing. How much is this going to cost immediately, especially if we're onboarding artists and other creatives and projects that are used to transaction fees on, say, Ethereum. We're going to need to do some work to ensure that they understand this is not going to be as expensive as you think. Take for example, we have a mint tonight and we can't airdrop everyone an NFT because there's 6,000, so it would cost probably around $40,000 for us to airdrop it. However, we airdropped 2,500 NFTs on Stacks a month ago, and I think it cost us $9, so there are big differences between airdropping on one network and another one. We just need to educate people that, “Hey, it's nowhere near as expensive as you think on Stacks.”
Elizabeth (Host): That is such a great use case right there. We need to get some content around this. That’s amazing.
Mark (Megapont): It might even have been cheaper. I think I deployed five smart contracts and the fee probably was under a dollar. I'd have to check but yes, we just airdropped 2,500 NFTs with some smart contract deployments. It happened in three blocks and it was between $1 to $10. It was an amount that we didn't worry about, whereas legitimately, tonight, if we were to airdrop 6,000 NFTs on L1 Ethereum, it would be in the tens of thousands of dollars for sure. Absolutely no doubt about that.
Hero (Gamer): Is there a way to generalize, for example, up to a hundred, it’s going to cost roughly this much estimate, say, up to 2000?
Mark (Megapont): You're limited really to how many bytes you could put in your contract deployment, and from what we found, it doesn't scale. What I mean by that is if you've got one line, the cost of deploying a smart contract really doesn't seem to have much variance depending on the byte size of the contract. So, as long as you can fit it all into the contract deployment, then the cost is depending on the demand and at the moment, it's so low. It's like 0.01 Stacks or something to deploy a contract. It's minimal. Whereas on ETH, and you need to remember, there's basically like minimum amount of gas that you'll pay on Ethereum to mint an NFT. I think it's around 36,000 gas units where it's theoretically impossible to have the gas cost of minting an NFT under 36,000. There's just no way that you can improve on that because of the events that need to be emitted and so on and so forth. There's like a fixed cost to that. If there's 6,000 people getting it and you have to write to ensure that you've not sent it to the same place, it just adds up massively. Whereas on Stacks, you just deploy smart contract to quickly deploy all the NFTs and it costs a cent to do that.
Elizabeth (Host): That's a huge use case right there. It would be interesting to also do some comparisons. I know we want to have a sustainable bitcoin protocol on our podcast eventually. I would be really interested to hear what that would be from a sustainability perspective as well.
We're just about ready to wrap up. I definitely wanted to give a shout out to everybody that's contributed to the conversation today. Really thankful to have everybody up here. Just for our speakers who are up on stage, do you want to quickly just let people know where they can learn more about you and what you're working on? Mark, maybe we can start with you real quick.
Mark (Megapont): My Twitter account's probably the most obvious place. Just click that follow. I usually just rumble random stuff on there. We have an NFT drop tonight, which is actually the best onboarding NFT that you will ever see in the space. However, it isn't on Stacks, so we drop the ball there. It's not on Stacks, it's on Ethereum, but if you know someone who's looking to get into NFTs, it's by far the best.
Elizabeth (Host): Alex.
Alex (Hiro): If you're interested in learning about building apps on Stacks, it's just Hiro.so, follow me on Twitter and obviously, our team's very present in the Stacks discord if you have any questions.
Elizabeth (Host): Awesome. It was so great having you here today. Just generally, if Bitcoin NFTs are new to you and you're interested in getting one, you can easily purchase them with your Xverse wallet and connect to an NFT marketplace. We've got HeyLayer, Gamma, TradePort, so if you're an artist or creative and you're interested in getting your work into the Web3 space, I think we had Ileana on here from The Mintery, so check out The Mintery. If you're an entrepreneur and want to get your own NFT business started as Alex mentioned, Hiro offers everything you need to build Bitcoin app, so definitely check out Hiro and if you have questions, feel free to DM us or join our community on the Xverse discord, and we'll help you get started with the right resources.
We're here to help build our community. We put our community first and really just want to help onboard users to the Web3 Bitcoin economy. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, join our discord, and feel free to share any feedback you have on the app. We're all ears as we're continuously working to build the most advanced Bitcoin wallet for Web3.
As always, if you missed the Twitter space or part of it and you're interested to hear a recap, it will be available here on Twitter, but also as episode seven I believe, on the Own Your Crypto show on Spotify and Apple Podcast. Thanks so much again everyone. Stay tuned and we will see you next time.
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