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Origin Story & OGN FAQs: AMA With Linus Chung, VP of Product
Origin recently hosted an “ask me anything” (AMA) for Origin Story and OGN in our Discord community. We collected the most relevant questions regarding OGN, staking, and Origin Story, and we’ve summarized them below for quick reference. As always, our team is happy to answer any questions you may have about our products in real time via our Discord channel.
Story has tested a few different products but ultimately decided to focus on branded marketplaces. How’d the team come to this decision?
TLDR: In mid-2022, we saw a shift in the NFT market with more volume flowing toward secondary trading. We expanded Story’s offering to include NFT marketplaces to capture opportunities in secondary trading.
Origin Story is an early leader and pioneer in NFTs. Beginning in early 2021, we focused on NFT mints and built a successful launchpad that powered many record-breaking mints (including for 3LAU, Paris Hilton, Trevor Jones, and more).
In mid-2022, we saw a shift in the NFT market along a few dimensions: 1) more NFT activity shifted to secondary transactions (post mint), and 2) a shift to more crypto-native NFT collections (e.g., PFPs) – new web3-first brands like Pudgy Penguins built phenomenal communities and were becoming more important in the NFT space.
We saw an opportunity to build a product for branded NFT marketplaces to make the experience of trading NFTs easier and safer. We launched the marketplace product and saw an immediate positive reaction from NFT creators and collectors. Since our marketplace product launched, we’ve partnered with over 20 brands that are using Story as their official NFT marketplace.
The marketplace offering has also enabled Origin to innovate in new verticals and use cases for NFTs. Our partnership with Roofstock, where we sold the first real-world home on an NFT marketplace, is a great example of that.
Story is much more than marketplaces. Story’s full featured platform enables creators/brands to launch and operate NFT collections, communities, and ecosystems. We offer and are building infrastructure to handle every critical piece of the NFT journey. That includes NFT mints and marketplaces, but it also includes a whole range of other solutions like NFT analytics, token-gated access, fiat payment options, and aggregated on-chain data solutions. We believe Story will create a lot of value through offering a one-stop solution for NFTs by integrating all of these pieces together in one cohesive experience.
In what instances are branded marketplaces clearly superior to generic marketplaces?
Based on consistent feedback we’ve gotten from our partners, the areas where branded marketplaces really shine are:
- Trust and security: Fake and scam NFTs are unfortunately super prevalent. Branded marketplaces provide the assurance that only authentic NFTs can be sold. I personally don’t know many people that would buy a Rolex on Ebay, but that’s basically the experience with generic marketplaces. The NFT industry deserves better.
- Creator control: Creator control was one of the key reasons creators began building in NFTs in the first place, specifically in regards to creator royalties. Until recently, there was a social contract where generic marketplaces would honor creator royalties – creators get a cut of every secondary transaction as a way to pay for operations and incentivize creators to keep adding value for collectors. Recently, generic marketplaces started cutting creator royalties. We don’t think being anti-creator is a winning strategy in NFTs. Branded marketplaces give creators back the control over their royalties.
- Flexibility to enable new use cases: Again, Roofstock is a great example of this. A generic marketplace doesn’t have the flexibility to adapt to a new use case, in this case selling real-world homes that need to be compatible with real-world regulations. Branded marketplaces offer the ability to build on top of the core marketplace functionality to suit specific use cases. We think there will be more of these new use cases that get enabled as NFTs move from primarily investment/speculation-oriented to utility.
Why did Origin Story add Polygon Support? What other networks, if any, are being considered?
A big part of Origin’s mission is to onboarding the next 100M users to crypto. For Story, that’s bringing that next huge wave of users to NFTs. We’ve been building in the Ethereum ecosystem since our founding.
Layer-2s and side chains like Polygon offer a whole host of benefits, including lower transaction fees, faster transaction times, and higher transaction throughput. This can lead to major improvements in user experience, offer more accessible price points for NFTs, and enable new use cases for NFTs (e.g., gaming) at scale.
We’ve supported NFT mints on Polygon in the past, including for Paris Hilton’s NFT drop. It was a natural next step for us to add Polygon support for our marketplaces. We are also encouraged by the increasing developer and brand activity on Polygon. Big brands like Reddit, Instagram, Starbucks, Nike, and more have all launched NFT projects on Polygon, which is further validation for why Story needs to invest in Polygon.
In terms of other networks, we are actively monitoring activity on other EVM-compatible chains. We see strong potential in expanding capabilities to other EVM chains, but want to first ensure we’re solving the biggest creator and user problems on Ethereum and Polygon before expanding too broad. We’ve also evaluated alternative chains that don’t run on EVM. However, we think it’s more likely we’ll stay within the EVM ecosystem in the near-term given our strengths.
If I want to accumulate more tokens, how can I stake OGN?
You can buy OGN tokens on every major centralized or decentralized crypto exchange in the world. See a list of exchanges here. To get more rewards out of holding OGN, you can stake them at story.xyz/stake. By staking OGN, you can earn a share of platform fees generated by Story (in ETH) as well as bonus OGN tokens.
More details about our OGN staking program can be found here.
How does OGN staking work?
At a high level: Stake OGN, earn ETH rewards. In April 2022, a governance proposal to distribute 100% of Origin Story platform fees to OGN stakers passed with unanimous support.
OGN Staking is organized into Seasons. During a Season, OGN holders can stake their OGN to earn Points. The more Points you earn, the greater your share of the rewards pool is yours to claim at the end of the Season. Again, refer to the blog post linked above for the details. We’re going to announce details on Season 3 of staking shortly.
What’s the team doing to help OGN succeed in the next bull market?
Outside of continued product/feature improvements to Story’s platform, the key things we’re doing are around team, partnerships, and marketing/community.
The Core Team of Origin Protocol has always been a major differentiator. I’ve long admired the team’s depth of talent and experience and am proud to consider myself a member of the Core Team now. We’re still hiring in the bear market, and doing so very thoughtfully to ensure every person in seat has the potential for outsized impact. One recent hire I’m super proud of is Amit Patel, our Head of BD for Story.
Previously, he was Lyft’s 7th employee and founder of Lyft Business, the company’s enterprise business unit. He scaled Lyft Business to $1B in annual revenue and signed huge partnerships with Fortune 500 companies. We have also hired a new Product Manager for Story that is starting soon. More details on that to come.
On partnerships, we’re focus on high quality partners that are established brands and investing in web3 for the long haul with us. Going deep with the high quality strategic partners to be our lighthouse customers that demonstrate the capabilities and proof points for the Story platform during the bear cycle will set us up really well to be an industry leader in the bull market.
Finally, marketing and community is a big investment area for us in the bear cycle. We are laying the foundations of building our name and presence in the NFT space, including foundations on SEO and social media presence. We’re also revamping our efforts to activate the community. For example, this AMA! We’re going to be more vocal about Story progress and plans, and want to get the community excited about NFTs and the future of Story. Expect more activity on the community side soon.
What’s the plan to generate revenue to help Story cash flow?
New partnerships: We've mentioned this above, but focusing on quality partners that have funding to thrive in the bear cycle and ability to drive volume and usage. We're looking for the needle movers and making great progress on this front.
New revenue models: We started with a transaction fee model for marketplaces, but are experimenting with offering flexible models. Some partners prefer to pay platform usage fees. This gives Origin Story the benefit of predictable recurring fees, as opposed to transaction fees, which can be unpredictable in a bear market.
New products: We're continuing to bolster Story with new features that offer the potential for expanding usage within a partner and more revenue generation opportunities. A simple example is a partner minting NFTs can easily tack on an official marketplace to create a better end-to-end experience, and Origin will generate more fees from that single relationship.
Can you also talk about the new NFT Compare Tool?
Further reading on NFT Compare: https://www.story.xyz/introducing-NFT-compare
In order to deliver the best product experience for our marketplace, we built an in-house intelligence platform (we call it NIP: NFT Intelligence Platform) that powers the NFT data, listings, and analytics underlying our white label marketplace product we provide to partners. It's incredibly powerful and has a lot of potential.
It's a super simple tool to get insights into how one collection is performing relative to another, or how the holder base is similar. We are excited to put this out there and see what kinds of insights and alpha the community comes up with.
More importantly, it's another use case for the foundation of NFT Intelligence Platform that Origin's Core Team built. Builders will come up with more interesting and exciting use cases in the future, this is just the start.
Has Origin's strategy changed in regards to NFT partners?
There's been a slight shift in the types of partners we're focusing on attracting. When we first launched the marketplace, we were pleasantly surprised by the volume of NFT partners that immediately understood the value prop and wanted to work with us to launch.
After launching and running these marketplaces for some time, we see a big difference in performance of the marketplaces based on the partners. We've found that NFT partners that are well-funded, have a strong NFT community, and are willing to invest with us in making the marketplace a success are seeing the most traction in their marketplaces.
We're focused less on the quantity of partnerships and more focused on the quality of partners we onboard. For web3-native NFT collections, we're looking for these attributes to know that they're going to be driving usage and traffic to these marketplaces.
We're also seeing a big potential opportunity working with large traditional brands and web2 companies (similar to Roofstock). They are leaders in their fields, and want to invest in web3 as the next wave of growth. And they look to a trusted partner and protocol like Origin to take them there. We're having lots of conversations with top 1000 companies in the world. I'm restricted from naming specific names, but the partnerships are promising and I'm hoping to share more news publicly soon.