Resonate NFTs? - 1 - INTRODUCTION - could/should Resonate sell NFTs?

Originally posted by @peter, this Topic has been moved to fit the new category structure.

The NFT topic is at the peak of a major hype cycle at the moment.

While many have (unintentionally) distorted the true environmental impact of blockchain tech, we must also ask about the underlying business logic of the platforms offering these services to artists and fans.

What happens to an NFT when…?

  • the startup that created it goes bust
  • the platform is acquired (i.e. by Spotify, Apple, Google, etc)
  • an artist loses access and thereby their earnings

I also question whether the basic model is just – are these auctions just amusing distractions for the super rich, or is there a more equitable model available for all?

Hoping we can explore this topic and see if there’s an MVP (minimal viable product) that can be built with Resonate’s new Community Credentials tech. Powered by our unwavering commitment to our artist and listener communities and the inherent protections that the co-operative model provides!

Potential roadmap to launch

I see (somewhat coincidentally) three areas of overlapping concern… Norms, Features, Technology:

Norms - ethics, principles and values
Features - functionality and capabilities
Tech - the underlying infrastructure

In the Venn diagram above, the “sweet spot” is the overlap of these distinct areas.

First, we’d go through a community-led discovery phase to find that sweet spot, then progress through three stages:

  1. Alpha - raw tests of basic concepts and functionality
  2. Beta - limited testing with early participants
  3. Live - fully open to all

I have three posts ready for the N,F,T categories above, but first I thought we could debate/discuss the merits of whether we should invest any time in this. Lets do that for a bit, then propose some ways forward.

Also, one important point… my current thinking is that we can do lots of very interesting things without blockchain tech. I think we can functionally model everything using our Community Credentials tech and then look at the possibility of going “on chain” only when it makes most sense, including being on a sustainable solution, so that the “crypto is burning the planet” theme isn’t relevant.

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Just for the sake of saying it out loud, I’m still trying to piece together some thoughts on the matter so that I don’t barge in and say “uh NFTs are bad” (which I think they kind of are absolutely), and then leave. So in the spirit of being a force of propositiong and moving forward rather than pointing the obvious I’ll see what I can say that helps trying to consider what would actually be a good way to sell / value digital artpieces. (the surprise might come from the fact it’s probably things that already exist / except under a different structure maybe)

So yeah, I’ll come back when I have something meaningful to add to the conversation. I’ll still come checking though if other people want to start reflecting on it.


Interesting discussion of the different use cases for NFTs and Verifiable Credentials and powerful ways they may complement each other.

Also considers the some of the silliness (and hazards) that have come with this NFT/Blockchain hype cycle.

Here’s a fuller response that we will be discussing with Jimmy and Bryan soon…

Verifiable Credentials and NFTs

Jimmy Snoek and Bryan Georges of Tykn have produced an interesting and balanced webinar that compares and contrasts Verifiable Credentials and NFT’s mostly in the context of identity and the sale of digital art …and music.

I’m really pleased to hear Jimmy and Bryan’s cautions about use of NFT’s, or any blockchain, where any personally identifiable information is stored ‘on chain’. Verifiable Credentials are a purpose-designed and more mature solution for identity scenarios.

Jimmy and Bryan have a more ‘nuanced’ discussion about possible ‘hybrid’ uses where VC’s might be used to offset some of the privacy risks seen in the booming NFT market.

TL;DR There could be an opportunity for Resonate to partner with an ethical and privacy-respecting NFT platform, without compromising our core principles and values.

But first of all, let’s assume here that none of us are blockchain entrepreneurs / enthusiasts who want to launch an NFT platform and make $$$$ from crypto-investors in a short term pump and dump scheme. Let’s also assume that no one here is keen to see a planet-burning (proof-of-work) or potentially cryptographically unsafe (proof-of-stake) token system, burdened with tax and legal issues.

Instead, let’s assume we are a community that cares about its art and its artists, some of whom want to sell their work for a decent reward on a digital art market that is fair to both artists and buyers. (That’s Resonate by the way :-)… for music, but it could also be for the digital art showcased on the player)

What do we need to do that?

We’ll need:

  1. A means of issue of certificates of ownership/authenticity from a trusted source;

  2. Transparency, but with privacy, verifiability, and selective disclosure of personal information;

  3. A marketplace - a trusted, moderated place for sellers and buyers to find each other, either on a community platform, or truly peer to peer;

  4. Community Governance… to maintain trust and keep it all legal, decent and honest.

Verifiable Credentials is a W3C standard all about issuers, holders, wallets and verifiers… and selective disclosure. At Resonate we take a ‘human-centric’ view of identity that keeps your personal identity information close, in your wallet, NEVER on a blockchain. For example,from the artist (issuer), you the buyer (holder) get a digital credential (VC) to prove you paid a decent reward for the work and you also keep that as a credential in your wallet that you can present to others (verifiers) as proof.

You control what you disclose and you can prove it digitally, without being tracked or having to show a full copy of the work to someone for inspection: Is it genuine? Yes.

Jimmy rightly points out that the SSI (Self-Sovereign Identity) stack is complex - normally this is a combo of Verifiable Credentials and Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs). However, depending on your requirements, you don’t actually need a big and complicated global world of DID’s… in our opinion DIDs will take a little while to mature, especially at global scale. To quote the W3C standard on Verifiable Credentials: “As of this publication, DIDs are a new type of identifier that are not necessary for verifiable credentials to be useful. Specifically, verifiable credentials do not depend on DIDs and DIDs do not depend on verifiable credentials. However, it is expected that many verifiable credentials will use DIDs”

However, Jimmy and Bryan do point out that you can use a conventional database or ‘middleware’ and certificate authority, and in the meantime, within a community platform, or network of community platforms and a conventional trust infrastructure, you can achieve a lot without blockchains or the complications of DIDs. That helps a lot with usability, and cost. Even hard things like revocation can be worked around with simplifying assumptions.

We are sitll cautious about the DID part of the ToIP stack. We think identity is a human thing, so we resist the temptation to stick a number on humans everything, even if it’s ‘pairwise’, for the sake of a computer ecosystem. We try to stick with what is there already, and not make it worse. We may need to introduce that complexity later, but for now there are those who think there might be unintended consequences in the immensely complex world of identity. See this ‘systemic’ view at SSImeetup by Philip Sheldrake, for example.

But what about the Marketplace?

Verifiable credentials have very little to do with public marketplaces of any kind.

There are so many digital marketplaces appearing everywhere it seems absurd to create even more of them. eBay, Amazon, OpenBazaar It’s also easy to add marketplace features to an existing community, inheriting established governance and trust. However, a Community-Based solution simply cannot provide the global consumer reach of NFT’s, a supercharged and ungoverned marketplace, and one that has a lot of attention right now from folks with considerable crypto spending power.

What about authenticity? A VC can prove the sale of a digital asset between authentic parties, with multiple signatures, and can include a hash of the digital asset as a digital fingerprint in the VC. If you wanted to deter subsequent copying without attribution you could also ‘watermark’ the asset using steganography so that there is an audit trail, but that seems a niche requirement.

How could NFT’s and VC’s work for digital asset sales?

The community of artists on Resonate might act as the issuers of VC’s that certify both their identity (without disclosing ‘real world’ identity attributes) and the authenticity of specific art or music on offer. A community process could provide additional audit / internal verification.

The VC could potentially be safely issued as a ‘public presentation’ in an NFT (a ‘VC-NFT’) for potential purchasers to verify at a verification point. They’d have to sign up with our Resonate community and get a CC wallet (later to be an integral part of our player). Our player is already a nice place to view digital art and listen to music. (We already have a ‘buy now’ button.) With the wallet, they could verify the authenticity of the public (but encrypted) VC-NFT.

In the NFT marketplace, the transfer of the asset for crypto could then occur in the usual way. The NFT would be a persistent, long-term public record of ownership, albeit with the risks of correlation of identity and tracking associated with publicly-visible addresses

As Jimmy and Bryan point out, the widespread use of NFT’s for ticketing is pretty toxic from a privacy perspective and could presents serious tracking and correlation risks, unless the ticket is reduced to a trivial, but transferrable token. Bryan suggests hoiding the ethereum wallet address of the holder as data within a VC, but then why not treat the VC as the ticket data, and eliminate the need for the NFT altogether? A verifiable credential could effectively represent a ticket, or agreement (in our community we call it a ‘digital handshake’) to which there are terms and conditions attached to the contract.

Resonate’s Vision for Community Credentials

You can find out more about Community Credentials here.

We ‘publish’ our Verifiable Credentials as ‘badges’ in our Community Platform. The holder of the badge is strongly authenticated using FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) standards, to prove humanity, and that it is the same human, that is presenting the VC for verification. We are packaging this as an open-source plugin to community software like Discourse.

We have talked about ‘portable’ membership credentials across co-operatives - Know Your Co-Operators. We are looking towards a possibility of a ‘commons of co-operative membership’ with co-ops busily ‘cross-selling’ frictionless membership to each other, growing solidarity among co-ops and boosting that 1.2Bn members of co-ops globally.

We have also discussed the possibility of having a ‘play anywhere’ portable ‘owned tracks list’ as a verifiable credential, recognised across a number of players / Digital Streaming Platforms (DSP) which accept that the artist has been paid a ‘decent reward’ by that listener via another service in the music playing ecosystem. Resonate could lead the way in establishing a standard credential, and the ‘play fair’ process and governance around it.

There could also be a portable ‘social’ credential, which would privately keep the user’s follows, feeds, friends and social contacts list, held in a private VC and accessed by a client app, for greater privacy, explicit consent to connections, and less centralised storage of the ‘social graph’ (yes, today exploited heavily by Facebook and Spotify). We might manage this nicely in a player / wallet app perhaps, limiting the amount of information we make public for ‘discovery’ purposes and allowing for privacy-respecting version of apps like these.

On the foundations of a web of trust between co-ops, underpinned by Community Credentials we could build loyalty points systems to reward solidarity or we could even grow a full-blown ‘circular’ mutual credit exchange or community currency ecosystem of ‘barter’ for services … who knows?

Purpose and Consequences

There are all sorts of use-cases possible, but I think our strength in Resonate begins in the Community and social solidarity around music. That’s where we start, not as a tech solution looking for a problem. For example, we need to think about the social, behavioural and economic consequences of introducing a feature that creates a new class of user - ‘investor’ in art / music. We might conclude that it is better to keep that outside the platform, but we have to accept the reality that it goes on and can bring enormous wealth to a few who are savvy in exploiting it. Could we make it easier for all to exploit it? Could we ethically participate in it by offering valuable community certificates of provenance to a less toxic version of one of these NFT platforms? Could we simply work with ANY ‘capitalist’ art market, even eBay, to help artists monetise their work?

I don’t know, but whatever we do, let’s take it step by step, growing organically from our co-operative, community core.


Thanks a ton @Nick_M for this detail breakdown of the technical side of it (and also for the discussion surrounding the differences and potential connexions between VC & NFT).

Could you enlighten me about one aspect that I couldn’t understand from reading your post : When you mention how we could make a system similar to NFTs with just VC, does that still mean create digital scarcity? Because since (in my view), this is the very core problem with NFT that make them an absolute no-go in a first place, I can safely say that if what we want is to create “fake” digitally scarce art through cryptography/DRM like tech, blockchain or otherwise, I will fight it tooth and nail. Otherwise if buying digital art through VC just means having a verifiable receipt that you can transfer to other platforms also using this VC system then that’s fine by me because it’s true that consistant ownership redundant through several different marketplaces/platforms would be an actually desirable thing. If using VC also means that we create an actual contract (vs the weird ass “smart contract” of NFTs) that define exactly what’s allowed with the digital art that people bought, that also would be great because to me that might be the most important thing : defining what people bought.


Yes @LLK I agree there is a huge watershed here. We are at the troubled boundary between a mutal community exchange system and capitalism. Artists today need to coexist and live in a capitalist world and have to resort to the patronage of the wealthy or the creation of a scarce resource and an appeal to the greed of speculators. I would like to see a system where artists are fairly rewarded by the patronage of the community.

That involves the design of a community exchange system… a money system… that keeps the extractive nature of speculation on scarce commodities at bay. There is a lot of writing and great work on that topic, not least by Marx in chapter 4 of Das Capital where he contrasts commodity - money - commodity exchange (useful) with money - commodity - money exchange (use money to get more money, capitalism). We’re all in a mixed economy, and some of it is very ugly. There are some folks like Will Ruddick at Grassroots Economics who are vastly experienced in the world of currency design for good, and I think we could learn a lot from them about how to do this right. If there is someone genuinely trying to do it right out there in NFT land I would love to know about them… But as a passive observer, it does look like greed on steroids to me.


That’s where I often raise an eyebrow, at “have to”. No they really don’t, the only reason I could see that they’d “have to” do that, is if an over-inflated sense of ego makes them think that their particular way of creating art and the fact that they can do it full time is MORE ESSENTIAL to the common good than their ideological values and the subsequent implicit validation of the wealthy’s benevolent powers over art. My take on that is it absolutely is not, and if I was forced to choose between living entirely out of patronage of the wealthy and finding an actual day job and create art on the side, I’d go for the latter any time of any day because then I might actually contribute to the well being of more people and to the actual community surrounding me, yes, also probably making surplus money for capital, but in a sense at a much lower scale and without allowing them the virtue-signaling financing of my art, and without allowing them any way to monetize and gamble on these financing.

Artists should accept that “professional art” only ever matters if it’s done according to a certain sense of community and a certain set of values. Professional art is not a value on its own, “art is work” is not the beginning and the end of conversation, you quote Marx and there’s nothing in Das Kapital that justifies artists being the pawns of the capitalist investers. If anything, this aspect makes Marx very wary of professional artists as possible defenders of anti-capitalist theories because he sees them (and rightly so) as intimitately tied to the interest of the wealthy class that they rely upon for a living. He actually condemned the artists sense of “exceptionalism” that would somehow make their job (and through it their entire being) kind of “outside of society”, and the cultish relationship that can arise from seein the artist as an outcast, separated from the community. It often ended up as a deep lack of class consciousness from artists, and a profiency to accumulate ties with capital because of that sense of entitlement.

In my view, whatever we do, people will produce art. It’s a fact that we might have better, more diverse, more chaotic and constantly changing art if people get to devote more time to it, and that does mean we should find ways for artists to sustain themselves through their art as much as possible. But that will only happen if we value the practice of art itself and mitigate as much as possible the damages made by the system that favors random overnight success for some small subset of artists on the marketplace through an intertwined relationship of scarcity class assets/wealthy art market valuation (which, may I remind everyone, to even JUSTIFY its existence, needs to pretend some artists are infinitely more valuable than others, because that’s precisely the only purpose they serve, without this they’re out of a job).

It would require me to make a much longer post to define the relationship of artists and patronage, and I should also point out, should anyone here read this : Needless to say, if someone rich comes along and gives you a lot of money to create with no strings attach and leaves you full control of what to do with it, just take the money and run. And maybe create, and maybe don’t. It’s just fine to take the money because it’ll mean you get to eat and pay your rent and I’m fine with that. But if that happens to anyone, it doesn’t mean we then should invest time, energy, our legitimacy as an artist and our following, to promote “patronage as a system of valuation” just because out of sheer luck and being at the right place at the right time it sorta worked for us once.


That phrase ‘have to’ should have been ‘some of them feel they have to’. … Of course, not all artists have to seek patrons. It’s better that art is seen as a useful and essential part of life, and practised like a craft or guild (not exceptionalism), within a community that respects that… As in ‘fairly rewarded by the patronage of the community’… As you say above ‘Artists should accept that “professional art” only ever matters if it’s done according to a certain sense of community and a certain set of values.’

Btw I’d love to see a post from you on patronage!

I think we are agreeing… From a platform perspective, that if you create any new money/token system, based on digital scarcity of an asset and that part of the contract is an exclusive property right capable of being traded as a scarce commodity, it will be a natural target for speculative exploitation.

Community Credentials is just a technology. It can of course be used as a digital receipt and contracting arrangement to support artists … that’s what I meant by ‘patronage of the community’. Everyone should be able to do it.

But, like you I think, I feel that extra care is needed with the step where the community platform offers services to put it on a marketplace, or makes a marketplace feature a part of the community.
That has the effect of allowing these new ‘digital assets’ to be bought and sold and used as a vehicle for the accumulation of wealth rather than simply to provide support an artist or commission a new work.

I’m ignorant of Marx on Art… I have only appreciated that via John Berger’s work. …above I was mostly focusing Marx on money and exchange part… CMC vs MCM and so on.

Overall, I’m more interested in the design of a ‘circular’ community mutual exchange system that helps keep value within the co-operative or circulated between co-ops, without being extracted. But I think community comes before money systems… let’s get that right first.


…if someone rich comes along and gives you a lot of money…

By the way, usually a good idea to ask where the money came from… :wink:

…maybe there is something we could include in an ethical ‘deed of gift’ agreement in a credential that gives some protection here while respecting donor privacy.?

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“ToIP” = Trust over Internet Protocol, correct?

Perhaps something like the ToIP Foundation is pursuing?

Yes, Trust over IP foundation is a Linux Foundation initiative pretty much founded on work that Sovrin Foundation and Evernym were pursuing over the last few years. Members of DIF (Decentralised Identity Foundation) contributed open source, especially IBM with Hyperledger Aries (VC libraries) and Evernym with Indy (ledger). They agreed a high-level architecture and approach to interoperability. See the launch paper

It has all turned out to be more complex than they expected. So we are focusing on using the easier bits that actually work. :slight_smile:

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By the way, Imogen Heap speaks on this panel about NFT’s

on dabbling with NFT’s, with Palm (on Eth), at a Hyperledger event hosted by IBM, who created and then open-sourced Hyperledger. They still seem clearly interested in reinventing the music industry. And there’s clearly money to be made there by creating a corporate platform for ‘collectibles’ as Panini America would envisage it.

It seems to me there’s a big gap between Imogen’s intent to be able to share fragments, ideas, with proper attribution (and hopefully some respect for privacy) and the hyper-monetised NFT machine that her fellow panellists are building.

Perhaps Resonate’s Community Credentials use case for ‘handshake agreement’ credentials, backed up by an efficient digital proof, with co-operative, community governance is a better way to do what Imogen is looking for?

How about framing this a bit differently

  • what would it take for Resonate accept ETH as payment?
  • how would Resonate benefit from the passion and creativity of the web3 community?

Resonate’s model is not unlike that of, and there are innovations there taking shape because the web3 people are used to working on problems relating to collaborative ownership, ad hoc marketplaces, governance et cetera.

Here are some example projects built off the mirror platform:

A crowdfund as a catalyst towards community

PartyDAO was/is an experiment crowdfunding to create a DAO that would then bid on NFTs. Although it seems like NTFs are the goal here, perhaps the true rewards were the friends made along the way - a group of people coming together to collaborate and build and practice governance and ownership.

The essay points out that people contributed to gain the community, to collaborate on discord and make valuable connections.

This doesn’t really exist on Resonate - If I like a group of tracks track enough to buy it and I want to organize a fan club, I get 0 insight as to who are my fellow fans so I can reach out to them or post a “hey once you hit 100 streams of this track join us on our secret discord” chat. But it could, and it could without the use of blockchain.

A crowdfund with a clock - the essay stays up for an extra X hours if people contribute

Again, this is possible without crypto, but would require a lot more engagement from the artists.


There is some work coming up on payments API… ‘Omni-channel’ for taking payment is a key part of that… Would be great to have a way of taking small top up payments without the involvement of an extractive intermediary or high fees. @AntonioKendraio has done great thinking in this area with grantfortheweb support:

Interesting in the long term.

Medium term, funding us and our projects a good option is our Resonate account with the nonprofit Open Collective, which is a way for us to reward bounty work done.

We need to shape that page up better with a link to our updated roadmap.

Right now we are keen to get the architecture for our end of the API done in a way that decouples us from the proprietary stuff (Stripe) yet works well as a service, at scale, with high automation and minimal intervention.

We hope this will help us focus on music rather than the mechanics of ‘commodity’ payments and accounting.


I hope we’re doing a lot there already with our principles …and in practice with projects like Community Credentials…

…spookily, what you describe here:

…is very similar to the use case that we are working on and demo’d very successfully last week to our EU grantors for our work with w3c verifiable credentials

We’re always looking for help with this… We think it has a lot of wider potential. More news on that soon!


I love this.

People and community are supported by the technology…

for me, that is WHY we do it, the important thing, the tech serves it

There’s a lovely mix of co-operative practice and web3 #DGOV culture here that can work on a cool design, with many pieces, in the service of music and community…