We dropped the ball.
Having always shouted about how important our community is, we got so caught up in ‘doing’ stuff, we neglected to keep everyone informed and our communications sort of slipped through the cracks. So, this is a combination of apology and update.
Truth is, we’ve been so preoccupied with planning and executing our various strategies we clean forgot to let you guys know what was happening. In an effort to regain some of that trust that may have been lost, we felt it appropriate to give you a full explanation of what we are doing and the thinking behind that strategy.
When we launched our first NFTs (on Opensea, before our own Marketplace was available) just over a year ago, we had it in our minds we would spend 12 months ‘prototyping’. Any new business needs time to find its feet but multiply that by 100 if you are a new business in a relatively new sector, which NFTs obviously were. We needed to understand what worked and what didn’t; what people liked and what they hated; feedback from the community in terms of suggestions, comments and ideas, etc. So we launched the prototype Marketplace and listened. The feedback overall was incredibly constructive and this gave us the template for what we would improve/build and create for the re-launch in 1 year, which we referred to internally as ‘Phase 2’.
One of the most significant issues we encountered early on was the limitations Ethereum was imposing on us. At a certain point, minting costs were between $30-$50 per item, which meant it was nigh on impossible to offer items at a reasonable -sub-$20 — pricepoint. Together with our own concerns about the whole energy/sustainability issue, this was the catalyst for us to plan a migration over to a more efficient and cost-effective Layer 2 solution. Polygon (then Matic) seemed to be the first choice and so we began the conversion, whilst also keeping options open for other such solutions like Cardano, Tezos, Casper, etc. Problem is, having to completely implement this new blockchain solution is no small task and we had to allocate significant resources (and time) into doing this, and doing it properly, in addition to providing legacy support for our past assets also.
So, the twelve months ‘testing’ phase came to a close in August and we believed we had incredibly useful feedback in order for us to execute Phase 2. I won’t go into too much detail about what that means as I know Jawad is writing his own article which will outline both this and the future roadmap for Terra Virtua. Needless to say, Phase 2 kicked off with the Polygon launch and we thought this should be done comprehensively, so rather than just saying ‘Everything we release from now on will be Polygon-based’, we went a step further and also removed all unsold Ethereum-based inventory — millions of dollars’ worth of NFTs! This, we thought, had 2 advantages:
1) It demonstrated our commitment to sustainability and;
2) Anyone who had purchased one of the original NFTs believing it to be a ‘one of fifty’ might now discover it was ‘one of twenty’ as the 30 unsold versions had been withdrawn. Yes, we would mint a ‘second edition’ on Polygon, but the original First Editions would be rarer in the long-term.
However, the big disadvantage to removing all unsold inventory was that it emptied the shelves — we had nothing to sell! Consequently, there was a period when stock was pretty sparse but we introduced both new (Dynamite Comics) and older items back into the Marketplace.
Phase 2 is ongoing now, with a massive overhaul of pretty much the entire Terra Virtua platform. You should have already noticed some of these changes:
- Polygon, as outlined above
- Advanced search, stacking and filtering (Marketplace) is massively improved and much more intelligent
- Collections have been introduced, which is the springboard for a lot more exciting innovations to come
- We are open so all items can be moved to anywhere else and traded or resold.
- Prestige v1 is launched with additions coming monthly (Initial implementation was a bit clunky month 1 but early adopters will get little perks as a thank you!).
And, of course, our interactive elements are currently undergoing major rehauls. Stuff like themed Terradomes, customisable Fancaves, personal Galleries and all of them, device-agnostic are on the cards together with a brand-new mobile App (yes, iOS too!). Again, see Jawad’s dev update for more info.
Which brings me back to my opening line. Many of these changes are as a result of you, our community. Your comments, your feedback, your complaints, your praises, your frustrations, your suggestions… all of these have been heeded, considered and, where appropriate, implemented. But I will hold my hand up and admit that communication has been mostly one-sided. Not to take anything away from the amazing work our Community Managers do on the various social channels, we understand that people like to hear from some of the core team on occasion — updates, news, announcements, etc. And I know that is where we have been lacking. And I’m truly sorry.
About a year ago, I thought it would be a nice idea to stop by our official Telegram group every Friday and post something and maybe answer a few questions. I did this for a month or two but the sheer amount of work that started piling up meant I began missing the odd week… then more… until there was no time at all on a Friday (or any other day) to allow me to meet my intentions.
So I’m not going to make the same promise, but I will say that I’ll stop by when I can, as often as I can, to say hi, maybe give an update and totally piss off the Marketing Team by dropping a bombshell that was meant to stay secret for another week…!
Which brings me to my final point regarding information and relying news. One of the key areas that has kept me personally so busy has been acquisition of new IP. As you are all aware, the NFT space got very cluttered very quickly and a whole bunch of new companies entered the arena, so to speak, making the whole sector very confusing and noisy. It affected us in a number of ways and certain deals which we had agreed terms for simply fell away as the rights holders decided to review their overall NFT strategies. This threw the proverbial spanner in the works for a while but things recovered well and we began acquiring even better properties as a result.
But we’ll reveal these when we’re ready. When we want to let you know something, we’ll tell you straight what it is, rather than saying ‘we’re going to be revealing something HUGE next Tuesday’ and then disappointing everyone when we say we’ve acquired the rights to the Peppa Pig theme music! (just an example — no we haven’t!).
However, we have been extremely busy and we will be sharing news of some of our recent IP acquisitions over the next few weeks as I know such announcements are overdue. And I hope you saw the release about the ISL, which probably doesn’t mean an awful lot to most of you, but check out this (independent) article which explains the significance.
Consider this a fresh start. Marketplace, platform, IPs and communications — this is a reinvention of Terra Virtua and we’ll try not to repeat our mistakes. To those of you who have stuck by us so far, thank you and we know that loyalty will be rewarded in the long-term. To those who have started to lose patience, all we can ask for is a little more indulgence. Our comms have sucked — lesson learned. We’ll do better.
CEO — Terra Virtua