Hello and welcome to the third issue of the Nifty Newsletter, a community-run bulletin that highlights Blitmap-derivative projects and some of the recent happenings in the Blit universe. As a reminder, Blitmap was placed in the public domain with the CC0 license, which allows creators to develop spin-offs for the original 1,700 pieces. This issue focuses on the wildly successful launch of Flipmap, which has become a sort of alternate dimension to Blitmap. Don’t know what a Flipmap is? Let’s dive in!
As you may know, the canonical Blitmap collection consists of 100 original compositions by 17 different artists. When minting opened on May 31, 2021, individuals were able to mash one composition up with the palette of another, resulting in what is called a “sibling.” But there was a catch: only 16 siblings could be created for each composition. This resulted in 8,300 total composition/palette compositions ending up on the cutting-room floor.
Enter Flipmap, a project created by Blitmap holders When Lambo and Sara Sioux that launched on January 1, 2022. Flipmap made it possible to mint those 8,300 lost combinations and “flipped” the composition on the vertical axis.
“When I read the article about Blitmap being put in the public domain, it was a no-brainer to launch a collection like Flipmap to allow people to mint the lost Blitmaps,” explains Lambo. “I had kind of hoped and expected someone else to do it, but time went by, and nothing came together. I put out a call for developers in the Forgotten Runes Discord server, and Sara answered the call. It was a stroke of luck that it happened to be us that ended up making Flipmap a reality.”
For Sioux, who had already worked on many different avatar projects, it was a combination of Lambo’s enthusiasm and the technical challenge presented by Flipmap that convinced her to collaborate with him.
“As an engineer, I want projects that are challenging, fun and are innovative,” she says. “Non technical founders can attract developers with the work itself, and the projects that Lambo proposed to me were extremely challenging. I had to learn all new things. I had to really go deep on reading other people's code. That's what pulled me in.”
While Flipmap is a stand-out for several reasons, the most obvious one is that it brings back the original minting experience.
“Everybody that talks glowingly about Blitmap refers to the minting experience,” offers Sioux. “They loved having some agency into the creation of the thing. So there was no way we were going to launch Flipmap as a blind mint—it had to be interactive.”
However, as the project was reaching its final stages, Lambo realized that Sioux was going to have to write the Flipmap preview mechanism from scratch. To help streamline the process, he reached out to Dom Hofmann, the Blitmap creator, on Christmas Eve to ask him how he had been able to display the preview in the original project. And Santa came right on time for Lambo.
“On Christmas morning, of all days, Dom drops me a link to the code he had written for the preview UI with instructions on how to change it for our Flipmap requirements,” he recalls. “It’s beyond generous that he would share it so readily, but then again that seems to be his hallmark. He full-heartedly embraces the web3 ethos, and we will be forever grateful for that benevolence.”
Second, the Flipmap team removed the ability to mint any of the 1,700 Blitmap combinations in their project. This was an interesting twist deviation from many of the flipped-avatar projects that we see on the market today. With Flipmap, all the pieces in the collection are “net-new”—prior to Flipmap, Amai Genesis or Teddy Logo didn’t exist. This creates a much different kind of derivative project, one that branches off from the original collection and takes it in a new and exciting direction. As a derivative project, Flipmap is completely separate from Blitmap. So while Flipmap holders do not have access to the Blitmap Holders channel, airdrops or expansions, they can still tell their own story about the collective Blitverse in a novel way.
Third, the team put Flipmap entirely on-chain. Sioux notes that she pored over the original contract and really dove into the code of Hofmann. She populated an on-chain database of the previous 1,700 Blitmap combinations to remove the ability for them to be minted, a decision that cost a considerable amount of Ethereum. But in having the data and artwork on-chain, Flipmap becomes composable much in the same way—people can call on that data and continue to create new things.
Finally, the Flipmap team made the incredible decision to offer a royalty payment to all the original Blitmap artists. While they certainly did not have to take this measure, this was a move that endeared them to many in the Blitmap community, including yours truly!
“The CC0 license means that anyone can use that work, be it for a personal project or commercial gain,” says Lambo. “However, we wanted to give something back to the artists who created the original art—we wouldn’t be here without them.”
On New Year’s Eve, the day prior to launch, Sioux and Lambo were performing some final checks and found that the images on OpenSea testnet were rendering with strange lines. Recalling a previous chat about this very issue in the Blitmap Holders channel, Lambo contacted Mid, a co-founder with the Chain Runners team, who had been on that thread. A few Discord exchanges later, the Flipmap team joined a private chat with the Chain Runners team (BRAINDRAIND and Knav hopped in) and received a line of code that completely solved the rendering problem! The Chain Runners team also offered Discord moderator tools and tips that helped protect the Flipmap server from bots.
“It’s just incredible how helpful people are,” Lambo recalls. “I mean, here are a number of developers working on their own project, building their own community in what web2 would view as a ‘competing space.’ But they just freely shared information and code to help out a new project. This is the paradigm shift of web2 to web3 in full flow. And it works.”
With the issue resolved, Flipmap was ready to launch on New Year’s Day, 2022, with a message from Lambo in the Blitmap Holders channel. Minting officially started at 12:39 PM EST with the first Flipmap token, Genesis Otoro #1700. The final token, Otoro Hand #9999, was created a mere nine hours later, at 9:56 PM EST.
Without any prior marketing and little fanfare at the launch, Flipmap minted out a collection five times as large as the original Blitmap collection in nine hours! By replicating the original minting experience, placing the NFT on-chain and paying it forward to the original artists, Flipmap had all the ingredients it needed to catch fire—with both Blitmap holders and new entrants alike.
Just as open source-software revolutionized software and web development, Flipmap’s experience is proof positive that CC0 will impact art, music, photography, gaming and more.
“I love the ethos of web3,” notes Sioux. “I love open-source code, and I think we all get better by building on top of each other’s work instead of constantly starting from scratch. I’m super comfortable with this when it comes to code—the libraries we use and the communities that build—but when it comes to creative content, this notion of open-source is not quite as universal. The creative commons CC0 license for creative works just fits in perfectly with the open-source licenses so common in the technical world.”
While derivatives have no formal connection to the core Blitmap team’s work or plans, it is exciting to see such a significant CC0 contribution to the Blitverse at large emerging. I might compare the relationship to the Marvel multiverse, with Blitmap being Earth-616. Flipmap is in another universe, and while completely separate, it uses some similar tent poles (the compositions, palettes, minting process and even the burning of an NFT). These commonalities help lend context to the overarching narrative.
Most exciting of all is to be able to see the unique course that the Flipmap team and community has begun to chart on their own thanks to CC0. After all, Miles Morales needed to develop in a separate universe from Peter Parker to become a beloved modern comic book character. I can’t wait to see what comes out of Flipmap!