NFTs Take on Freelance Writing With $ESSAY

A new twist on NFTs might hold the potential to change the entire nature of freelance writing.

Mirror is a new publishing platform, akin to an open source, DeFi-oriented take on Medium. The platform will allow individual writers to crowdfund their work by minting their essays as NFTs.  Backers will be able to exchange ETH for $ESSAY tokens, which give them an ownership stake in the finished work, and can be bought, sold, or exchanged just like any other ERC-20 token.

In a post introducing the $ESSAY concept, product designer, software engineer, and occasional essayist John Palmer notes that while paid writers are increasingly moving towards publishing subscription-based newsletters on Substack, “some of the greatest thinkers around are primarily dedicated to something besides publishing their ideas on a regular cadence.” As such, he hopes $ESSAY will be a means by which writers who focus on longer pieces can support themselves while they create. 

The first experiment, an essay written by Palmer titled Scissor Labels about grifts perpetrated for narrative control, has already closed its crowdfunding period, massively outperforming its initial request of 2 ETH with a final contribution total of 9.9 ETH ($13.7k USD). 

It’s hard to say at this point if the massive contribution for Palmer’s Scissor Labels essay is indicative of a larger market for long-form essay NFTs, or if this is simply a result of people wanting to put money behind a rare, original work that might be considered historically significant if the project takes off. Either way, it’s always exciting to see innovation in rewarding good writing.