Reddit is dipping its toe into the digital collectible craze. The site is launching a new take on NFTs with collectible avatars, one of its first forays into blockchain-based tech.
The avatars are designed by artists (many of whom are, naturally, also Redditors) and will be for sale in a new storefront. Initially, only a small group of Reddit users will be able to purchase the avatars by joining the r/collectibleavatars subreddit, but the company says it intends to open the store to all users “in the coming weeks.”
Though the company isn’t using the word “NFT” to describe these “blockchain-backed” images, it certainly sounds similar to other NFT projects. For example, Redditors can access their avatars via Vault — Reddit's blockchain-based wallet — and owning an avatar gives purchasers a license "to use the art – on and off Reddit.” Notably, collectible avatars can only be paid for with regular old fiat currencies; the storefront won’t support cryptocurrency transactions.
Unlike many NFT marketplaces, Redditors won't have to worry about wildly fluctuating prices, at least for now. Avatars will be sold by the company for fixes prices between $9.99 and $99.99, though Reddit seems open to the existence a secondary market for avatars should the demand exist. The company notes that artists behind the avatars "are also entitled to receive royalties from secondary sales of their Collectible Avatars on open marketplaces."
Reddit isn’t the first platform to experiment with bringing digital collectibles to its users. Meta has begun to test NFT support and Instagram, and Twitter introduced NFT earlier this year. YouTube executives have also expressed in the technology. Even Reddit itself briefly experimented with an NFTs-as-profile-photos feature earlier this year.
But so far most of these integrations have been focused on allowing users to show off their collections, rather than unlocking special benefits to NFT owners. While Reddit says that its avatars come with “unique benefits on the Reddit platform” the perks sound pretty limited, at least for now. Using a collectible avatar as your main avatar on the site will give your profile image a “glow-like effect” in comments, as well as the ability to “mix-and-match the avatar gear with other Reddit avatar gear and accessories.”
At the same time, Reddit says collectible avatars are merely an “early step” toward bringing more blockchain-based technology into the platform. “In the future, we see blockchain as one way to bring more empowerment and independence to communities on Reddit,” the company says. “As part of our mission to better empower our communities, we are exploring tools to help them be even more self-sustaining and self-governed.”