As an open-source protocol, we take the tools we’ve built and place them in the hands of creators and developers and hope something beautiful emerges. In the late fall of 2021, Caroline aka @littlefortunes joined our Discord with a brilliant idea, a ton of passion, and the determination to find solutions for the project she was building. She took her idea, integrated Unlock, and launched an initial rare NFT collection that sold out in 24 hours. An amazing accomplishment in itself, but what she’s created with her artistic brilliance and perseverance deserves a deeper examination.
And so begins our story with the Tales of Elatora
Caroline began writing fantasy books at the age of 10. Over the course of several years, she wrote four books, ranging from 100 to 400 pages.
As a kid, I really, really liked to write. That was my one and only passion. I wanted to become the next JK Rowling. And that's what I always told my parents. And then at some point, you start growing up and you let go of your childhood dreams.
As many artists enter adulthood, they place their artistic dreams on a shelf to enter the adult games of self-sufficiency in an economy that wasn’t built to celebrate and support art. Caroline followed this path and entered adulthood as an entrepreneur. Tapping into her artistic background, she created a successful graphic design firm. But as a true artist, she never released that desire to become a writer.
Enter web3 and the opportunity that NFTs provide for artists like Caroline. Her vision is bigger than simply creating and selling art NFTs.
Caroline wanted to create a community project where participants could collectively write a fantasy novel using NFTs and her main character, Ronin. Caroline used NFTs as an artistic expression and as tokens of community membership, brought this vision to life, and created an entire movement around her artwork.
Bringing Tales of Elatora to Life
Tales of Elatora was originally intended as a PFP project with her red panda character creation. While creating the various elements of the project, Caroline launched a daily NFT show where she talks about all things NFTs with her growing community. After just 12 days of running her show, Red Lion News contacted her and offered to sponsor her show. Seeing the potential that the NFT space was already providing, Caroline decided to lean into this new adventure with her show, building her project on the side while also running her graphic design agency.
As she was solidifying the main character's design, Caroline decided to explore crafting the Tales of Elatora story through community. She created the framework of the story itself, the characters, and the initial chapters, and then began selling NFTs with membership tiers that enable collectors to participate in the story creation. Caroline didn’t simply “sell NFTs.” She built a community filled with collaborating storytellers.
Tales of Elatora uses Unlock Protocol to create specialized membership tiers that enable collectors to participate in various aspects of the story creation process. The community itself gathers on Discord, where a token-gated Discord bot gives members access to various parts of the story-building process based on the type of NFT in their wallet.
We're thinking of different sorts of quests that people can go on with their NFT. - @littlefortunes
Community members can vote on the different aspects of the story, such as battles or quests, that are relevant to their participation in the creation process. She even mentions that she hopes the community forms relationships while crafting the story together that reach beyond web3 and into real life.
Empowering Artists and Creators
One of the most inspiring aspects of the web3 space, and NFTs in particular, is the fact that creators can now resurrect passions and artistic endeavors that were placed on hold when "putting food on the table" outweighed the drive to create art.
And for many creators and artists, the ever-present mantra from parents or society is that "art doesn't pay the bills." We are all painfully aware of the "starving artist narrative" and at some point, most artists and creators internalized this message. NFTs and web3 have shattered this narrative for many creators and created a new realm of possibility. This scenario couldn't be more true for Caroline and we’re so honored that the protocol helped her tap into so much possibility.
Seeing Caroline leverage Unlock to create a beautiful montage of art, storytelling, and community collaboration shows us just how profound specialized web3 tools are when placed in the right hands. Caroline had an amazing idea and began seeking the tools to breathe life into her vision. She came to our Discord, asked some deep questions of our community and our team, and with no prior smart contract experience, she was able to build the technical framework to manifest her artistic vision.
Our mission at Unlock is to empower more artists and creators to build unique implementations of the protocol that ultimately help them alter the paths of their lives, their communities, and all of our collective experiences on the web.