Introducing Collectives: A New Social Networking and Community Building Primitive (ERC-721M) for Web3
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September 7th, 2022

We recently shared our expanded vision for Syndicate and why we must build both financial and social networking protocols to revolutionize investing. Today marks the first major step in this journey.

Today, we’re excited to introduce Collectives, a new social networking and community building primitive for web3 built by Syndicate. It launched in public beta today and enables anyone to create on-chain social networks with powerful, modular ERC-721M NFTs that are able to evolve with communities and are composable across web3—including all of Syndicate’s current and future products like Investment Clubs.

Collectives are built on a new standard (ERC-721M) developed by Syndicate and are decentralized, evolvable, and composable—meaning anyone can create, use, and build on them. Evolvable, composable social networks are one of the next major breakthroughs in web3, and Collectives are at the forefront of this innovation. There are already over 60,000 holders of ERC-721M NFTs and growing: Rug Radio, BFF, Kamp Kilmer, FWB Fellowships, and more have been built on Collectives’ ERC-721M infrastructure. ERC-721M has been audited, formally verified, and will be open sourced.

Use Collectives to assemble the top experts in DeFi. Form a Collective of musicians to support music NFT projects. Create multiple Collectives to build LP, scout, founder, and expert networks around your investment fund on-chain. Connect people with shared interests and expertise. Find opportunities as a network. Share investment ideas, and win deals together. Support projects as a community. The possibilities are endless.

Easily launch a Collective for your social network or community that is composable across web3—for your DAO, company, co-investors, LPs, investment club members, friend group, or more—in just a few clicks via our no-code tool for Collectives here.

Social Networks Are Different in Web3

Social networks in web3 will be designed in fundamentally different ways than web2. Unlike web2, social networks in web3 will be owned by their users—not by any single company, service, or protocol. They’ll also be decentralized, customizable, interoperable, evolvable, and programmable.

To accomplish this, web3 social networks will need to be designed from the following first principles:

  • Built on open industry standards

  • Decentralized

  • Tokenized

  • Composable and interoperable across all of web3

  • Modular, customizable, evolvable, programmable

Collectives are designed and built from these five core principles, giving social networks powerful new-to-world capabilities and properties uniquely enabled by web3.

Collectives: Social Networks With Web3 Superpowers

Collectives are the first of many social networking primitives for web3 from Syndicate that will revolutionize how capital and communities work together.

The combination of novel social primitives with Syndicate’s financial protocols will enable founders to raise capital instantly from their social networks, investors to syndicate deals just-in-time on-demand, communities of contributors to provide work for ownership, and so much more. Collectives help lay the foundation for this future.

ERC-721M architecture
ERC-721M architecture

Collectives are built on ERC-721M (“M” stands for “Modular”), a new standard developed by Syndicate that extends ERC-721 in powerful ways:

  • Transforms ERC-721 into a developer platform through modularity and plug-ins

  • Infinitely customizable mint, burn, transfer, metadata, and rendering plug-ins

  • Ability to evolve the NFTs and contracts over time (as well as lock key functions)

  • Gas-optimized bulk mint and distribution capabilities to one/multiple addresses

  • Powerful tools for community managers to build and grow communities on-chain (e.g., admin functions, royalty fees, token recovery)

And so much more.

Creating a Collective via Syndicate’s no-code tool
Creating a Collective via Syndicate’s no-code tool

Creating a Collective for your network—whether it’s five friends or 50,000 community members—is easy via our no-code tool. Customize a few settings (e.g., Collective’s name, image, description, member limits, price to join, transferability), and in a few seconds, your network or community is launched as an ERC-721M smart contract on-chain. As you grow your community, you can always dive deeper with low-code customizations once our Collectives Developer Platform is live.

Joining a Collective via Syndicate’s no-code tool
Joining a Collective via Syndicate’s no-code tool

A custom page and link are automatically generated for your Collective that you can easily share with people privately or publicly. Members can join by claiming the Collective’s NFT in a few clicks. From there, your community can immediately utilize and interoperate with any web3 tool that supports ERC-721, like Syndicate Investment Clubs, Snapshot (voting), Guild (permissioning web2 platforms), Gatekeeper (IRL events), Lobby (knowledge bases) and more.

Let’s review in detail some of the most exciting features of the Collectives ERC-721M primitive developed by Syndicate.

1/ Built on the ERC-721 Industry Standard—Making Collectives Composable Across Web3 & Syndicate

Social networks and communities in web3 should be built on open industry standards—not platforms or protocols that lock people into proprietary systems. That’s why Collectives and ERC-721M build on ERC-721, the industry standard for NFTs.

Thousands of companies, projects, and teams have been building on ERC-721 for years like OpenSea, Gnosis Safe, Zora, Genie, Snapshot, Guild, Mirror, Shopify, and more—meaning Collectives are built on one of the most battle-tested, widely distributed technologies in all of web3.

Collectives are composable with all apps that support ERC-721
Collectives are composable with all apps that support ERC-721

As a result, social networks and communities powered by Collectives are out-of-the-box composable with all products, applications, and tools that support ERC-721 across web3—whether it’s a permissioning system, communications app, governance tool, collaboration software, investment club, or anything built by Syndicate or the industry today and in the future.

For example, you can now token gate Investment Clubs on Syndicate with a Collective, create multiple Collectives (e.g., LPs, scouts, founders, contributors, experts, advisors) around an investing DAO, and create multiple investing DAOs (e.g., seasons, deal-by-deal) within a larger Collective that represents a social network, community, company, or DAO like We3, GCR, Outliers, or The Symmetrical. New possibilities are unlocked when you combine ERC-721M social networks with DAOs via composability.

You can now token gate Investment Clubs on Syndicate with Collectives
You can now token gate Investment Clubs on Syndicate with Collectives

2/ ERC-721M transforms ERC-721 into a developer platform through modularity and plug-ins for mint, burn, transfer, and metadata

Unlike other ERC-721 standards, ERC-721M is designed to be a developer platform, enabling anyone to build custom plug-ins that can be modularly swapped in and out of an ERC-721M contract upon its creation or at any time. Custom plug-ins for minting (how people can join, invite, and refer people to a Collective), burning (how memberships can be redeemed or destroyed), transferring (how memberships can be shared), and metadata (images, content, identity, roles, reputation, badges, levels, etc.) are all possible with ERC-721M—providing Collectives with infinite customization opportunities based on each social network or communities’ unique needs.

ERC-721M is designed as a modular developer platform
ERC-721M is designed as a modular developer platform

Want to create a network where each person gets five invites, and each of those invitees get five new invites? Want to give special on-chain roles, badges, or levels to some members, or create an on-chain reputation system with custom parameters that dynamically update and make each person and NFT in your Collective unique? All of this is possible with ERC-721M’s modular design. Syndicate has already developed several mint, burn, transfer, and metadata plug-ins for communities like Rug Radio, BFF, and more—but we’ll be opening the platform to other developers to build custom ERC-721M plug-ins for your community and others.

3/ Collectives can evolve with communities over time (and lock functionality to decentralize)

One of the most powerful dimensions of Collectives and ERC-721M is that they can evolve and grow with communities over time as they change and scale. Due to ERC-721M’s modular design, plug-ins can be swapped in and out to change how the network operates, and in particular, each Collective’s metadata renderer can be updated any time to account for any change—whether it’s adding roles, content, identities, reputation, experiences, or even other contracts or applications.

With Collectives and ERC-721M, you don’t need to deploy new NFT contracts each time your community changes—instead you can deploy a Collective once and evolve it over time as you see fit. Rug Radio, BFF, and others have used ERC-721M in this way.

Collectives’ evolvable, upgradable, and lockable architecture
Collectives’ evolvable, upgradable, and lockable architecture

ERC-721M also enables admins to permanently lock functionality and prevent future changes if the Collective wants to create permanence or decentralize. For example, you can lock the ability to update plug-ins (e.g., mint, burn, transfer, metadata) and run admin functions (e.g., royalties, member management, bulk minting). ERC-721M also enables admins to renounce ownership of the Collective if they want the contract to be completely decentralized and community-run. The options to not only evolve but also lock functionality and renounce ownership provide communities with complete control over their development and maturation—which is exactly the way it should be.

4/ Gas-optimized bulk minting, distribution, and onboarding capabilities

Syndicate’s extensive research and work in gas optimization make Collectives incredibly efficient, scalable, and inexpensive—particularly when it comes to ERC-721M’s built-in bulk minting and distribution capabilities. These features are important as many social networks and communities in web3 will live on Ethereum Mainnet, and they need gas-efficient ways to onboard people and members.

Collectives’ gas optimized mint and distribution capabilities to communities
Collectives’ gas optimized mint and distribution capabilities to communities

Collectives and ERC-721M enable admins to bulk mint many NFTs in one transaction to a single address in a gas-efficient manner (e.g., if admins want to pay for the gas to mint many NFTs to their own wallet then gift and airdrop them to their community) inspired by ERC-721A. ERC-721M also enables admins to mint an NFT to many addresses at once. And when we deploy ERC-721M to L2s and sidechains, Collectives become dramatically more scalable, where on-chain social networks and communities with members in the millions become possible—and multi-chain wallets and applications like Syndicate, MetaMask, Gnosis Safe, and more can immediately support them with no additional work or integrations.

5/ Powerful tools for community managers to grow networks and communities on-chain

Collectives are built for community managers to build and grow their social networks and communities on-chain. As such, ERC-721M includes a range of built-in admin functions including the ability to manage memberships (via mint, redeem/burn, and transfer), set fees and royalties (at the Collective and/or specific NFT levels), and transfer ownership and control of the contract, among others.

Collectives’ unique functions and tools for community managers
Collectives’ unique functions and tools for community managers

Community managers can also utilize the factory ERC-721M contract to create many Collectives for different communities (e.g., DeFi experts, DAO experts, NFT collectors), or even multiple Collectives for the same community (e.g., GPs, LPs, scouts, advisors). As the factory utilizes clones, creating many Collectives is easy and gas-efficient.

And Much More

This is just the beginning for Collectives and ERC-721M, as Syndicate and other developers will be adding new plug-ins, capabilities, features, and user experiences to them in the months ahead. We’re excited for this important first step—we can’t wait to see where the ecosystem takes Collectives from here.

Join Our ‘Syndicate Genesis’ Collective

Today we also launched the ‘Syndicate Genesis’ Collective, an on-chain social network for Syndicate’s growing community. ‘Syndicate Genesis’ is open to anyone for the next seven days for just the cost of gas and is non-transferable.

'Syndicate Genesis' Collective
'Syndicate Genesis' Collective

We plan to evolve and customize our ‘Syndicate Genesis’ Collective over time to add new functionality, update the Collective’s artwork, assign new community roles, distribute badges, and more—making ‘Syndicate Genesis’ a vibrant and dynamic on-chain social networking experience for Syndicate’s earliest community members. We’re excited to push the boundaries of Collectives and ERC-721M with our community.

Join ‘Syndicate Genesis’ here.

The Future of Communities and Capital

To revolutionize investing—and beyond—we must not only build financial protocols but also social primitives that reimagine how communities and capital work together. Collectives and ERC-721M are the first social networking primitive built by Syndicate that sets us on the path towards this expanded vision.

To revolutionize investing and the social networks that power it is to redesign a system at the heart of how our world works and how the future is built—and for the first time, we have the opportunity to positively reshape it in a span of years, not generations.

Let’s go. Together.

Start a Collective today, and see our Guide.

Or join our Collective.

Or build ERC-721M with us.

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