Gorilla Shops is a game where you purchase and trade rare items. The goal of the game is to create the most valuable collection by purchasing only limited edition items with other players.
This week, our Store Of The Week is Gorilla Shops, a project that the Mintbase team is very excited about. However, we recognize that this title falls short of accurately describing what the Gorilla Shops team is working on — a true Shopify for non-profits. As we receive more and more projects that don’t exactly fall under the definition of “Store,” we may reconsider renaming this series.
You know how we like to refer to Mintbase as a blockchain-based Shopify? According to Jakob Sievers, CEO of Gorilla Funds, this is not the case. Mintbase, in his opinion, is the Shopify of Shopifies: you may not only create your own marketplace, but also markets for marketplaces. And Gorilla Shops is doing precisely that (and killing it, if you ask us).
We chatted with Jakob about this big initiative, how Mintbase and NEAR are assisting artists and builders, and what Gorilla and the Web3 environment will look like in the future.
When did you decide to open Gorilla stores, and why did you do so?
JS: That’s a good question, but it’s not simple to answer. Why? Because there was no one moment when I realized, “Hey, that’s the way: I’m going to establish Gorilla Shops,” it seemed like I was stuck in quicksand for the last year.
What’s the connection between NEAR and Mintbase?
JS: I couldn’t help myself from building on top of Mintbase. I believe it was around a year ago that I was looking into how to use an NFT as a membership token for enzyme vaults. I looked into Rarible, Opensea, Mintable, and Mintbase, with developer friendliness as my primary concern. It wasn’t a lengthy process.
Mintbase was a standout among the audience. Every Github repository has a personality, and Mintbase’s GitHub personality was kind and helpful. However, I had been completely focused on developing on the Enzyme protocol until gas costs rendered NFTs on Ethereum unworkable. At this point, I believe I made the decision to build Gorilla Shops.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your history?
JS: I majored in physics, chemistry, and computer science at university. In Germany, I worked as a teacher for these three disciplines for eight years. I’ve always enjoyed programming, and I fell down the crypto rabbit hole in 2014. I read everything I could get my hands on, made bots, and so on.
I won a hackathon in 2020 on the Enzyme (formerly Melon) protocol and began to build on it. I made the decision to go all-in on bitcoin and grow my business. We designed a page builder with a great tech stack in collaboration with the Zühlke Group – thank you, Sascha! (Our Jamstack — God — is Sascha.)
We combined the benefits of a world-class CMS (Sanity) with Gatsby to be able to deliver blazing fast Web Pages in one click. Static Web Pages that can easily be deployed to every decentralized Infrastructure like IPFS or Netlify with a Lighthouse Score of > 96% out of the box.
We’re in the beta phase of that page builder, but we’re being held up by regulatory restrictions. The asset management sector is perhaps the most heavily regulated, and we always want to do things correctly, therefore I have to meet a number of conditions in order to make this page builder available to the general public. However, since we were stranded, we had access to unrestricted resources.
As a result, as a group, we agreed to utilize this time to begin our next project. And it was simple since, as I previously said, I had already been entangled in the quicksand. My thoughts at the start of my adventure merely evolved over time, and something amazing occurred in the meantime: NEAR addressed the NFTs’ gas pricing issue. I’m not sure how long this will continue, but it’s making things more enjoyable.
In any case, I’m not a chain maxi. I’m a sucker for functional technology. I’d also be lying if I said I understood what NEAR provides. Mintbase was the only one I watched since I knew they were excellent constructors. Okay, in hindsight, it’s evident that builders don’t pick an atmosphere that isn’t right for them. Building on NEAR, on the other hand, is a lot of fun. What a fantastic and developer-friendly setting.
What do you want to achieve with Gorilla Shops? What kind of companies do you believe would use your tools?
JS: There are two possible responses to this question. The first is self-evident: we aim to make it simple for creators to construct a webshop on top of Mintbase, thus artists are our first priority. They are those who are already present in the NFT realm, such as musicians, artists, 3D artists, and ticket outlets.
The second option is less evident. I am certain that in the future, every good will have a digital representation of ownership of the real-world product. Digital representations provide a number of advantages: for example, if I want to purchase a diamond as a hedge against inflation, I may not want to keep them at home. A diamond may be rather pricey. It would be advantageous if you had a vault at home, but this is also costly.
So why not purchase it and store it in the vault of the seller? They’re well-prepared to deal with it. Okay, someone could rob the merchant, but they’re covered by insurance. You’d receive your money back if you had confirmation of ownership of the diamond.
Sure, a clear regulation on how to connect an NFT to a real item is required for these concepts. But, hey, if we can handle our regulatory issues with the Defi-vaults, this should be simple. Another one: we’ll be our own customers. We’re working on our Shop-Builder so that you may purchase sophisticated themes for your stores as an NFT — not just the ones we provide.
Anyone who submits a theme that isn’t ready yet but is in the works may do so. We’ll make these themes selectable throughout the construction process. If a Gorilla Shops user uses the theme, the donor will always be credited. And, since we’ll be using Mintbase, it’ll be simple to divide these profits among potential team members, such as designers and coders.
What are the connections between Gorilla Shops and your previous projects?
JS: As I previously said, we are also working in the DeFi domain. An asset manager’s page builder. If we can resolve our regulatory issues, we’d want to add more themes to the page builder. Can you guess where you’ll be able to purchase them? Okay, I understand that this has drawbacks: Enzyme is on Ethereum and Polygon, and you’re using Near for your Theme NFT. But, in reality, I just fix one issue after another. And this has been working for me up until now, so there is an issue that we will address later.
Our Enzyme product will benefit from improvements to our Mintbase work, and vice versa. We created a transaction layer for the Vault-Page-Builder that includes a Fiat-Crypto-Bridge and an enhanced KYC-Process. We’ll be able to do the same with Mintbase Shops in future editions.
This may seem absurd at the moment, given the fact that Mintbase is mostly populated by artists. But what if you want to sell a property that has been tokenized as an NFT? You don’t believe it’s conceivable; let’s wait and see what the future holds. But, in that scenario, don’t you think KYC would be a good idea?
What do you have planned for 2022?
JS: First and foremost, we are launching our Beta. I’m not going to give you a specific date right now. This Beta will include a lightning-fast ecommerce (thank you, GatsbyJS) with a linked CMS that will allow you to personalize your webshop and mint your NFTs from inside. You’ll be able to access your pictures, movies, and music from Cloudinary, your PC, or Unsplash with ease. You will be able to create a blog, an imprint, and other features.
Additional themes and sophisticated functionality will be included in the second stage. For example, pasting a particular NFT into a blog post improves the customizing capabilities. We’ll also try to make theme creation more accessible to the community by giving instructions on how to add a theme and tokenize it so that it can be purchased via a Gorilla Shops Theme Shop.
In the third step, we’ll offer (already partially created) the ability to add several stores to the shop pages. The more art galleries we view, the more sense it makes for a curator to include the greatest art galleries in his digital gallery. If an NFT is purchased from the artists via his gallery, he may get a portion of the income. At that time, we’ll also begin integrating the ability to add a transaction layer. We’ll need a financial service provider license at this stage, so we can easily supply this service.
Let’s see what happens after that! This is already a large task for us, but I am certain that we will do it.
Thank you very much, Jakob! We’re excited to see what comes next.