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What are NFT-Based Memberships? Full Guide

Memberships that are NFT-based are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of industries. For example, a business can allow access to their content only to those holding specific NFTs, which would prevent the issue companies experience where users share their paid subscription membership with others. As such, it’s not a surprise that many want to implement NFT-based memberships into their websites and platforms. But, what are NFT-based memberships exactly? Follow along as we dig deeper into this topic in our full guide!

Like other blockchain development topics, incorporating NFT-based memberships can be tricky. That is especially true if you fall into the trap of building directly on top of Ethereum RPC nodes. However, if you utilize the right tools, you can avoid dealing with the limitations of RPC nodes. Moreover, you can have NFT-gated websites ready in minutes when utilizing the proper tools. This is where Moralis comes into the picture. When using this “Firebase for crypto” platform, you get to work with the ultimate NFT API. Hence, this pinnacle of the current Web3 tech stack makes creating NFT-gated websites straightforward. So, create your free Moralis account and start using this excellent Web3 backend platform today. However, before you can start implementing NFT-based memberships, you need to understand the basics. Herein, we’ll start by exploring NFT fundamentals. Then we’ll answer the “what are NFT-based memberships?” question!

What are NFTs?

Many of us who are highly involved in the crypto realm tend to forget that crypto is just getting started. In reality, most of the population still has no idea what blockchain and cryptocurrencies are. Thus, we want to make sure that you all know what NFTs are. As the definition of these crypto assets suggests, they are non-fungible. That means every NFT is unique. So, even if we have two NFTs representing the same digital file (e.g., JPEG), their on-chain data wouldn’t be the same. So unlike fungible tokens, such as BTC or ETH, which are interchangeable, NFTs are not. 

Their uniqueness makes NFTs suitable for online collectibles and digital art. Furthermore, NFTs can also be linked to all sorts of ownership proofs, including real-world assets such as real estate. In addition, NFTs can represent certifications and tickets. Moreover, when we talk about NFT-based memberships, those types of NFTs are usually in question.

Note: If you want to dive deeper into the NFT topic, read our “What are NFTs?” article! 

What are NFT-Based Memberships?

NFT-based memberships are memberships that require users or participants to hold a specific NFT. By verifying their ownership of the required NFT, users can access particular services, benefits, rewards, etc. As such, this means that there are many different options for this sort of membership. For instance, it can give users access to a specific online club, DAO, Discord group, or a special event. In the case of the latter, we tend to talk about NFT ticketing, especially if it’s a one-time thing. Furthermore, in most of these cases, the NFT owners can access certain NFT-gated websites. There they can often view unlockable content.

What are NFT-Gated Websites?

NFT-gated websites are Web3 websites, or Web2 websites, with certain Web3 features (hybrid websites), where certain content is gated. To access that gated content, users need to own specific NFTs. Essentially, NFT-gated websites are where NFT-based memberships come to life. 

Benefits of NFT-Based Memberships

It’s important to point out that NFT-based memberships benefit both users and the team behind the project. As far as most users are concerned, the core benefit happens on the frontend of the NFT-gated website. This can be specific content, voting rights, community access, etc. These are the core benefits for users. Hence, access is the thing they are after. So, why use NFT-based memberships and not existing forms of verifying access? 

If you know anything about blockchain, you know that it is basically a digital ledger consisting of blocks harboring immutable on-chain transactions. Moreover, the most popular chains are decentralized. So, these two factors make NFT-based memberships incredibly safe. In addition, on-chain data is publicly available, which ensures transparency. Tools such as MetaMask enable you to store your NFTs easily, and since these same tools (hot crypto wallets) are used for Web3 authentication, NFT-gated websites are relatively user-friendly. Once users complete their Web3 login and connect their wallets to a Web3 website or dapp, it is easy to check if they own the proper NFT. Of course, the ease of implementing this feature depends on the Web3 SDK and NFT API alternatives you use. But more on that later.

With that in mind, it’s evident that using NFT-based memberships can be a completely seamless experience for users. They just need to hold the right NFT in their wallets. At the same time, NFT-gated websites make it rather easy for projects to ensure that only eligible users (NFT owners) have access. As such, it’s a win-win combo. In addition, NFTs are this new popular thing, which alone adds some value. Nonetheless, NFTs can represent cool and attractive digital art (music and images).

Examples of NFT-Based Memberships

  • BAYC – One of the most popular examples of NFT-gated websites is the one from Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). This is a well-known community where members need to hold BAYC NFTs to access it. Members get to access special merchandise, special real-life and virtual events, and special content.    
  • Afterparty – An arts and music festival that only people holding specific NFTs were able to attend.
  • VeeFriends – This is a project from Gary Vaynerchuk, where he offers special interactions (e.g., dinners) to those holding his NFTs. As such, users get access to him and his special knowledge by holding specific NFTs.  
  • A0K1VERSE – Steve Aoki’s metaverse, where NFT holders get to attend his virtual performances, access merchandise, etc.

These are just some of the most popular examples. However, many new NFT-based memberships are coming to life every day. For instance, there are some “travel NFT memberships” coming up, where NFT holders will be able to visit unique places. Furthermore, there are already restaurants (e.g., Flyfish Club [FFC]) that lets you dine there only if you hold specific NFTs.

As you can see, NFT-based memberships are going beyond the borders of NFT-gated websites. The blend of real and virtual life (metaverse) is what the future seems to hold for us. This is exactly where NFTs can shine the brightest. 

Creating NFT-Gated Websites for NFT-Based Memberships with Moralis

Now that you know all the basics, you might be eager to start building these sorts of websites or applications. Luckily, you can do so with your frontend skills. Further, you can use JavaScript (JS) or Unity proficiency to create dapps, Web3 websites, and GameFi apps when using Moralis. Thanks to Moralis’ SDK and its full scope of Web3 APIs, it basically takes care of all your blockchain-related backend needs. In most instances, you simply copy short snippets of code from the Moralis documentation and paste them into your code. 

Moralis also offers several additional shortcuts. They come in the form of boilerplates, such as the ultimate Web3 boilerplate and web3uikit. With these excellent tools, devs can have phenomenal dapps up and running in minutes. Another great thing about Moralis is its cross-chain and cross-platform interoperability. As such, using Moralis doesn’t limit you in any way. It offers you to use the same code to deploy your Web3 apps on multiple chains. Hence you can reach a much wider audience. Nonetheless, this is also a great way to future-proof your work. Moreover, since Moralis lets everyone get started for free, it saves you time and money.

In case you haven’t done so yet, make sure to create your free Moralis account and give this bad boy a spin. For starters, we encourage you to create a Moralis dapp. That way, you will learn how to complete the initial setup, including creating a Moralis server. Once you have your server up and running, you can access your Moralis dashboard (database). The latter, in combination with Moralis’ “Sync” feature, enables you to sync and index smart contract events. Essentially, you get to index the blockchain. Thus, Moralis is the tool for creating NFT-gated websites. 

NFTs and NFT-Gated Websites

When you go about implementing NFT-based memberships, there are two aspects to it. On the one hand, you need NFTs, and on the other, you need to have a way to work with these NFTs. Moreover, creating NFTs consists of the artistic part and the technical parts. They are both important, although the latter changes digital files into NFTs. As such, you can partner with an artist or outsource the artistic part of the NFTs (JPGs, MP3s, MP4s, etc.). Then, you need to mint these NFTs either according to the ERC-721 or ERC-1155 standards. That is, if you decide to focus on Ethereum or other EVM-compatible chains. In that case, you’ll also need to learn the basics of Solidity, which is the language for Web3 contracts. However, fortunately, you can use OpenZeppelin to obtain verified smart contract templates and deploy them in minutes using Remix.

Note: If this is your first time hearing about NFT minting, we recommend learning how to lazy mint NFTs, how to bulk mint NFTs, and how to mint NFTs for free.

Moralis’ NFT API  

Whether you want to create an NFT-gated website or an NFT-gated mobile dapp, Moralis is the number one choice. This single Web3 workflow for building high-performance dapps offers shortcuts you can’t afford to miss out on. For starters, Moralis enables you to authenticate with MetaMask, WalletConnect, or other neat methods with a single line of code. With authentication set in place, you are already able to connect a Web3 wallet to a website. Then, you can use Moralis’ NFT API to implement all sorts of NFT-based memberships. 

For instance, the “getNFTs” endpoint fetches all NFTs from the current user – both ERC-721 and ERC-1155 NFTs. It returns an object with the number of NFTs objects and the array of NFT objects. As such, this endpoint would be the first part of the puzzle. Next, you could use the “searchNFTs” endpoint to see if any of their NFTs match the required NFT. Then you can easily use your JavaScript knowledge to build the necessary logic. The latter will grant access to certain content only to those who own the right NFTs.

If you are more of a video person, make sure to watch the video from our YouTube channel below. In it, a Moralis expert explains the gist of our article in under five minutes.

Exploring NFT-Based Memberships and NFT-Gated Websites – Summary

No one can tell you with certainty what the future will bring; however, we dare to say that NFTs are here to stay. Thus, NFT-based memberships and NFT-gated websites will play a significant role in the upcoming years. Hence, use the information obtained herein to position yourself advantageously. With the basics from this article, you have all the info you need to take the next step:

  1. For Complete Beginners – Use the links in this article to learn more about NFTs and NFT utility
  2. For Those Ready to Build – Use the Moralis blog and the Moralis YouTube channel to take on various NFT example projects.

Of course, you can use these two platforms to explore other Web3 development topics as well. For instance, some of the latest articles focus on blockchain SMS notifications, how to implement a Web3 connect wallet button, how to build a play-to-earn game, how to use a Mumbai testnet faucet, and how to claim an in-game NFT. Also, you can explore Ethereum Name Service (ENS), how to Web3 without MetaMask, how to create a Binance NFT, and get answers to questions such as “what is Web2 and Web3?” etc.

In addition, make sure to consider enrolling in Moralis Academy. This is the place to be if you want to attend top-tier crypto development courses, get expert mentorship, and become a member of one of the most advancing communities in the industry. With the boost from being a Moralis Academy member, you will become a Web3 developer in record time.

April 27, 2022
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