20 Mint creates NFTs to fund its print magazine

By Laurent Bainier

20 Minutes France SA

Levallois-Perret, IDF, France


We know that with 1,000 true fans, a content creator can make a living more easily than with a massive but not very committed audience. What about a mainstream newspaper? Can you inform millions of people with only 1,000 true fans?

With our magazine, 20 Mint, we paid to find out. Or rather, we got paid.

To finance printing and distributing 800,000 copies of a free paper magazine dedicated to Web3, we put 999 NFTs representing fancy typewriters on sale. In 15 hours, we had $280,000 and 792 holders (some bought several NFTs) ready to follow us on Discord and Twitch to build this magazine.

We call them “mecascriptophiles” — the typewriter enthusiasts. But we should call them patrons: readers who value the act of informing the general public about these topics enough to fund it from their pockets.

20 Mint created 999 NFTs of typewriters. They sold out within 15 hours.
20 Mint created 999 NFTs of typewriters. They sold out within 15 hours.

Those 792 true fans are much more than 792 cryptowallets. They’re a conjunction of individual talents in addition to those of our 100 journalists. One of the NFT holders, for example, created a piece of fiction for us that we published in the magazine, another created illustrations, and a third created a 3D typewriter that popped out of the cover via an AR filter. A fourth built a virtual newspaper stand in the Metaverse so we could distribute the newspaper. A fifth organised an avatar party to celebrate. And so on.

Building a community

Collectively, the community is even richer, voting for interviewees to remember, quizzing them live on Twitch, writing a thesaurus of the most complex terms, or co-producing tutorials for beginners. It is the wisdom of crowds in action.

One NFT holder organised a virtual avatar part to celebrate the magazine's release.
One NFT holder organised a virtual avatar part to celebrate the magazine's release.

A community is also hundreds of connected address books, the ability to contact and convince any actor of the French Web3 scene in a few messages on Discord, giving our editorial staff time to focus on the essential: its journalistic work.

But maintaining contact with 792 fans also means combatting apathy; among the buyers, only about 50 are active today. It means following thousands of asynchronous exchanges on Discord and finding the human resources to engage the community daily.

It means managing the busy times with a community that is not paid to work with us and does not always have the time to do so quickly. But also the slow times, with two magazines a year, which leaves time for the mecascriptophiles to worry about what comes next.

An anonymous tribe

Added to this are the characteristics of a Web3 tribe: the relationship with pseudonymity, which means that we only find out who really makes up our community as the months go by. Some buyers are frustrated, as they thought they would make a profit. And there is the dream of seeing a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) manage all aspects of the life of this community.

In April, we published the third issue of 20 Mint. We have abandoned the economic model of our original formula, refusing to solicit our fans’ wallets again. We know today that this model can work, but it is not ours.

About Laurent Bainier

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