Blokhaus is a web3-focused agency that acts as part agency, part marketing strongarm for the Tezos blockchain. At the time, Blockhaus was just getting off the ground and Mark Soares, the founder of Blokhaus, was in search of a partner agency that could help bring his ideas to life. As a company fascinated by the evolution of web3 technology, our team met with Mark, and together we brainstormed ways to make minting NFTs easier for creators.
The original idea was to create a minting “how-to” document that would be presented in the form of a blog post. This blog post would walk NFT creators through building their own website and how to use the OpenMinter protocol to produce/ mint their NFTs. However, after further exploration between our teams, a unanimous decision was made to “show” rather than to “tell,” and create something grander.
Currently, minting NFTs and finding a marketplace to display them can be confusing and a steep learning curve, especially for artists. While a blog post would help explain the minting process, it would take a substantial amount of time and investment for creators to implement such a solution.
After much collaboration, our teams came up with Minterpress, a WordPress plugin geared toward NFT creators that already had a WordPress website or knew enough about WordPress to build their own site or request a plugin of a developer they might be working with. WordPress was our CMS of choice because of its market share, power, and versatility – its vast library of themes and plugins gives it a lot of flexibility. The Minterpress Plugin would allow creators to mint their NFTs through the Tezos blockchain and then display them on their website.
Once we had collectively established the idea for the plugin, we moved into an initial discovery phase. We began with a kickoff meeting with Blokhaus to understand their vision, the project's goals, and the early research to understand the technical feasibility of the idea. From there, we mapped out a user flow of potential screens and functions listed to establish a shared understanding of what we were building. Next, we took the user flow and turned it into a set of wireframes for an initial pass that spurred additional conversations about additional functionality. Finally, we updated the wireframes, and with Blokhaus’ approval, we took the wires into the design phase.
Since this was our first project working with Web3 technology, our team had to be meticulous and forward-thinking in understanding the technical landscape to ensure the plugin functioned as intended. To start, our developers used the Beacon SDK for users to connect their Tezos wallet to the plugin. This function was one of the first essential requirements because, to mint NFTs through the plugin, users will need to have Tezos currency readily available.
Next, our development team used an approach described in this article to build a custom proxy to connect the Pinata API and Taquito API to the plugin. Pinata serves as cloud storage for the NFTs created when leveraging the plugin. Taquito gives users the ability to upload their NFTs to the Tezos blockchain, completing the minting process. Finally, users can display or sell their NFTs in categories on the public-facing WordPress site.
Much like our work with Blokhaus here, custom applications and tools that change how we work within technology always start with an idea. If you have an idea, we'd love to learn more about it and be a part of the team to bring it to life.