What is a bonding curve?
Bonding curves are an extremely innovative concept for creating liquidity in an NFT market. Specifically, they typically allow buyers to "print" a new NFT based on a price formula that's dependent on the quantity in circulation. The more prints that have been made previously of that NFT, the more expensive a new print will be.
Most importantly, a bonding curve allows a print owner to "burn" an NFT back to the bonding curve, typically at a price only slightly less than the last print. This is only possible because bonding curves retain the funds used to print NFTs in a reserve inside the contract. In this way, bonding curves mitigate risk for buyers by maintaining liquidity to the market.
What are the downsides of a bonding curve?
There are 2 key issues with a traditional bonding curve:
1. Traditional bonding curves lock up significant funds, possibly forever.
As a buyer of an NFT on a bonding curve, there is safety in knowing that a reserve exists to provide you liquidity in case you'd like to exit your position. However, this uncertainty goes down over time as the market matures. As the market levels out, 90% of the funds are left sitting inside of the contract's reserve, never to be used or touched. From an NFT creator's perspective, the bonding curve is a great way to build safety and excitement into a launch, but makes it difficult to support their work in the long term once the market has settled.
2. Traditional bonding curves allow for unlimited supply or set a project-defined cap.
Because traditional bonding curves allow for printing and burning to occur forever, they allow for supply to grow without bounds. Alternatively, some bonding curves hard-code a cap to the number of prints that can exist in the market, but this puts too much power in the project creator's hands to determine the scale of the market.
What's a SCARCE bonding curve?
Ethlings invented the SCARCE bonding curve to solve those 2 key problems.
SCARCE stands for (Scheduled Close And Release of Cumulative Earnings). Here's how it works:
1. A unique NFT called an Original is minted for a piece of artwork. In the case of Ethlings, this would be an Original representing a Wearable.
2. Users print and burn on the bonding curve with 93% of the print price going to the reserve and a 7% fee being withheld.
3. After a predetermined period of time, for example 30 days, the bonding curve expires. Printing and burning are stopped completely. The contract freezes the bonding curve, locking the total supply that will EVER exist for that specific NFT.
4. The owner of the Original can burn it to receive the balance of the reserve and withheld fees. Ethlings takes a 5% fee on these earnings.
Can I still buy a print after its SCARCE bonding curve has been frozen?
Yes, but only on secondary markets like OpenSea. The print's supply has been locked forever and they're now limited editions!