Last week we held a twitter space with David Cash to discuss all things unlockable in the Web3 space. We had a great discussion with some creators and developers in the space. 

Here are some highlights: 


The Genesis: How did Darkblock begin?

Jeremy, our host here, is actually my cousin. He called me up in February of last year and he’s like this NFT thing is blowing up….I saw jpegs selling for millions of dollars and I was thinking…I feel like there’s more value that you can offer besides ownership. You can offer access to something that nobody else has access to…so that’s kind of the genesis for Darkblock. 

We immediately started working on the project. We joined a hackathon with Arweave…that’s where I met Ari (COO) and Darri (Head of Product). The company formed in the next month and we were off to the races. 

So, it was started around trying to give value around art, but we realized this protocol could be applied to all types of content, and in order for people to really take ownership and control the distribution around their content, there needed to be some sort of access control layer. That’s what Darkblock is all about, helping creators monetize and control access to content.”

-Chris Seline, CEO


Can you provide a brief intro to Darkblock?

“At Darkblock we’re focused on content. Content is the ultimate utility for the Internet. Content creation, like YouTube, Patreon, Substack, and all the websites like that equal over $100 billion in revenue every single year. That doesn’t include social platforms where creators are not being monetized yet. So it’s a huge market. If you look in the US specifically, 50-70% of kids now name the “job that they want” as a Youtuber…The vast majority of people who are young right now are interested in this type of content creation or a creator style of job. Our goal is to look at the systems that work right now and try to figure out how we can help people build those types of things in Web 3. We believe that the movement to web three will greatly benefit the future generations…giving more power to communities is what we’re really interested in.” 

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


What are some use-cases? How can consumers start adding unlockable content to their content production processes? 

“When it comes to use cases, there’s kind of what’s here now and then there’s what we think will come with the benefits of web3. So you know the stuff that will come…we believe that that will bring the masses, but the stuff that’s here now is so important as well, like digital art…If you look at how how digital artists make money…like me, as an agency owner who works in 3D a lot, we buy models on turbosquid all the time…all these amazing artists are basically allowing people to make derivatives of their work. I hear a lot from photographers that don’t want to give away their large files because they still sell art prints. They’re worried that then anyone can print their work, but they also want those huge prints to be available for sale, to be put on giant screens and capture the legacy of that print forever. So there’s a use case…put that print in a Darkblock, and access it through apps that work directly in any TV and show that art in 8k, or in the case of Lago Frame, one of our partners, you can unlock that art and have it react to all of your emotions. 

The other thing that I think is really really cool for artists that are in the space now is we allow people to upload content after the fact if you’re the Creator. This is a way of giving value to people who have collected your files. If you think about any NFT project, or any file format in general, it always changes. It always evolves. There’s always cooler and better ways to do things, so being able to actually buy upgrades to your NFT for instance, is huge. Say I bought a board ape and now I want to use that board ape in Decentraland. To do that, board ape is actually going to sell specific models for each of their NFTs that work in Decentraland. So with Darkblock, you can stack these upgrades or add-on packs.”

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


How do we keep content fresh in the metaverse?  

“As far as the metaverse goes, or how this could benefit communities, we know in real life that events and content drive people to specific locations, right? Like you go to a stadium to see a concert. That is true for digital places as well…you go to YouTube to see Mr Beast’s latest video. But what if Mr B said my next video is actually going to exist in this theater in the metaverse. It’s still free for everyone, but you know, maybe the metaverse is going to pay me that ad revenue instead of YouTube…the key is you don’t have to move your entire business to Web 3 from a current content platform. You can engage an entirely new set of fans and create an entirely new type of content in different ecosystems.”

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


Loyalty Program: Unlocking different aspects or different pieces based on someone’s tier in terms of loyalty is something interesting that we will see a lot of growth in as more brands enter the web3 space.

-Silver, Web3 Community Member


Music/Spotify: “Creators just get like pennies per stream. And you know, that’s fine if you’re Beyoncé, or a huge artist. But if you’re a small artist with just a 1000 followers, that’s not a viable business. We want to empower the long tail of creators, NFT creators, to be able to live off their work.”

-Ari, COO Darkblock


Comic Books: “Everyone in NFTs is generally an amazing artist and a storyteller. They want to give back something to the people that supported them, and so we’ve helped three different projects give comic books that they have written about their origin stories to their community or PFP holders. We have an epub reader and a PDF reader in our Viewer, which both can publish a comic book and are downloadable.  In these cases, everyone who bought their NFTS funded this amazing story and comic book, and then they gave it back to their fans.” 


3D Merch in the Metaverse! “We had a T-shirt that we gave out and made a 3D scan of and embedded a 3D model…We have a 3D model viewer right in our viewer, so you can spin the clothes around, can download it and wear it in X metaverse, bring it into decentraland, etc.

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder” 

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


Isn’t that against the visibility and all-inclusive nature of Web3?

“Darkblock [or access control] is not an issue of exclusivity…there’s a lot of really valid times when that’s applicable. Whether it’s somebody trying to sell something or make sure that they get fairly compensated for their work…or a virtual music festival where people are able to come in and expose a virtual concert to only a select group of people or their supporters…so anyway that’s that’s really why i’m so into the use cases.”

-David Cash, Cash Labs


What does the creator get out of this?

“This is ultimately about giving creators tools and control. If a creator decides to work in a model where they want content owners or owners of their NFT’s to be able to go out and monetize that content, they can set-up the rules for how that engagement actually operates. If they want to earn a specific royalty or they want to work with specific people…they can do that as well…with web 2 platforms creators typically don’t have a lot of control. They can move to another platform and lose their audience, but ultimately those business models are decided by somebody else. We don’t want to be judgmental, we want to give them [creators] tools, give them control, and they’ll use that the way they see fit. “

-Chris Seline, CEO


Do you support my project’s chain? How do I get started? 

“We work with all NFT chains…we are completely chain agnostic. Currently we work on Ethereum, Polygon, Tezos, Avalanche, Solana, and are adding more soon. Some platforms are integrated with us (none of the big ones yet, but we’re trying our best!), but you can use out app and literally just log into your Ethereum wallet and it will show you a list of all your NFTs and then you can choose whichever NFT you want to upgrade. Or if it’s a collection of NFTs, and you can upload that content directly there and then you can embed a viewer into your website too if you want to drive users back to your website.”

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


How can IRL events harness the power of Darkblock? 

“At NFTNYC, this was the first test of our new UPP (unlockable party packs). It’s essentially a digital swag bag for NFT holders. So there’s a couple of things that I think are really interesting about this one. We had an amazing photographer at the Beyond the Metaverse event, and those photos have more value than just a photo on your phone, especially if there’s extra access, or if it’s them with a famous person, or even just some crazy debauchery. I love the idea of giving that stuff back to the community and giving them ownership of it. Maybe you’re using a proof of presence tool and you give that content to the community to distribute or use as they write articles or maybe there’s DJ sets or any other content that was cool that you want to keep as a memory…could absolutely use that. In the future we will allow creators to upload content as well and there will be a difference between creator uploads and collector uploads…that’s a cool way for a community to be able to share content as well…Sponsors can also give back…like a QR code for a free t-shirt, or a whitelist, you can also find people with tokens and distribute only to them, But again what we do is really easy…The event has a website, you grab your PoP (proof of presence) when you’re at the event or whatever else you want to use…then on the website you have a place where you can unlock that NFT…everything from a simple PDF to an image/movie/piece of music/3D asset…anything.”

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


How Decentralized is Darkblock? 

Decentralization for us is going to be a long journey and we’re just getting started. The technology we’re working with is pretty complex. Basically we have software that runs in a trusted enclave within a CPU. It’s called a trusted execution environment, and it enables us to have third parties run the software. They can’t inspect what’s going on inside that CPU, so we can actually handle these keys securely. Today we run the network ourselves and until we can be sure that it is fully secure, we won’t let that out the door…hopefully we will be fully decentralized at some point next year. But one step for us is basically enabling third parties to run it securely. Another [step] is ensuring that the data sources are also decentralized so that we can prove ownership in a decentralized way. One partner we’re working with on that one is Unmarshall. They are working on a decentralized way of querying NFT data…These are two very large pieces of the puzzle.


Need help using Darkblock??

“We try to be incredibly responsive on our discord, We’re there to answer questions and help people use the technology. If you have an idea, if you’re building and your wallet just isn’t connecting, we want to know about it. Those are the questions and the people that are going to help us make a better project.”

-Jeremy Sahlman, Co-Founder


For those of you who missed this space, you can still access the recording here! Head to to get started using our protocol. As stated above, we are available to help you get started and answer your questions on Discord and Twitter. Shoot your recommendations our way for who we should have on our next space!