PixelPlex has developed a Flow-based NFT marketplace for opal gemstone enthusiasts, which possesses three different non-fungible token types. The solution aims to enable fruitful interaction among opal fans and domain experts, as well as laying the foundation for an entire specialized opal metaverse (Opalverse).
Together with the client, we established the key project goals:
Develop a high-performing NFT platform facilitating smooth NFT minting, auctioning, hosting, and trading
Provide the basis for a mini-metaverse where users will be able to mine and trade opals and enjoy unique experiences
Create an advanced, well-structured NFT model
Enable opal enthusiasts to do away with bureaucracy and operate more effectively with mining organizations
A robust NFT marketplace intended for opal gemstone fans
Ideation and creation of three different NFT types to be used within the platform
Development of a strategy and mechanism aimed at simplifying interactions between mining companies and opal enthusiasts
Integration with third-party services, including specialized education centers, KYC, a digital wallet, and a shipping service
Hyperledger-powered digital ledger for storing transaction data
Implementation of the escrow mechanism for insuring users against fraud and minimizing the risk of losing money or gems
Convenient web UI for the platform’s users and administrators
People have always been interested in investing in precious metals like gold and silver. However, these are largely dependent on stocks, and their prices tend to fluctuate a lot, which is why they are viewed by some as a risky investment.
Opal gemstones, on the other hand, are a rare commodity whose price has been steadily growing over time. The demand for opals has been high and the pandemic has also contributed to the increase in their popularity. During the January-July 2021 period, sales of the precious stone on Opal Auctions were up by over 46% compared to the same time period in 2020.
the cost of an opal sold at auction in Alaska in 2022
of the world's precious opal produced in Australia
year-old age group represented the biggest increase in opal buyers in 2021
approximate cost of a deposit required to operate an open-cut opal mine
The client, a keen and experienced opal gemstone enthusiast, came up with a ground-breaking idea that could potentially tackle the most pressing challenges inherent to gem mining and trading, and reached out to the PixelPlex team to polish it and bring it to life.
Despite all their unique characteristics and benefits, opals are challenging to mine. In America, for example, to extract gems on a certain territory, you need to contact a claim owner or mine staff operating on the site and deal with heaps of red tape that comes with becoming a claim holder yourself. Importantly, you need to apply for a special education program and learn how to properly mine opals via the MSHA. As well as this, due to the pandemic, some opal claim holders require appointments before non-claim-holders can mine.
Another aspect worth highlighting is that there is no single, unified, secure platform that would bring together all opal collectors, sellers, buyers, and mining organizations, and enable them to seamlessly and safely interact with each other, trade and showcase precious stones, and document a clear, detailed origin history for each gem. Plus, there’s no platform that offers mining collectives ownership via DAO governance tokens.
We have delivered a sophisticated NFT marketplace with metaverse-like features and an elaborate NFT model that empowers opal collectors to mint, auction, and trade 2D and 3D representations of mesmerizingly beautiful opals that contain detailed information about each stone.
The solution also possesses a hard asset NFT functionality, meaning that platform users can enjoy digital images and videos of their opals and also have the physical stones delivered right to their doorsteps.
Crucially, together with the client we developed and implemented a special shareholder NFT functionality that makes it easier and less time-consuming to gain permission to mine opals on a particular site.
Our journey started with mapping out a detailed vision & scope document that foresees all challenges and risks, and selecting the most appropriate blockchain for the NFT platform.
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First of all, we conducted an all-encompassing discovery phase which helped validate the project’s strategy. Our team has:
After agreeing with the client on the NFT marketplace’s core architecture, functionality, and third-party partners, we then decided to proceed with an MVP in order to deliver the solution to the market faster.
Upon exhaustive research executed by our blockchain consulting team, we advised the client to opt for the Flow blockchain for the following reasons:
Flow splits the work of processing transactions into four separate nodes that each have their own role and responsibility. Instead of relying on off-chain solutions to scale the network, Flow’s native node subdivisions give it a great advantage in blockchain scalability.
When the client presented their idea to us, we realized that the solution required a multifaceted NFT model which could fulfill the project’s objectives. That is why we developed three non-fungible tokens, each of them performing its own separate function:
A digital 2D or 3D representation of an opal that can be a photo or GIF of a rare gemstone. The given NFT type contains detailed information about the opal’s origin, size, value, trading history, and many other important aspects.
An art NFT can be minted, auctioned, displayed, and traded on the NFT marketplace.
This is a non-fungible token that is underpinned by a physical opal gemstone. The holder of an asset-backed NFT can not only enjoy the benefits of having full ownership over a digitally represented opal but also opt to have it delivered right into their hands to enlarge their physical collection. Gemstone delivery is possible thanks to the NFT marketplace integration with a shipping service provider.
To mine opals, one needs to contact a special organization engaged in trading shares that permit opal devotees to extract stones on their territory. The process of sealing deals with these shareholders is time-consuming and mundane, leaving many gemstone seekers dissatisfied.
With regard to this, we have developed a private shareholder NFT. This token type represents a share belonging to a certain mining landowner and can be bought by the platform’s user to gain access to digging stones. A private shareholder NFT simplifies the process of transferring rights to shares and contributes to better efficiency.
NFT marketplace users have the ability to register on the platform, display, put up for sale, trade, and buy both collectible and asset-backed opal gemstone NFTs.
These participants are mining collectives or owners of mining lands who sell or rent their shares to the platform users who want to mine opals on their territory.
To ensure the efficient functioning of the NFT marketplace as well as guaranteeing security and a satisfying user experience, our PixelPlex development team has provided integration with the following third-party services:
Once a user has registered on the marketplace, they will be asked to undergo an AML/KYC procedure. The platform will not have access to the user’s personal information — instead, it will receive confirmation about the validity of the input data from a third-party provider.
We have chosen Shuftipro, our long-standing and reliable partner with an impeccable reputation and clients from 100 countries, as a KYC service provider.
As the client’s vision was to provide not only a digital opal NFT but also to have a physical gem delivered to the asset-backed NFT holder, our team decided to allocate the delivery service to a third-party provider called Shippo.
The delivery functionality will allow the platform users to enter address details, organize and track their delivery, and keep in touch with the service center.
A digital wallet is necessary to conduct transactions on the NFT marketplace. After careful analysis, we gave priority to the Blocto wallet, since it offers the following advantages:
Considering that some of the platform’s participants might not have previously interacted with blockchain and cryptocurrencies, we decided to include the opportunity to make payments with a credit card too.
We looked carefully into all options available and selected Stripe. The integration with this online payment service provider enables users to pay for the marketplace’s services and trade in USD.
Payment with both cryptocurrency and credit card
Low NFT minting fee (almost $0)
Smooth and consistent UI
Elaborate NFT strategy
Convenient interaction with 3rd party services
Security of users’ funds provided by the escrow mechanism
Simplified communication with mining organizations
The NFT marketplace developed by the PixelPlex team for fans of opal stones has set the stage for an immersive opal metaverse (Opalverse) that has been proposed and ideated by the client.
Together we intend to ramp up our efforts and are already hard at work creating an entire metaverse space where gemstone aficionados will be able to unleash a range of extraordinary experiences, namely: