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Tom Sachs’ Rocket Factory – New Ideas for Build-Your-Own NFTs

Ryan Cowdrey
3 min read
Tom Sachs’ Rocket Factory – New Ideas for Build-Your-Own NFTs

Famous contemporary artists have shown us some really cool new use cases of NFTs. Damien Hirst’s The Currency gives collectors the hard decision of whether to burn their NFT and keep the physical version or vice versa – opening up a mass experiment of pitting NFTs against physical art.

Earlier this month, Tom Sachs created the Rocket Factory which uses NFTs as assembly components for physical rockets – giving collectors the ability to build their own rocket and essentially create their own derivative collectible.

What is Tom Sachs’ Rocket Factory?

Launched on August 1, 2021, the Tom Sachs’ Rocket Factory is a “trans-dimensional manufacturing plant” or as I describe it a space program funded by the sale of NFTs. Except that this space program is launching model rockets into the sky (the Moon will come much later).

The path for collectors in this project go as follows:

  1. Collect components
  2. Assemble Rocket
  3. Launch Rocket
  4. Receive, Donate, or Shred Rocket

The NFT rockets can be broken down into three components: Nose Cones, Bodies, and Tails. Each component is emblazoned with a brand (from Hello Kitty to Wonder Bread), thus giving varying levels of rarity to each branded component. And for an added level of rarity, 100 out of the 3,000 components will have one out of ten possible stickers (also with different rarities).

Once you’ve collected a nose cone, a body, and a tail, you can assemble a rocket on their website, name the rocket, and mint it as an entirely new NFT. Collectors can try to create a Frankenrocket, which has a mixed-branding cone, body, and tail, or a Perfect Rocket which has consistent branding in all three components. After a Rocket is formed, the component NFTs are burned. Therefore, with 3,000 components, there are only 1,000 potential rockets (but hundreds of thousands of possibilities).

With an assembled rocket, collectors can submit their rocket to be launched – the team will actually create a physical rocket that matches the one you’ve assembled. Periodically (starting Aug. 28th) the Rocket Factory team will launch these rockets into space at one of their launch parties, of which anyone can attend in person.

After the rocket launch, you can receive your rocket in the mail, donate it to the Rocket Cabinet which will be displayed in a TBA museum, or shred the rocket (and receive a video of the shredding). All of which will be added to the NFTs’ metadata.

This is all just part of Phase 1.

Phase 2 hasn’t been announced, but they’re teasing things like a metaverse rocket factory often. Ultimately, this level of optionality given to collectors is going to play a part in Phase 2.

Why It’s Important

Tom has exposed us to new ideas and ways to create an experience around the NFT itself.

One, they constructed a collector habit. Breaking it into 3 components gives people a reason to collect not just one NFT, but two more to complete a rocket. Oftentimes with new projects, I find myself only minting one because I’m not convinced on where the project will go. It’s smart in the sense that he’s giving clear and obvious instructions on how you should collect, at the minimum.

Two, collectors are given complete optionality to construct their own collectible. The genesis NFTs are just pieces used to create an entirely new NFT. Are you going for a Frankenrocket or a Perfect Rocket?

Three, they designed a physical experience that fit the project perfectly. We’ve seen quite a few projects look to bring NFT collectibles into the physical world through merchandising. But never one where you’re assembling an NFT and a physical collectible simultaneously. The rocket launches themselves create rarity in the sense of “When did your rocket launch? Was it a success? Did something unexpected happen during the launch?”

Overall, this “choose your own NFT adventure” is fascinating to me. So many new ideas presented in this NFT collection.

The first 10 launches have been announced on the Rocket Factory’s Twitter page and are taking place this Saturday, August 28th. I’m very curious to see what will take place on the secondary market once rocket launches have taken place.