On the surface, few things appear more at odds with mindfulness than the world of NFTs and Web3. Mindfulness requires a recognition of the contents of consciousness as they arise in the present moment. But Web3 has (to many) become synonymous with a constant and enveloping sense of mental restlessness. The space is often so consuming that it’s not uncommon for those who have helped build it to struggle with serious mental health issues.
The fact that the digital revolution is digital isn’t helping things, either. At this point, the negative effects of excessive screen time and social media have been well-documented. Both lead to the increased likelihood of mental and physical illnesses and chronic diseases. People who spend more than six hours a day online, for example, are more likely to experience depression than those who don’t, and the number of adults who say they spend almost all of their time online has swelled since at least 2015.
And while many in the NFT ecosystem have suggested healthier ways to approach that world to avoid burnout, a critical, unaddressed question remains: How do we become masters — rather than servants — of our inner thinking universes while taking part in the Web3 world we know and love?
Bringing mindfulness to Web3
The mindfulness community is working to provide answers to that question. Moments of Space (MoS), for example, is a meditation app that launched in March 2022 that plans to use Web3 tools to spread awareness of mindfulness while creating and redistributing financial value to its community. Above all else, the project’s founders believe that Web3 desperately needs projects that explicitly advocate for practices that foster greater mental and physical awareness and health.
“It seems like everybody is experiencing the same feelings of burnout or FOMO,” said Ellie Ball, a content writer for MoS, while speaking to nft now about the app. “The space is so fast-paced. There’s so much being built. But the effect is that everybody feels they have to be constantly on, that if they leave their screen for five minutes, they might miss the next big thing. Web3 was built on the idea that we can create our own reality. We want people to apply that same thinking to their minds and their emotions with the help of meditation.”
Currently, the app lets users engage in mindfulness practices for free and offers expanded meditation “paths” for a subscription fee. However, the MoS community is scheduled to have a proper launch by early next year with the sale of lifetime membership NFTs, followed by the release of Twinned Dynamic NFTs (dNFT). Holders of a lifetime subscription NFT will be granted access to the MoS app. They will also gain additional benefits when they mint a dNFT, like the ability to earn “EP” points that a user can burn for USDC (which is drawn from a pool funded by subscription revenue), access to exclusive merch, retreats, and native token distribution in future. Conversely, users can grow and hold onto their EP to be eligible for future exclusive rewards via periodic wallet snapshots.
The dNFT sits at the center of the MoS meditation ecosystem. While the team has yet to reveal the artwork for the app’s NFTs, they have hinted that their imagery will emphasize themes of the lotus flower. Depending on a user’s interaction with the app, the flower will evolve (or devolve) accordingly. More meditation results in greater evolution.
“The lotus really resonates with us because it symbolizes growth and transformation,” explained Alisha Smith, one of the project’s co-founders, in an interview with nft now. “Having it evolve as you practice will help to provide a beautiful visual representation of your meditation journey.”
Using meditation principles to give to the community
The twin aspect of the dNFT is one way the project demonstrates its commitment to community. Each dNFT triggers the minting of a second NFT that will be given away for free to lower the barrier of entry to the community. Similarly, for every lifetime subscription NFT minted, MoS will mint another and provide it to a community member who can’t afford it.
To further foster a sense of collectiveness surrounding the project and Web3 in general, the team has penned an open letter calling on people to commit to a new, healthier mindset as the digital revolution of Web3 continues to grow. The letter has accrued more than 32,000 signatures and will remain open until December 16. After this date, MoS will auction a 1-of-1 NFT from a surprise artist and allow all letter signatories to have a say in how the proceeds are distributed.
Everyday mindfulness: little and often
One of the core principles of the MoS project is that it emphasizes integrating mindfulness into users’ everyday lives.
“You don’t have to sit down and close your eyes for an hour with a candle and some incense to meditate,” said Smith. “There are moments that you can find throughout your day where you can transform that time. When you’re making a cup of coffee or commuting to work — all the times we distract ourselves with social media — you can tap in for a moment and find a little moment of space. We’re really encouraging ‘little and often’ in terms of meditation.”
Besides the more in-depth and evolving meditation “paths” the app offers users (which include Mind, Body, Heart, and Space), MoS features a bank of standalone meditations made for specific states of mind or times of the day, which the team is continually building out. Since the project wants to emphasize the importance of community, users will be able to get involved and co-create meditation sessions with the team in the future. This user-generated content, Smith explained, will let the creator set their own creator tax to reward them for their contributions to the community.
Moments of Space was also one of the projects selected for the Accelerator program from Seed Club, a group of Web3 project builders that believes communities form the very core of Web3 projects. The group provides educational opportunities for teams looking to execute their Web3 vision in a successful product launch and assists them in cultivating their communities as they grow. Having a stable, community-driven DAO is one of Moment’s biggest future targets.
“We want to give ownership to the community in a true way,” Smith said. “The end goal is to hand something over to the community that’s going to live way beyond our lifetimes and ultimately bloom into something incredible.”
How to practice mindfulness in Web3
The MoS team underscored how developing a daily mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be a massive endeavor. Apart from engaging with the app they’ve built, Ball and Smith believe the best way to incorporate it into your life regularly is to get into the habit of taking stock of your physical and mental state at various points throughout the day.
“One tip is to just take one full deep conscious breath,” Smith suggested. “It’s so simple, but when was the last time you noticed your breathing?”
This tip is particularly important for those who spend their days behind a desk or at a laptop. In 2008, writer, researcher, and former Apple and Microsoft executive Linda Stone claimed to have observed a new medical phenomenon that she dubbed “email apnea.” From her independent observations, Stone concluded that the majority of people using laptops for long hours of the day unconsciously hold their breath or breathe in a shallow manner, especially when answering texts and emails. While medical studies have yet to bear this out, regularly returning your awareness to how you are breathing could potentially make a big difference in your mood and overall health.
Likewise, tuning into your mental state could be even more critical.
“When you’re experiencing negative thought patterns, bring the same awareness you would bring to your breath or other sensations to the thoughts,” offered Ball on better managing emotional upheaval. “Don’t let them just go on in the background of your mind. Be aware of them. And once you’re aware of them, you can recognize that you are not those thought patterns; you are the deeper presence that is observing them. And that can give you a sense of space and freedom from them. That’s really what our app tries to teach.”
Web3 has never been an exceptionally stable setting. Still, given the recent fall of FTX and the crypto market chaos that has ensued in its wake, that volatility has become even more pronounced. The already challenging mental and emotional landscape the NFT community navigates has had brand new valleys and cliffs carved into it. Putting conscious intent into managing what we can regarding our health has never been more valuable. And Moments of Space could be a priceless asset in the struggle to craft deeper intentionality as Web3 grows.