The term “meme” comes from the Greek word “mimema,” meaning “imitated.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica, this term was initially introduced in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his work The Selfish Gene. However, it was not until roughly 2014 when users in the /r9k/ channel of the popular site 4chan began referring to original illustrations and photoshops of Pepe the Frog as “Rare Pepes.” 4chan users would share allegedly “rare” images of Pepe as if they were trading cards, initially on sites like eBay and Craigslist, but eventually, via Counterparty, one of the earliest chains to run on top of Bitcoin, Rare pepes went from meme to movement via the trading of cards and adoption of PepeCash. What is most remarkable about this ecosystem is that it was initiated in 2016/2017, way before most others were at all aware, let alone interested in NFTs.
Fast forward to March of 2022, and Rare Pepes are, in my personal opinion, one of the most undervalued NFT classes on the market. While yes, there have been momentous sales of Nakamoto cards over the past year or so, a treasure trove of OG NFTs from 2016-2018 are currently sitting on opensea for the taking on the Emblem Vault Ethereum account at a floor price of 0.032 ETH. You may be asking, ‘since these were minted on a Bitcoin layer two (for lack of a better term), how can one buy them on Ethereum?
Thanks to the incredible people at Emblem Vault– real counterparty NFTs from the early days of the space have been bridged over to Ethereum and Polygon, and are now accessible for us to buy on Opensea! According to Decrypt: “Emblem Vault is a tokenized multi-asset wallet [that] wraps crypto portfolios into a single NFT token.” So hodlers of OG counterparty NFTs are able to simply and safely bridge their NFTs, such as Rare Pepes, over to ETH, Polygon, and more!
How can you make sure that the NFT you’re buying is authentic? Since these are bridged over, and since we’re in the crypto space here, it’s up to us to do our own due diligence. So every time you buy any NFT from an Emblem Vault account, on Opensea for instance, it’s up to us to check the NFT’s emblem finance and XCP explorer links to ensure that the item we’re buying is a) an Original Rare Pepe (see example here) and b) via the XCP explorer link click on the asset, then click on “issuances” to see how many of a Rare Pepe NFT were originally minted.
While you will notice that there is an abundance of Rare Pepes available on Opensea, not all Pepes are made equal. While I’m not here to give financial advice, it should be obvious to anyone with a background in crypto or NFTs that the most scarce and oldest editions of these NFTs are inherently the most ‘rare.’ With the appropriately named Rare Pepes, rarity varies quite a lot from NFT to NFT. Some pieces come in editions of several million, and if you check them via the XCP explorer, you’ll see that they’re only evaluated at pennies apiece, so in my opinion, not worth buying for even 0.032 ETH.
However, there are NFTs available which are from incredible scarce mint batches of 5000, 3000, 1000, or even a few hundred. Since most of these were minted 5+ years ago on Bitcoin, and only some have been bridged over to ETH or Polygon, most of these collections are lost in a wallet somewhere, and many can’t be claimed. Owning a Rare Pepe from one of these small-batch collections today means that you likely own one of only a few hundred accessible NFTs, the scarcity of these Pepes making them, from my perspective, some of the rarest.
So while you can’t currently get a Nakamoto card for less than 100 ETH as of today, you can still snag some pieces of early NFT history on Opensea that are, in my opinion, still incredibly undervalued. Again, while we don’t give financial advice here, we can delve into the history of NFTs and pinpoint specific projects which we deem important and Rare Pepes are–undoubtedly–one of them. The purpose of this new series is for me to delve into the background of some of the OG NFTs in my collection. In the next article in this series, coming soon, I’ll delve into why I’m currently hodling gen0 CryptoKitties.
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Popular NFT brand, Bored Ape Yacht Club, is in talks with venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, to lead a funding round of about $5 billion to raise their valuation, according to the Financial Times. The deal is still a work in progress as no terms have been agreed upon but will surely be one to watch out for.
Although BAYC has yet to comment on the negotiations officially, they have previously said they plan to create a strong brand and hand it over to the community. Another source, NFTNick.eth, told his Twitter followers that this would likely be huge for the NFT industry as it will validate the NFT business model if this deal comes to life and the news gets out.
Crypto companies generally utilize funding to expand their businesses and scale their operations globally. For example, back in 2013, When Coinbase was valued at $143 million, it received about $20 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz. It is currently valued at $86 billion. Even successful brands like BAYC require external funding to grow faster than what investments from their own profits can achieve. BAYC receiving VC funding will allow the brand to expand its business, and you will expect its valuation to increase in the future as the demand for BAYC NFTs continues to grow.
Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 uniquely generated cartoon images of ape NFTs, went viral in 2021 even before prominent celebrities like Eminem, Stephen Curry, and Jimmy Fallon, amongst others, bought them. The frenzy does not end with merely acquiring a Bored Ape NFT, as ownership connects you to many celebrities and popular influencers who are members of this club. The number of celebrities ‘aping in’ is increasing every week.
Bored Ape NFTs, which were minted on the Ethereum blockchain, has recorded more than 393,000 in trading volume and have at least 6300 owners on OpenSea, with the lowest priced Bored Apes selling for about 18.5 ETH at the time of writing. Yuga labs, the team behind BAYC, has remained committed to growing the BAYC brand even further, and this potential deal with Andreessen Horowitz is a testament to their resolve.
Who is Andreessen Horowitz?
Andreessen Horowitz is an investment company based in Silicon Valley, California, founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz in 2009, commonly known as A16z. The company has more than $28b in assets, with investments spanning from Crypto and Fintech to Healthcare.
A16z invests in companies across different stages of growth, from seed to startups, mid and late stages. They boast of a strong track record of having backed highbrow companies like Coinbase, Airbnb, Github, and Slack, transforming the then small businesses into giants.
A16z are not newcomers in the crypto space. In June 2021, the company announced a $2.2 billion fund to invest in crypto founders, teams, and networks. In addition, the Financial Times reported on plans by Andreessen Horowitz to raise more than $4.5 billion for crypto investments this year, doubling last year’s figures. A16z has been investing in crypto since 2013 and has shown interest in decentralized finance, Web3, creator funds, and the next-generation payment methods.
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Opensea, the largest NFT platform by volume, has been failing in its responsibility to pay royalties for secondary sales on its platform. Similar reports from many reputable artists have become commonplace, indicating a pattern propagating on a wide scale. Claims from these artists have been verified with evidence. This failure on Opensea’s behalf spotlights a major issue in Opensea’s smart contract not distributing royalties automatically and, as a result, the unnecessary centralization that arises.
Royalty payments for secondary sales on Opensea are not paid out automatically. Their help center confirms this, stating payments happen on a monthly basis when an artist has “accumulated more than ~$60.00 worth of fees.” There are many instances of artists with balances far exceeding this minimum, many of which have been outstanding for months. This issue seems to have become more common recently, with reports of royalties not being received growing especially since August.
Royalties are one of the cornerstone benefits of NFTs. The ability for sales to provide a continuous income to artists is revolutionary, enabling passive income for artists where none had existed before. This is not a functionality that Opensea innovated; it is a feature of the blockchain itself. Despite this, Opensea has chosen to undertake the process of paying royalties manually. Their smart contract does not address royalties at all, indicating that they are managed off-chain by the platform itself.
Managing royalties off-chain is an unnecessary implementation of centralization. The only benefit the system offers is to hold payments in order to send them in batches to avoid paying gas on too many occasions. However, this is something that could be managed more seamlessly by a smart contract. Instead, Opensea chooses to take the burden upon it’s shoulders manually, leading to situations like the one we are currently facing.
An artist by the name of Lance Ren was in a Clubhouse room discussing this particular issue when Jen Stein pinged the CEO of Opensea into the room, Devin Finzer. He reportedly faced the group of angry users, and offered them his apologies in regards to the situation. According to Lance, Devin mentioned two reasons for the lack of forthcoming royalty payments: high gas fees and old architecture that has not scaled yet.
Assuming Devin’s response is truthful, this indicates a major failure on Opensea’s behalf. They have been quick to brag about the billions in sales they facilitate every month, but being the largest NFT marketplace comes with its responsibilities. This situation indicates that they are quick to relish in their successes, but lack the foresight to prepare for them. Did they not expect to become the biggest NFT marketplace?
This is an issue that must be addressed by Opensea immediately. Funds are being withheld from artists who worked hard for them. The platform does not lack in resources; the 2.5% it collects on sales on its platform equates to a $100 million profit for the month of August alone on its $3.4 billion in sales. Why a company so profitable would be so concerned with gas fees is difficult to envision.
Meanwhile, artists are missing out on funds they could use to improve their lives or their communities. This limits innovation and growth in the NFT space, as artists rely on their royalty payments; only to get them inconsistently, if at all. Commitments can be made that may be difficult to keep without this important revenue source, as is the case for EpicThunderCat, who was owed 1.1916 ETH over 109 secondary transactions.
“I’ve been doing a mental health game basically, and have some super intense plans, but I need them to pay me and it’s negatively impacting my community that they haven’t. I am going to pay my mods with the up front money this weekend because they shouldn’t be punished if Opensea doesn’t do their job; but it’s hard. My collectors and I have all voted on getting a decentraland property. I can’t do it unless they pay me.” – EpicThunderCat
EpicThunderCat was finally paid while we had been speaking to gather information for this article. This long-overdue payment corresponds to substantially lower gas fees this week than the week prior and lends to the case made by Devin. Many other artists we spoke to have received their long-awaited payments in the past week.
Collectible art projects are also experiencing these issues. Rich Beeman from NiftyCastle says that their Deebies project has only ever received a single royalty payment – that was 7 weeks ago at the time of writing. The fact that this issue impacts high-volume projects, as well as individual artists, means that this is both a pattern and a systemic problem.
Most people do not believe it is out of malice that Opensea withholds payments. High gas fees would be a valid excuse if the system itself were acceptable, but the decision not to include royalties in the smart contract is a decision made entirely by Opensea, placing the burden of responsibility on their shoulders. If they choose to go against the ethos of the NFT space and centralize operations unnecessarily, the least they can do is bite the bullet when gas fees are high, and balance it out when they’re low.
This serves as a reminder of the value decentralization offers: without a single point of failure, a system can continue to operate and overcome issues as a collective. Opensea’s decision to centralize their royalty payments creates a major dependency for NFTs minted on their platform. What if a major bullish announcement is made causing gas fees to spike and never go back down? If current behavior continues, payments may continue to be delayed, or even require fees from artists to be collected.
Furthermore, if Opensea ever fails for any reason, artists’ continued royalty payments may not be guaranteed. This is unnecessary and is by design. Artists and upcoming projects should consider this before minting directly on the platform, and consider the benefits a custom smart contract provides. We like NFTs for the permanence they offer. And if Opensea is going to detract from that permanence, we should at least be aware of it.
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Clubhouse has birthed many breakout projects in the NFT space, but few have attained such a whirlwind launch as 0N1 FORCE. This new-age avatar project includes 100 hand-drawn attributes custom illustrated by IMCMPLX.
After weeks of anticipation, the project sold out in a matter of minutes – crashing the Open Sea platform. It also sparked a collection fervor with Singapore-based The NFTer buying 101 of the 7,777 0N1 FORCE collectibles before the floor shot up.
In the past few weeks, Visa has bought a Cryptopunk, and Arizona Iced Tea has created a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Comic. While much of the early skepticism around NFTs might remain for the general public, it’s clear that, whether we like it or not, significant brands are rapidly entering the space, following behind mainstay art auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips, among others. Some luxury brands, including industry giant Louis Vuitton, are even choosing to launch their own web-3 games and develop their own blockchains.
Of all the newer projects, my favorite is @0n1Force. The artwork on my 0n1s is so thorough. I can envision the story that's being designed around them. If you're an illustrator, artist, writer, this is an ideal opportunity to build your worlds. pic.twitter.com/MY3YeSt8EC
While more and more new faces enter into the NFT space, the importance of community continues to become increasingly evident. And that’s what makes the 0N1 FORCE project special. Through giveaways, collaborative storytelling, strategic use of Discord, and a derivative contest, ON1 Force leveraged the community to build and activate an even larger community. Many future NFT projects will likely leverage some of the magic that led to the success of 0N1 FORCE (as they should).
Here are my top three takeaways from the 0N1 FORCE project:
1- It’s all about the story:
Storytelling is critical in any artistic project, and 0N1 FORCE crafted a compelling narrative from its inception. The story of a fallen kingdom and its citizens who must now fight for survival created conflict and a sense of urgency that allowed people to invest in something bigger than just another NFT drop.
By building out the “why” from the beginning, the 0N1 FORCE project was also able to create rarity paired with intention. The 0N1 FORCE clan contains three distinct groups, The YOK-A1 Ghost Spirits (of which there are 5,278), which possess common or rare traits; the B4K3M0-N0 Monster Form ( of which there are 2,100); and the 0N1 elite (of which there are only 392), which are rare demons.
2- Discord is more than shilling
Before launch, the 0N1 FORCE Discord had more than 15,000 active community members rearing to buy. Discord was initially built for gaming, but it plays a pivotal role in launching new NFT projects. The 0N1 team incorporated elements of the project (such as anime, manga, and RPGs) into its Discord programming, allowing the team to tap into a host of pre-existing communities.
One notable feature of the Discord is the 0N1 Daily Living section, where inventive stories about the 0N1 clan were developed before launch and continue to be shared regularly. A space for creation by community members helped to spawn organic growth while simultaneously empowering people to share their unique storytelling voice.
The team also utilized a wide range of Discord’s built-in features to engage their community. The “radio feature” was used to lean into the project’s lo-fi aesthetic, featuring lo-fi beats and guest DJ sets. Anime movie nights were held, and an 0N1 arcade was also built. Even after launch, programming relevant to the project (such as Japanese lessons) continues.
The success of the 0N1 Discord was largely due to Community Relations/Discord Manager, LinkedEM, and an active moderator squad, which are divided into two groups: “The Favoured” and “The Supreme.”
According to Linked Em, nostalgia was a heavy focus at the initial stages of building out their community in Discord. Many of the early adopters in the NFT space are tech natives, and there are many games and references the team utilized that resonate with this community.
3- It’s all in the details
Attention to detail also helped set this project apart. This included incorporating traits that promote representation (such as hearing aids) which made the 0N1 FORCE universe accessible and diverse from the start.
0N1 FORCE includes many clever nods to other NFT projects. One’s that are easy to spot include the strawberry pin (a rare trait of the elites), which is a nod to Strawberry.WTF (who serves as the project’s front-end designer). These small details helped shine a light on other projects in the NFT eco-system and the 10,000 genesis project from Strawberry.WTF, which sold out the same day as 0N1 FORCE.
Additional project nods include “cool cat ears” to honour the Cool Cats and the “banana pin,” which was included to celebrate the Bored Apes. There are also traits to celebrate 0N1 Force’s community members, including the canary and the rose (in honour of two of the project’s lead Discord moderators).
The 0N1 FORCE project is full of too many easter eggs to mention in one article, in addition to numerous hidden traits that weren’t revealed until mint (such as “the Gods,” which are facing the opposite direction than the other 0N1’s). By adding so many additional layers to the project, 0N1 FORCE has a wealth of fascinating details which they can return to as the 0N1 universe grows.
While we are sure to see many generative projects over the following months, it seems that factors such as attention to detail, elevated art, and a deliberate mint number are becoming more critical. And this is only the beginning for the 0N1 universe, and the team continues to be approached by both brands and celebrities who want to participate in the 0N1 world. Project manager JR Artspace also continues to lead a series of other exciting and multi-dimensional NFT projects, including Ethereals.
The 0N1 FORCE team includes JR Artspace, EM, IMCMPLX, CryptoSpaces, and Strawberry.
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In the world of physical collectibles, especially sports memorabilia, the autograph of a star, even a small one, can radically increase the value of a sports card or piece of equipment. While blockchain data provides provenance, mainstream collectors may not find that nearly as satisfying as the symbolic human element of NFT signatures. AllCertified is one of an emerging group of services focused on adding verifiable digital autographs to collectible NFTs.
AllCertified – NFTs Verified by Humans
AllCertified founder Michael Eckstein, in an interview for NFTS WTF, discussed the NFT autograph solution he and his company are developing. The basic concept is that celebrities and stars are onboarded and verified. Then NFTs with affixed signature stickers are created for distribution. Since AllCertified has no plans to develop a competing NFT marketplace, the celebrity’s team can then distribute the NFT as they wish to the growing range of options from open marketplaces to celebrity-focused platforms.
While proprietary patent-pending technology is involved, their key is human verification of the celebrity’s identity allied with all critical choices being made by the celebrity from pricing to which NFTs to mint. AllCertified can also suggest images for NFTs and can even take existing NFTs to use as the basis for new NFTs with affixed signatures. If celebs wish, they can sign into AllCertified by phone to approve NFTs and even upload content on the fly.
AllCertified’s Roots in Sports Memorabilia
Eckstein revealed that AllCertified‘s initial market is sports, followed by five target markets: movie studios, TV and streaming services, music, art, and social media influencers. Given the current growth of the sports memorabilia movement and the remarkable power of a verifiable autograph to raise the value of such memorabilia, it’s not that surprising that AllCertified is starting there. However, there is a more personal dimension to that choice which Eckstein shared:
“I have been a sports memorabilia collector for many years…And every time I went to a sports memorabilia show, I was one of the guys in line to get the autograph of the person whose baseball card I had.”
“When NFTs started to move forward, I saw what an amazing upside potential this was. Literally, in the middle of the night, I woke up, and I said, how about the ability to have the sports personality not just be limited to physical presence to sign at a show? How about giving them an authorized blockchain-certified way to look at somebody submitting an NFT and then being able to affix their signature sticker to that. And that’s how the idea was born.”
According to Eckstein, AllCertified is already receiving a strong, positive response. Sports card dealers are also very excited by the idea and would love to be able to take their inventory, create digital images, add the appropriate signatures and create a valuable NFT. Dealers could make quite a bit of revenue, but Eckstein had a disappointing message for most of them. AllCertified will only be working with such companies as Upper Deck and Panini that have direct relationships with athletes. In addition, the company’s commitment to verifiability and celeb control ultimately limits who will be able to use their services.
NFT Signatures Likely to Get Hot
NFT signatures seem likely to be an especially relevant offering in industries in which celebrities have huge fan bases, such as athletes, tv and movie stars, and social media influencers, and may want to put out specific NFTs in large numbers. Signatures provide a means to make them all seem a bit more special and can also provide an option for a limited signed edition being released along with a larger unsigned edition. Of course, a much broader range of use cases will be developed over time.
And as those use cases develop, new competitors will enter the game. One entrant in the NFT Signature space, AutographNFT, is further along with its approach which takes a very different direction. AutographNFT starts from the collector’s side with an already existing NFT for which collectors can request a signature. The NFT creator’s identity is verified through Twitter and, if approved, the original NFT is wrapped in a synthetic NFT, dubbed an “aNFT,” which is essentially a new ERC721 NFT tradable on open markets.
AutographNFT‘s use of Web 2 identity verification is an intelligent approach but also seems likely to have a level of direct outreach behind the scenes. Whether or not that’s the case, the use of what is essentially a removable wrapper, with the ability to restore the original NFT, is likely to be an appealing option.
The Human Element
In many ways, one can think of Web 3 as an attempt to code humans out of the picture as much as possible in the service of creating excellent tools for humans. Companies like AllCertified and AutographNFT remind us that the visible presence and involvement of humans, especially individual celebrities, is a powerful force that fits digital collectibles well. But it does seem likely to require a lot of upfront expense that can’t be automated away. In the case of NFT signature companies, victory will go to those who can combine the most appealing technology for mainstream users with the strongest connection to celebrities and their representatives.
Who would have thought Jackie and Kelso from That 70s Show would be early adopters in pioneering an animated NFT show called Stoner Cats? Although the name does fit the roles they both played as actors back in 1998.
Despite Ashton’s involvement with cryptocurrencies for nearly a decade, it was Mila Kunis who originated the idea to create the animated NFT show Stoner Cats. Mila explains on their YouTube channel that while stuck in the same house with Ashton during covid, she overheard what others were saying about how digital art was being sold as NFTs. Mila finally asked her husband if she could create an animated show as an NFT, to which Kutcher replied “Well, yes you could!” Fast forward to yesterday’s complete sell-out of Stoner Cats NFTs in 35 minutes.
Stoner Cats Teaser:
Low-effort Celebrity NFT Cash Grab?
While some in the NFT community would view this as yet another celebrity cash grab, there is much more nuance to be understood here. First of all, the project has an absolutely insane lineup of all-star talent voicing the characters of this adult cartoon including Jane Fonda, Seth MacFarlane, Chris Rock, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Vitalik Buterin himself. The all-star lineup doesn’t end with the celebrity cast, former CryptoKitties creative director Mack Flavelle is leading the effort along with the animation team of Chris Cartagena, Sarah Cole, and Ash Brannon. This breaks the low-effort celebrity cash grab narrative that in my opinion is really just rooted in a disguised form of jealousy amongst some of the louder voices in the space. There is already a mockery NFT project looking to capitalize on all the buzz Stoner Cats is generating that I won’t even mention here. In my own view, I choose to celebrate the success of others instead of criticizing it, regardless of how successful they were previously. The last time I checked, it takes quite a bit of effort and work to become an accomplished celebrity and to deal with all the haters that inevitably come with it. I spoke with a few other prominent NFT community members within the WTF Dao to get their opinions. Bryan Brinkman had some insightful nuggets he shared with me. “I may be an optimist, but as an animator who has worked in the industry, I’ve seen how hard it is to get a network to approve an idea that doesn’t fit into the mold they are looking for. This space is all about decentralizing and removing gatekeeping and this could prove to be a way for creators to do that.”
“I see this project as a rough roadmap for how creators can bankroll and build a community around their ideas in the same way Kickstarter and Patreon have. The difference here is that as an investor, you hold the value you invested in the Non-Fungible Token. As a supporter, you can help the project grow in value and increase the return on your investment. It’ll be interesting to see how the next wave of projects learn from what did and did not work in this one. I see future examples as having more utility and ownership of the content.”
“This project signals a new wave of “Celebrity NFTs”, prior to this we had some musicians, athletes, and actors joining the space, but none of them had the star power that this project brings. We are now going to see celebrities and influencers that have access to major networks late night and daytime talk shows being able to promote their NFT projects and that is going to onboard a massive wave of new interested collectors that I think will rival the boom we saw at the beginning of 2021.” Bryan’s comments really just confirmed my own observations about what this project was really about. If you are a builder or creator in this space, the selling out of this Stoner Cats NFT project is likely to inject an enormous amount of interest in NFTs, which is a net positive for creators in this space over the long term.
Failure to Launch and Gas Problems
This project was not without its own set of challenges and problems, I was in the Stoner Cats discord when its failure to launch on the original drop date prompted a flurry of anger and frustration along with an overwhelming amount of keyboard warriors with no manners saying things they would not dare say to another human face to face.
The very next day after the team worked tirelessly to fix the issues with the smart contract, they launched on time, however, there was so much demand for these Stoner Cats that gas prices on the Etherum blockchain skyrocketed north of 500 Gwei from less than 30 prior to the launch.
I myself had a transaction that failed after 40 minutes of waiting. According to data from Dune Analytics over $700,000 USD was lost in failed transactions.
I also got to speak with another WTF Dao member, Kai Turner, founder of the Meebits Dao, Experience Designer at Netflix, and Product Content Innovation lead and Advisor to NFT42. This is what he had to say:
“Funnily enough, I pitched a similar idea to the now-Dapper Labs CTO when I was at Sony Pictures Entertainment suggesting that CryptoKitties should do something exactly like this in 2017. So it’s notable that the former CryptoKitties Creative Director is leading the effort because maybe he saw similar potential in the space.”
“In terms of the creative concept, I think they could have set a higher bar. It does feel like someone has asked: What does the crypto community like? Cats and Weed! However, even though these are hackneyed themes within our niche, they might be slightly novel to the broader adult animation audience– so given the names, especially Seth McFarlane, attached — there is still a lot of potential for this to become a quality piece of entertainment.”
“Finally, with the NFT release, lots of complaints about the launch, but for us who have been in the space for a while, we’re used to the gas spikes. Although I think we do need a better model for oversubscribed drops than just pushing the contract and website live – Top Shot is pioneering models here out of necessity. So if it’s queues or tickets or waitlists
– just telling the community to pay a 200% premium on gas is not good enough anymore.
Gas isn’t my main concern though – I think the drop could have provided more variation than the same characters, the characters associated with characters in the show could have been the rarest ones, but why not build out a Stoner Cats universe of all the cats in the world? Even if they don’t make an appearance in the show in season 1 — there is future potential for them to! — maybe as a community reward/competition.”
“Overall, I’m enthusiastic about the project and the hope that it will set a new model for funding content – but like Kickstarter projects in the past, I’ll believe it when I see it … the execution of the final product is what matters most.” – Kai Turner
For me, the general takeaway is that despite all of the problems with the initial launch, the gas wars, lost funds, and the hate being hurled at celebrities for “daring” to use this nascent NFT technology; this project looks to be a major success in proving NFT’s are a better way forward for creatives in the entertainment industry. The idea that celebrities and all of Hollywood would not eventually be beating down the door to enter into this space is a short-sighted sentiment. There is a tremendous opportunity for those who are open to seeing the importance of this very moment in history as the future infrastructure for nearly all forms of entertainment media, is being built now. NFTs will continue to empower more creators and break down some of the very entrenched middlemen in the entertainment industry. Studios and publishers have carved predominantly predatory relationships with creators, but this new model of funding creative works via NFTs will force them to innovate and alter the way they interact with the true creators of value behind all types of intellectual property. I see a future world where the consumers of entertainment experiences will also be the stakeholders, contributors, and even the co-creators themselves, where the fans can have a more intimate connection and even ownership of the stories they love without all the bureaucratic bullshit, all brought to you by Non-fungible Tokens.
Featured image credit: Stonercats.com
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Damian Hirst, one of the world’s highest-selling artists, is part of the NFT space. Yes, you heard me correctly – I was, at first, confused. Though upon further research into the specifics of his newest drop, my confusion slowly blossomed into intrigue. After his first NFT release with Heni Leviathan allowed him to sell over 7,000 prints grossing him over 22 million USD, he is unsurprisingly back for another go of it. Soon, Hirst will, most likely, sell out his entire new collection of 10,000 physical pieces that people can “apply” to buy at $2,000 each, which he has aptly entitled “Currency.”
All 10,000 pieces come with a red-pill, blue-pill scenario as their principal value add. Do you choose to be shipped a hand-painted physical piece by Hirst himself? Or would you prefer to keep the NFT as a purely digital token? This conundrum leaves many other art collectors and me in the crypto space asking ourselves: why not both? However, this seems to be the point of the collection: to assess the buyer’s relationship with a piece that exists simultaneously in both the digital and physical worlds. Thus, asking the buyer to decide which medium they deem more valuable for themselves. While there are 10,000 physical pieces that have been hand-made to pair up with every NFT, the buyer can only choose to claim one.
The pieces are derivative of his iconic “spot paintings” which he has been doing since 1988. This could be seen as a positive by some and negative by others. While this is, arguably, his most famous motif, it has become quite a mainstream signature of the Hirst brand. In his book On the Way to Work, Hirst describes his exploration with his spot paintings as “a way of pinning down the joy of colour.” By tediously embellishing art paper with thousands of seemly random colourful dots, Hirst aims to “create […] structure, to do those colours, and do nothing” simultaneously. Blake Gopnik, of the New York Times, explained this sentiment in slightly more detail in a piece for Gagosian:
“The Spots were fundamentally about abstraction as reduced to its most basic components: color, form, and placement. You could say that they represented an attempt to reach Abstraction Degree Zero.”
And now, 10,000 of us have the opportunity to bring an authentic, handpainted derivative of this iconic series into our homes through this NFT launch. Though this drop may be Hirst’s attempt to further break into the increasingly thriving NFT market and thereby the wallets of the crypto-whales this space knows and loves, it seems as if this drop is targeting a far more mainstream audience. Making the pieces available through Heni.com, powered by palm.io, the same chain that fueled the sold-out Space Jam drop, the pieces are meant to be accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. Available for purchase directly with FIAT, interested buyers can “apply” to purchase one of the pieces. And; despite the site mentioning that owners of “Cryptopunks, Hashmasks, Meebits, BAYC, and Art blocks” would be prioritized, it still seems that the drop targets non-crypto-native art lovers. This makes quite a lot of sense for Hirst, considering that still under 1% of the world is fluent within this NFT space and has an active wallet from which to purchase. Especially considering he has an audience of over a million fans across his socials to tap into within the traditional market and a healthy collector-base of some of the most significant living collectors in the entire traditional art world.
But this is NFTS.WTF, and we’re not just talking about the traditional art space here. So we wanted to delve into some of the specifics of this drop from the community’s perspective, especially after mainstream outlets have already begun spreading misinformation as per usual. Such as one article citing that this drop’s blockchain was “99 percent more energy efficient than either Ethereum or Bitcoin” since it is run on a POS chain (lol).
To better gauge the response from the NFTfi community about such a significant artist making his next sizable leap into the NFT space, I asked a few leading members of the WTF DAO what their thoughts were in regards to this historic drop:
According to NFT collector and DAO member Silversurfer, he’s planning on “buying one [piece] to keep as an NFT and one to keep as a physical” if he can get in. Furthermore, he “personally think collectibles from actual artists are more valuable than apes/punks/cats and much cooler.”
When chatting with other DAO members about the drop in more detail, he also touched on another valuable point. That in his eyes, “the point of the experiment is to show everyone what is valued more, the physical or the digital?” And I agree.
According to artist and NFT aficionado Bryan Brinkman, he thinks that “it’s certainly going to be interesting to see if the 10K model works at that price point.” Brinkman points out that “Meebits did 5K at 2.5eth, so it’s possible, but most 10K projects are sub .1eth,” in contrast with this collection which sits around 1eth. Despite this, Brinkman said that he “signed up” and that “its certainly tempting to own an affordable Hirst that isn’t a ‘print.’” He believes that “it’s a cool bridge from the old work to the new,” but he also thinks that “it’s not fully diving into the space,” since “the NFTs feel like a checkout mechanism to buy his physical work.”
I quite agree, and though I appreciate Hirst’s work, this does seem like a lot of exposition to still just get a physical piece. Granted, at a much lower price point. Though, according to Brinkman, he thinks “he could have done this project, but as a generative art NFT on artblocks and made just as much.” Brinkman believes that “the fact he’s doing [a] physical shows his reluctance towards the NFT space, and his need to appeal to his traditional collectors which honestly, is a safe move.”
And he’s right! While Hirst is “a big name,” most “people in this space care about Apes and Punks, not Koons and Hirst.” Brinkman aptly mentioned that “there have been MoMA artists on SR flying under the radar for 1-2eth” for quite some time.”
The collector and founder, formally known as @j1mmy.eth, has quite a legendary digital art collection. From being one of the largest holders of Bored Apes to founding Avastars and Nameless, amongst other institutions in the space, he has a great perspective on the climate of digital art. According to Jimmy, he purchased “some of his prints from the HENI thing a few months back.” However, despite Hirst’s reputation, Jimmy doesn’t necessarily “agree with the method/experiment/use of NFTs that have to be ‘traded in’ for ownership of a physical.”
Furthermore, according to Jimmy, “it shows a lack of understanding of the tech” since NFTs in-and-of-themselves “are proof of ownership, and [his] belief is Palm or anyone working with a person new to NFTs, like this artist, should try to explain how this all works and how it makes no sense to burn proof of ownership to receive an item.”
Instead, Jimmy suggests that Hirst and the team at palm simply mark pieces “as redeemed in metadata and include additional information about said redemption.” Without doing this, questions such as “is it burned?” or “is it traded in?” quickly arise.
Jimmy stressed the fact that when a piece is “burned [it] isn’t really burned, it still exists, just [as] a dead address.” So when this happens, an “owner is just relinquishing ownership of something, not ACTUALLY burning it.” Because of this, they can’t simply say that “the supply is actually reduced” since “the ownable supply is, but not the total NFTs in the collection.”
Giovanni / Fragcolor
Giovanni Petrantoni, founder and CEO of Fragcolor chimed in to agree with J1mmy. Staring that this burning situation “opens up a scenario where people can fork a network if [they] really wanted to revive an NFT trade.” Following up that they are “sure that given enough value, someone might play this card one day.”
Giovanni also wanted to clarify that “the chain needs all of the transactions to regenerate itself, always” and that “it’s immutable.” So the burning simply “sends something to an unusable address,” stopping the trade and allowing “the network [to] become the owner, you might argue.”
In this case, Giovanni would recommend simply marking the tokens as “redeemed… [as a] more elegant [option] than burn.”
These are excellent points to consider for anyone thinking about purchasing one of the limited edition pieces in this collection. While Hirst is more than a reputable artist in the traditional art space, what we’ve learned is that the crypto space moves quite differently. I am sure that this drop will be a success, but I also believe that Hirst and his team still have quite a lot to learn about this space, and I look forward to seeing how his next drops will even further integrate the power that NFTs can unlock for the creator and consumer. While this drop is an exciting and psychological journey into the thought process of the collector, I believe that Hirst can go further, especially within the realms of unlockable content and additional value adds through granted access.
However, this is only his second time attempting a drop within this space, and he’s been functioning at the highest levels in the traditional art world for over three decades. So, I’ll cut him some slack. And actually — I’m considering buying one — are you?
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With the super hot NFT collectible drop hype cycle going on right now, many in the community are apeing into NFT project after project. From fucking pickles, bananas, rats, misfits, camels, strawberries, ducks, and now some undead monsters to boot, there is an emerging trend in collectible drops. We have a large number of NFT drop examples to pick from and many in the community are letting it be known what they don’t want to see more of. Take this tweet from one of the most vocal on-chain evangelists J1mmy.eth, founder of NFT42, Nameless, and Avastars
selling out and "waiting" a week for reveal of the actual tokens is pretty much the same thing as a FOMO ramp. and devs can give their friends the good nfts since we have no idea what we got until they decide to tell us.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to any line of logic, and J1mmy himself notes that there are some useful reasons to use a delayed reveal mechanic in certain situations, but not in the way we are seeing it used for the sake of pumping the floor price before a reveal. This is a trend that I agree, we as a community should push back on. To be contrarian for a moment to J1mmy.eth’s point, instantly revealing when a collectible NFT is minted, whales often have a serious advantage over us mere mortals who would like to participate in certain drops. We must find a solution that keeps things pointed towards a more egalitarian outcome, in my personal opinion. Then there is this rather concise summary of what many in the community are not liking about these recent collectible NFT drops:
Couldn't agree more @j1mmyeth. Summarizing the responses on my earlier post of what people hate: -Fomo ramps. -Delayed reveal. -Non-verified contracts -Use of generic OS storefront -No community building / anon teams -Absence of roadmap -Paid shilling https://t.co/uCv8UbPUA7
I would agree with all of these points. While I do understand that projects are all working to extract attention from a rather modest NFT-aware userbase, as we slowly creep towards mass adoption. The FOMO mechanics of many of these projects are merely trying to replicate what they have seen work in the past. If every NFT project team is replicating what they think will sell out the fastest, raise the most funds, or create the most hype and attention then we will keep getting more of the same repeat mechanics in future NFT drops.
I will not lie and say I don’t fall victim to the collectible hype, but I think we as a community should become more thoughtful in what we vote on supporting with our participation and spending. In full transparency, I own at least one of each of the NFTs I mentioned earlier( besides a banana). This is all mostly due to my efforts to diversify which projects I currently own, but low key because I am still butthurt that I didn’t get a few Bored Apes when I had multiple chances to. For me, bonding curves will keep me out of a project. Anonymous developers just feels like trouble, and no real utility being added to a project just spells a HARD no for me. Now, fun and novelty can be an underestimated utility especially if there is strong community involvement.
This commentary is mostly referencing these newer NFT collectible drops and not just crypto art that I like or supporting artists that I connect with. I don’t necessarily buy all NFTs because I think they may be worth more in the future, I will buy something that I really love, if I can afford it at the moment, or if it’s from an artist that is someone I really want to intentionally support because of who they are as people and/or if their work is just really dope. This would bring me to my next major gripe, especially around Avatar NFT projects. I want to pick what my avatar looks like, and not just randomly receive something I may not like at all. I see the outcome of this quite often when people start dumping avatars they don’t like on Opensea for lower prices than they paid for them.
Now I understand there are issues with letting everyone just choose what they want, but I am putting it out into the universe. If someone can come up with a novel method that protects the masses from gas wars and whales from just taking over while allowing us to build out avatars that we can love, then I think we would mostly agree: that would be cool! Perhaps without revealing the rarity of those physical aspects that are ‘choosable’ then we would have a win-win, or if rarity was not tied to only visual attributes but instead non-visual attributes to allow for customization. I know technically this could just be wishful thinking, at least for right now, but if we can send chunks of silicone and metal to Mars I think we can at some point figure out how to let me buy an avatar NFT that I fucking love before it hits the secondary market or I get priced out of what I want.
Many projects are thinking in the short to medium term and not thinking about their futures, where new technical possibilities can and will exist. This is where the on-chain gang argument really does shine with merit. Being able to reference things on-chain in the future will be a really powerful asset and boost the longevity of the projects that keep that future-focused mentality. I spoke with Michael Keen, founder of NFTcatcher.io, that is building a really fantastic platform that aggregates the most significant upcoming NFT drops in a comprehensive and useful way. I asked him about what he does not like to see in NFT drops because, honesty, he probably participates in and is aware of more drops than any single person that I know. Michael echoed many of the similar points listed above with some additional nuance: He told me “I don’t like to see metadata leaks before a reveal, any issues with the smart contract implementation really scares buyers” and he “doesn’t like to see the developers hiding and not answering questions” I would like to second the metadata leak issue as there were early rumors that were later confirmed during the Misfit University drop, which can be exploited by the technically gifted over the average user to mint the token ids with the rarest traits. Crying eyes and duct tape drama debacles aside, a responsive team can work through issues with the community as they arise. I personally watched as NFT Twitter wanted to burn the devs of the Misfit University project at the stake, with the alleged rape culture references, but they were responsive and listened to the community and arrived at a solution that in many ways has saved that project, at least to live or die another day. If we want to see better NFT Collectible Drops with less of what we don’t want and more of what we do want then we as a community should be having these conversations with the developers and creators of these projects. Above all, we should be putting our crypto where our mouths are and voting with our fungible token spending.
Main Featured Image Credit: Remix of Slacker Duck & Arabian Camel by Albert Polanco
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Letter from the Editor #3
A Weekly Roundup:
This is the first letter from the editor of which we’re going to publish, in part, as an article.
In lieu of this, I’d like to introduce myself and the upcoming direction that the editorial team and myself have in mind for this outlet in the coming months. My name is David Cash, and I’ve been the active Editor-in-Chief of this exciting new publication for the past month. Alongside our Managing Director Glassy Music and Web Editor Albert Polanco, we have managed to take this platform from an NFT blog to a functioning news outlet harnessing the power of some of the most incredible writers in the NFTfi space.
I entered the NFT space back in 2019 when I didn’t even call the images I was minting “NFTs.” A few years later, and after writing a master’s thesis on the subject, I feel incredibly fortunate to be an active part of this NFTfi world. This publication has given me the outlet to share many thoughts that, only several months ago, people would have thought that I was crazy to have. NFTS.wtf is for the early adopters, those who like to be well informed, and those interested in unbiased opinions from key thought leaders in the community.
We don’t spread FUD just because other news sources pick up on gossip. Our writers and executive staff extensively research every piece we put out, often going above and beyond to seek the opinions of key community leaders in the process. We are a decentralized community, and in the coming months, we hope to scale our current offerings and introduce some exciting new features, with the ultimate goal to be your voice of truth in NFTs.
So what’s the plan? If you are receiving this as an email, you’ll notice the cover image for this newsletter. Every week we’re releasing a digital cover to accompany our Newsletter, and in the coming months, each of these covers will be made available as NFT collectibles of varying rarity. This will be facilitated by the launch of a dedicated storefront which will allow our readers to collect the most newsworthy moments happening in the NFT space. Collectors of multiple covers will eventually unlock access which will allow them first access to our genesis DZine (digital magazine) which will be launching this fall. More information on that is coming soon.
To read the rest of this letter discussing generative art and the current state of NFTS…
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Strawberry.wtf is a series of collectible NFTs that were freshly mutated by the strawberry supermoon, which wasn’t fully visible in North America until last Thursday evening when the sunset and the large golden moon ascended into view. That’s when 10,000 mutant generative strawberries overwhelmed an unsuspecting rural town, which in reality could happen almost anywhere because strawberries are the most widely grown fruit in home gardens.
Similar in scope and generative process to other well-crafted NFT collections like CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club, there’s an endearing narrative backstory to inform, entertain, and engage a community of collectors. Yet unlike those sizable projects produced by corporate teams, Strawberry.wtf was masterfully launched by two talented and ambitious independent visionaries with the enduring support of an NFT crypto art hivemind. What makes Strawberry’s NFTs remarkable is their unique utility: an 8-bit nod of nostalgia in the form of a platform game that was literally built to the limitations of a 1989 Gameboy; a throwback to his notoriety as a world-class retro gamer.
“It’s devilishly fun, and evil, and all of the spirit of vintage gaming,” Strawberry said. Loosely based on his own life, each level of the game is a bit more challenging than the last. “It starts out hard, and it’s just hard the whole time,” Strawberry admits. There isn’t a physical cartridge yet, but NFT HODLers will have access to this 6-level game by connecting their wallet in a browser that confirms each verifiably unique ERC-721 token. Strawberry hasn’t beaten his own game, yet he says it is definitely beatable. In fact, you can go from the front to the back, and then play your way back through all 6 levels to the front if you want, because different things may or may not happen each time you play. “You’re not rewarded for playing, but it feels fun, and it feels good when you beat it,” Strawberry said.
Strawberry.wtf NFTs are meant to be tradeable, giftable, and fun to make derivatives from—so expect to see Strawberry jam sessions. If you collect at least 20 NFTs and hold them until at least July 9th (1 week after the reveal) you’ll be rewarded with a golden strawberry AirDrop, if you’re also among the top 100 collectors on the leaderboard. “That’s when you automatically become a Big Farmer,” says CryptoSpaces1. “But if you sell one on the secondary market and drop below 20 NFTs in your wallet, you lose your status,” he cautions. A leaderboard will keep collectors competitive, and an active Strawberry Discord includes “Strawberry Preserve,” a space to talk and trade vintage video games. There’s already a limited collection of 6th generation strawberry floppy disk collectibles from taylor.wtf that grants 100 collectors access to an external hard drive of digital assets on discord.art. “I’m gonna have a ton of strawberries on the hard drive available for all the disk collectors to make derivatives of,” taylor.wtf said.
The first 100 Strawberry.wtf NFTs are reserved; 0-4 are for auction; 5-99 are for DeFi friends and giveaways; 100-9,999 will be made available to the public on OpenSea. Up to twenty NFTs can be minted at a time with a flat cost of 0.025 ETH each; the cost of a Gameboy in 1989. Strawberry.wtf allows its community to make iterations to the game until the Gameboy cartridge is full. By sharing its pipeline sprites, assets, and maps, the community can make changes by editing and even adding new characters for everyone with a Strawberry token to experience.
“I met Strawberry the other night at the NFT event in Venice, and I was so impressed,” says FinkeLand, who discovered Strawberry.wtf NFTs on CryptoVoxels’ homepage. “He showed me the game he developed and it was way over my head,” she laughs. “But he took the time to explain everything.”
MetaBit Broker CryptoVoxels
The derivative market is sure to be teeming with wildly creative Strawberry patches. Derivatives galvanize the NFT artist community around fellowship, FOMO, flipping, and artist collaborations to create more NFTs. cryptowizard77 wants to 3D-print a strawberry pie. fiyahmarshall wants to add his original music. NFT_ish wants a feminine-looking derivative with a cigarette. Almost anything these collectibles inspire is possible because they’re CC licensed. “With projects like this, when you’re allowed to take the entity that you own, and create new works based on derivative works, and then actually sell them for commercial use, that’s kind of a big deal,” AaronHaber said.
Designing a 10,000-piece art collection of fruitful abominations is no small feat. Each verifiably different NFT has been generated at random, except for the first 100 NFTs, which are reserved for auction, DeFi friends, and giveaways. CryptoSpaces1 assures us that no more strawberries were cherry-picked; they all go through the same pipeline that will randomize each visual element.
The process began with Strawberry, who created 20 different characters. Each of the characters has 8 different pixel parts: visual elements that were handed off to CryptoSpaces1, who created the script to mix and match the visual elements based on different levels of predetermined rarity. The script auto generates Strawberry.wtf NFTs; mixing and matching 8-pixel parts like a delicious strawberry smash cocktail of backgrounds, bodies, berries, eyes, noses, mouths, stems (hair), and an extra category. The first 100 tokens also have a special quality to them that’s specific to each DeFi friend; a trait each grateful recipient may consider rare and valuable in this regard.
“Earlier this week, we’ve been making sure that everything aligns; the assets align, and we actually got some really fun, good, happy accidents,” says CryptoSpaces1. Each smart contract will have a seed hash and a base to the provenance hash so the system is transparent. Strawberry has no interest in seeing his NFTs until they’re actually created. He thinks everyone should just enjoy the surprise.
“I definitely got some feedback from foodmasku,” Strawberry said. “I put some strawberries in their discord and they offered some suggestions. And I was able to create a better distinction between the more feminine and masculine traits.” While some of them will be burly masculine, there’s no real gender to them, and there are some nice feminine qualities,” he mentioned. “I was trying to aim in a direction where they’re gender fluid in a lot of ways. It doesn’t have to be, you can be whatever strawberry,” he added. “You made a big point to make it inclusive,” CryptoSpaces1 recalls.
You can’t be mad at a strawberry—hence his moniker—as both a world-class retrogamer and now NFT crypto venture capitalist. Strawberry has been a well-known figure in gaming circles and especially World of Warcraft for more than a decade, and in recent years he’s been extremely competitive. Aggressive gaming is like a day job, and “Strawberry” has always been his avatar handle. When he downloaded Clubhouse and met people like snack_man and steviewilliams_, he was all-in with @rarepizzas and the promise of a collaborative NFT artist community. That’s when the gaming Discord groups he’d been part of for years collided with the world of NFTs like a celestial event; his own Strawberry moon was like a cosmic shift. “I will keep the name Strawberry forever. I love the name,” Strawberry says, despite the rumour that if all 10,000 NFTs sell out, he’ll change his legal name to “Straw Berry.”
While Strawberry.wtf NFTs started minting last week, the visual reveal for each unique NFT in the collection, as well as the platform game, happens on July 2nd.
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The Super Yeti community experienced the long-awaited reveal of their treasured Yetis on June 14th. The remarkable efforts by the team behind the project were well-received by many members of the crypto community at large as well as by the secondary NFT market where sales of Yetis have topped 5 ETH. With an equitable launch of 0.1 ETH for every Yeti, a portion of the proceeds received will go towards cultivating a game and a community while also working to fight human trafficking in Nepal and India.
The Super Yeti founders go by the names Supercape and Sparq, choosing to retain anonymity. Despite this fact, they have nonetheless made themselves fully present on their Discord server and through discussions on Clubhouse and Twitter, in addition to a podcast. Tirelessly answering questions while displaying their character and ambitions. Supercape has been part of three Silicon Valley startups and lends a jovial, optimistic attitude to the project that is balanced by Sparq’s diligent, data-driven approach. Sparq is an astute and experienced blockchain developer, having worked with solidity to secure multiple De-Fi projects since 2015.
Superscape’s vision was to build a “Yetiverse;” a blockchain game and a community of Yetis that would help decide what the fate of that game would look like. The project was essentially crowd-funded with NFTs to deliver a game for those who provided funding or bought a Yeti later. Critically, a social cause was attached to the project, establishing that 5% of all proceeds would go to fighting human trafficking in Nepal and India.
Allocation & Pre-Sale
The Super Yeti company held 240 Yetis to fund future game development and community initiatives, awarded 60 to team members individually, and another 500 Yetis were given to community members as part of a giveaway.The Super Yeti project then started its pre-sale on June 8th at 3 PM EST, in which the remaining 9,200 Yetis went up for sale at 0.1 ETH each. Initially, 24 different traits were defined for each Yeti’s characteristics including their eyes, hands, colour, and background that could form up to 20,000 different combinations of Yetis. Nobody who participated in the presale knew what properties their Yeti would end up having, how rare they would be, or what they would end up looking like, but the community was excited by the vision and the cause, as well as their firm belief in the team’s ability to achieve it.
The pre-sale quickly gained traction, and all 10,000 Yetis were sold out only a few days later on June 11th. Due to popular demand, the Super Yeti team brought on additional team members that focused on community management, graphic design, and development. The result of these additional resources was the exponential increase in the number of possible Yetis, and thereby further enhanced the uniqueness of each Yeti. Instead of 24 traits there were now 88, reportedly capable of forming over a million combinations, up from 20,000.
The community was delighted to receive this news on the Super Yeti Discord Server. Furthermore, ahead of the reveal, the Super Yeti team announced their first significant donation of 10 ETH toNew Light Kolkata, a public charitable trust based in India with a broad array of social justice programs including educating and caring for the children of sex workers and “untouchables”- a social caste in India placed on the bottom of the social ladder that limits many opportunities.
The Super Yetis were revealed on June 15th at 3PM, exactly one week after the pre-sale began. People began to notice their NFTs changing from the question marks overlaying the Yetis to the Yetis they were awarded. Many flocked to Twitter and Clubhouse to show off the designs of their new Yetis, and within a few days some of the rarest ones were selling for 5 ETH. 40 minutes after the reveal, Openseafinally gave the project the verified badge on their site. The reveal had been successful.
Since then, the Discord community has grown both by member count to over 3700 members, and also by breadth of discussion. There now exist many additional channels covering many topics even beyond Yetis.
The Future/The Impact
The Super Yeti community that has assembled over the past two weeks has been united by their belief in the blockchain game that they could build, as well as by the social cause that is inseparable from the project. The Yetis of legend are often placed around the Himalaya Mountains, the same mountain range that separates Nepal from India. It is across these two countries that the Super Yeti project focuses its donations to fight human trafficking.
This is proof of many concepts. First, that a project can be crowdfunded by a community while simultaneously rewarding those that participate. NFTs provide the ideal use case for such a model. Furthermore, it verifies that a social cause attached to an exciting project can truly supercharge the potential for both. As we move to a more socially responsible future, we look to pioneers like the Super Yeti project to exemplify taking advantage of these new technologies to improve the lives of others around the world.
This ultra rare 1 of 9 alien CryptoPunk #7523 was won by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of sports-betting outfit@DraftKings, and went for a whopping $11.75 Million dollars.
This CryptoPunk was first minted on June 23rd 2017 by Larva Labs and is 1 of only 10,000 original CryptoPunks in existence. CryptoPunks became the genesis NFT collection, and thereby poster-child of the Ethereum blockchain, and has inspired the ERC-721 token standard that is the underlying technology that powers today’s digital collectibles.
While technically only 24 x 24 pixels in size with a very simple 8-bit style, there are no two punks that are the same, much like the owners of these rare and valuable NFTs.
CryptoPunks have come to symbolize the very early days of the blockchain space and embody the energy and spirit of challenging the status quo; at the intersection of what is considered art, technology, and traditional methods of collecting and appreciating art.
NFTs enable a whole new model for ownership of art and collectibles, and this Sotheby’s auction proves this to the world yet again – on the heels of mainstream media sources claiming the NFTs were dead no less.
You may have seen CryptoPunks used as avatars all over twitter and anywhere you can add a profile image. The incredibly passionate community that has formed around CryptoPunks has seen members identify with their CryptoPunk NFTs so much that they use them as consistent digital representations of themselves.
Collecting art has largely been reserved for private spaces like the home or some other type of gallery and is a way that collectors can show their appreciation of culture and how they fit within their world. With the advent of digital collectibles like the CryptoPunks, collectors can now digitally flex who they are, and their place in the Crypto ecosystem. As owners of one of the pioneering technologies that, in my opinion, will lead to the mass adoption of blockchain technology – using what we now know as non-fungible tokens.
This $11.75 Million dollar sale not only solidifies the value of the CryptoPunks project as a whole, it further legitimizes the innovation that NFTs bring to the world. This historic moment is not limited to art alone, as many who look from the outside at this 24 x 24 pixel CryptoPunk still miss the bigger picture behind what this technology truly means.
Digital ownership, transferability of assets, authentication and access. From this minimalistic piece of Crypto history, will spring a wealth of innovations that will touch nearly every sector of our lives. Most people will never have any knowledge or idea that non-fungible tokens have anything to do with the infrastructure behind the services, technologies, applications, and experiences they will be using in the not too distant future. CryptoPunks, in many ways, will be the genesis of a new digital paradigm, regardless of their value, measured by monetary means.
I had the chance to ask SillyTuna the owner of CryptoPunk #7523 that sold at the Sotheby’s auction, what was next for him? he responded with “Focus on my own projects (games, nft’s), do some donations later this year, and think about how to deal with the Mccoy artwork.” which just made me smile, as I personally love to see good humans, win in this space and witness the awesome things they go on to do.
Congrats again to SillyTuna and the whole CryptoPunk community on this incredible sale, as we see more evidence that NFTs are not in fact mortal and can not be “dead” for very long.