Behold the NFT flippening... sort of (Issue #3)
Oobee doo, I wanna be like you.
It’s been another anything-but-dull week in NFT land, but there’s only really one story on everyone’s lips: After threatening to do so repeatedly in recent weeks, the floor price for Bored Ape Yacht Club briefly surpassed that of CryptoPunks on Wednesday. We’ll get into that, and the other highlights (and lowlights) of the past seven days below.
We’re taking next week off because let’s be honest, few people are likely to open a newsletter on New Year’s Eve, even a scintillating and unmissable one like this. Plus, we’ve got to steel ourselves for the rollercoaster 2022 is guaranteed to be.
Right, let’s get straight into it!
Soaring simians 🙊
For a few hours on Wednesday, the cheapest BAYC Ape (#7941) would have set you back 52.8 ETH ($212,451). The cheapest Punk (#4841), on the other hand, would have left you 52.5 ETH ($209,639) lighter of pocket. At the same time, over the last seven days, BAYC has seen over $38 million in trade volume, a full $10 million more than Punks over the same period.
Those are wild numbers for JPEGs, sure, but they also tell a deeper, more interesting story about what’s still a pretty nascent sector.
CryptoPunks arrived in 2017 with little fanfare. BAYC landed with somewhat more hype — but still not mainstream notoriety — in April 2021. Any hype Apes did have came at least in part from what people were seeing happen with Punks, which seemed likely to only further cement Punks’ position in the canon as the OG PFP project.
Except NFT culture moves fast, as so do the expectations of collectors, who are increasingly expecting “utility” from their collectibles, not just financial upside. Punks may have unassailable historical cachet, and using one as your PFP remains a uniquely potent signaling device… but there’s not a whole lot you can do with a Punk beyond that.
There were no CryptoPunk parties at NFT.NYC. There was no Punk-branded maritime merriment at Miami Art Week. And while Ape merch has become the real-world flex equivalent of rocking one on your Twitter profile, making Punk merch could get you sued.
We’ve previously spoken about the ideological battle that’s underway between NFT project creators clinging to copyright like Larva Labs has with Punks, more open approaches like BAYC which grants owners massive levity with their IP, and those that fully embrace the CC0 “no rights reserved” ethos like Nouns and CrypToads have.
Talk is all well and good, but what we’re seeing here is how the market is taking these disparate approaches and pricing it in. Instead of conjecture, we’re getting hard data. What people do with that data remains to be seen, though. Some are going to point to it as indicative that projects with perceived utility are the sounder investment. Others will argue this is a good time to get in on Punks at a discount.
Whatever you think, one thing’s certain: The vicissitudes of the blue chips aren’t going to get any less exciting, or any easier to predict. But they are going to inevitably impact the rest of the market, much like swings in the dollar cause waves across the forex market. So buckle up.
SuperRare’s first 100 tokens: How the era of multiple editions became a source of scarcity today
Digital kicks, real interest 🏀
Steph Curry and Under Armour this week released 2,974 NFT sneakers at $333 apiece, in honor of the Golden State Warriors point guard breaking the NBA record for three-pointers (Curry broke Ray Allen’s record of — you guessed it — 2,973). Buyers got three versions of the “The Genesis Curry Flow,” one for Decentraland, another for The Sandbox, and a third for Gala Games.
Digital sneakers aren’t new. But making them for multiple Metaverses is. And going from a record-breaking event to an accompanying NFT drop in a week is noteworthy, too. We expect to see plenty more of this in 2022. What we’d really like to see, of course, is the ability for one digital sneaker (or other items) to work across multiple platforms natively… but this is a respectable start.
That’s a lot of quarters 🕹
Arcade, the NFTs-as-collateral service formerly known as Pawn.fi, (and not to be confused with the NFT retro gaming company, Arcade NFTs) has raised $15 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Pantera Capital and supported by the likes of Castle Island Ventures, Franklin Templeton Blockchain Fund, and the aptly named Probably Nothing Capital.
The company is currently in private beta but plans to open to the public early next year. At launch, the company will only support NFTs on the Ethereum network… but will help investors save on gas by letting them bundle multiple NFTs into a single loan transaction.
Yearning for learning? 🎓
The possibilities of web3 are immense, but so is getting to grips with the nuts and bolts of actually harnessing them. Which is where Web3 University wants to help. As the fledgling institution itself explains:
Web3 University is an online educational platform bringing you the best resources and tutorials across the blockchain development ecosystem. A one-stop, chain-agnostic shop for developers looking to learn about writing smart contracts, minting NFTs, and building fully-functional end-to-end dApps that can scale to millions worldwide.
As you’d expect, Web3 Uni has some lofty if not-totally-defined plans to incentivize the best educators in the space to contribute. But that doesn’t really matter, because however that plays out in the long run, right now it has a growing selection of useful articles, tutorials, and how-tos on its homepage and support from the likes of a16z, Alchemy, OpenSea, Polygon, Flow and others.
If someone in your life says their 2022 New Year’s resolution is to get into NFTs and web3, it’s a good place for them to start.
We like our Olive Gardens fungible 🫒
Last week it was Applebee’s dipping its French fries into the ketchup of NFT mania. This week, it’s Olive Garden. Well, not actual Olive Garden itself, but some savvy satirist (or group of them) who couldn’t resist the idea of empowering Metaverse denizens with the power to mint unlimited breadsticks via Non-Fungible Olive Gardens.
The 880 franchise NFTs are sold out, and some are doing a decent (though not-quite-roaring) trade on the secondary market, but hey, you can still mint as many complimentary breadsticks as you like without any fear of greasing up your keyboard. So there’s that. Plus, the FAQs are pretty funny.
Where there’s drip, bots will follow 🤖
If you tried to grab one (or two) of Adidas’s NFTs last week in the public mint you were likely disappointed. While the sportswear claimed it would limit purchases to two per person, scalpers had other ideas. Because where there’s the promise of streetwear arbitrage, carefully timed-and-deployed chunks of code will follow.
Software engineer Montana Wong broke it down in a short but illuminating thread about the failings of Adidas’s protective measures. We can’t help but laugh, though. Because scarcity is exactly what makes sneaker drops prone to bot buyers. So digital scarcity provides the same incentives… making it equally irresistible to talented opportunists. May this be a lesson to the big brands, all of which should read Paradigm’s excellent “A Guide to Designing Effective NFT Launches” to avoid similar mishaps.
To the moon
We’ll never be royals 👑
The overlap between institutional investors and brands and immerging ones got even blurrier this week as NFT artist Hackatao revealed their Queens+Kings project in partnership with NFT Studios, Sotheby’s, and AMD Ryzen. At the same time, the initiative expanded the possibilities for PFP projects.
Instead of any of the 6,900 avatars having traits of varying rarities bestowed on them at mint, each is random but ostensibly equal. Buyers will be able to buy and sell traits later and add or remove them from their avatars.
Mushroom, mushroom 🍄
Voltura Labs dropped its latest project, Psychedelics Anonymous, and the whole affair was, well, as slick as the teaser artwork. It’s a reminder that experience really does count, and that mechanisms like whitelists are only going to become more common, meaning getting in on projects will increasingly require being involved with the accompanying community one way or another... or dealing with heftier entry points on the secondary market.
It’s also a hint of what’s to come, as a growing number of projects attach DAO mechanisms to fund the project itself, or related interests. In the case of Psychedelics Anonymous, that means investing in initiatives researching and developing psychedelic-assisted therapies.
Buy a Punk, get a company 📎
The NFT data analytics business DegenData is up for sale, and the buyer will get CryptoPunk #5671 with their purchase. Or, perhaps it’s the other way round, and the buyer of Punk #5671 gets a business with it. Either way, the sale kicks off on January 1 at midnight (UTC).
👔 The Cheugyist NFT 🙃
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got diamond hands or paper hands. Whether or not those terms make any sense to you, you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
Each week, collectibles OG and entrepreneur Stan “The Goat” Meytin and Metaversal co-founder and CEO Yossi Hasson sit down with a guest to talk about digital and IRL collectibles, NFTs, and the week’s news worth knowing.
The GATM duo is taking a much-deserved break but will be back next month. In the meantime, check out this episode featuring Chibi Dino’s creator, Sean Mike Kelly. It might just inspire you to start your own NFT project in 2022.
Aside from providing invaluable insights into digital art and collectibles, Stan and Yossi are also putting together a collection of NFTs dubbed “The Goat Vault.” When the show hits 5,000 subscribers on YouTube, one of those lucky subscribers will win the contents of the vault which, at last count, was valued at over $60,000.
We went shopping for toys 🧹
We’re looking forward to seeing how Cryptoys evolves next year, and we want to be part of it. With a promised airdrop coming this week, our digital tree is feeling pretty well stacked.
Money <> mouth 💸
In each issue of The Metaversalist, we’ll offer you a look at an NFT project or piece we’ve invested in and the motivation behind it. This week, it’s the turn of Nigerian phenom, Osinachi, and his piece, “Chop Life.”
We’re massive fans of Osinachi’s work and an enthusiastic collector of it. “Chop Life” was one of a pair of pieces we acquired back in September. The phrase from which the work gets its title is common in Nigeria, and it’s an entreaty to make the most of the time you’re given — a West African “YOLO” of sorts. We think that’s a great message for the year we’ve had, and an appropriate one to keep in mind as the next one approaches.
Frankly, it’s just too good not to talk about one last time:
Until next time (and next year), see you in the Metaverse.