Goblins, owl vom, and lessons from VeeCon (Issue #24)
Gary knows stuff. Goblins know even more. And owls are smarter than the rest of us, but are best left alone to do their owl things.
The past seven days have been filled with oddities — compounded by an ongoing cryptocurrency bear market — and have seen skeletons in yet another NFT project founder’s closet coming to light.
But, as tends to be the case, betwixt the darkness and the light there’re are plenty of promising glimmers of hope. From Goblins reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously, to someone cataloging their life and putting it up for sale in a delightful comment on consumption, consumerism, and the magic inherent in the mundane... the past seven days have been anything but dull.
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Right, let’s get straight into it!
Though the dust was still settling from VeeCon, Gary Vaynerchuck’s stadium-sized conference in Minneapolis that taught project founders, collectors, flippers, shillers, and every other variety of NFT degen plenty of lessons about brand building, marketing, loyalty, and value creation (and the value of holding a conference where there aren’t many other attractions/distractions)… this week’s real star was Goblintown, which taught us… well… other things.
Arriving amidst a flurry of barely legible, gobbledygook-laden tweets (and a similarly unhinged Twitter Spaces, which you can listen to below), goblintown.wtf really leaned into the “wtf” part of its name. The art is an, err, acquired taste (but sort of brilliant in its own way), and there are none of the usual accouterments that often come standard with 10,000-piece PFP projects.
Goblintown promises no utility, has neither Discord nor roadmap, and arrived via a free mint (well, free aside from the gas required for the minting process, obvs). Of course, there’s no telling what holders might get airdropped down the road… because that’s one of the nearly-unique prospects NFTs offer: unforeseen value/windfalls that outstrip buyers’ initial investment with the added bonus of surprise factor and inherent bizarreness.
The Goblin drop prompted plenty of head-scratching… but it hasn’t stopped the project from becoming the most-traded of the week, with a current floor price of just under 1.5 ETH (~$2,570) on OpenSea and an all-time high of over 2 ETH (~$3,300).
What’s a reasonable person to make of this madness? In the midst of a bear market, there’s definitely an appetite for some levity, and Goblintown provides that in spades. Like mfers before it, it’s so deranged that it’s parodic — it’s simultaneously the embodiment of, and the perfect mockery of, the current NFT space: senseless, predicated on questionable art, driven by the promise of quick wins not long-term value creation.
It also makes explaining the strangeness of this emerging sector — powered as it is by FOMO, early ETH hoarders who now have the unexpected power to shape culture, newcomers looking to make up for what they believe is lost time, creators excited at the possibilities a new medium of exchange, creativity, and community-building represents, and good old fashioned grifters, sharks, opportunists, scammers, ruggers, and miscellaneous miscreants — even harder.
Goblintown does one thing especially well, though: It makes it even harder to explain the non-fungible token space to friends and family. But then, are garish 2D Goblins really any less peculiar than equally two-dimensional, ennui-filled simians with a taste for leisure boating?
To quote the improbably popular critters themselves, “ₕₐᵤₕᵤₐₕₐgg dᵢₛ dₐ bₐₑᵣ ₘₐᵣₖᵤₜ gₒbₗₒₙᵢₛ ᵣᵢdₑ.” (Hahaha, this is the bear market goblins ride.”)
🗺 Explore, frens 🧭
Probably nothing 🤔
OpenSea gets a revamp ⚓️
Last week we told you about Seaport, OpenSea’s new, long-awaited, open-source protocol that’ll allow buyers and sellers greater control, and allow for more complex and nuanced interactions. It’ll also allow naysayers who wish OS would build X or Y to put their ETH where their mouths are and, you know, build X or Y.
Well, Seaport wasn’t the only news out of the world’s most popular NFT platform this week: OpenSea also gave itself a facelift.
In a blog post, the platform explained its reasoning:
[W]e’re excited to reveal the first steps in a design refresh aimed at improving everyone’s OpenSea experience. Our first step includes upgrades to the look and feel of profiles and collections. We’ll continue to roll out changes through the coming weeks, with the goal of putting more focus on our community’s content, simplifying the experience and making room for richer experiences for our OpenSea community.
It says users can also expect upgrades to its “technical stack” that should make the experience of using the website “quicker and more responsive.” I think most users would settle for more reliability, something which is doubtless being worked on, too, but which the platform is understandably reticent to mention lest it concede that it’s a problem.
Parrots of a feather PoolTogether 🦜
PoolTogether is a decentralized app for savings that uses the incentive of possible prizes to motivate users, while aiming to protect their principal investments. One of its co-founders is Leighton Cusack, who’s also involved with PleasrDAO and PartyDAO, and whose reputation for being a fine, upstanding, civic-minded individual proceeds him. He’s in a bit of a legal quagmire for reasons only discernable by reading between the lines, and he’s letting people mint purple parrots to assist with his legal fees.
Those wishing to support the cause can choose from various tiers, each of which includes something no one could reasonably dislike: a purple digital likeness of a parrot with a purpose.
Do you own things or do they own you? 🤔
An artist who goes by Stardrop created NFTs from photographs of the 1,026 things they own and sold them for 0.01 ETH (~$18). The images sold out in under an hour.
Stardrop describes the roadmap-less project as an “exploration of ownership, consumerism, and privacy in the world of crypto,” and an attempt to “evaluate the relationship between what I consume physically and digitally in a search for value.” We love it, and we love the idea of being able to own someone else’s houseplants or single-purpose kitchen gadgets, or forgettable-but-comfy sweaters.
Bag boosters 💰
The week that was (20-27 May, 2022) 🗓
Let’s go down, let’s go down to Goblintown! At least, that’s what the market has been suggesting we do this week. Otherdeeds from Bored Ape Yacht Club is holding steady in second position, while the top three is rounded out by a Solana-based project: Trippin’ Ape Tribe… which replaces last week’s number three, Okay Bears, which has dipped to a still-very-respectable-considering ninth position.
🙃 Time to reflect 🧘
China bans Step’N 🚷
The People’s Republic of China banned move-to-earn app Step’n, which rewards users who purchase its virtual sneakers (paid for in cryptocurrency Solana) with its own coin, GMT, in exchange for real-world hot-stepping, verified via GPS and the myriad sensors, accelerometers, and other pieces of digital voodoo built into smartphones.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the price of Step’n’s virtual footwear fell from the equivalent of over $600 to around $400, before recovering on Friday. Its $GMT and $GST tokens were similarly punished but recuperated somewhat in subsequent days.
The lesson? Everything in NFTs is volatile, but services still in beta with their own tokens are especially so. If you can’t afford to pay, don’t play. And if you can, when there’s blood on the street it might be time to buy... and run, or at least walk at a brisk pace.
To the moon 🌜
ENS, the GoDaddy of Ethereum domains (without the bonus-turned-phishing-scam fiasco), continues to see record registrations and secondary-market action.
NFT legend and OG, gmoney launched his own membership token called Admit One. The free-to-mint tokens are available to “gmoney issued POAP holders and Wolf Game housegmoney OG stakers.” If you don’t know what that means, it’s safe to say you’re not eligible, but you can pick one up on the secondary market for around 18.7 ETH (~$32,000) at the time of writing. What will it be worth in months to come? Who knows, but gmoney is a proverbial OG, so you can bet whatever it is other people are going to be willing to pay for it.
If you’re organizing an NFT conference but worry attendees will think tickets are over-priced, consider the VeeCon model. On the final day of his event, Gary V promised holders of the ticket NFTs an exclusive NFT from Snoop Dogg, which saw them rapidly become worth three times what people originally paid for them. When have you ever gone to a conference and made money? Nope, us neither. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Nigerian digital artist Osinachi dropped a PFP collection based on his own likeness called “ACROSS THE FACE” on SuperRare that sold out in an afternoon.
Metaversal Artist in Residence, Bryan Brinkman, signed with mega-super-agency-to-the-stars CAA. Go Bryan omgweloveyoubutyoualreadyknowthis!
And, finally, Proof Collective’s hugely-successful PFP project of pixelated owls, Moonbirds, airdropped a new collection called Oddities (AKA, owl vomit) to holders. No, we’re truly not making this up.
For now, the items in the collection resemble brown, rotating, beehives (or, you know, tidy bundles of owl up-chuck/baby owl sustenance gunk), but the reveal of the artwork is scheduled for July, and the art itself comes from CrypToads mastermind, Gremplin, so we’re rather optimistic it’ll improve. Look, it could hardly deteriorate, now could it?
🪡 Thread of the week 🧵
Goats only 🐐
Whether you’re going “dₒwₙ dₒwₙ ₜₒ gₒbₗᵢₙ ₜₒwₙ,” or you’re of the view that eventually “ₑeₑₜₕ gₒ ₜᵤ zₑₑᵣₒ,” you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
In each episode, collectibles OG and entrepreneur Stan “The Goat” Meytin and Metaversal co-founder and CEO Yossi Hasson talk about digital and IRL collectibles, NFTs, and the week’s news worth knowing.
This week, the duo gave their impressions from VeeCon, looked at the Moonbirds: Oddities airdrop, got deep into OpenSea’s new Seaport protocol (and do an NFT giveaway), looked at a handful of promising sub-1 ETH projects, and weighed the merits of three hot Solana projects. Check out the latest episode here:
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 $26,000.
👑 Meme lords wanted 🐸
Money <> mouth 💸
Soria-Rodríguez is one of the most prominent voices in generative art, and someone who not only creates work of his own, but who also interviews other prominent creators and showcases their work on his platform i·illucid. In other words, he’s a legend, a supporter of the space, and someone who makes beautiful art. How could we do anything other than add his beautiful work to our collection?
Help wanted 🥷
Metaversal is building out a world-class team to help bring our partners’ projects to life, provide market analysis for our investment team, and further our mission of creating the “community of communities” for web3.
You can see our full list of open roles here. But this week, we want to highlight the following vacancy:
🖋 Junior or mid-level writer ✍️
We have myriad stories to tell, and we’re looking for passionate, articulate, and professional writers to help us tell them. From covering breaking NFT news to crafting engaging newsletters, working with the studio team on content to support its projects, and planning Metaversal’s editorial calendar, Metaversal writers play a key role in shaping how the world sees us. They’re also pivotal in helping us achieve our aim of educating NFT newcomers and empowering artists, designers, musicians, and other creators.
If you think you’d be a good fit, please apply by sending a cover letter, samples of your work, and a resumé to email@example.com. If you know someone who might be a good fit, please share this newsletter with them.
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.