Letter 7 - Pickles and Aliens
Are NFTs having a memecoin-esque movement?
So last night I was in the middle of writing my next letter (titled The Ultimate Guide to NFT Drops to give you a glimpse at what’s coming soon), when these fucking pickles came on my radar. As a project in and of itself I don’t think the pickles are deserving of their own letter, but when you combine what happened with the pickles overnight with what has been happening with The Alien Boy this week, I think a deeper look is warranted.
Before I continue I would like to digress slightly. I started this Newsletter only two weeks ago and it has grown a substantial following in that short period of time. I’m eternally grateful to everyone that has subscribed and enjoys + finds value in my posts. If you’re reading this, thank you 🙏. We’re all in this together. If you’d like to join this family of like-minded thinkers, consider subscribing so that you can keep up to date with the letters & hear about upcoming drops.
Okay, back to pickles. So what are these pickles you say?
It all started with a tweet…
A couple of nights ago amid the fiasco that was the SuperYeti launch (and who could have predicted that? 🙄), this tweet started going viral:
It was clearly a joke and a bit of satirical commentary on the state of the current NFT landscape where low-effort project after low-effort project sells out for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. 24 hours later https://www.myfuckingpickle.io/ went live and not long after sold out.
The skeptic in me thinks that the above tweet was an absolutely brilliant piece of well timed marketing and that the project had been in the works for longer than 24 hours, because it is insane to go from that tweet to launch in such a short time frame. Not impossible though, and kudos to them if they actually managed that.
The entire project is basically a meme. They gave away the first 1,000 pickles for free to anyone who clicked the mint button on their website. The other 9,000 were priced at 0.01 ETH ($22.54). I myself couldn’t believe that anyone would actually pay for these things. They were promising nothing. In their own words:
We don't promise you anything except selling you a fucking pickle... 🥒
But this might have been the genius of it all. No promise of a future game. No “pickleverse”. No roadmap with comics and physical goods and collabs and integrations. Just. A. Fucking. Pickle. Oh they actually did promise one thing - one of the 10,000 pickles would be golden, and that it would be revealed on the 26th of June.
I picked up 15 for free and pretty quickly was looking to sell them for mint price or slightly higher because I couldn’t fathom the project actually having legs. I was flying high when I sold 5 pickles for the price of 5 pickles. It was basically free money. Well, I underestimated the combination of FOMO + cheap mint price + the appeal of a fucking pickle. When I woke up this morning the floor price was 0.04 ETH ($90.16). It dropped a bit and spent most of the day between 0.02 and 0.03 ETH but it’s back to 0.04 now. There is clearly some sort of demand for these things, insanity that it is. This begs the question though.. WHY? Let’s pivot slightly and look at another, somewhat similarly minded project that sold out this week.
The Alien Boy
The Alien Boy is a collection of 10,000 reckless & unique digital collectibles living on the Ethereum blockchain. Your Alien Boy grants access to member-only benefits while trying to find a way to escape from this shitty planet. Or maybe he's here to stay. You'll decide.
Another day, another generative project… we’ve been here before. When I first saw the alien project I tweeted out some pretty harsh commentary, which I still stand by, basically saying that they look even worse than the Yetis. My plan was similar to the Yetis: buy a bunch during the FOMO period and dump them shortly after at a profit. It seems like I was far from the only person with this idea and shortly after they sold out the secondary market was on fire with sales at… mint price, or slightly lower. Everyone who bought a bunch to dump got spooked and started to offload at a slight loss just to get out. Admittedly I sold a couple too, but I have since bought back in for even more aliens… Why? Well it all comes back to the buzz word of the month - community.
I’ve always said that there would only be so many copycat projects that could be successful after the Apes, and that future projects would need to innovate or differentiate themselves somehow. Well, The Alien Boy community sure is different to the BAYC and every copycat we’ve seen since then. Let’s s look at why.
They don’t promise much. I think this is the crux of it. They are very upfront about the fact that their art isn’t going to be the best art in the world, but that’s okay. And about the fact that they don’t have an extensive roadmap, and that’s okay too. There’s some naming feature which seems cool I guess but is not new or unique to the space. They simply aren’t promising the world, and that’s okay.
They don’t take themselves too serious and they have fun. Spend two minutes in their discord and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It is absolutely bonkers in there. The rules are lax and the memes are flying. They will @everyone five times in an hour and if it annoys people then they can leave, the aliens don’t give a hoot. They are all over twitter memeing other projects and while it looks annoying and immature to an outsider, I think dismissing this type of community appeal might be shortsighted.
Consider what happened in the traditional crypto space with meme coins. Almost everyone thought doge coin was a dumb meme that would eventually fizzle out and die. Some smart people saw the future potential and made some big investments into it, including famously Vitalik Buterin buying $25k worth of doge in 2016. It now, stunningly, has the 5th highest market cap of any coin in existence (excluding the stablecoin USDT). Un-freaking-believable.
Doge was built out of a meme and the community embraced the memeness of it. Sure when the market manipulation by Elon started and he jumped on board the doge train is when things really got mental, but the fact that a few tweets by him is all it took for this meme coin to hit a $70 BILLION market cap (or thereabouts) is telling about the current landscape of crypto. There have been thousands of copycat meme coins after doge trying to catch a glimmer of its success and despite MANY rug pulls and scams, a few gems have risen to the top. A great example is SafeMoon which rallied behind a community that dubs themselves the #SafeMoonArmy and has been able to create enough hype and interest to see their token soar to insane heights.
This type of thing is not exclusive to crypto though, just look at what happened with $GME and $AMC off the back of a reddit community. It didn’t take much for entire movements to be formed behind these stocks with communities rallying to buy in order to “stick it to the man”. It’s the classic David v Goliath story, and everyone loves cheering for the underdog.
Pickles and Aliens
So let’s circle back to what’s going on in the NFT space. It seems to me that this sort of meme-shit-talking-underdog-stick-it-to-the-man mentality is starting to appear in the form of these projects. Whatever special sauce doge and safemoon had, I think pickles and aliens have a bit of. On the one hand you have seasoned experts in the NFT space calling this the top and that the bubble will burst with these memeNFTs and on the other you have 1,000 people proudly holding their pickles in their hands saying “bring it”.
I have no idea what is going to happen. Investing or buying pickles or aliens is insanely risky. I only have some pickles because I got them for free, and any money I have invested into the aliens is money I am comfortable losing. I would not at all be surprised to wake up one morning and find these NFTs worth $0. But, I am taking a calculated risk by holding these NFTs on the off-chance that there is something magical brewing and these communities can rally behind their memeness and become the dogecoins of the NFT world.
What’s on my radar?
I add this section to the end of my newsletters because I frequently get asked by people how they can know about drops that are coming up. I myself find out by spending most of my day on twitter and in various discord channels. That isn’t feasible for everyone, so I try and post about a few of the projects on my radar at the end of my letters. Please always DYOR (do your own research) and do not construe my posting about a project to be me endorsing it. These are just the things I hear about coming up, and may or may not invest in.
Blitmap - Blitmaps are first-of-their-kind 32x32 collectible artworks that are stored permanently and processed entirely on the Ethereum blockchain. I’ve known about these for a while and minted a few when they first launched - I think a few weeks ago now. I think they’re cool and interesting with a novel concept. I bought these because I liked the concept and the art appealed to me, not because I was looking to flip them or make a long term financial gain. That could certainly happen, but it was not my primary motivation behind minting.
Riot Racers - This is basically Zed Run but with cars instead of horses. There are quite a few other differences actually, but the concept is the same: buy NFT car, race NFT car, make money with NFT car. Seems cool and it’s still in the very early stages of development (their upcoming drop will be only their second drop ever).
Wicked Cranium Cradle - I really don’t know much about these other than what’s on their website and that they’re launching on Sunday. In their own words: The Wicked Craniums are the pictorial representation of the 10,762 Craniums that belong to the island of Osseous. Every single Wicked Cranium is priced at ETH 0.06. They have over 180 differentiable features. So stay on the lookout for your favorite cranium! Each cranium is also your ticket to The Cradle, a member's only social platform.
SVINS - I first saw these a few days ago when they were featured on OpenSea’s front page. I thought they looked decent and I liked that they were handcrafted and attempting to address a diversity issue in NFT drops. You can read a bit more about the project in this medium post. I bought two, sold them soon after at a slight profit, and recently bought back in for one that I intend to hold for at least the medium term.
Bulls on the Block - Another day, another generative project… These Bulls are launching sometime before the end of the month. They’re doing something new at least which I haven’t seen before which is creating a Community Wallet that is funded by secondary market sales, with the money set to be used to bolster the community. The artist and co-creater is also fully doxxed (not anonymous) which is a plus and a rarity in the space these days.
There are actually more things on my radar too which speaks to the insane number of projects being launched - but these are the ones that might be launching in the immediate future and that I think have some meat to them.
As a final word I’d like to give a shoutout to my friend and fellow ape Jaime who recently wrote his own substack entry on an introduction to NFTs which is a great read for anyone new to this space.
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We’re still early.
Disclaimer: The content covered in this newsletter is not to be considered as investment advice. I’m not a financial adviser. These are only my own opinions and ideas. You should always consult with a professional/licensed financial adviser before trading or investing in any cryptocurrency related product.