Letter 8 - Wicked Craniums, Riot Racers, ArtBlocks
Ethlings, Slumdoge Billionaires, Hello Anon, MetaBots...
The speed with which this space moves is insane. I struggle to keep up with everything that’s going on and I spend an unhealthy amount of my time trying to stay on top of things. So for this Newsletter, rather than doing a deep-dive on a single project, I am going to try (being the operative word here) to write a brief piece on a lot of projects that have caught my eye for one reason or another over the last few days.
These delightfully devilish skeletons launched a couple of days ago. They’re more or less yet another 10k-ish mint size generative art project with a roadmap and a story. The art seems perhaps a touch above some of the other projects. They sold out quickly at a mint price of 0.06 ETH ($117) and the secondary market pumped and then relaxed with the usual hype and hysteria we’ve seen before. People seem to love these things and with 2,676 unique holders they’re poised to do well. The team appears to be working hard on their side of things and is delivering on their roadmap so far.
I personally had an interesting journey in that my cranium count went from minting 9 -> 1 -> 7 -> 2 as I bought and sold and bought and sold. I feel content holding two but I think will be happier holding only one, so I have one listed for sale.
I’ve written briefly about Riot Racers before and explained them basically as Zed Racing but with cars and not horseys. I still think that’s more or less the best way to explain what they’re going for - albeit they are putting their own twist on things and doing it slightly differently. RR had their second ever drop on Monday night and it somehow went worse than their first drop, which itself was a disaster. I think it is fair to say that the issue almost entirely boils down to the fact that both drops were on OpenSea and there were OS related issues both times. The CTO of OS commented this on the second drop:
As someone who partook in the drop + was trying to use OpenSea for other purposes shortly after, I can confirm that the whole platform was pretty FUBAR for a while.
All eyes are on RR now to see how they react and approach their next drop. A poor drop isn’t a project-killer, but a poor response to a poor drop can be. I have spoken directly to the team at RR and I have faith that they are taking this very seriously and looking for some way to make it up to the people who ended up losing out on the last drop, and then hopefully it’s a case of the third time is the charm for their next drop 🤞.
I could and will write an entire Letter or four dedicated to ArtBlocks. I genuinely think they are (somehow, still) one of the most under-the-radar gems in all of NFTs. Rather than try and do a worse job of explaining what ArtBlocks is, I will quote from their website:
Art Blocks is a first of its kind platform focused on genuinely programmable on demand generative content that is stored immutably on the Ethereum Blockchain. You pick a style that you like, pay for the work, and a randomly generated version of the content is created by an algorithm and sent to your Ethereum account. The resulting piece might be a static image, 3D model, or an interactive experience. Each output is different and there are endless possibilities for the types of content that can be created on the platform.
In (more) simple terms: you click mint button and you get a unique piece of artwork based on code the artist has written.
I’m including them in this Letter because the platform has (deservedly) been getting a lot more attention lately. I believe this is a combination of an ArtBlock collection recently selling at the famous Auction house Sotheby’s and the fact that the curated drop Fidenza by Tyler Hobbs from a couple of weeks ago that minted at 0.17 ETH ($331.50) now has a FLOOR price of 4.5 ETH ($8,775). Someone even traded a freaking cryptopunk for one of these stunning pieces of generative art.
The next drop is happening this Friday June 25th at 7pm GMT. I highly recommend checking it out, and all the other incredible collections available on the site + on the secondary market.
I’ve always felt that the Ethlings project hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. For those unaware it is an avatar project that launched before it was cool to launch avatar projects (ie after the BAYC but before the GutterCats). They have somewhat revolutionary tech in that the avatars are customizable and they utilize three types of tokens: ERC-721 (for the avatar), ERC-1155 (for the wearables for the avatars) and ERC-20 (a token used for re-rolling or unlocking wearable slots). It was also launched on the Polygon (Matic) network to essentially eliminate gas costs, and their launch was as smooth as it gets.
Well they’ve been chugging along nicely being one of the tortoises in this NFT avatar race, watching as the hares (cats, craniums, aliens, yetis) zoom past, while working hard at delivering value to their holders. I might do a full piece on them at a future point too, but for now I want to cover the news that came out today - it was discovered that the artist who designed the original backgrounds & borders for Ethlings stole images from Shutterstock and claimed them to be his own original work. Yikes.
Obviously this doesn’t look great for Ethlings and there was the usual FUD on twitter calling them out for being cheap, lazy, thieves, etc. As I always say though it’s about how a team reacts to issues that is truly telling, and not the issues themselves. The Ethlings team were on the case within minutes and very soon released a statement:
This was then quickly followed up with another statement where they produced some images to show a proof-of-process on the actual Ethlings art:
They were on the ball with an excellent response which is what I love to see as an early investor in the project and someone that has a lot of faith in the team. I’m not sure exactly what they’re planning to do regarding the backgrounds, but I have full confidence in the team that they will come up with a solution that is fair and rewards the community. They actually already came up with a pretty fun way to engage the community with a Bounty Hunter program - rewarding 500 $ET and a custom wearable to anyone who discovers a stock image. I think Ethlings will do just fine despite this fairly disastrous discovery. Back to being the tortoise.
Oh yes you heard and saw this right. Was it not less than week ago that I was saying that it looked like NFTs were having a meme-coin esque movement? Well then it’s no surprise that the meme-iest of memes has found its way to the NFT world. They sold out 10k slumdoges at a price of 0.069 ETH ($134.55) a couple of days ago, and they were in the midst of the usual post-launch hype and hysteria when they got slammed with a serious case of potentially legitimate FUD. You see, the slumdoges used a lot of potentially copyrighted or trademarked images (don’t ask me for the difference, i’m no lawyer.. although actually I sorta kinda almost was.. but that’s another story for another day..). Anyway - some hours after the mint sold out @benmayorwhite tweeted this:
A few other high profile people in the NFT space tweeted negatively about the project and the price of doges PLUMMETED. A harder crash I have not seen in quite some time, especially happening so quickly. The team did respond pretty well:
but it took a while for the market to recover, which it seems as though only now is the floor price equal to or above mint price again. I don’t have much more to say on the project - it’s doges, they’re memey. I have some. I fully expect their value to either be zero (most likely) or very high (unlikely, but who knows) a month or so from now.
This is a fun new concept - a puzzle game using the blockchain technology in a way I haven’t seen before. A better explanation from their site:
ANON is a scrabble-like NFT puzzle game, launching this month. Mint your Anon Tiles. Trade them. Collect them. Each week there will be timed riddles, you must have the right answer AND the right tiles to win. Prizes will be awarded to the winners.
My issue is that the price point is high for a game at 0.10 for one tile with a slight discount if you mint more at 0.8 for 10 tiles - which in itself isn’t an idea I am thrilled with. Rewarding people who can afford to spend more / punishing people for spending less, in essence.
I also don’t see there to be a huge incentive to minting when you can buy tiles on the secondary market generally for cheaper than the effective cost it would take to mint them. The games/riddles are fun and encourage people to work together which is cool to see. The prizes so far have been good too (I believe they gave away an Ape and a Wicked Cranium already, among other things). I’m concerned with their ability to provide good prizes long term, and the secondary market fee is high at 10% on top of OpenSea’s 2.5%. Minting is still open, but I don’t see myself minting any. I did buy two on secondary that I am looking to sell.
I’d be surprised if they’re still around in six months, but I wish them luck and it is refreshing to see a project that isn’t simply another 10k avatar project. But since we’re talking about 10k avatar projects, might as well look at…
These cute little robots went mostly under the radar this week. There were 10k listed at 0.01 and they sold out pretty quickly when word got out. I bought a bunch and there hasn’t been too much excitement over the project in the wider community, but the team seems to have some things cooking so I am holding out hope that they do something great with these lovable bots.
In the meantime I have been giving some away to my twitter followers and to those that subscribe to this Newsletter. I gave out 10 earlier today to a random selection of people on my subscriber list. If you’d like to be a part of future giveaways (and get this super awesome super cool super informative super Newsletter straight to your inbox) then I’ll leave this nice convenient button right here.
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.
This week I am adding more than usual because I (perhaps foolishly) tweeted out yesterday asking for people to shill me on cool + interesting projects. I got some great responses and a lot of not great ones. I haven’t had the chance to curate a proper list yet but I will drop some links at the end to some of the better ones that I did notice.
Misfit University - Another 10k generative avatar project with a roadmap dropping tomorrow. What makes this one special? Well, in their words:
Decide for yourself whether that’s enough to invest or not. I’m not sure myself whether I will be. I will say that it is always good to see a project addressing the diversity issue in avatar projects.
Kubiks - This is one I heard about only yesterday but from several different sources. I haven’t had the time to fully understand what it is but here is what is in the “welcome” channel of their discord:
I feel much better supporting an individual artist creating something new and original than yet another 10k generative project. I aped in this morning and bought a piece on the secondary market, but I believe there are still opportunities to get involved via drops. Check their discord for more info.
Mad Cat Militia - Couldn’t dare go two links in a row without yet another 10k generative project so here you go. I haven’t looked into this much at all but people are talking about it and thus it’s on my radar.
I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. I’m going to end this letter with a link to a twitter thread I wrote during the market crash we had this week. It was well received and I hope you too find something of value out of my words. Stay safe out there, and remember..
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.