Towards the end of 2021, I went down the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) rabbit hole and absolutely loved it. I haven’t stopped since and have been investing most of my time into this segment of crypto.
I’ve been working on this article as a way of doing my own research on projects and also sharing what I’m doing with others who might want to do something similar. I am not trying to convince anyone that NFTs are the best investment; if you enjoy learning about NFTs and like some of the projects I mention, you can do your own research and decide for yourself.
— BANDIT 🏴 (@doodle2691) November 21, 2021
NFT technology can be used for many use cases, so for the purposes of this article, I am really talking about the types of NFTs that can be found on sites such as OpenSea, LooksRare, SuperRare, Rarible and Foundation.
NFTs are a wonderful world where you can really end up spending all your waking hours immersed in learning, discussing with others on Discord, and your own or other collectors’ galleries (Deca is my favorite time sink for this exercise). On the other hand, just keeping up with the channels of a few projects (for example, the ones that you buy into) can be a challenge.
I haven’t been captivated by anything in such a way since I first came across Bitcoin itself several years ago.
Of course, it can be pretty challenging explaining why you’re spending so much money on JPEGs to your family and friends, as shown in this semi-joke tweet:
Wife looks @ bank account: Where's all our money?
Wife: But where
me: it's in illiquid jpgs that will outperform our bank's interest and the S&P 500 and Eth itself
wife: ok are wgmi?
— Jacob Martin (@thenftattorney) September 1, 2021
So let’s go ahead and take a look at my favorite NFT projects. While I’ve been getting myself deeper into generative art NFTs, for the purpose of this article I’ll be
Moonbirds (and PROOF Collective)
Moonbirds are my favorite collection and I’m extremely bullish in the long run. But before we talk about Moonbirds, we need to back up and talk about the PROOF collective. This community of around 1,000 people is the brainchild of Web2 darling Kevin Rose (founder of Digg.com for those of you who remember it).
As Kevin went down the NFT rabbit hole and started to collect digital art, he started a podcast focused exclusively on NFTs and subsequently created a Discord group whose members were the artists he was interviewing on the podcast. As listenership exploded, he decided to drop an NFT pass that would be the foundation of everything else he did in the NFT space and guarantee access to the Discord server.
The Dutch auction did very well with the passes selling out quickly after launch with an average price of around 2 ETH, but the impressive thing is how the price ballooned over the subsequent months, going well over 100 ETH during the launch of Moonbirds. PROOF is an amazing community that I really treasure being a part of. All the people I’ve met in real life have been nothing short of amazing, and the online interactions I’ve had with other PROOF members always brought me a ton of value.
Having a PROOF pass guarantees access to the PROOF conference that is held on a yearly basis (first one in 2023) as well as 3 Grails drops every year. There are other projects buing built, the first of which is Moonbirds, and the second one is a metaverse play codenamed Highrise. Whenever there is a drop PROOF holders get free or nearly free minting privileges. In the case of Moonbirds, every PROOF pass holder could mint two Moonbirds for free.
Getting back to Moonbirds – the main initial aim of this collection is to expand the private Discord membership beyond the initial 1,000 PROOF pass holders. But holding a Moonbird gives you much more than access to the Discord. The starr feature at the moment is nesting, which is a spin on the staking concept, whereby you obtain benefits if you “nest” your birds and take them out of circulation. Nested birds cannot be put up for sale, so the incentive to nest ensures that there will be very limited supply of Moonbirds on the secondary market, thus enhancing the scarcity element and keeping the floor price at a healthy level. The longer you nest the bird, the more likely you are to reach higher tiers that unlock rewards. For example, holders who nest their hoodie birds will get a hoodie IRL after reaching a specific tier.
Similar to holding a PROOF pass, Moonbird holders get access to private events such as the PROOF+Moonbirds event at NFT NYC, discounted tickets for the PROOF conference, and the promise of future drops like Moonbirds derivatives and the metaverse play Highrise which I mentiond earlier.
The main criticism of this project is that it was very hyped and it is only successful because of Kevin Rose.
I don’t find these criticisms to be valid, given that almost nobody beyond the PROOF members knew about and was excited about Moonbirds up till 3 weeks before the launch. The fact that in just a short period of time the team managed to pump out a number of excellent appearances on podcasts plus get press coverage to reach that level of awareness and excitement is actually an incredibly bullish point in my view. That means that they can repeat this effect for future drops.
As for the reliance on Kevin Rose’s persona, while I love Kevin and his way of doing things, most of the people I speak to outside of the web and crypto space have no idea who he is. This is in contrast to, for example, Gary Vee, who is a much more household name. The way the VeeFriends project is structured, in comparison to PROOF and Moonbirds, is extremely focused on Gary Vee’s personality, so in that case I would understand if someone had concerns on the over-reliance of the project’s success on one single person. I think Kevin brings a ton of value to Moonbirds and PROOF, but in my opinion that value is found in his connections in the web and VC space, his experience in building successful companies and startups as well as his maturity and way of doing things. He has shown that he is an all-rounder that is happy to step outside of the limelight and build a solid team that can take a project forward without him being the main focus.
This is a collection of 10,000 Doodle NFTs which were snapped up within minutes at minting. As of writing there is around 650 ETH in the so-called Doodlebank that sustains the project going forward.
Well-known, although not super famous, artist Scott Martin (aka burnt toast) is the designer of this collection. He previously released some amazing NFT artwork on Foundation that embodies the same style of the doodles.
The second co-founder is Evan Keast, who previously worked at Dapper Labs (the team behind Cryptokitties and NBA Topshot) as well as at Kabam Games.
The Doodlebank contains the roadmap as well as serving as a place for community members to propose things. We can then vote via Snapshot. From what I’ve seen so far, this is a really streamlined process that will be one of the pillars for this project’s growth. It is an alternative to a full-blown DAO, which was originally the idea. Unfortunately, DAOs are still very hard to implement in a fully legal manner, especially with a worldwide collector base like Doodles has.
Why I Invested
This was the first project that I looked at pre-mint and instantly fell in love with. I thought it had a great chance of becoming a blue-chip project and loved the positive vibes that the artwork throws off.
Unfortunately, after I woke up at 3 AM to get in on the mint, I fumbled things and did not allocate enough gas for my minting transaction to go through (being a newbie at gas wars). I ended up losing a good amount of ETH as mining fees for the failed transaction.
On the flip side, I then used a couple of rarity tools to get my hands on a few Doodles that I really dug and that looked like members of my family. In the worst-case scenario, we got ourselves some expensive PFPs, so there’s less downside like that than if I just minted and got random doodles.
Perhaps that outcome is even better than having just minted them outright.
Back to some more definite reasons why I bought several pieces from this project:
- there was a very solid organic build-up to launch, so the Doodles launched with a big community already in place on Discord.
- sensible, feet-on-the-ground roadmap
- solid plan to handle proposals going forward (here’s an example of a proposal to hire an animator)
- fair distribution. The first 5000 pieces were reserved for a whitelist, but the rest were distributed fairly during a public mint. As of writing, there are 4600 owners, which is quite good. The BAYC project, by comparison, has 5700 holders.
- fun and positive vibe. I generally like happy and playful NFT artworks, and this project is the perfect embodiment of that idea.
- nice traits mix. There is a lot of variety due to various face, hair, body, background traits and special effects like rainbows or animals in the rarer examples.
Overall, I was lucky to come across this project in time and put in my purchases in the first day. Prices will fluctuate but I’m very happy with my buys and expect that the price will go up significantly within 3-6 months after launch. This is the period it took for the Cool Cats (a similar project in some ways) to take off. External factors, most importantly the overall crypto market and gas prices will definitely affect the prices of this another projects, so I’m wary of that too.
Things to Watch Out For
The license is quite restrictive when compared to, for example, BAYC. Any commercial use is pretty much impossible. Your only right is that of displaying the NFT that you buy and use it as a profile pic on platforms like Twitter and Discord. Copyright is retained by Doodles LLC, the company behind the Doodles. While the license is restrictive, we have already seen derivative projects as well as holders modifying their PFPs and there was no move from the Doodles team to go after such uses. The actual enforcement and attitude seem to diverge from the terms themselves. For this reason, I’ve been asking the team to reconsider the license as I think a more open one would be very beneficial for the long-term prospects of the Doodles.
Read more: The Best NFT Trading and Analytics Tools
For example, removing the background or mirroring a doodle, for example for the scope of creating a banner with multiple doodles, would technically be infringing on the terms. Animations would be the same. However these have so far been allowed, and possibly even encouraged. The bottom line is that the license is at odds with what the founders actually allow so far.
An NFT project’s floor price is very important, and Doodles’ floor price might suffer a bit more than others. In my opinion, Doodles have some not-so-attractive trait combinations that will keep the floor down, since they will just be used by flippers trying to make a quick buck on a premium project, rather than buyers who buy because they love the particular artwork of that NFT. The nicer ones will keep rising, as they look amazing, but at first glance the project might look like it has a relatively low value due to a lower floor, which will in turn drive liquidity elsewhere, making the expensive and nicer pieces harder to sell. This is totally my conjecture, so I hope I’m wrong on this and it doesn’t affect the project very negatively long term.
While earlier on in the lifetime of the project I had concerns about unattractive traits and how they would affect floor price, this hasn’t proven to be a major negative influence. If anything, these are the doodles that keep things liquid, as people are typically not diamond-handing them but use them to get in and out of exposure to Doodles.
Following the Doodles launch, holders have enjoyed the Space Doodles experience, which in my view is a showcase of the capabilities of the Doodles team. It is also meant to be part of the longer-term vision of Doodles, so I’m excited to how that plays out.
The second big thing was the Dooplicator launch. There is sparse information about what the utility of Dooplicators will be, but there are rumors that it will bring Doodles to the masses and also help holders profit off their Doodles. This would address my concern about the current license being too limiting.
I remain very bullish about Doodles art and the team.
I invested in this project heavily after having several months of experience being pretty much immersed full-time into NFTs, so I’m hoping that my experience is helping me to make better decisions at this point. I’m really bullish on CyberBrokers for many reasons. The artist, Josie Bellini, is an OG artist in the crypto space, and the project took around 2 years to get launched. That’s not because the team was slacking; it’s because there was a ton of work involved in making this happen. All art is on-chain, which was a first for this kind of art-intensive project. There have been other collections that have been put fully on-chain, but arguably nothing comes close to this level of art.
I think a lot of people underestimate how important this drop was.
And the incredible, dystopian story that @josiebellini is building.
Here's everything I know about @CyberBrokers_
— musicben.eth 🎧 (@_Kaspar__) March 17, 2022
I love seeing what members of the community come up with, just a few days after launch we were already seeing beautiful 3D renders among other interesting creations.
The traits are also very very interesting and there’s plenty of scope for game-building and storytelling around them. Oh, and did I mention the fantastic clothing? The team have a metaverse fashion brand in the pipeline, and the clothing of the characters in CyberBrokers is truly amazing.
There are several big collectors who bought heavily into CyberBrokers and I feel very comfortable putting in serious money into this one giving the possibilities that lie ahead and the quality of the art and team.
Out of the big projects, this is the project that I think has the most similar vibe to the Doodles, but they appeal to a wider age group. I love cats and I like the family-friendly artwork used in this project. Cool Cats have a really great community that I have been enjoying participating in via Discord.
This is an established project that has a stable floor, so there aren’t many doubts about its worth.
The Cool Cats website is one of the best I’ve been exposed to. As a Cool Cat holder, you can view your collection on the site, as well as build banners.
Cool Cats grant a non-exclusive license, which I like. In this aspect, they are much better than the Doodles.
As the owner of a Cool Cat, you basically have the right to do anything you want with your Cool Cat image. Maybe you want to create a t-shirt, go ahead. Perhaps you want your cat on a mug, no problem. You might even want to pay an artist to create a new piece of work, featuring your cat, also ok. You can do all these things and more, as long as you are holding the Cool Cat NFT. You can not sublicense your license to third parties. You can transfer your license by selling your Cool Cat. The new holder will then be the license holder.
Cool Cats have attracted a number of high-profile buyers – including Steve Aoki, who purchased a Bob Ross TV head cat, and Mike Tyson. Leading NFT investor and “Cool Cats Maxi’ Farokh also owns a collection of 17 Cool Cats, including two TV Heads and his highly sought-after Afro Rainbow Unicorn cat. The president of TIME Magazine, Keith Grossman, has been a long-time supporter of Cool Cats.
Unfortunately, the game release that was scheduled for early 2022 didn’t quite go as planned, and Cool Cats suffered a lot of damage from that. Many people lost interest in the project and the floor price crashed over the following months. I remain bullish, however, as the team has proven to be honest and hard working, and they have no intention of abandoning the project anytime soon. The plans for the coming months and years seem solid to me, and the artwork remains extremely likeable and appeals to a wide spectrum of people. Check the roadmap for the latest information. There definitely seems to be a long-term plan to continue adding value to this project.
If you’re thinking of buying a Cool Cat, you should take a look at this Twitter thread that can help you find the right cat for you.
During a period of time where the NFT space was seemingly filled with cheap copies of successful copies, Doodles and Cool Cats in particular, this project caught my attention by providing some incredibly colorful and unique art as well as a fun and engaging story to go along with it.
Here is the 🧵about me and 3land
I’m Pom an artist who likes to draw for fun, when I was a kid. I was a kid who didn’t have many friends, didn’t have many toys to play with because we didn’t really have enough money for our living I had to help my parents work pic.twitter.com/fU3VYTEAFM
— 3land ® (CERD) (@3landboy) February 14, 2022
The lead artist behind this project, Pom, is amazingly talented, and the rest of the team seems to be on the ball too, as the initial mint and subsequent airdrop went by without a hitch.
The excitement around this project and early floor price action reminded me a lot of the Doodles when I bought them in the early days after mint, so I’m hoping they follow a similar trajectory. The team is less experienced and it would not be fair to compare the two projects, but I do have high hopes for this one and have invested accordingly.
I hold a few fairly rare Coolmans that I’m happy to hold long-term. The artist, Danny Casale, is pretty famous, and he’s been creating animations since 2007 on YouTube, including a very viral one called “Snakes Have Legs”, which you can watch below.
I included it as I think it gives a very good feel of the kind of project that Coolmans is. Danny has a massive following so doing an NFT project was probably a no-brainer for him.
I like the art and the variety of traits, and it works well as a PFP, meaning many people will want to get one to use on Twitter or other social media profiles.
There have been rumors of collaborations with very big brands, and I think it’s just a question of time till that materialises. At the very least, one can imagination a cartoon series of some sort. Here’s a clip showing the story of Spesh, the main character, that can be a taste of things to come.
There are IRL events being organised, although right now it’s very focused on the US, as most projects are. I’m also pretty sure merch will be an integral part of this project, and what there is available right now is already looking good.
Again, this is the kind of project where I don’t need to hang around in Discord every day to check whether the founders/developers are still active and creating things and to judge whether I should continue holding it. Going forward I want to hold more of these kinds of projects where I just buy in and wait for the long term for things to grow organically.
Worldwide Webb is an interoperable pixel art MMORPG metaverse game giving utility to popular NFT projects. The game uses NFTs for in-game NFT Avatars, pets, lands, NFT Items, and quests. Deployed with a build-first mentality by a group of crypto-native game developers, artists, coders, and marketers; rapidly pushing out new technologies and applications.
This game has a retro vibe which I like since I grew up playing games with these sorts of 2D graphics. There is a general consensus in the space that this is the number one 2D metaverse environment that all collections want to integrate with, so it makes sense to own some land here. At the time of writing, the apartments are in the hands of more than 60 NFT communities & numerous influential figures.
I like what the team has been putting out, including the amazing apartment builder, with which you can totally customize your own apartment including hanging up pictures of your own NFTs.
The one thing I really dislike is the name, but I’ll have to get used to it I guess. It’s a play on the founder’s surname Webb. He’s quite a character, so I think it makes sense to spend some time familiarising yourself with his ideas and work before you invest in this project. Beyond his outlandish fashion sense, I think he is brilliant and amazingly creative, so I have no problem backing this collection for the long term.
PunkScapes are 8-bit NFT banners designed to be used on platforms like Twitter, Discord and OpenSea, and designed in a way to match CryptoPunks. It is the biggest banner project on OpenSea.
NFT-verified PFPs/avatars are coming to many platforms, and the same could apply to banners. Several punk owners have also bought PunkScapes. Some of these owners are very active in the PunkScapes Discord too, which is a bonus if you want to chat with these OGs. An example is @etheralto.
There is also a growing trend of PFP projects offering “transparent background” options so that you could easily put the background of your choice behind them.
The price has been somewhat suppressed since launch, although those who got in at mint can already sell at several multiples of what they paid. The overall price in USD however is still low. The project has been operating under the radar and took a long time to list on Rarity Tools, for example. The founder has decided to focus all his energy on building rather than any kind of promotion, so you won’t find constant notifications of useless giveaways, collaborations, and other low-value events in the Discord chats.
Also, rather than the typical whitelist that many projects use during launch, which favors a few at the expense of the public, PunkScapes used a fairer launch mechanic whereby you could buy a OneDayPunk token that would later give you early access to the PunkScapes mint.
An interesting feature of these tokens is that they have a date field in the metadata. People have been using this date as a marker to find tokens that are relevant to them, for example, their birthdays.
Founder Jalil is a real star, always ready to help and respond to people in the Discord group, as well as being constantly building new things for the project. A special aspect of this project is that Jalil has set up a #transparency channel where he proactively discloses any important movements, for example, revenue from secondary market sales, any purchases or sales he personally makes, etc.
You can listen to my interview with Jalil on Mastermind.fm – it’s a great way to deepen your NFT knowledge.
In fact, I would recommend getting a PunkScape just to be part of this amazing community. Out of all the Discord groups I’m in, PunkScapes is the one I get the most value out of. A lot of that value comes from Jalil and other prominent members being ready to help out with any kind of questions members pose. The fact that it’s not a hype-filled project ensures that there is very little price talk and many more conversations around building stuff and innovating.
Again, if you’re technically inclined or want to build stuff in this space, you need to be in this project and its Discord. There are hackathons (with corresponding rewards) and art competitions, and as I said lots of building going on in general. And if you love 8-bit artwork and want to grab one of the earliest banner projects in the NFT space, you should also get yourself a PunkScape.
This is a project you would want to join for the artistic element above all else. Danny is a great artist and he’s built this incredible world around his creatures that has become very special for holders of this NFT.
The merch is fantastic, although it is of a particular style that won’t suit everyone. But at least I think everyone can appreciate it as a piece of art. The community is very friendly. The one pet peeve I have with this project is that there is no way to download a high-res version of the creatures you own. I find that absolutely ridiculous given that people are buying it as an art project and many like to print them out and hang them in their office or house. I’ve raised the point multiple times in the Creature Discord and got nowhere, but I hope this gets addressed at some point, because the high-res versions definitely exist.
Note that each part of the journey has its own website. Creature.guide is the main you want to look at if you’re new to this project. Price-wise they’ve been experiencing a downturn in early 2022, after having a nice run-up in 2021, but it could be a great long-term hold. In 2022 the team has really upped the game with new and unique experiences for Creature holders, that will continue to make them a favorite among NFT collectors.
Poolsuite FM is a unique website that has been around for many years, and the idea was to launch an NFT and use the funds to build an amazing Web3 experience for holders.
Founder Marty Bell is an amazing creator (read this history of his work) and with a top team and relatively big budget, you can bet on him delivering big things with the Poolsuite brand.
When launching, many people bought without really knowing what the brand would deliver, and banking on Marty more than anything else. Below is a description that Poolsuite provided when launching the NFT. You’ll be forgiven if you don’t really understand what you’re investing in.
“As an honored supporter of our beloved corporation, it will be our priority to show you an exceptional time throughout your membership and to shower you with perks and gratitude commensurate with your status as a founding member. Please take a leap of faith with us as we collectively build the future of internet leisure.
By holding a Poolsuite brand NFT, you place your trust in us to deliver you an ongoing stream of experiences in the months and years ahead. From ambitious art projects and state-of-the-art financial instruments, to fractionally owning an antique manor house, possibly on the Portofino coast, where people who smell of Vacation®️ brand sunscreen might serve you chilled Lambrusco wine while you take in the salted breeze of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Your patronage will allow us to go where less adventurous organisations have as-yet failed to go.”
Benefits of being a member of Poolsuite (holding an NFT) include:
- Special members-only features on the website
- A physical exec card (connecting the digital world to IRL)
- IRL Events/parties
- Access to future drops
- Tokens that will drive the Poolsuite economy
It’s a project that plays a lot on the nostalgia element, and as someone who grew up with late 90s internet, I certainly vibe a lot with the Poolsuite brand and am rooting for it to go places. Even in its initial steps, the project is proving to be capable of delivering smooth features with serious attention to detail, without needing any extra hype. In fact, it’s the only project I’m invested in that doesn’t even have a Discord server.
Party Degenerates are a collection of 10,000 NFTs representing the rebellious spirit of those who choose to celebrate life, rather than merely living it. The people behind the project are entrepreneurs, developers, community leaders and one of the biggest and most influential NFT collectors in the space.
The artwork is very polarizing, and while it can grow on you and is very original, I don’t think this can be the main driving force behind the project’s success. There were several guest artists contributing to the Party Degenerates, and most of them have amazing artwork in their own projects. As I note below, however, the reveal had quite a surprise in store for many holders. To be fair, the project founders always told holders to “expect the unexpected”.
There also seems to be a lot of real-life utility coming in the form of special deals, perks and freebies at clubs around the world, but also in the metaverse. However, it is too early to say what exactly will drive value to this collection, as the roadmap has not been fledged out yet as I write this.
Let's talk utility NFTs: 1 Party Degenerate = free access to 5 biggest art parties🕺💃🥳🎨 @artbasel = $320 in ticket value + free 🍸🍸 for 1st event = ~$100. Ridiculous $420 value for first organized Party Degenerate event! Look out Mykonos, Ibiza, Tokyo etc. @PartyDegens
— MetaRich.eth (@MetaRiches) November 23, 2021
I went into this blindly, based on the reputation of the team and the people who were holding them after the mint was over. The reveal took a bit more than a week so nobody really know what they were buying.
Once they were revealed there were some very strong reactions by holders, and many were disappointed and sold at 2 or 3x the floor we saw during the week before the reveal. I took the plunge in true degen mode and bought a few more when that happened, but only time will tell if that was a rash decision or a good one.
I feel that the art itself is exceptionally unique and memorable, and that is a big plus in this niche that’s filled with copycat art.
Secondly, the aims of the project are also unique – bringing real-life utility in the form of access to exclusive events and experiences within the clubbing and electronic music scene. Given that the majority of NFT holders right now seem to be twenty-something white single dudes, the market for such an item is definitely there.
I’m personally more interested in the promised metaverse utility of the degens. I’m very interested in experimenting more with Decentraland and Sanxbox, so the degens might be my gateway to these worlds.
The license is great, giving full commercial rights on the NFTs. On the other hand, I’m not sure that the general public will be able to distinguish between one degen NFT and another.
It’s still early days and so far the degen story still has to be written, but the team is solid and I’m very confident in the project.
This is a DAO-based NFT with some of the most amazing artwork I’ve seen so far.
The mint price was 0.23 ETH but I bought all my Illuminati tokens on the secondary market, some of them pre-reveal and some others that I hand-picked and paid a higher price for when they were revealed.
50% of mint + secondary royalties will be funneled into the Illuminati Collective – a DAO for active Illuminati NFT holders.
The team is led by Alex Taub who is an experienced entrepreneur with a reputation to uphold, so that’s a positive thing in my view. The artist is superb, you can see him at work on the Twitch streams.
The big break for Illuminati came when it was announced that the same team was behind Golbin Town, a free mint that was a runaway success. Following that, the team has continue to push forward with their DAO initiative and strong focus on art.
Kumo x World Residents
Kumo’s world is a world full of fun and adventures, where people can just be silly and be a big kid without being judged. It’s an interactive RPG-kind project where participants work together as a team to discover Kumo’s world.
I love the artwork and think it’s high quality in terms of design. It’s the kind of family-friendly, light-hearted design that just makes me happy.
I’m not sure if this project has legs price-wise, but the artwork is fantastic in my opinion, and I like the community. Again, this is the kind of project that I can share with my kids. I’ve already purchased a received a children’s coloring book for my son, and I’m looking forward to the storybook.
I’ve been pretty happy with what’s been delivered so far, the founder is hard-working and very sweet; I’ve also interviewed her on my podcast.
Blue Chip Projects I’d Love to Invest In
There are certain projects that have been popular for a long time and have pretty stable floors. They tend to cost a lot of money and have made many of their owners rich beyond their dreams.
Here are the ones I’d love to own one day.
Fidenza by Tyler Hobbs
This is an Artblocks project that really blew up on the secondary market. Tyler Hobbs is a well-known artist and this is undoubtedly one of the blue-chip NFTs. Fidenza is stored eternally on Ethereum. Each individual work of Fidenza is a specific constant applied to the Fidenza algorithm. This is the beauty of on-chain, generative, eternal art.
Apart from its investment value, I really like the designs and would love to have a few of these adorning the walls of my house or office. This is one of the examples of projects that people really who aren’t familiar with generative art struggle to find value in. I would recommend reading this piece by Tyler to understand some of the work that goes into creating such a project.
Other Artblocks projects that I’d love to own are Ringers, The Currency. These are all examples of generative art projects, and you really need to dig into the process behind their creation to learn how to appreciate them. I do, however, find Fidenza to be aesthetically pleasing even to the untrained eye, so it’s my favorite so far from the Artblocks collections.
One other thing I’d say about Artblocks is that some of their projects achieve incredible valuations, while others don’t really take off. I don’t yet understand the huge differences in valuations so I will be keeping a closer eye on the Discord group and new projects, in order to see if I can learn how to appreciate things better and estimate the value of a project at an early stage. The other issue with these types of projects, especially when their prices go up, is that there is almost no liquidity. Therefore, I’d probably only buy early and buy something I loved and that I would be happy to hang onto for years, rather than try to snag an expensive piece with hopes to flip it in a month or two.
This is the ultimate NFT item to own if you want to show to all the world that you’ve made it. These were originally minted for free a few years ago, and then gained popularity in 2020 and 2021 as the NFT space exploded. Now, many of the holders of space punks have pseudonymous accounts on Twitter and are known to be big influencers. Some go on to create their own projects. It is definitely a project that you need to be in if you want to flex and if you want to meet the wealthiest and best people in the NFT space.
@punk9059 posts daily stats on punk sales and floor. It’s a good account to follow to get a quick idea of how cryptopunks are doing, especially if you are looking to find a good entry point.
The punks were created by Larva Labs but their IP has been acquired by Yuga Labs, the company behind Bored Apes, in March 2022. This makes Yuga Labs the biggest player in the NFT space, and unifies two collections that were competing very intensely for OG status over the past few months under one overarching brand. Most importantly, the license will be changed to be in line with that used for the Bored Apes.
Some people are extremely bullish about the Crypto Punks. Will they eventually trade for ¢10 million each? We’ll have to wait and see.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
The BAYC were pioneers in the licensing terms they used. They allow commercial use, which led to holders using them in marketing campaigns, swag and even one holder launching his own BAYC-themed beer.
Much of the value in owning a Bored Ape lies in being able to participate in the apes’ closed Discord community. Apes are known to grant favors to each other, and owning one of these gives you a lot of clout. BAYC holders have gone on to launch their own projects successfully, again driven by the hype they were able to generate by being BAYC holders in the first place.
The BAYC NFT is also known for creating extra value through airdrops like the Bored Ape Kennel Club.
The associated project Mutant Ape Yacht Club is also a great way to access the BAYC private Discord rooms without actually having a Bored Ape. If you’re thinking of making the big leap of getting a Bored Ape but you’re not yet convinced of the benefits, I would say that getting a MAYC would be the first stepping stone.
The Meebits are 20,000 unique 3D voxel characters, created by a custom generative algorithm, then registered on the Ethereum blockchain. The original 9000 Meebits were available for purchase through a Dutch-style auction starting from 2.5 ETH. The remaining NFTs were distributed to holders of CryptoPunks as well as Autoglyphs.
Owners of a Meebit are given access to an additional asset pack that include the full 3D model. Use it to render and animate your Meebit, or use as your avatar in the metaverse. All Meebit owners can also access a T-pose OBJ file that be imported into any most standard 3D modelling and animation software.
Also included in the assets pack are high-resolution, lossless renders. I’ve interviewed the general manager of Meebits DAO Danny Greene, so head over to my podcast page to learn more about Meebits if you’re interested.
The Nouns NFT project is actually a DAO. The artwork is very very cool, and more importantly, it has been released under an open-source license. Other projects are free to reuse the same artwork, in fact, HeadDAO has already done so.
Nouns are an experimental attempt to improve the formation of on-chain avatar communities. While projects such as Cryptopunks have attempted to bootstrap digital community and identity, Nouns attempt to bootstrap identity, community, governance and a treasury that can be used by the community.
This means that they can be regarded as one of the first players in this niche, and they’re banking on that, among other things, to give them long-term value. This project needs some reading to understand properly, so I highly suggest you head over to the Nouns website and read the docs.
Autoglyphs are the first “on-chain” generative art on the Ethereum blockchain. A completely self-contained mechanism for the creation and ownership of an artwork.
Once Larva Labs deployed the project to Ethereum, they no longer control the code that generates the art, nor the code that manages the ownership of the glyphs. This is a crucial difference from art that is editioned and sold by an artist or gallery. It allows a long-term guarantee of ownership, provenance and edition size that is independent of any central authority.
The Autoglyphs are a highly optimized generative algorithm capable of creating billions of unique artworks, wrapped inside an ERC-721 interface. While ERC-721 is the standard for “non-fungible tokens” (something that the CryptoPunks helped define), it is generally used to manage ownership of digital items stored elsewhere. The key difference with the Autoglyphs is that the art is inside the contract itself, it is literally “art on the blockchain.”
This becomes obvious if you examine any glyph creation transaction on the blockchain. The event data contains the full output of the generator, and hence the artwork itself. See here for an example. It doesn’t look like much as hex data, but it encodes a character art pattern. This pattern can then be drawn to a screen or even on paper by following the written instructions in the comments of the smart contract itself.
Tom Sachs Rocket Factory
This is just extremely cool. You can either buy a complete rocket NFT or buy parts and assemble your rocket. The fun part is the “meatspace” event, where the people behind this project will create a physical version of your assembled rocket and actually launch it. If they recover the rocket they will send it to you, together with a video of the launch. So complete ownership includes the rocket token, the video and the physical rocket.
Projects I’ve Researched and Discarded
This is a list of projects I’ve done my research on and decided not to invest, or invested and then exited due to a change in fundamentals or a change in my opinion on the project. Most of these I’d have come across through Discord channels of projects that I’m already invested in.
It will be a fun exercise for me to see how many of these I get right and if I get it completely wrong on others.
- Jungle Freaks – extremely hyped during the time I was investing in Doodles, but I never vibed with the evil-looking artwork, and the project ran into problems later, however it did experience a sharp rise in price after launch.
- Entropes – another project I really like in terms of both the art and the mechanics behind how it is being generated. The floor is at 0.2 ETH as I write this (early October 2021) but I can definitely see this going slowly but surely higher. It’s been featured on the Opensea frontpage to0 so that helps. Unfortunately, development and Discord aren’t very active, and the artwork itself is not made for the masses, so it could also struggle to get any traction. Update Jan 2022: price ended up floundering.
- Nobody – cool project but didn’t seem like it could generate big interest to fuel price appreciation.
- The Arcade OG Series – amazing art from a famous guy (co-founder of Atari). It was dropped on Makersplace and honestly, I hadn’t used the platform before so I decided to sit this one out. Probably a mistake as the drop was very successful.
- Breakfast World – couldn’t see any utility, reminded me of the ICO days, mint didn’t even sell out within hours.
- Kuma World – team with no track record, promoting their own project on Twitter as if they were a third-party, no apparent value beyond being one of the first projects (self-claimed) from South East Asia and run-of-the-mill artwork. Had whitelist by being a Doodle owner but skipped minting.
- Bitcoin Billionaires – delay in reveal without any explanation or notice, poor community focused on hyping things up and insulting anyone with any “negative posts”. Artwork and roadmap doesn’t resonate with me.
- Spaceman – Trash rip-off of Doodles and Cool Cats as well as Spaceboys. NGMI.
- Tunney Money – No roadmap, very localized to Miami, high mint price, minters had no idea what they were buying and were clearly beginners on the most part. “Trust Peter Tunney” was the only reason offered up for someone to invest. Thanks but no thanks.
- Wonderpals – Cute art but looked quite generic and the team didn’t seem particularly strong.
- Starcatchers – Didn’t vibe with the art at all and thought they were too hyped.
- ResidenceDAO – These guys expected investors to pay for them (through the mint) to purchase apartments in Miami that token holders could then timeshare between them. No thanks.
For those who are entering this space for the first time, know that you’re still early, even though in crypto it might seem that you’re always late. I get that feeling myself because things move extremely fast in crypto. I’ve seen big fortunes made in a question of months, so it’s very easy to feel like you’ve missed your chance when you start hearing rags to riches stories left, right, and center.
With all my investments, I tend to invest only after doing considerable research about the investment in question. With NFTs things are no different. I choose my projects very carefully and I’m generally not interested in flipping for a few hundred dollars profit within days or weeks of the project’s launch. It wouldn’t be worth my time to do so and I would miss out on all the learning and enjoyment I get out of being within the various project chats while knowing that I’m a stakeholder and can do my small part in adding value to the community and the project’s overall value.
That is why I will continue striving to be in 10-15 projects at any one time as a maximum. More than that and I will lose my ability to monitor the projects. I aim to hold at least 3-5 tokens in any one project, so that I can sell one or two of them when I see it fit to take profits, without necessarily exiting my position fully. If I only have one token, I find it very hard to sell while I’m in love with the project and the token I hold. That is the reason why many blue-chip NFT (Cryptopunks, BAYC, etc) don’t sell even though they could get millions of USD in return.
Ultimately, if you have a really rare blue-chip NFT that you’ve built your brand around, it’s best to just keep it and never sell. Since we’re still early, you’ve got a good chance of the token continuing to rise in value over time, and if you need liquidity, you can already take out loans using your NFT as collateral.
I hope that you’ve found my thought process and reasoning for my choices useful. Let me know what your favorite NFT projects and use cases are, I’d love to know what you’re up to.