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Web3 Lands at Walmart 🚚
Featuring a Pudgy Penguins, an Interview with Roham, Phil's birthday, and Balllleeerrz!
When we started this web3 journey years back, I don’t think many of us thought about the hard times that would inevitably come.
Everything is dead.
We certainly never thought that the highlight of any given day would be something as mundane as a PFP collection being sold at Walmart (of all places).
Yet here we are, late 2023, celebrating this very accomplishment by Pudgy Penguins.
My, how times have changed.
Back in the great bull run of 2021, we felt like NFTs were taking over the world.
It seemed like anyone and everyone was getting into them and that an infinite amount of capital was flowing into the space.
It was number go up only, wether you were launching profile pics of owls or making comic book characters.
Flash forward to today, and 99% of projects are 99% down from their all time highs.
Those billions of VC dollars? Gone. Either sunk into the pockets of slimy founders, or wasted on parties and “art”.
Those millions of people falling in love with NFTs? Also gone.
Or never here to begin with, as non-fungibles have become a laughing stock.
Yet amidst all this uncertainty of the first NFT bear market, one project has persevered. And rather than make enormous promises like building AAA games or replacing other currencies, Pudgy Penguins and their owner Luca Netz have kept it real simple in their mission to grow the space.
Now of course, making stuffed animals is not exactly the most innovative ambition. Rather, it’s the opposite, and its that simplicity that makes it brilliant.
Luca Netz understands that brands aren’t built on promises - they are build on vibes, which are born out of expert-level simple and small executions.
Pudgies are “crushing it” not because they’re putting web3 in Walmart - but because they said they would, and they’ve done it in a small amount of time.
They’ve also built an Instagram page of over 870k followers that doesn’t focus on product or sales; it focuses on motivational messages through art.
Now, will Pudgies “succeed” in the end?
It’s hard to say.
And even harder to define success in this space. Is it building a billion dollar empire? Putting a Pudgy in every home? Onboarding millions to the space against their will by using cute stuffed penguins as a trojan horse?
But for the time being, they’ve at least shown what thriving during a bear market can look like, and also taught us that 99% of projects, not 100%, will go to zero.
Enough about penguins.
Let’s get into all the stories from this past week.
🏪 Top Shot Goes Commercial
You can now sell merchandise made from top shot set art work.
Wait, what? Really?
Yes, for real!
Here’s how it works:
Collectors need to own and lock a full set.
They then need to apply to NBATS for commercial rights to the artwork (including signing a contract).
With those commercial rights, they can then make merch or other derivative work from the set artwork
The program excludes a dozen or so sets due to their NBA IP and the complications that would involve. This includes sets from The Finals and ASG.
Why this matters:
Listen. Many of you may read this and think “Top Shot is dead”. And yes, compared to 2021, it’s very much dead. So is the rest of the NFT scene!
But there are still some valuable pieces in this ecosystem - notably a community of Hardos who will defend this product to the death, on top of the link to actual NBA IP - and that’s more than most projects have going for them.
And despite all the advances the platform has made like leaderboards, team captains, a mobile app, etc, the commercialization of sets is the first one that actually feels crypto.
Bored Apes blew up for many reasons. But one of those reasons was the groundbreaking idea that holders would have access to commercial rights on their apes - a concept that now features dozens of community-born products sporting BAYC IP.
I’m not saying Top Shot collectors should make vodka with their IP (although they technically can). I’m saying that this could actually expand the ecosystem and it’s relevance in the crypto streets.
Top Shot Hardos are very different from actual web3 degen Hardos. The former tend to stick to their bags, whereas the latter wants new and fresh ides that push the ponzinomic envelope.
The two have diverged over time. But there’s no reason they can’t meet back up as Top Shot and the other Dapper properties finally show they are willing to adopt the same trends and practices as the rest of the scene.
On my spaces with Roham last week, he alluded to “more” stuff like this coming along. Heck, he even alluded to something else that may come soon…
🔮 Roham Promises an End to Beta (yes, really)
It was NFT day last week and we celebrated with an interview with Roham.
Although the chat largely focused on large upgrades to Flow (such as a *new* wallet), which won’t come to full fruition for another few months, we did kick off by discussing Dapper Sports and NBA Top Shot.
Roham acknowledged the challenges Dapper had faced this past year (i.e. downszigin) and also pointed to the fact that not everything promised had been delivered.
He then brought up the end of beta, and said its “close” although did not specify what that meant.
Overall, it was a cheerful chat co-hosted by LG-superfan Luke Dumbo, where we also had the chance to chat with the Dapper’s CTO and product team.
Click on the Spaces link above for the full thing, and check out this thread from OTM co-founder TJ recapping the chat:
🎂 Happy Birthday Phil!
Also, lets buy Ballerz.
Last week, we celebrated Phil D’s bday with a special FLOAT (like a POAP, but on Flow, get it?) and some chatter on the podcast.
It was a fake though - we barely talked Birthday.
Rather, we chatted about BALLERZ.
As you may recall, Ballerz was an enormously popular PFP project on Flow that launched in November 2021.
10,000 of them minted for $200 a pop before peaking at $1800. Today, Ballerz is the 5th most traded collection ever on Flow (per Flowverse), and only bested by actual sports IP like the NBA and NFL.
Yet the floor price is $40, and the community considers the project to be basically dead. So what happened?
It’s hard to say. The collection has fallen out of favor with collectors after a perceived lack of progress (and failure to keep promises).
But that didn’t stop us from spending the first 40 minutes of the podcast talking about them, as I expressed my desire to acquire the collection and bring it back to life.
Is that a pipe dream?
Yes, likely. It’s doubtful the owners, NFT Genius, would ever sell something that many people love(d) so dearly.
Can I afford it anyway?
Nope. We’d need a crowd fund or some other format to raise funds to make the deal.
Has it been done before?
Hell yes it has - just check out the lead story of this newsletter about Pudgy Penguins, which is actually a project that rugged and was then purchased by Luca for $2.5M.
All I’m saying is - if Pudgies can do it, so can Ballerz. The love is still there, and the collection would benefit from the base community support.
Plus the IP really is ballin’.
**This is not financial advice. Nothing in this newsletter, podcast, or publication should be considered financial or trading advice of any kind. Please do your own thorough research and make your own trading decisions. This is not advice.”
About The First Mint
A web3 sports community. Collectibles, NFTs, and Metaverse.
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