The most recent NFT craze has been madness as usual. No roadmap PFP projects like Goblintown.wtf and We Are All Going To Die made waves by ascending the charts while boasting their complete lack of utility, a future plan, or even a website or Discord. Shortly after launching and proudly stating their lack of a roadmap or any real reason to invest, prices shot through the stratosphere and stayed there, leaving even the most hardened NFT veterans dazed and confused.Are these grotesque PFP NFTs a new low for the space? Or are they pure genius? In this article we’re going to break down why and how these mysterious, weird and seemingly useless NFT collections managed to achieve such wild success.
Let’s start with the project that kicked all of this off. Goblintown is a collection of 9,999 generative NFTs built on the Ethereum blockchain. Each NFT features a grotesque goblin to be used as a profile picture on Twitter, Discord or Instagram, each with different attributes and accessories (but no clearly stated utility beyond a PFP).Launched anonymously on May 19, Goblintown was a free mint, meaning those lucky enough to catch the public sale only had to pay the gas fee to mint one. If you’re new to the world of NFTs, barely any free mints go on to become worth anything… and yet, in the first 12 days since launch, Goblintown's entry price on the NFT marketplace OpenSea went from $0 to $11,500 (6 ether), with rarer Goblins going for triple that. After a stunning lack of information on the nature, purpose and origin of these NFTs, it turns out there was something else to the project. To say you understand everything about Goblintown’s meteoric rise would be delusional. It is unlikely that anyone knows exactly how we got here. Still, now that the dust has settled (temporarily of course), here’s a few key points to help you understand how a project with no roadmap, Discord or utility started a trend that has changed the NFT landscape forever. Weird is different, different is good There is no shortage of NFT projects. Everyone and their dog seems to have one and there is A LOT of noise in the space. Standing out from the pack and getting visibility can be incredibly hard, and so NFT projects have become notorious for over-promising, over-hyping and trying to get noticed by any means necessary. Goblintown was a little different. They went weird. Really weird. Along with aggressively underpromising and giving very little indication that these Goblin NFTs would be worth anything, one of their Twitter space podcasts featured a group of about a dozen grown men making barely comprehensible goblin noises, speaking unintelligibly about serving burgers to people in the audience with "Gary Pee sauce," a reference to NFT influencer Gary "Vee" Vaynerchuk. To make this even weirder, they did this for three hours. Non-stop.To a person outside the NFT world seeing something like this would make no sense. To those inside the space it also didn’t make much sense. But it was undeniably and unprecedentedly weird. And it was definitely different. Soon after Goblintown went viral and rose to the top of the NFT charts. As far as viral marketing goes, this was a slam dunk. Underpromise and overdeliverMost projects promise the moon and then deliver barely a fraction of what they said they would. These PFP meme NFTs are different. They promise nothing, and then later on deliver more than what was expected. It’s a complete flip around of the usual strategy and it is working wonders. Offer a mysterious NFT with no clear utility and then build in the utility later. After Goblintowns astronomic rise they sustained the hype by releasing a second collection called the McGoblin Burger available to holders two weeks after the team teased it. McGoblin Burger was trading for an average of 1.56 ETH at its peak and there will likely be more perks and utilities that come with it. Market conditionsAnother factor that cannot be ignored in this recent NFT craze are the perilous market conditions. The crypto market has seen one of its biggest and most shocking crashes since its inception and people are hurting. Celsius’ breakdown along with inflation numbers and the movements of the Fed have led to a particularly sharp crash in crypto assets across the board. People are reeling from their losses and many traders are simply bored with the lack of opportunities the crypto market is currently presenting. And therein lies another reason for Goblintown and other derivative projects’ success. It seems when the market looks grim and people are hurting and a little a bit loopy from the recent crashes, there are a significant bunch who will look to something new and exciting to gamble on. In the midst of one of the worst crashes ever, these PFP NFTs provided exactly that, with many NFT investors resonating with the narrative that we are all doomed and so we might as well embrace it.
Enter WAGDIE. The We Are All Going To Die NFT collection came after Goblintown and caused another hullabaloo in the NFT space. Like Goblintown, the project arrived with no website and no clear description of what they are aiming to achieve, just a Twitter profile and a set of contracts.Like Goblintown, the WAGDIE NFTs are also CC0, so no rights reserved, and they too began as a free-to-mint project. After engaging in a number of mysterious Twitter Spaces and failing to provide any information around where the project was heading, WAGDIE managed to generate more than 9,000 ETH ($16.2 million) in sales volume in just a week.WAGDIE’s theme revolves around “death as the only certainty”, a sentiment which has struck a chord with the nihilistic side of the NFT community during the carnage of the last few weeks. Market down, nihilism up. It seems when the market is in tatters, people get a bit loopy and unusually nihilistic. The WAGDIE collection caused a ruckus when it shared that it had purchased a Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT for 21 ETH ($37,800) with plans to burn the asset, removing the NFT from circulation permanently. People chanted ‘burn the ape’ as they carried out the unspeakable deed, burning the NFT and sending shock waves through the NFT world while adding to the project’s lore. A narrative and a community Two things every successful NFT project needs are narrative and community. Despite not having a roadmap, utility or Discord both Goblintown and WAGDIE had strong narratives that were both funny and mysterious, and their communities were as united (and weird) as they come. Another example of narrative and a strong community carrying a project to the moon, and a good lesson in how important these two things are for upcoming NFT collections. Good presentation Despite these PFP projects not having much in the way of a plan or clear purpose, one thing that cannot be overlooked is their presentation. Goblintowns website is well put together and the artwork and imagery is memorable and consistent. There is also something reminiscent of BAYC in the style of the art, which probably helped it gain the success it has. Since Goblintown there have been countless derivative and copycat projects trying to get their time in the sun, but many of these projects have a slim chance of success due to the lack of detail and presentation of their website and artwork. You can criticise these new PFP successes for a lot of things but they seem to have their visuals and art downpat, which is essential to gain any real traction in the NFT space. Derivative projects To further cement the success of Goblintown and WAGDIE, a number of derivative copy-cat projects emerged soon after, seeking to ride the nihilistic wave. Many of these free-mint collections also boast that they have no Discord server, no website and no road map, which before this recent craze was extremely uncommon. Other collections with free mints that traded over the past week include ShitBeast, ill poop it nft, mcgoblin.wtf, Goblin Grlz, Leave Me Alone NFT. While many of these derivative projects may not be around for long, they have added further legitimacy and hype to the original free-mint projects they are copying.
NFTs are happening
NFTs have been all the rage for the past few years and the buzz is only getting louder. NFTs are experiencing a rare cultural moment as their potential to empower artists, collectors and investors are unleashed on the world. They have surpassed DeFi in volume and are one of the few bear market-resistant areas of crypto. And people are turning to them while the market is down. While NFTs are by no means impervious to market crashes, there is a sentiment that it will continue to be an active space during the bear market. Many investors are seeing this current downturn as an opportunity to pick up some rare NFTs at a discount. In the case of the latest PFP projects, it is clear that trust in NFTs is increasing and, much like the early days of crypto, people see it as a space where anyone can make it if they play their cards right. Value is derived from what people are willing to pay Cryptocurrency has proven that an asset’s value depends on what people are willing to pay for it. Even fiat currency is based on a trust and an agreement that we deem it to be worth something. Without that it’s just a piece of paper. Crypto and NFTs are the same. If enough people agree it has value, then it has value.The NFT community welcomed the change of pace brought by Goblintown and WAGDIE and very quickly these became highly valuable assets, drawing attention from users who own NFTs from notable collections and further propelling their status as a potential blue-chip NFT. When it comes to NFTs, communities and people decide what’s valuable and what isn’t. And the people have spoken. Hats offTo an outsider, the success of NFT projects like Goblintown, WAGDIE and Is this poop may seem random and utterly absurd. But despite no shortage of criticism, Goblintown, WAGDIE and other similar free-mint projects have breathed new life into an NFT market that has been in a bit of a slump for the past month. The Goblintown phenomenon is definitely one of the strangest crazes the NFT space has seen and despite their obvious shortcomings they have done what few NFT collections have managed to do. And there are many lessons to be learnt.We’ll be watching the NFT space closely and are excited to see what utility and perks these PFP projects will bring out for holders going forward. We look forward to providing you with more great NFT content, thanks for coming!