My second look at the potential of NFTs
Long time no banter folks. So “Jak sie masz!” as Borat would say (common Polish greeting, roughly translated to “How are you?”). I have been so busy with daily life that I almost forgot about this blog. In fact, I was going to take an extended break from crypto and just chill. However, to my surprise people keep signing up to my humble blog so that I felt somewhat encouraged to keep it going.
So here we are — what is happening in Frei Bier’s world of crypto? Nothing much, to tell you the truth. After reading The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze by Laura Shin I have come to the realization that crypto is indeed the wild Wild West. By the way, you should definitely read Laura’s amazing book — it might be well worth your time. I have an electronic copy on hand and I am happy to pass it on — just shoot me an email.
In a nutshell, Laura’s book explains how the Ethereum revolution got off the ground and it may well serve as a cautionary tale of the risks involved in crypto. It surely caught some buzz for a handful of juicy revelations about some of the behind-the-scenes conflicts during the development and launch of Ethereum. For example, the book somewhat exposes Charles Hoskinson (so-called Co-Founder of Ethereum but also Founder of Cardano) as a bit of a story teller. Here is a little sample from the book:
Charles would sometimes drag his leg while walking around the Spaceship (FYI: The Spaceship was the name for the Ethereum Foundation HQ in Switzerland at the time), and when asked if he was okay, he would talk about having injured himself doing HALO jumps (high-altitude military parachuting) out of an Apache helicopter in Afghanistan. Similarly, he advertised himself as a CIA asset, one day casually promising Stephen to take him to “the farm”. When Stephen googles it. He learned it was a CIA training ground called Camp Pearly.
Good on you Charles! I am no military expert but I don’t think you’d use Apache helicopters to do high-altitude military parachuting from 30,000+ feet. At best you gotta give Charles some flowers for this amazing story telling abilities but enough of that — it is fair to say that I am not a big fan of Charles Hoskinson nor Cardano‘s army of Twitter trolls trying to convince us that ADA is indeed the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Be that as it may, my new approach to crypto is a little bit more conservative. In particular, reading Laura Shin’s book really highlighted the fact that the world of crypto is full of scams, grifts, and absolutely foreseeable flops so we’d better be more careful when it comes to investing in crypto. Case in point, analyzing DeRace for the Messari Hub certainly confirms this belief. As they say:
If you don’t know where the yield comes from, you’re the yield!
As my alt coin bags on Gate.io keep shrinking, I have decided to take a chill pill and relax for the time being. This means that going forward any future investment will be transferred into UST and parked in the Anchor Protocol at 19.49%. No ifs and buts! My Crypto Banter notifications have officially been disabled folks as I am getting sick of these BREAKING MUST WATCH crypto vids on YouTube. Plus, Ran Neuner’s annoying thumbnails really starting to irritate me. Speaking of which, here is a nice Tweet that really reflects my current sentiment.
Nevertheless, there is still some amazing crypto content that piqued my interest in the past few weeks. First, let’s banter about Raoul Pal’s conversation with Punk 6529, which was coined Real Vision’s interview of the year. Punk 6529 is a leading thinker and investor in the NFT space and his discussion with Raoul Pal was extremely informative and above all very thought provoking. If you are still haven’t signed up for Real Vision’s free crypto content, then you are truly missing out.
I have also enjoyed Punk 6529’s appearance on the Unchained Podcast. In his first podcast appearance ever, he discusses the cultural and historical significance of Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs purchasing the intellectual property rights to CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs.
As you know I am not much of an NFT connoisseur. I own one Nuclear Nerds of the Accidental Apocalypse NFT but that is about it. My first NFT adventures have been well documented. Nevertheless, I believe that Punk 6529’s discussion on centralization, blockchains, NFT’s, BAYC, etc. is tremendously valuable. In particular, his assertion that NFT’s are crypto’s consumer moment seems absolutely spot on. Here is a series of quotes that I found particularly thought provoking:
“As I would grab a friend of mine, a family member, and we’ll say, hey, let’s try this. Pick something, I’ll buy it. Here, set up a MetaMask, I’ll send it to you and send it back to me. What I realized within a month, this is crypto’s consumer moment. It is a well-known truism in technology that technology has become consumerized when you stop talking about the technology.”
“The first aspect is that people like it and it’s not about the tech. The second aspect is very, very different. Is that every organization on the planet has an incentive to mint an NFT.”
“We are going to have every single fashion lifestyle company is showing NFTs in the coming months and years. It will then roll over to the consumer packaged goods companies. You’ll have a QR code on your six pack of Coke. You’ll scratch that you’ll get an NFT. Why? Because then they can directly airdrop you a coupon for the two to one sale. They know you bought it in Atlanta. They know who bought that Coke can. They know if you used the coupon. They’re not going to put in the classified newspaper, the inset. Like, we’ll move to the 21st century, all right? Universities will do it for their alumni base. Sports teams will do it for their fans. Eventually, in the fullness of time, you’ll be in the local barbecue pit masters club and you will get the barbecue master of the month NFT on your wall, right? So everyone’s coming. Over the course of the decade, everyone is going to have many, many NFTs.”
Clearly, Punk is definitely onto something. One Google search away highlights a plethora of corporations getting in on the NFT hustle. For example, on Sunday South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai Motors announced that it was entering the NFT market. Meanwhile in the automotive industry, Volkswagen SA launched an NFT advertising campaign for the arrival of its new Polo. McLaren Automotive chose InfiniteWorld as its official metaverse partner to launch an NFT collection based on McLaren’s luxury cars.
The list goes on and on.
Note that I am NOT suggesting we should all start buying NFTs like a mad man. Hell nah — as I said before: NFTs are not my cuppa tea. Case in point, consider the FLUF World collection for a sec. The OpenSea floor price of these majestic creatures is about 3 ETH.
Like seriously? I am sorry but I cannot agree with this valuation. Coincidently, somehow these fluffy rabbits remind me of Harry (a rabbit) from “Meet the Feebles”. If you are not familiar with Peter Jackson’s epic 1989 movie “Meet the Feebles” then be sure to check it out.
The cast of characters includes Harry the rabbit who is addicted to having sex and contracts what is at first believed to be an STD called “the Big One” (possibly AIDS).
Anyway, looking at FLUF World NFTs cracks me up and gives me serious flashbacks of New Zealand nostalgia but is it worth 3 ETH? FYI: Peter Jackson is a New Zealander who made a series of hilariously weird movies before he got famous. Case in point: Bad Taste.
Be that as it may, I am not vibing with crypto’s digital art craze. However, Punk 6529 reminds us that “NFTs can represent anything and everything”. This means that some of the NFT use cases are still not imagined yet because the space is so new and underdeveloped.
A lot of people limit themselves by thinking of NFTs in terms of overpriced digital art e.g. pictures of rabbits and monkeys. However, I think it might be very useful to broaden our mind on this one. Punk 6529 rightly notes in this regards that “the average NFT in your wallet is not going to be a grail artwork NFT or whatever. It’s going to be something close to your Chipotle coupon card.”
Clearly, we are still at the beginning of it all and it will be exciting to see where this is all going. As for myself — I am going to take the chill pill and observe the space very attentively. Punk 6529 rightly notes in this regard that:
…the best thing you can do is allocate a small amount of your net worth to it, and allocate it, and assume it’s gone to 0.
Good for me — I am definitely on the right path in terms of price action (sob).
Punk 6529 further elaborates that:
The best thing people can do is to educate themselves because the number of career opportunities in this space are going to infinity. And along the way, if you start doing things, you will get smarter about the space naturally, and then you’ll make better decisions.
He is absolutely correct, without doubt. This is what I am kind of going for at the moment: Education minus the altcoin buying. In particular, in the NFT space, I am wondering which Layer 1 blockchain will accommodate this tsunami of corporate NFTs?
CoinMarketCap lists the most valuable Layer 1 blockchains. Right now, the primary mover-and-shaker is Ethereum, as it dominates the NFT secondary market with ~84% of the NFT secondary volume or $8.5 billion in sales throughout Q1’22. So the big question is whether Ethereum can keep its dominance or will other ‘Ethereum killers’ eat their lunch?
In summary, if you are a bit of a bookworm, then I highly recommend reading The Cryptopians. I also highly recommend to follow Punk 6529 on Twitter and listen to Raoul Pal’s discussion with him. I will follow Punk’s conservative approach to investing in crypto but at the same time ratchet up my learning in this space. What is your strategy?
I will leave you with this nightmarish scenario:
What if Cardano snatches the NFT scepter from Ethereum? On paper Vitalik Buterin has no chance against a CIA trained Charles Hoskinson. I will leave you with this image of Charles Hoskinson — which is, of course, all in Bad Taste (pun intended).
Happy NFT’ing y’all.
Frei Bier / Twitter: @FreiBIER13
DISCLAIMER: My writings are merely a reflection of my learning journey and my attempt to compartmentalize the cryptoverse. I am learning out loud so feel free to correct me or disagree with me. This is not investment advice but my hope is that you find value in some of my links and ideas.