This is just The Blerginning
0x6D8D
January 15th, 2022

gm Blergs.

Blergs are about to mint. If you’re reading this after January 17th, 2022, then they have already minted, or are still minting.

If you’re reading this much after Jan 2022 and they’re still minting… well… then, something went wrong—I’ll most likely have a post mortem up for that already.

Here’s one👇 , if you’re wondering what the heck a Blerg is:

This is a Blerg. Well, a potential Blerg.
This is a Blerg. Well, a potential Blerg.

It’s a PFP (a profile picture, and no I don’t know why we’re giving the F in pro”f”ile it’s own letter. I guess “PP” was too juvenile for 420/ 69s of the web3)

You’ve seen a thousand of those already, heck maybe even TEN THOUSAND of them. It’s one of many in the tsunami of new projects that are minting each and every day. Its nice, but it's just a .jpg (well it’s technically a .png, but that’s not the meme).

Right click and save to your heart’s content.

But the art! Vibes! Colors! WGMI!

But the art…

I’ll be straight with you, I love the art too. I made it, after all, and it’s been a blast to work on unlike any project in this Designers career. I’ve spent hundreds of hours making the art. Late nights, early mornings. Really, it’s been a long process.

But the art…

The art… is not the reason for the Blergs.

The art is not just what Blergs are about.

The art is how it started, but the art is just a means to find a new means to make an idea that means something.

Here’s what I means:

NFTs are a new Venture Capital

Say it with me. NFTs, are a new Venture Capital. Not the new VC. Traditional VC will continue and be valuable to startups and businesses for a long time.

This is not necessarily a profound idea. After all, if you’re in the web3 space, you’ve seen some projects mint and thought to yourself,

“Self! That team just made $3million in a day! What??”

And for what?

For art!

But what if it wasn’t just about the art.

What if there was a product or team or idea, that traditionally would have gone the Banking/Incubator/VC/Wealthy Uncle route, with all of it’s in-crowd, networking, pitch decks, presentations, and finally dilution that could instead make some PFPs that vibe with the community, and release those instead?

No equity dilution.

No delay in funding.

No pre-seed, series A,B,C,Z.

Day 1 revenue from marketplace sales.

And all with an NFT that doesn’t just represent terms on a sheet, but is also exchangeable, sellable, and even can be used for gated authentication into a product or service.

That. Is new.

We’ve had crowdfunding for a long time, but crowdfunding, in some ways, is more risky that minting an NFT. If you back something on kickstarter, you can’t change your mind and sell that investment. If the project does really well, you gain nothing but the product. Your investment is risky, because it may never be delivered, and totally illiquid, because no one can ever buy it from you. NFTs as a mechanism for crowdfunding change that model.

Blergs isn’t as big as all of that, but it is the model that Blergs is using.

The Blerginning is a means to fund the beginning of more ambitious ideas, all around the PFP and NFT space. Other projects should and will push that idea of NFTVC as a new means of raising capital. I started with something I thought was cool, and with this new model, I’ve also found a way to justify the time I’ve spent in the project. The money in this situation is not the “why”, but rather it’s the “how”.

Money is the How, not the Why

I started working on Blergs because it was fun, I kept working on it because I knew it would help me gain a better understanding of the space as a whole, so that I could find other people who also wanted to learn and not be buried in the 24/7 stream of Discord and Twitter hype. I wanted to build more skills around marketing, community building, technical releases, and get back to doing illustration again. And TBH, I wanted to be done with doing client work, at least for a while.

For full disclosure, I’ll be taking 20% of the mint revenue, 20% will go to pay for the dev work, and the remaining 60% will be used to incentivise and fund the latter phases of a project.

The money is how I can justify spending all of this time, saying no to the client work I’ve turned down to make this project, and how I can feel that the market is valuing my work.

The money is also how I can get developers, marketers, designers, and community managers to join in the project without feeling like their work isn’t appreciated. I can’t (and in no way want to) do this alone, so the funds help build bigger things.

The money is also how those who have minted the Blergs can see tangible improvements, follow the progress, get their own ROI from being a part of it, and feel excited about its potential. It’s a digital trading card in many ways, but one that is sellable to anyone who can see transaction history and the perceived value of the overall collection. Buyers don’t have to know about the project to know the perceived value of these cards.

What happens after the mint

After The Blerginning, the interesting work starts. If you read my first post, 1 Wallet = 1 Blerg, then you’re up to speed with the next goals of the project.

If you haven’t and don’t want to read it, here’s the ;TLDR.

Phase 2 of Blergs will be a trait pack mint, where instead of minting a whole random PFP, you’ll mint a set of NFT Traits that can be sold and bought individually and also equipped onto an unthemed Blerg. Those combos can then be themselves minted for free into a standalone Blerg, if the combination of traits is unique.

The minter of those new Blergs will receive royalties of that new Blerg as they are the creator. This new Blergs collection may have its own cap, its own minting windows, and its own incentives, but those details will need to be worked out.

Also

Existing NFTs that are contained inside of your wallet can also be equipped onto a Blerg, and will change the way the Blerg looks. For example, if you have a Coolcat, you will be able to equip it onto your Blerg and pick the Coolcat trait that you want.

Participating in the Blergs phase 2 will not require buying Blerg-specific packs. Over time, we’ll make more and more collections compatible so that more things can be equipped in unique ways to your Blerg.

Phase 2 is a proof of concept that this idea will work. Buying and minting 1 NFT on Ethereum is expensive. Gas is unpredictable. Buying and selling many NFT Traits on ETH mainnet is likely cost prohibitive. Because of that, trait packs will most likely not be on Ethereum, unless gas fees are drastically different at that point. Phase 2 will explore Arbitrum, Polygon, and other low gas solutions so that traits are much more affordable, and trading them is not a massive expense.

What happens after phase 2

After phase 2, there’s a lot of concepts, though none are set in stone. I’ll briefly cover a few of the possible ideas we could pursue or start to think about.

Wallet activity and participation as traits

Over the last month, there’s been a number of token airdrops that have taken place to reward people with participation in the overall web3 space. Yesterday fees.wtf attempted to reward people based off of how much gas they’d spent. Just before that, $looks rewarded with participation in their competitor market, Opensea.

Wallet activity is completely open for anyone to do anything with. You could make experiences for number, size, or type transactions that someone has done. The data is there for any team to be creative with.

One concept that Rabbithole.gg is doing well is to give users XP based off of tasks within partner dApps. Blergs could take that same approach and reward users with non-transferrable traits based off of their wallet activity.

Are you an ETH whale? Here’s a whale trait that only you can use.

Are you new to web3? Here’s a newb trait for wallets that have less than X transactions.

Have you minted a lot of collections? Here’s a trait that visually represents how many you’ve done.

Perhaps we will even give out unique traits to people who go out of their way to be kind or helpful to others.

These types of rankings and showcases of participation aren’t new in the world, they’d just be novel in the NFT space. Your PFP is a representation of yourself, so why can’t it show what you’ve done, what DAOs you are in, or how much of a web3 degen you are

Blergs as a Service

Blergs is not the dominant PFP style in the space, and it’s not a goal of the project to become that. Apes, Cats, Doodles, all of these collections are defining the space and have become immediately recognizable as a status symbol and a digital fashion brand.

None of that interests me, and I’d much rather focus Blergs on making something useful than something visual. Merch is not worthy of a roadmap, billboards in Time Square are not a goal, and Blergs as an exclusive luxury item isn’t remotely motivating to me as the creator.

However, many of these collections post success are now faced with the question of what to do to keep their community happy and coming back. Most are promising huge roadmaps that include exclusive events, merch drops, more NFTs, and more hype hype hype to feed the beast they’ve created. When a community is built on FOMO, FOMO is the only food it seems to crave.

Now.

My hypothesis is that those communities will need to find utility. Some are taking on staking, rewards, token drops, DAO formations, and things along those lines. It’s new for many, but as it becomes the common roadmap, the community overall will become saturated very quickly. All of the tokens and alt coins will pile on top of each other and a collection claiming it as a roadmap will fade into the noise.

So, the Blerg concept, as a mechanism to sell and equip individual traits, would seem to have a market to those creators. Instead of launching more and more 10k collections, they could instead use the Blergs platform, to integrate their PFP and allow its traits to be sold and bought individually. Video games have done this for decades, so it stands to reason that these PFP projects will need a platform that makes exchanging and utilizing traits as easy as plug-n-play.

A trait SDK

Another option that could be pursued after The Blerginning is the ability to make Blerg traits into a standard protocol that could be interpreted by any project. Rather than buying a Blerg trait, you are just buying a trait that could be equipped on any project that supports a Blerg SDK. This isn’t just for PFPs, but could be extended to video games as well.

The basic premise is that traits are traits are traits, and game devs or other product teams would just need to support the equipping of those traits onto their characters.

Most of the PFP projects have similar implementations of traits. Most have a version of laser eyes, a tuxedo torso, a baseball cap, or a sombrero. Rather than saying that each collection should implement trait purchasing and exchange on their own, a Blergs SDK would be a way for a shared standard for trait equipping.

I could buy or be rewarded with a Happy New Year 2023 pair of digital glasses by attending an event for one collection, and be able to jump into a video game that supports the SDK and equip those on my character. The developers would have the ability to interpret those assets as they see fit for their world, just as Blergs laser eyes aren’t the same as Doodle’s.

An example of this that’s currently in use would be how emojis and unicode characters are supported by different products and operating systems. Unicode comes up with a base system of what characters will be released, and each OS then designs how they will appear when text with that character appears. Twitter has their own emoji, as does Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and many others. The core character is the same, the rendering is determined by the environment. It’s now become so standard, that it’s almost unthinkable to not have them be a part of some product in some way. Traits, with some standard, could be the same for digital personas.

Wrapping it all up

The result of the mint is unknown at this point, but the ideas and potential of the project is exciting. There’s countless ways to build inside of web3 without being spammy, hype-driven, scammy, and even borderline illegal. My hope as the Blergmeister is to be a part of and lead a project that doesn’t leave out people who don’t want to spend all day in Discord, who don’t have the resources to do it by themselves (like me), or who want to be a part of something, but aren’t sure what that will be.

I’ll need your help. After all, this is just The Blerginning.

Tomjohn

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