I learned this idea the hard way many moons ago. I learned that many will not look at your work for what it is, for what it looks like - but rather as an investment. Over time, I learn to not take this personally, and try to understand the other side of the view.
I have been creating single-edition artwork for close to two years now. Though I don’t think I’ve tokenized any in 2022 so far. The first one dates back to August 2020 with a 45-second short film.
The storm of collectibles projects quickly brought public attention to crypto art and non-fungible tokens. It’s not hard to notice that much of the media coverage was mainly focused on the financial aspect and how valuable these collectibles seem to be.
The paradigm behind single-edition artwork is quite different in comparison to collectibles. When it comes to multi-edition projects, especially a collectible with thousands of items in it, I believe that art alone can’t make a project. There are so many variables to take into account, but it’s mainly hype and FOMO-driven.
With the number of collectible projects out there, I believe there is more meaningless noise than meaningful creations. Not necessarily the way I would love to go with, but it seems to be the one that most people are comfortable with. So it comes as no surprise when some if not many collectible projects have a somewhat simplistic or repetitious art style. Wash, rinse, repeat.
“Imagine if all of the collectible projects out there have the exact same artwork on their token. A white square, a black square, or nothing at all. Now try to see it again and find the difference in each of them.”
This is something of a thought experiment I would throw at my friends whenever our conversation leads to the discussion of these collectibles out there. With this thought experiment above, we can pretend how some projects might survive, and some might not. It could be their community, it could be their roadmap, it could be their mechanics, it could be their marketing tactics, or it could be their story.
Point is, that art alone can’t make a collectible project.
The self-proclaimed ‘degenerates’ and ‘enthusiasts’ are the new audience and actors in the space. They would try to be active in multiple Discord servers and Twitter threads on a daily basis, working their way up trying to earn a presale spot. Armed with a dream to mobilize vertically by the idea of reselling rare tokens for a fortune.
The rise of analysis tools catering to this new audience plays into the equation more deeply than I initially thought. I believe building such a tool is no easy feat, and I’m sure they’re onto something more important down the road. But for now, with these traits analysis tools, many tokens are sorted based on their quantifiable attributes. It wasn’t long before the audience cared more about the rarity than the embedded artwork.
On the other side of the sea, most creators and builders work their way into creating the most lucrative projects. Flashy roadmaps, metaverse integration, collaboration with brands and celebrities, with some going as far as promising tokens prior to the release.
But this doesn’t simply mean that all collectibles are created the same. Few of them out there launched with exquisite artwork. Though they may not have much of a roadmap, a solid foundation in the community keeps them strong against the current.
Nowadays, even fewer dream of creating for the sake of creating alone.
Roughly two weeks ago I wrapped up and launched a collectible project with a bunch of artist friends, developer friends, and partners. It was a relief for us, having worked on the project for about 3-months straight, day and night nearly every day.
It was not an easy ride, but we know nothing good comes easy. I can safely say that the team of artists and developers are bound together as comrades, while tension rises with the team of co-founders as communication gaps are growing between the two sides. While this might be something crucial that should’ve been fixed early on, it was definitely a challenge when communication is already scarce between the two parties.
Trying to be a good team member and a friend — I know it’s only wise to remind each other of anything that may seem amiss. Considering how the market dynamic is built upon hype and FUD (fear, uncertainties, and doubt), it was also important to make sure nobody on the team accidentally jeopardize the project for what they said or do on their social networking sites. But if I’m being perfectly honest, our group did get tired of reminding and warning the other side of what may be the outcome of their decision. So, we decided to keep our heads down and focus on what we can do ourselves.
After many deliberations, multiple rescheduling, community restructuring, and fine-tuning everything in our power, the launch day came and go like a shooting star. All things considered about the launch, the marketing (or lack thereof), and the disgusting “degen” culture, it was not a good launch. And instead of coming up with contingency plans prior to the launch and sticking to them, one of our key players practically put the nail in the coffin of this project when the launch day hasn’t even ended. </3
Nothing good comes easy. But nothing good came out of this.
I guess that’s why we were all so destroyed and angry about this launch. Considering how hard we worked, how excited we were, and how much we cared - until we don’t.
To my surprise, some if not most of the audience seem to notice the grave mistake that happened throughout the making of the project, all the way to its launch day. Countless supports, both that I noticed and missed are pouring in for the team of artists and engineers behind this mess of a project. People root for the creators.
Being in this space for some time now, I’ve noticed a pattern when one thing didn’t work out, someone else will probably pick it up, and try it again. We have seen many forks of DeFi projects, derivative art projects, memes, or even something completely new based on another endeavor that abruptly ended. If you think about it, most decentralized apps are composable after all anyway.
I believe every collector is unique. If there’s anything that many have not seen clearly, it is probably the fact that collectors are non-fungible. It’s a no-brainer to bring my collectors to whatever next thing I’m working on.
Respecting the two principles above, we, the creators want to make things right. We want closure. We want to end things the way we would’ve wanted them.
Let us present our plan for the end of times — plan-z: no community, no roadmap, and absolutely no promises.
This past year has been pretty daunting for me. Lots of changes, lots of memories, and lots of things to learn from. As stated in a previous tweet, I'm taking a step back from everything, and taking a long-overdue break for myself. I'll see you again when I'm back.
Until then, feel free to get one or two plan-z avatars for yourself and use them anywhere you want.
It would mean a lot to us if we see people using them on Twitter or Discord :)