Remember the Crypto Punks?
What about the Crypto Kitties?
Maybe you joined the NFT roller coaster later on so you are more familiar with HashMasks or Meebits?
…. Maybe the bulls, horses, and aliens?
Even if you had not bought any of those I am sure you have seen people’s Twitter profile pics showing which tribe do they belong to.
Seems like these days the formula is well known and simple. No wonder many are copying it and launching yet another animal into the metaverse after seeing how successful some of the projects have become.
Feels like anyone could do it – you just come up with an animal (or something ridiculously hilarious as a pickle), mint 10k of those, price them at 0.08 ETH, and enjoy the success.
It’s not as simple as it seems and not all of those projects gain traction. I am sure there are plenty of those around that we have not even heard of.
The main issue that I have with all these projects is the fact that they are very similar to many Meme Coins (or some ICO/IDOs).
Copy —> Hype —> FOMO —> token sale —> speculation/trade (+ other components such as “influencers”, FUD, etc.)
And as a result, they do attract mainly NFT traders and speculators. There is no real genuine community behind it. People are mainly focusing on the floor price and the potential of making loads of money by trading on the secondary market.
That’s ok I guess… but I always prefer projects that have a soul. And what I described above are not from those.
Let’s now look at a project that may have seemed to be yet another copycat at the first glance but became a breakout hit recently with the strongest community behind it.
Yes – I am talking about the Apes.
Bored Ape Yacht Club managed to launch a sustainable project that will probably be around for a long time.
Now let’s try to understand what are the reasons behind its success and why unlike many others I think they do have a soul.
Vision and plan/strategy
I am sure these guys did not start their thought process by “let’s throw some apes out there and see what happens…”
They had a vision and strategy behind what did they want to achieve with the project. My guess would be the project’s visual aspects were addressed last as “packaging” for the project and not the other way around.
Stories are powerful. They touch people’s souls and evoke different emotions. People resonate with stories.
And when your target audience is the hero of the story – then you usually hit a jackpot. I truly believe that the stories need to be about your community and not yourself.
And in the Ape’s case, the story is not only about “us” (unfortunately I don’t have an ape, therefore, the brackets) but also it touches the cords of people’s psyche.
If I am not mistaken the Ape story is in line with something like this:
The year is two thousand (plug a number in the future) everyone who aped into crypto is super-rich and extremely bored and wants to hang out with other like-minded apes.
The token has a utility
Their Opensea page states
“Your Bored Ape doubles as your Yacht Club membership card and grants access to members-only benefits, the first of which is access to THE BATHROOM, a collaborative graffiti board. Future areas and perks can be unlocked by the community through roadmap activation.”
It means that you are getting much more than just a digital image registered on the blockchain. You’re getting a pass to an exclusive community that has a whole roadmap of added value that it’s going to provide to you now and in the future.
Unfortunately, I discovered the apes too late. I accidentally got into Twitter Spaces where almost all of the profile pics were different cool-looking apes. So I decided to stick around and find out what is this all about.
I listened to their conversations and was pleasantly surprised that the vibe was super positive and during the 20 minutes that I was there no one spoke about the Apes’ prices. Instead, they were talking about initiating a book club and other activities and many apes were telling how happy they were to be part of this community.
By design, the project encourages community collaboration and co-creation – something we all have been missing so much in this space.
What many may not realize by looking from the outside BAYC is empowering its community members.
Because guess what?
With the bored ape NFT you are not only getting a membership but also (and this is an important point) you are receiving their copyrights.
What does it mean?
Well, it means that the BAYC NFT gives you an option to create NFT derivatives from your ape and use those for commercial use and make money. It eventually creates a whole creator economy around it.
It’s like you as an ape owner having the possibility to build your one project on top of the BAYC brand that already has the audience, the popularity, and the brand awareness that you would probably never be able to achieve on your own. You can tap into that – how cool is that?
And there are already plenty of people who are doing that – starting from branded ape merchandise and continuing with designing their own BAYC related long-term projects to launch.
We can safely say that BAYC is a huge success considering all the components of the project and obviously looking at the financial side of it too. The trading volume, floor price, the most expensive Bored Ape sale… I won’t even put numbers here since by the time this gets out the numbers would have probably changed already… I will only say that those numbers and mind-blowing!
I think BAYC has raised the bar for digital collectibles and set certain expectations of added value and original ideas.
Now the question is should people keep copying what worked for the Bored Apes and will it work if they did, or should they come with their own unique new model that would disrupt the space even more.