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In a bear market, the NFT scene embraces the goblins

In a bear market, the NFT scene embraces the goblins

Participants in the brutal NFT and cryptocurrency bear market of 2022 have developed their own “gibbon humor” as they have suffered losses of 90% or worse. While some NFT “projects” have struggled to develop new “utility” to bring tangible value to JPGs in decline, the New York-based Truth Labs team has used the bearish, Tolkien-inspired “down to goblin city” meme to explore new potential opportunities in performance art and in a conscious rejection of the idea that NFTs have to “do” something. Instead, the mischievous identification of rude and fantastical “goblins” has become a way for traders and NFT enthusiasts to laugh at the absurdity and express general frustration.

On May 21st, the fight against NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain saw a respite with the surprisingly successful launch of “goblintown.wtf”, an NFT collection of 10,000 “ugly” little fantasy lore goblins that could be used as “profile photos”. ”, or PFP, on social media. While some goblins still wore astronaut gear from aborted financial trips to the Moon, others resigned themselves to wearing fast food uniforms as their circumstances forced them to work at McGoblin Burger.

The collection was “minted” in 10 minutes and deliberately differed from previous successful projects in several ways.

There was no “original price”, which meant that project developers could only be paid for royalties from secondary market transactions, and not for initial sales. The initial “free minters” will simply have to pay the cost of “gas”, the standard fee for creating a token on the blockchain.

Goblintown promotional image by Process Gray, digital art (courtesy Truth Labs)

The coinage website has explicitly rejected many of the established NFT conventions. It is directly stated that there will be no: “There is no road map. No Discord. No utility. CC0″.

The “no roadmap” meant that the developers (originally anonymous) would not push forward with some vaunted plan of new features or future earnings, as the bear market – and, frankly, the often scam nature of NFTs – had worn buyers down to the inevitability of impossibility or impossibility. broken promises.

“Without Discord” meant the team wouldn’t be running a separate Discord channel where culture and community solidarity could be built, but in practice content from the outside world often seemed to be isolated.

“No utility” meant that the team did not promise any clear, tangible benefits from ownership, other than the obscure value of interactive tokens on the blockchain.

And finally, CC0 (or “Creative Commons 0”) meant that instead of promising the holders of any specific intellectual property rights, as the popular Bored Monkey Yacht Club collection did, for example, the entire collection would be protected. copyright. free and “open source” for other creators to reuse and remake as they wish. This was indeed the case as goblintown framed the aesthetic of many other projects such as corntown.wtf and hobotown.wtf.

Despite the lack of promises, a wave of hype quickly set in as the project’s “floor price” jumped to a high of around 8 ETH (nearly $15,000) in a matter of days. The mystery of who created the smart collection was one factor, with many speculating that the lead NFT team or media company was responsible.

In addition, using the Twitter Spaces chat rooms as a theatrical stage, Goblintown has developed a new method for creating characters and stories for a large audience. As investors and people interested in goblins and their origins desperately searched for information, the Goblin City account opened the space on May 25th. However, instead of the team representatives offering any details or explanations, for three hours, thousands of participants heard a cacophony of high-pitched goblin voices muttering and talking nonsense, or joking and punning about bodily functions, especially “piss” .

Although one would assume that the developers hired a set of paid actors, social networks, marketing and a goblintown community manager for this and subsequent productions. Sydney Clara Brafman told me that the performers actually came from the community itself, and that the style was largely spontaneous. In this and subsequent spaces, her own film experience became an advantage, as she could direct these collective improvisations by choosing who would speak.

As characters, goblins are down-to-earth, blunt, sexually hyperactive, and irreverent. They live in a world that ignores or scoffs at human problems, scandals, and financial losses. The industrious, despite their insane or senseless aims, invent their own ingenious schemes of deceit and commerce.

Goblins have become a fitting identity for NFT enthusiasts who are unsure of their future but still grimly proud of their booming, if often treacherous, subculture. Many have invested huge sums of money in dreams that are divorced from the concerns of the real world (and some have had to endure the psychological pain of feeling “cheated” or “rude”).

Truth Labs, “mcgoblin combo #113” (2022), digital art (courtesy of Truth Labs and CC0)

With characters featured on Twitter Spaces and via Goblin City’s main Twitter account (with her distinctive language and scenario), the blockchain itself became the setting for further stages of the “story”. NFT owners could “create” their own McGoblin burgers with disgusting ingredients like “pull ork dongz”, “eer funguss”, “dwarf pyoobz” and “pee soss”. Subsequently, these NFT burgers were used as “bait” to catch grunts, much prettier creatures that fart a lot.

As to where goblin city fits into the “art world” that the NFTs and their technology-inclined self-referential subculture are still trying to understand, that’s an open question. The main art was developed “process gray”, an inventive illustrator who created a unique comic aesthetic for the entire universe. More recently, new “grouchy” NFTs have been created in a variety of styles. many established web3 artistsdemonstrating the team’s commitment to utilizing and recognizing real talent.

The performative element also has a dynamic of its own, with community members continuing to organize Twitter Spaces and a “radio theater” of goblin adventures and news releases. New characters include a goblin Freudian psychoanalyst as well as big store owner.

However, a few months after the team presented itself as Truth Labs rather than some larger, well-funded organization, the collection entered a bear market and the value of a single goblin dropped to around 0.8 ETH, or $1,250, at time of publication. . Perhaps the attraction of the bear market theme faded somewhat in a scene tending to a positive turn, or perhaps the project exposed the difficulty of keeping the focus on “narrative” elements for extended periods of time.

However, the Goblintown collection alone has raised almost 50,000 ETH (about $80 million at the current price of Ethereum). With a royalty rate of 7.5%, this netted Truth Labs between $5 million and $6 million, and the team promises to keep investing in the goblin city “ecosystem”.

Written by khirou

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