Collectible NFTs and Community
A case study of CryptoLeos and similar PFP/Avatar NFT collections.
This picture you see right here is CryptoLeo #100, also known as "Comedian Leo", or "Banana Leo". On June 28th, I purchased it for about $700 worth of ETH.
In the 20 days that have followed, I've watched a lively community -- and maybe even the beginnings of an economy -- blossom from humble beginnings.
Before I explain what the heck is going on, let's back up. What do I mean I purchased an image? Isn't it free to view and copy on the internet?
WELLL BUCKLE UP, because I'm about to show you the world of NFT collectibles.
In this post, I'll tell you about what an NFT is, why people are going crazy for them (and for CryptoLeos specifically), and what lessons I've learned in case you ever want to start your own NFT project.
What is an NFT?
NFT stands for: non-fungible token
non-fungible describes two "like" assets that are not equivalent to each other, where each one is unique, just like famous paintings, or baseball cards, or houses..
on the other hand, fungible assets, describe when two of the same asset are 100% equal and interchangeable, like dollar bills, or bitcoins
tokens refers to the technology that allows digital assets (i.e. image, video, photo) to be certified with a unique owner
What are CryptoLeos?
This is how the creator himself, David Gersch, describes it:
In my own words.. CryptoLeos is a meme, it's a community, and it's an ongoing experience.
It's like Gamestop stock, or even a political movement: once it has been started, and enough people believe in it or are having fun with it, the momentum evolves into a level of impact no one expected to be possible.
So why did I choose to buy this CryptoLeo#100 NFT?
I saw the consistency that the artist, David Gersch had, and I respected the hustle, and I liked the nice round number #100. The absurdity of the image also spoke to me.. the banana taped to a wall is a reference to Maurizio Cattelan’s work, Comedian, where he actually taped a banana to a wall in an art gallery, then sold that "art" for $120,000. Someone else came by shortly afterwards and ate the banana, calling it performance art.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s piece Comedian. Photograph: Rhona Wise/EPA
Although I do think NFTs are in a huge bubble and price discovery situation... I decided to add fuel to the fire by bidding up and winning this piece. Regardless of whether I make a return on it, it's a hilarious bookmark for me to look back on.
Why are so many people going crazy for CryptoLeos?
It's a collection of images that have a common theme -- pixelated and themed Leonardo DiCaprio drawings.
There is a consistent 5PM EST drop time for 4 CryptoLeos, every single day -> this means people know what to expect, and there's a hyped up "event" to look forward to.
People are active in Discord chat rooms -> people share memes, chat about life, and compete for oscars.
NFT owners can wage CryptoLeo Wars -> different Leos have different stats, and owners can use them to battle and win points.
Most importantly, there is a rising secondary market, which is when an original owner re-lists an NFT art piece for sale -> In the past two weeks, the "floor price", aka the lowest listing price, has risen from 0.25 ETH up to 0.99 ETH -> this is important because the initial community feels a growing sense of momentum, pride, and financial gain, and it incentivizes them to re-invest money and energy back into the community (even I was able to flip a second CryptoLeo I got, from 0.05 ETH to 0.5 ETH, making back all of my original investments into this project and then some).
There's a similar level of excitement with all of these "PFP projects", or "profile picture projects", or avatar projects, which are large collections of similar-looking but differently-themed images.
Just to name a few:
CryptoPunks (the OG)
BAYC, aka Bored Ape Yacht Club
.. and so, so many more.
These projects all have different flavors of community members and community benefits. People on twitter and discord change their profile pics to whichever one they own, to showcase their status, membership qualification, and personal taste. With some projects, like BAYC, there are tangible benefits, including merchandise, speaker events, and in-person gatherings that are restricted only to holders of the NFT asset.
Finally, here are my lessons from following the CryptoLeos project:
NFT collectibles are a dime a dozen. The best ones are the ones that can truly meme themselves into existence, and then foster a lively community where real relationships and friendships are born.
Using the following tactics: consistent NFT drops, inventing games for the NFT holders, and hosting events for NFT community members, provides the "glue" for the project to stay alive and even increase in value.
By incorporating pop culture into your NFT art, people can relate to the images by projecting their own nostalgia and understanding on to your art. For example, Batman Leo, or Bob Ross Leo, or Pikachu Leo. Different Leo owners then argue about who's is better, or they share stories on why they love their Leos.
The artists who make these projects a full-time priority have the highest chance of success, because they are not just artists pumping out images, they are ultimately stewards of their community. They respond to DMs, they catalyze conversation in chat rooms, and they are the leader of a movement that people want to be a part of.
I mean, just look at this guy.
Hopefully this was helpful! I'm obviously biased, but I'm looking forward to seeing CryptoLeos through to the #1000 Leo and beyond. I think we are witnessing an amazing artist, community builder, and leader in David Gersch, and I'm excited to see what other innovations the NFT space will come up with.
I'll leave you with a couple of memes I made to contribute to this community... as well as a rap song with a VERY catchy hook (listen at your own risk 😂).
"tfw when you first start following @CryptoLeos"
"and then you try to get one.. and it's impossible"
"and then you try to log off to spend some time away from the screen... but"
CRYPTOLEOS ON MY MIND, CRYPTOLEOS RIGHT ON TIME...
(click to view the CryptoLeo rap)
I guess we just can't help it. We like the Leos!
#CryptoLeos #NFTs #Ethereum #OpenSea
it's all true