The NFT Generative Avatar Project by World's Most Incredible Advertising Gurus is Here
In recent weeks we saw an array of Generative NFT collectibles flood the crypto Twitter newsfeed and the avatars of its participants. Collections, such as The Wicked Craniums, The Alien Boy, Mad Cat Militia, Bulls on the Block, Degenz and Bored Apes are only a fraction of those, some more successful than others.
NFT collectibles are the same as traditional collectibles - imagine trading cards of the childhood days - except here, they are digital items that can be made scarce thanks to the blockchain. They differ from digital art as they typically come in a larger set and are introduced to be traded. With generative NFT collectibles, an algorithm mixes together characteristics (or "properties") like background, hairstyle, or accessories to create a randomized combination of visual outputs. In the examples of collections outlined earlier, the visual outputs would result in thousands of unique NFTs, each with its distinctive traits. Thanks to these properties and its unequal distribution certain collectible NFTs end up being favoured over others.
Predominantly, the popularity of the collectible projects has been driven by "Avatar" placement on social platforms like Twitter and Discord
The success of the collectible series is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of unique users that acquired the NFTs (aka "aped in") or the price floor after the collection is revealed. Typical tactics to build-up the demand (aka "the hype before the drop") include visual previews of the collectibles, project-specific Twitter account activations and the launch of Discord servers. On many occasions, the users are unaware of what NFT they are getting until it is purchased through the projects page. On such speculative instances, the buyers psychology works similar to gambles - placing their bets in hopes to win an item with rare traits. This NFT gamble often pushes collectors to purchase several items to increase their chances of acquiring an item with rare traits. One collector confessed recently of minting sixty NFTs in the blind, alas none of them bringing much luck in its uniqueness.
One of the public favourite's crypto slang acronyms is NGMI (aka "not going to make it"). And when one sees the seas of users jumping on the latest Avatar trend, agreeing with Matty becomes all too easy - that most of these performance participants are simply NGMI.
In Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby novel, one of the characters, Jordan Baker, says that she enjoys the intimacy of large parties. Similarly, midst the sea of noise, intimacy was found on another Discord channel of about forty users, one with close to no promotion and "shilling" - The Avatar Project.
The Avatar Project is a beautiful collection of handcrafted avatars by two of the world's most incredible advertising gurus; reads the description as it continues on an eloquent yet satirical commentary indirectly mocking its competitors. The project is neither money-driven nor seeks to prove anything - one can win the NFTs by placing a bid in the range of 0.005 - 0.005999 ETH. One lucky guess - and the NFT is in the wallet!
When browsing The Avatar Collection, the audience can recognize familiar references to the Crypto art space, its influencers and generative projects. However, some are more apparent than others. For example, one NFT reads "Beanie. Whatever. Whatever. Whatever.", which requires little explanation about its relation to @beaniemaxi. Similarly, "Pickle. Silhouette." serves as a direct reference to the @myfuckingpickle collectible series. Finally, a little less mainstream reference includes an ode to @nic_hamilton and the Trash Art movement reading "Banned. Your account. By Nic. On Twitter."
I'm an adman by trade. I've worked in London, Amsterdam and New York, on some of the world's biggest brands, selling you things you don't need. So if you'll allow me, I'd like to atone for my sins by pulling back the curtain and explaining why you might be feeling the need to spend thousands of dollars on a digital avatar.
From Social_Status.jpg by Draper, June 14th 2021
Despite the irony, the two figures behind the project - Draper and Robek World are, indeed, admen. However, in this instance, they use the avatar collectible phenomenon as an artistic medium for expressing their stance (only 30% of the works have been released so far). Those in the space long enough may remember Robek World's work in the first sold-out series of Curio Cards (out of the 1250 editions he released, the lowest is currently priced 1.89 ETH). Monetary success, however, is not part of The Avatar Project's agenda; "I'm here to see change", says Robek World when asked about his artistic practice.
As the project continues to release new Avatars, one can flex something different than their wallet in a quest to discover the underlying references its founders introduce. The collection is a commentary on the space and its players, where every one of us can find a trait that our virtual selves have adopted before we even knew it.