NFT hunters suddenly rediscover these forgotten vintage collections
Love them or hate them, blockchain collections have a moment.
It’s good art. It’s bad art. It’s good, bad art. Humans throw monkeys and robots and little punks. Tweets (which are probably ownerless) are worth millions for the right buyer. Literally guys – we’re talking about people who didn’t even live when Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper – are suddenly whales, and it may seem like everyone else’s, but you’re getting rich with that unbreakable JPEG money.
Of course there is something to be said about how the origin of an object relates to its value. For example, CryptoPunks – often mistakenly called the “first” unbreakable sign, or NFT, series – is a well-known example of an old, long-dead project that is enjoying a renaissance of financial and social appreciation. A year ago, no one cared. You could buy one for a few hundred dollars. Today that club is only for millionaires.
So why haven’t many of Counterparty’s crypto collectibles that preceded CryptoPunks (and even the entire Ethereum ecosystem) experienced the same level of madness?
The times, they change
According to Shaban Shaame, a blockchain pioneer and CEO of software company EverdreamSoft, it’s about accessibility – and times, they’re changing.
“They have an older blockchain and aren’t particularly easy to buy,” Shaame says in an interview with Cointelegraph. Counterparty (XCP) is an early contract layer of the Bitcoin blockchain that allowed creators to create and distribute their own tokens. As Bitcoin’s fees grew and Ethereum’s popularity grew, however, the tokens and contracting capabilities offered by Counterparty became largely obsolete.
Today it is a ghost town. “A lot of people don’t know how to use Counterparty at all,” Shaame confirms.
“They’re looking for these antiques, but they keep hitting a wall because they’re used to using OpenSea.”
Pause. Let’s get into our time machine for a moment and go back to the year 2015. It’s September. The price of Bitcoin is $ 236. Ethereum’s genesis block doesn’t even have two months. Smart contracts, as they will exist in the future, are just a dream. And Shaame recently launched a token sale for the very first mobile game based on blockchains, Spells of Genesis.
The main draw of the project was a series of digital business cards intended for integration into the game at launch. Each card was probably rare, with fantastic themed artwork based on moments and figures in early block history. The game’s most coveted card featured a purple-clad, druid-style Satoshi Nakamoto creating the Bitcoin blockchain. Its edition was only 200 cards.
NFTs did not yet exist
These were not NFTs in any modern sense, as those simply did not yet exist. Rather than everyone being a verifiable 1-by-1 (non-fungible), each card design featured a limited edition of interchangeable (fungible) tokens in addition to the Bitcoin chain. After its successful fundraiser, the game has released dozens of business cards with various release sizes and levels of rarity.
Fast forward six years, and the finished mobile game Spells of Genesis is collecting dust on your favorite app store. While the game increased in popularity for one or two years around the time of the initial coin offering boom, it was later overtaken by nonfungal projects like CryptoKitties, and its collectibles more or less faded into obscurity.
That’s until recently, according to Shaame:
“In the past few weeks, our team has suddenly been overwhelmed by a demand for Genesis Spells cards. Two weeks before that people went crazy for Rare Pepe cards. One of them sold for $ 300K.”
Pepe also attracts interest
He conveyed that many long-dormant NFTs, such as Rare Pepe, Force of Will and Mafia Wars, suddenly began to attract fresh interest from collectors as well. A collector and trader acting under the name Pkeane4osu tells Cointelegraph that the rise started in February, but actually started in early July. Now he throws 20-25 Anti-Party collections a day – some up to 4.5 Bitcoin:
“The growth in sales to new buyers has been unrealistic. Many have never used Counterparty, and some have never used Bitcoin. Interest is generally higher than I’ve ever seen. “
He also notes that the transformation in prices is especially shocking, as the Counterparty’s blockade was “close to a three-year stagnation” ahead of this sudden revival. “A lot of people who were once extremely active in the community just washed their hands of a Counterparty,” he explains. Today, however, even a dust-sized piece of the more popular collections has significant value for the right buyer. “About two weeks ago, I sold 0.1 of a Satoshi Card for 5 ETH – 1 / 10th of a card,” says Pkeane4osu.
Part of the reason for this quiet but growing interest seems to be a third solution called Emblem, which allows people to wrap counterpart tokens like ERC-721 assets – the NFT token standard – and exchange them with the Ethereum blockchain. Other websites, such as auction front Digirare, also appear as a way to get these obscure objects.
– KingKai (@kingkaidev) March 13, 2021
While each wrapped Emblem asset exists on the Ethereum blockchain for reasons of accessibility, they can still be downloaded to their blockchain of origin. That’s a good thing according to Shaame:
“People are looking to collect our original 2015 NFTs instead of brand new assets released on Ethereum. They see more value in the original sign.”
He also acknowledges that EverdreamSoft is working on its own multi-chain tools to help Genesis Spells owners easily move their cards between any blockchain they want:
“We want to allow users to keep our tokens on whatever chain they want. They should be able to move cards between Ethereum, Counterparty and all these alternative chains.”
Golden Beanie Babies?
Whether you believe they represent modern gold rush or are doomed to obscurity like the previous Beanie Babies, it’s hard to deny that NFTs can be ideal items with long-tail value. Their edges will never fade, they will never turn yellow or pale, but age will still probably reduce them and is therefore difficult to obtain. That shortage is not enough to value them though, according to Shaame:
“It’s also the emotional connection they create. Think about the toys you had when you were a kid. They are of no use and often just sit there collecting dust. However, it is very difficult to discard them. With a blockchain, we can easily keep the things we’ve collected over the course of our lives. They may even become one of the ways we define ourselves online. “
With the right closeness to nostalgia, maybe everything can become valuable. Even the tokenized waste of our lives could provide a way to verifiably prove: I was there. I was part of that moment.
For NFT archaeologists who aim to undermine those forgotten wells of nostalgia for profit, the clock is ticking. In the end there are only so many chain remains to discover.