Today the metaverse needs an update because culture is apparently just randomly generated from history. Read on to discover a lost generation of crypto natives, an NFT project we love because they totally ripped off our idea, and a buyer of JPEGs named after a 14th century Italian banker (who may or may not be Snoop Dogg).
In other words, everything important on the Internet, in one email.
Chad & El Prof
Okay listen up — this story short.
A Twitter user named Cozomo ‘de Medici released their own epic thread earlier this month, telling ‘a tale of ego, envy, recklessness, & sleepless nights’ ending in known holdings worth ~$17m. Unfortunately, despite being a crypto heavyweight, Medici’s clearly a Merlot lightweight — the thread peters out by the bottom of the first glass.
The story is short, but there’s a lot to unpack. Basically, after missing a floor sweep of CryptoPunk apes, Medici managed to buy two zombies, Cozom and Rhino, shortly before they were repriced. Probably sounds like nonsense, but here’s the gist.
As with the regular art market, it’s rare to see an NFT resold for less than the buying price, especially from a flagship collection like the Punks. A ‘floor sweep’ is when buyers snatch up the lowest priced NFTs in a collection, raising the overall value, and leading sellers to reprice their old listings to fit the new demand.
Medici got the Punks for 850eth a piece — a whopping $2m each. But in the ape floor sweep, the prices went from 1600 to 2200eth in a matter of hours, so this buyer knew the timing would never be better, and snatched it up moments before repricing.
Of course, being the crypto sphere, it only gets weirder from there. Medici is also possibly literally Snoop Dogg, who’s well on his way to topping Kanye and Drake with a patently weird album rollout. Whatever the case, the thread is worth a read, if only to better understand the fervor and ‘cultural ponzi-nomics’ surrounding NFTs.
For the past 7 days, the NFT gods have rained content onto our ether and I, having poured hours away sifting through trash on the garbage island slowly but surely accumulating on both the literal and metaphorical OpenSeas, have a controversial stud for this Thursday’s column:
As any good HOR for my adventures on OpenSea knows, this piece puts the ‘ificial’ in ‘art’ — a machine learning algorithm generates each piece, clustered around themes that will present themselves to collectors over time as they are created, minted, and sold, with a guarantee that the collection will be limited to 2,500 pieces.
Aside from challenging my understanding of the English language, this concept also challenges my standing that computers cannot create art — I do feel an emotional connection to the piece. Whether it’s the color scheme (I’m a sucker for the rendered death of the American dream) or the hypebeast in me responding to the ‘King James meets J. Cole’s KOD’ vibe of the thing, there is truth in it. If I had a grand to drop on it, I would.
Fucking beep-boop artwork aside, I do think there’s a larger conversation to be had as to what constitutes art. @3lpr0f on Twitter if you have some thoughts.
Our Biggest Sales of the Weak are:
A Robolox outtake went for 80eth — the cost of a Bentley Bentayga.
An 8bit Doodle went for 150eth — the cost of a Dorset country home.
Some Asshole [actual title] went for 1300eth — the cost of an island nation.
(To be fair it’s probably Snoop Dogg’s now too.)
I’m of the rare breed who owns an e-book and a bookshelf, reads novels and Twitter threads, won’t mansplain your ear off in a hipster speakeasy about either. (Whoops.) Words — our main mode of communication — are the backbone of human progress.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, to find the written word all over the blockchain. But I was. It has not been underreported that NFTs are mostly used to sell seizure-inducing scribbles, TIME stories no one’s read in 20 years, and fucking Neopets. Still, we HORs believe they could be used for so much more, and get really excited when we’re validated.
This week, I discovered a small but diverse set of writers across various platforms selling NFTs. I knew I wasn’t the first to propose writers take advantage of a decentralized, secure means of transferring ownership and collecting royalties — which, when your entire career revolves around the whims of publishers and algorithms, is game changing. I’m just glad some are acting on it already.
Here are three brilliant use cases of crypto writing to claim you saw first before they go mainstream:
Blake Butler, founding editor of HTMLGIANT, sold a gif of a screen scrolling through the manuscript of his unpublished future fiction novel, Decade, for 5eth (~$15k). The 1/1 PDF went to the buyer as unlockable content.
Brickwall runs The Chaintale, an ongoing NFT project where the buyer of the last chapter gets to write the next.
Kalen Iwamoto released Twelve, an NFT poem doubling as a treasure hunt — written using 12 seed words of a wallet containing 12 NFTs from 12 artists, with 12 clues as unlockable content. Whoever solves them all takes the contents of the wallet for themselves. Talk about Unity of Effect.
We waited for a sponsor until we had one we knew you’d love, and boy is it a doozy. Do you love NFTs? Yeah? Well how about boobs? Cause that’s — that’s pretty much what we got for you. It’s NFT boobs.
Seriously though, digititties — the new collection from our in-house artist Madison Jesseka — is everything a Culture HOR sponsor should be. It appeals to just about every dark corner of the web you can imagine, without clouding your conscience, because it’s for a Good Cause™.
digititties serves as an effective reboot of the ‘I Love Boobies’ campaign (aka those few months when all the sk8r bois in middle school wore explicit rubber bracelets) intended to reignite conversation around the oversexualization of the female nipple.
2/1000 are live now on OpenSea. Free what’s yours. Be your own sugar baddie.
Steal our idea — we’ll promote you.
Look. We’re not in it for the money. (Not like we’re making any to begin with, but even if we were, we wouldn’t be.) We’re in it because we genuinely believe Web 3.0 is the future, and we’ll promote anyone who proves it — even if we’re competing with them.
Need more proof? Here’s Alto City Royalties. They popped up on our radar when one of their lightly edited Google Maps screenshots landed in the top 5 sales on OpenSea. Sure, the artwork itself might be worthy of El Prof’s daily roasts, but the concept is brilliant — and we’re not just saying so because we thought of it first.
The owner of an NFT version of Alto City’s maps also owns a portion of the royalties generated by subsequent sales of merch featuring the same image. Although print on demand pocket squares is a little too ‘early aughts pick up artist’ to suggest a significant return on investment, it’s the idea we love, not necessarily the execution.
This is just another example of revolutionary use cases on the blockchain that validate our delusions of a looming utopia. No big deal. Check out Alto City here.