Collectibles Craze Part Three: Deadfellaz, Dorkis and The Avatar Project
For the third and final part of the collectables series, I want to discuss different motivations for collecting in general, but with specific examples from the avatar projects I have collected over the last couple of weeks. This post will talk about 5 different projects, why I got on board, and what I get from them.
The first motivation for collecting is income.
I will use the Deadfellaz project for this example. I had not researched Deadfellaz when a friend said, “Come check out this project. The drop is today!” I had not interviewed anyone from the Deadfellaz team. I had not visited their discord. I had never even heard of them, yet at my friend's encouragement, I still bought 6 Deadfellas NFTs the second they dropped. 10,000 generated zombies were sold out within 10 minutes. With gas, I was able to grab 6 for a total of 0.24ETH, and I immediately listed them.
Two of the six sold within minutes for 0.20ETH each. Netting me a 0.16ETH profit for 10 minutes of action and leaving 4 assets still in my wallet. It isn’t hard to understand the appeal of this kind of collecting, and if you have capital, you can do this at scale. I do find gambling to be exciting, but I worry about how fun and easy it seems. Luck is always easy to come and too easily gone.
Since the drop and my quick profits, I still haven’t done much research on the Deadfellaz. I am sure it is a lovely project, but I am trying to illustrate here that sometimes collectors won’t give a damn about the art. Some collectors will only want to make quick flips. But is this the way I want to collect? Do I really want to hold a bag full of avatar leftovers?
The second motivation for collecting is networking.
This seems more my style. I’d rather invest in people. I know relationships can be risky investments too, but it’s the human connection that interests me. It’s just how I am made. So for the last of the 10k generative avatar project, I want to talk about is Dorkis.
This project was brought to my attention by its developer, Frank Poncelet. Frank and I have collaborated before, on the FIRST! exhibition. I know him as logical and extremely hard working. He is honest and a little hot-headed, but in a loveable way. He is an asset I would like to hold on to, and I will give my attention to most projects he is involved with. After speaking with Frank, my interest peaked, and I decided to interview Dorkis founder, FCC.
JL: How did Dorkis get started? What was step one?
FCC: Well, a couple of months ago, there were so many projects rug pulling or just being abandoned, leaving people with such bad taste, and I kept seeing good projects dying due to people dumping hard below the floor price. (selling for less than the current minimum price) This gave me an idea regarding a burning mechanic, so buyers would be less inclined to dump on the community. I figured it would be a way to provide some stability. So, that’s when I tweeted this:
FCC: Tori hit me up almost straight away. I own a few of her works, so I had ZERO doubt she’d do an amazing job. Frank hit me up very shortly after. Then, I made the discord, and we started talking about it, shooting ideas, and that’s when Tori mentioned she wanted to make something extremely nerdy. The name Dorkis was decided then and there.
JL: Why hand-drawn on paper?
FCC: That’s an artistic choice from Tori, she likes doing things on paper rather than digitally, and most of her NFT art is done that way. I think it makes us extremely unique.
JL: Can you explain how the burning mechanic will work?
FCC: I hope no more than 40% will be burned, but I also hope no less than 20% will be burned. Effectively the mechanic is that, within 24 hours of selling out, you can burn the Dorkis you don’t like and receive an 80% refund (gas not included). By doing that, you’re filling another collection, which is called the cemetery. Cemetery Dorkis will retain the same traits the burned ones had, but change their backgrounds to gravestones! That collection will be used for something VERY cool around Halloween, but I can’t say too much about it.
JL: Will dead dorks be resold?
FCC: No, each Dorkis buried in the cemetery is removed from the market and will change the rarity of the other Dorkis, a community curation of sorts.
JL: How much will you be selling them for, and when is the drop?
FCC: The selling price will be 0.07ETH, and we are dropping soon, September.
I find Dorkis’ traditional style and innovative contract interesting. I like that they are thinking about utility and their burn mechanism seems to remove some of the risks. I like the artwork, and I trust the team. Dorkis will definitely be a project I watch closely from their discord.
The third reason for collecting is emotional.
No one pitched me any of the following collectables. I just wandered the crypto space, and these collections just arrived in front of me, as if by magic rather than marketing. It seems I have the strongest emotional connection to these smaller projects. They feel like secrets only a few people get to know about.
“AI BO has only one body and is female. But sometimes, it is similar to a male. She likes to eat grilled fish. Likes to sleep on a soft cloth. And likes scratches. She hates slimes and dirt.” -Eliz_Bee
I found and purchased the last available AI BO from the season 2 drop. It feels appropriate that AI BO holds a clock to remind me that I was almost too late to grab her. There is a personality to this cat that makes me love it. It seems so stubborn and playful. I love that she looks annoyed that her glasses have two lenses, even though AI BO only has one eye. Eliz_Bee already has some great lore built up around this character and has incorporated some cool unlockable content. I can’t wait to see how Eliz_Bee’s AI BO collection develops, but I know I will be watching this artist’s 1/1s even closer.
I saw the lovelies scrolling on Twitter, and I was instantly helpless to their cuteness! I have many very personal reasons why I love cute lizards, eating good food, drawn by a teacher, so I just had to buy them! This is truly my prefered brand of collecting. This is the kind of collecting that makes art priceless.
And finally, the last project I have been stalking is The Avatar Project from the brilliant minds of Draper and Robek. This project is extra special because it combines all three motivations for collecting. I found them by accident when I was looking for something else, and, as a writer, I quickly fell in love with their satirical word-based avatars (emotional). I had heard of Robek before, but not Draper, and I thought this project would be a great way to get to know them both better (networking), and with a list price of next to nothing, there is money to be made (income). So as I do with all art I am interested in, I asked a few questions.
JL: How did the avatar project get started?
Draper: Do you want the short version or the long version?
JL: The long one, of course.
Draper: Robek and I had been joking about these 10k mint avatar projects on discord. He’d put a witty takedown up on his FnD which prompted me to share with him something I’d been playing within the same area.
It felt like all these avatar collectors seemed more interested in the traits behind the artwork than the artwork itself. So the rough idea was that instead of using traits and converting them into art, the traits would become ‘the art’ itself. I.e. instead of drawing a pair of cool sunglasses, you’d just write ‘cool sunglasses’. We both found the idea funny, so we decided to team up and The Avatar Project was born.
JL: Do you write these, or are they generative?
Draper: We write them, partly because each one is an intentional message or joke and partly because we’re idiots (which puts generative out of reach).
JL: Do you and Robek come up with each one together?
Draper: It’s a mix, some we write separately, other times we’re just riffing on stuff together. However, anything that has some cool moving element or glitch effect, that’s all Robek.
JL: How many avatars will there be?
Draper: We have a rough target in mind of getting to 150 and then seeing where we are. For now, it is definitely just meant to be fun. We have discussed some bigger plans, which we’re excited about, but also feels a lot more serious and a proper time commitment — so the near term plan is definitely just focusing on doing what we’re doing now.
JL: How long did the first batch take to sell out?
Draper: We expected a slow start to the project. But somehow, about 40 people joined our discord on day 1, and so our first 10–15 pieces sold out immediately via discord raffle. Some people seem to get it quickly, but it’s not always the case. I remember a Beanie piece in one of our early batches that someone sent to the real Beanie on Twitter… his reply ‘I don’t get it.
JL: Do you have other projects?
Draper: I have a couple of things I’m starting to get off the ground. But I’m still working a full-time job, and there are only so many hours in the day.
JL: What’s your job?
Draper: I’m a creative director at an ad agency.
Shortly after our interview, I was able to participate in The Avatar Project’s second drop on their discord. It was a much more civilised event than these massive 10k drops, which often feel like grabbing candy from a busted piñata. Instead, this drop was sorted by the wheel-o-fun lottery. There were 20 lots that I could sign up for, and I put my name on the 17 avatars I liked the best. There is no buying sight unseen with this project. Instead, each lot got a spin of a wheel with all the hopeful buyer’s names on it. The winner of the spin then had 24 hours to purchase the NFT for 0.015ETH, the cost of minting. Each buyer can only buy one per lottery, so with about 30 buyers in the room and 20 lots up for grabs, I was feeling confident. Sadly, the wheel was not with me, and I left The Avatar Project’s server that day empty-handed. Well, almost, I did make a few new friends.
The duo will be spinning the wheel again soon, giving off the next 20 lots for pennies. You can guarantee I will be there, hoping to get a gem from some nice folks with big brains. I hope I am lucky enough to buy my favourite, the only Avatar from all the projects in this series that I would actually use as my profile picture.
I really enjoyed my excursion into the world of collectables. I hope you found the journey and the projects I chose interesting. I don’t know if I will buy many more collectables in the future, but I am glad to experience the moment and see first-hand what the craze is all about.