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Three NFT Ecosystems I’m Long On (Plus a Bonus)

Disclaimer: This is not financial advice and individuals should do their own research prior to making any investment. At the time of press, I have holdings in each project listed and disclose those amounts at the bottom of each project section.

With the NFT market being so volatile—and with that great risk comes great rewards—I realize that I am not the degen that I wish I was. I’m terrible at flipping and even worse at navigating the world of allow lists. So I’ve been looking at pooling my NFTs into several projects where the builders are at center stage. I have felt for the longest time that this NFT world has echoes to the dot-com world bubble of the late 90s. That time was eerily similar to the present day—if you had a “dot com” in your name and went public the pattern seemed to be that you’d double in one week, double again the second week and then be out of business the third. Obviously, this is a gross over exaggeration, but you get the point and see some of the parallels to the NFT world.

Clearly, there are some blue chips projects and collections that are highly likely to weather the storm of any NFT winter. But I feel you can count them on a couple of hands: Cryptopunks, Autoglyphs, Fidenza, Squiggle, Bored Ape Yacht Club, XCOPY and DEAFBEEF, and for the most part, inaccessible to me (save the BAYC I got in May 2021 and possibly a Squiggle that I could pick up now). However, there are some projects/universes that I believe have the potential to come out on the other side of this NFT frenzy as leaders in the new web3 world. While I hold bags in each of them (NOTE: I disclose my holdings at the bottom of each project section), this post is not an effort to “pump my bags,” but rather to show you my belief in some long-term holds.

But another challenge I have set for myself is to begin to not have a substantial amount of my net worth tied up in JPEGs. It is also time for me to begin taking profits, something I hope to become better at this year and something I dive into at the bottom of the post after encountering a recent tweet on this topic.

#1: Blitmap/Corruption(*s)/SUP

Sup.xyz, a company formed by Dom Hofmann and Bigpapap (now known as “Totally” after his original Blitmap composition), raised a $12M seed round with Paradigm to help foster open, fictional universes in web3. Blitmap is the first universe that they plan to nurture, with Corruption(*s) possibly becoming the second pending a community vote.

Blitmap is one of my largest bags, and I have held on tightly to it because I believe in it so much, thanks in large part to the leadership and innovation of Hofmann. I’ve written about Blitmap before (and contribute to the community newsletter), but in a nutshell, this community is what kept me in web3. It is literally the best-of-the-best and filled with builders. There have been several big developments with Blitmap in the recent weeks:

Blitmap

1. Blitmap was the first project that was folded into Sup after the seed round. The two Sup founders hosted the first ever Blitmap Community Call that was absolutely incredible—you can read my rough notes here and listen to the recording here.

2. Hofmann has been demo-ing (and subsequently deleting) a number of videos on Twitter that showcase Paper, the codename for a flat/2D browser-based gaming engine.

3. Rivals, the second expansion of the Blitmap universe, was announced to be incredibly high-fidelity 3D assets. Since that call announcement, the name of the rivals was switched from Log.0x to Logos and the art is fire.

The teaser of the Logos art that got a lot of folks interested in Blitmap!

4. Lore is landing soon, and Hofmann teased a map of the universe that the Blitnauts inhabit.

5. A Quest Hub was announced where people can sort of sign up for quests and get paid for developing lore—this was a belief that both Hofmann and Totally expressed on the call where people contributing to the universe will have a path to make money.

But in light of all this, the one major thing that sticks out is how the general Crypto Twitter world has cottoned to the Logos reveal. The Blitmap holders channel was overrun with newcomers after the avatars were teased. And with one key to unlock a rival for each Blitmap and Blitnaut, we’ve seen a lot of action as of late.

Disclosure: I hold 21 Blitmaps and 14 Blitnauts and often write for the community newsletter.

Corruption(*s)

Corruption(*s) is a project that Hofmann created as part performance art piece, NFT stretching the bounds of the blockchain development and an experiment in community formation. This project is hard to explain in limited text, and you’re best bet to learn more about it is by hopping into their Discord and going through some of the FAQs. At any rate, the community was recently posed with a decision: should Corruption(*s) be folded into the Sup company as a universe that they help steward?

The decision will be made in the very near future, but one thing that is incredibly intriguing is that Hofmann rolled out a feature in Discord called “Hyperlink” that enables the holders of both companies to interact with each other.

Corruptions 0x1EB Wilted Rose Deviation.

This was mind blowing to say the least and helps solve a major sticking point in web3: how to tie together communities that share common ground without having to grant explicit access. Right now, both communities are kind of fumbling around with what this kind of connection means—it’s more of a novelty than anything else. I will be interested to see if some of the rich conversation from Blitmap holders can be replicated.

Disclosure: I hold 9 Corruption(*s).

#2: Lootverse: Loot/Genesis Project/Realms/Crypts and Caverns/Hyperloot

When Hofmann stealthily launched Loot (for Adventurers) in August of 2021, I was fortunate to mint some NFTs from contract and all, but one, were sold soon after. Early on, I understood the importance of Loot and what it represented, but sold for several reasons: (1) I’m a pop-sci fantasy person (think more Star Wars/LotR movies) and not deep-fantasy, (2) given that background, the price was right to sell (never look down on people taking profits) and (3) I was turned off by all the speculation/moon bois.

Loot (for Adventurers) Bag 3035.

But again, in spite of these things, I saw the promise of the project. While degens were worried about floor prices, builders began to build. And through that hard work and grinding, the Lootverse is maturing into a vibrant ecosystem.

Genesis Project

The Genesis Project, stewarded by TimShel, has seen a lot of momentum recently. Users can distill items from their original Loot bags that belong to a particular order. From there, you can “summon” a Genesis Adventurer (GA) by collecting all eight pieces of the same order and minting that GA as an NFT. There have been individuals ban together to craft their GAs by pooling together resources, others have focused on writing lore, music and creating art around the adventurers.

Wiglaf Lumens, Genesis Adventurer 447.

*Disclosure: I have assembled two GAs and hold two Mana.

Realms (for Adventurers)

You then have the Realms project that is led by Lord of a Few (LoaF). While I sold off my handful of Loot bags prior to the Adventure Gold drop (ACK!) I was very fortunate to have minted all the Realms that corresponded with them (WOOT!). This project seemed to be dead—at least to an outsider—and when one of my Realms with rare Mithral resources got a 1.8 ETH offer I quickly sold. Then, I started digging in to their white paper and realized that was a mistake!

The Realms Atlas of the Loot world.

The Realms team has just constantly shipped. They are working on creating their game on StarkNET, an L2 network, that should result in next-to-nothing transaction/gas fees while playing the game there and then enable all the information to be “rolled up” to Mainnet. While waiting for StarkNET to come online, the team built an interactive atlas that not only shows the realms but also the GAs and the Crypts and Caverns dungeons (more on this later). The in-game currency will be $LORDS, and Realms owners were able to accumulate these tokens by staking their NFT. Staking payouts are currently roughly 175 $LORDS per Realm per week.

Disclosure: I am currently staking 6 Realms in addition to funding the $LORDS liquidity pool.

Crypts and Caverns

If Realms are the world map, then Crypts and Caverns by threepwave are the maps to the specific sites/dungeons/rooms. A generative project that created a random assortment of room sizes with doors, points of interest, walls and environments. I first met threepwave when I helped escrow a trade of one of his Cryptoadz for a Blitnaut to bring him into the Blitmap community (I unfortunately didn’t get one of his Squiggles for a Blitnaut, but was happy to help all the same!).

We began talking and I realized my approach to this world was very similar to his and we began a friendship. I soon learned of a project he was to launch called Crypts and Caverns and I offered to review the landing page/website copy that explained the project prior to launch. Reading through it got me more and more excited about what threepwave was building—essentially, he wanted to make a sort of on-chain protocol that could be called on by other developers to build out blockchain games.

Valley of Fire, Crypts and Caverns #2786.

Admittedly, this sounded ambitious, and my first set of mints were to help a friend out. The minting process of Crypts and Caverns would be considered slow at best. But threepwave kept grinding, not on marketing false promises and roadmaps, but in building connections with other builders.

Then all the things happened, and they seemed to happen all at once. Even though Crypts and Caverns was released on November 21, 2021, it didn’t mint out until the night of February 3, 2022 after the integration with Realms caught the public eye. A whale ended up minting about 3,000 of the NFTs that evening and I caught the start of this in real time just looking through the activity while chatting with threepwave after I saw the Realms white paper. People began to notice, and the collection minted out that night.

Since that time threepwave has been head down building the connection with Realms. In a call, he released that the different environments would create unique resources for the Realms game, including Demonhide generated by the Embers Glow NFTs. Owners who stake their Crypts and Caverns will be rewards with these in-game items that can be resold on the StarkNET integration (NOTE: staking has not yet rolled out for Crypts and Caverns).

But the most intriguing point about Crypts and Caverns is that it is not just a Loot NFT. Instead, it is more like a protocol that can be called on by any other project. And threepwave’s goal is to develop a relationship with those developers to ensure that the owners of the Crypts and Caverns NFTs get a payout. Case in point: the forthcoming Heroes game will use the maps in gameplay and pay out the NFT owners in $HEART tokens.

*Disclosure: I hold 29 Crypts and Caverns NFTs, of which one was gifted to me by threepwave for reviewing the landing page copy prior to launch.

HyperLoot and Loot Explorers

Finally, there are a couple of projects that are trying to visualize the Lootbags. HyperLoot is one such project that I covered for the Blitmap newsletter. The team built out high-quality 3D assets that was used to mint 20,000 NFTs based on the original Loot bags, More Loot and assembled GAs. But what is so exciting is that they open-sourced the animation library and any developer can call on it to create Loot characters based on any number of items/bags, regardless if they hold those bags. In other words, HyperLoot made the heavy lift of asset creation that can be repurposed throughout web3 due to the CC0 license.

HyperLoot #19772, the visualization of Genesis Adventurer #447, Wiglaf Lumens.

Loot Explorers is another visualization of Loot bags in a very web3 cute PFP format. The minting experience was incredible and while this project has been quiet as of late, there has been chatter in the GA server about it and I thought it worth mentioning.

Curtis Lykar, Loot Explorers #1531.

*Disclosure: I hold five HyperLoot and four Loot Explorers.

The biggest takeaway from Loot is that out of chaos, order has emerged. And while I know that there are a number of other projects—some I’m sure I have woefully neglected for which I apologize—these five have seemed to gain traction and coalesce around each other. The Realms team has integrated GAs and Crypts and Caverns into it’s map. HyperLoot let you mint a character based on the GA. There is talk about GAs minting a specific Loot Explorer. And Crypts and Caverns will be creating unique resources for Realms. This cycle is virtuous, dear adventurer.

#3: Chain Runners

Chain Runners is an on-chain 10k PFP collection of humans, bots, aliens and skulls that are inhabitants of Mega City. From the minting experience, we understand that there is a power known as Somnus that attempts to control the population, and seemingly the Runners goal is to Hack the Planet. The art is on-point, the community is tight and the team constantly ships. 

Chain Runners #35, notice the nod to Blitmap?

There are some very cyberpunk vibes happening here and there is even a “runners console” where you can type commands and write lore. The team also recognized that some individuals may not like certain traits (such as smoking) so they turned on the ability to toggle on/off certain features to generate a PFP. 

And if you are looking for a degen alpha channel, the Runners have got you covered. This group of people are constantly on the lookout for the latest projects and there is a stream of conversation around the recent happenings. While I am admittedly a poor flipper, I enjoy dipping my toes in the alpha channel time-to-time.

In early May, the XR runners will land. These 3D runners are sort of an expansion pack for the community. Each genesis runner will receive an XR for free and there will be 10,000 additional XR runners available in both a reverse Dutch auction and allow list mint. Not only are the XR assets ready to go as avatars in the three-dimensional metaverse, but they’ve also made an augmented reality filter that lets you become the runner. The team is composed of many early Blitmap holders and an original Blitmap artist, and they have come together to create one of the most interesting projects in the space.

*Disclosure: I hold 22 Chain Runners.

#4: Taking Profits and Setting Aside Taxes

There’s one more bonus project that I’m investing in. It’s not a sexy one, though. Hell, it isn’t a web3 project at all, but rather ensuring that I’m taking profits and setting aside taxes. As I mentioned at the top of this post, this environment feels awfully like the late 90s. And while there will most certainly be a “Google” and “Amazon” that emerges from this paradigm shift, there will also be hundreds and thousands of projects that end up on the ash heap of history.

This is not FUD. This is just fact.

Unfortunately, even though I feel fantastic about the above projects, I also can understand that I am no prognosticator. Plenty of people much smarter than I have been wrong in their predictions—and while I may be blinded to my own confidence, I am mature enough to admit that I most certainly have blind spots.

For that reason, one of the big shifts in my approach will be taking more profits and setting aside money for taxes (a topic that I previously addressed on this blog). So while I am long on the projects above—and will retain a number of the pieces—they are also some of my largest bags that I will look to take profits on this year.

The reason is that I am no venture capitalist, no matter how much I’d like to be. I’m just a normal dude who got lucky on some bets. If you would have told me a year ago that I would have a “portfolio” of this size in NFTs, I would have called you a liar. “Why would I have this much money tied up in JPEGs?” I would have asked. And it’s a combination of two reasons: (1) the most obvious being FOMO/greed and (2) the secondary being that I believe that web3 is on precipice of everything changing.

The second reason is compelling, the first is damning.

While VCs can make big dollar bets, I need to be content on making smaller bets and taking some profits to ensure the well-being of my family. This has been on my mind for a while, but it was cemented when I saw a tweet from a well-known crypto investor who said in a thread (this is my paraphrasing as I lost the tweet) that a generation will look back on this moment stunned by how much wealth was lost (if you have a link to that tweet, please pass along!).

In short, I believe that this person is correct. This is not to say that some projects won’t go to the moon—there will certainly be some projects akin to buying Apple at $13 a share or Amazon at a $100. But accurately predicting these and gambling a high percentage of your net worth is a game that I don’t have the stomach for playing.

But here is the good news if you have a decent amount of NFT holdings: you may consider shifting your mindset from WAGMI to we have made it. Just don’t let it slip through your fingers. If you had a sizeable position in Apple at $13, you could have sold half at $50 and held onto the other half until today and still made out like a bandit while protecting yourself if it didn’t work out.

Admittedly, this is harder to say than do. I am struggling with this immensely right now. But I do believe that we can have our cake and eat it too. For example, I cashed out half of my Ape Coin I was gifted by Yuga Labs. This was an INSANE gift, a life changing amount of money for many, and yet most hold fast. I am not criticizing that decision. However, I am just offering some advice that seems to run in short supply: taking profits doesn’t mean taking all the profits. You can take half, a third, a quarter, ten percent and still be in the game while protecting yourself of any downfall.

Even though I believe in each of the projects above, and plan on holding a certain amount of each of them for the foreseeable future, it’s this “project” that I need to increase my position in. 

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