NFT hunters are suddenly rediscovering these forgotten vintage collectibles
Love them or hate them, blockchain collectibles have a moment.
It’s fine art. It’s bad art. It’s good, bad art. People turn around monkeys and robots and pixelated punks. Tweets (arguably ownerless) are worth millions to the right buyer. Literal kids – we’re talking about people who weren’t even alive when Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper – are suddenly whales, and it may just feel like everyone is getting rich on that non-fungible JPEG money overnight will.
Of course, there is a lot to be said about how an object’s provenance relates to its value. CryptoPunks, for example – often incorrectly billed as the “first” non-fungible token or NFT series – are a well-known example of an old, long-dead project that is experiencing a renaissance in financial and social appreciation. A year ago nobody cared. You could have bought one for a few hundred dollars. Today this club is only for millionaires.
So why aren’t many of the crypto collectibles on Counterparty that experienced the same level of frenzy before CryptoPunks (and even the entire Ethereum ecosystem)?
According to Shaban Shaame, blockchain pioneer and CEO of software company EverdreamSoft, accessibility matters – and times are changing.
“They are on an older blockchain and are not particularly easy to acquire,” Shaame said in an interview with Cointelegraph. Counterparty (XCP) is an early contract layer on the Bitcoin blockchain that enabled creators to mint and distribute their own tokens. However, as Bitcoin’s fees rose and Ethereum’s popularity rose, the tokens and contract features offered by the counterparty largely became obsolete.
Today it is a ghost town. “A lot of people don’t even know how to use Counterparty,” confirms Shaame.
“They’re looking for those antiques but keep bumping into a wall because they’re so used to using OpenSea.”
Break. Let’s get into our time machine for a moment and travel back to 2015. It’s September. Bitcoin price is $ 236. Ethereum’s Genesis block isn’t even two months old. Smart contracts as they will exist in the future are just a dream. And Shaame has just started a token sale for the very first blockchain-based mobile game Spells of Genesis.
The main attraction of the project was a series of digital trading cards that were supposed to be incorporated into the game at launch. Each card was proven to be rare, with fantasy themes based on moments and characters in early blockchain history. The game’s most coveted card featured a purple-clad druid-style Satoshi Nakamoto making Bitcoin’s blockchain. The edition was only 200 cards.
NFTs did not exist yet
These weren’t NFTs in the modern sense because they just didn’t exist yet. Instead of each card design being demonstrably 1-of-1 (non-fungible), each card design contained a limited edition of exchangeable (fungible) tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. After its successful fundraiser, the game released dozens of trading cards with different edition sizes and rarities.
Six years later, the finished mobile game Spells of Genesis is gathering dust in your favorite app store. While the game gained popularity for a year or two at the time of the initial boom in coin supply, it was eventually overtaken by non-fungible projects like CryptoKitties, and its collectibles were more or less forgotten.
According to Shaame, that was until recently:
“In the last few weeks our team was suddenly overwhelmed with the demand for Spells of Genesis cards. Two weeks ago people were crazy about rare Pepe cards. One of them was sold for $ 300,000. “
Pepe also arouses interest
He reported that many long-dormant NFTs, such as Rare Pepe, Force of Will and Mafia Wars, suddenly aroused new interest among collectors as well. A collector and dealer who goes by the name Pkeane4osu tells Cointelegraph that the ascent began in February but really got going in early July. Now he sells 20-25 Counterparty collectibles a day – some for up to 4.5 Bitcoin:
“The increase in sales to new buyers was unreal. Many have never used the counterparty and some have never used Bitcoin. The interest is generally higher than I’ve ever seen. “
He also notes that the price change is particularly shocking given that the counterparty’s blockchain was “close to a three-year stalemate” prior to this sudden revival. “A lot of people who were once extremely active in the community just washed their hands off Counterparty,” he explains. Today, however, even a dust-sized sliver of the more popular collectibles has meaningful value to the right buyer. “About two weeks ago I sold 0.1 of a Satoshi card for 5 ETH – 1/10 of a card,” says Pkeane4osu.
Part of the reason for this quiet but growing interest seems to be a third-party solution called Emblem, which allows people to package counterparty tokens as ERC-721 assets – the NFT token standard – and over the Ethereum blockchain to act. Other websites, such as B. the auction front-end Digirare, also pop up to purchase these obscure items.
The counterparty’s rabbit hole for collectibles is surreal https://t.co/WpVtrHqvFq pic.twitter.com/Fe6V16Puoz
– KingKai (@kingkaidev) March 13, 2021
Although each packaged asset from Emblem is present on the Ethereum blockchain for accessibility reasons, they can still be outsourced to their original blockchain. According to Shaame, this is a good thing:
“People want to collect our original 2015 NFTs instead of releasing entirely new assets on Ethereum. You see more value in the original token. “
He also acknowledges that EverdreamSoft is working on its own multichain tools to help Spells of Genesis owners easily move their cards between any blockchain they want:
“We want to enable users to hold our tokens in any chain. You should be able to move cards between Ethereum, Counterparty and all of these alternative chains. “
Golden Beanie Babies?
Whether you believe they represent a modern day gold rush or how the beanie babies of yore fell into disuse, it’s hard to deny that NFTs have the potential to be ideal items with long-tail value. Their edges never get stained, they’ll never yellow or fade, but age probably still makes them scarce and therefore difficult to come by. However, according to Shaame, this scarcity is not enough to make them valuable:
“It’s also the emotional connection that they make. Think about the toys you had as a kid. They’re in no way useful and often just sit there collecting dust. But it’s super hard to throw away. With blockchain, we can easily store the things that we have collected over the course of our lives. They can even become one of the ways we define ourselves online. “
With the right proximity to nostalgia, everything can possibly become valuable. Even the tokenized detritus of our lives could provide a way to demonstrably demonstrate: I was there. I was part of that moment.
For NFT archaeologists who want to profitably dismantle these forgotten fountains of nostalgia, the clock is ticking. After all, there are only so many relics left in the chain to be discovered.