Non Fungible Tokens have been around the crypto ecosystem as far back as 2012. The very first papers discussing their potential even had some familiar names attached to them, Vitalik Buterin being one of them (though this was before Ethereum was truly concepted). At its core, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a cryptocoin representing some sort of non-crypto specific thing on chain. The avid reader of this site should have a general understanding of what NFTs are, so we will skip going over the simple things, but the most common application of these NFTs is artwork. Variant NFTs have been made that contain things like videos and even puzzles.
It’s an interesting use of blockchain to be sure – and though you might think the value proposition is not so apparently obvious, one needs only spend a bit of time on various crypto specific forums and Twitter to understand just how compelling these ideas are – how quickly new NFT platforms can grow and spread, how they can give artists exponential revenue potential, and how transformative it can be. Of course, dear reader, you don’t come here to learn about the metaphysical elements of universal art tokens. No, you’re here to make money; and that’s the thread we will be following today. How these NFTs are tokenizing talent, and how to profit from them massively.
It’s no small statement to say that NFTs are currently the latest craze hitting the markets, with new projects and platforms hitting Ethereum nodes near you at a fervent pace that would overwhelm even the most studious of market researchers. Tokens are minted with just the cost of gas (ha!) that then go on to sell for six figures or more, all in the space of months, weeks, and in some rare cases, days. The reason for these sorts of outsized returns of course has lots to do with the relatively small sliver of people who can actually tell the wheat from the chaff, and take that informational edge to later sell to someone else at a healthy premium. NFTs are a niche within a niche, even smaller than the DeFi sector, which is why it becomes trivial to find and generate alpha for those intrepid enough to look.
If anyone here remembers Cryptokitties, you’ll recall how this was the first true NFT platform – and how it completely bottlenecked the Ethereum network for weeks on end as people were crafting their digital cats on chain. That hype quickly fizzled out, partially because Ethereum couldn’t support the app, but also partially because it was too early to the market. Three years layer and what has changed? Plenty has – and this is the core of our investment thesis and why we think NFTs are quickly entering their Golden Age.
These things clogged Ethereum for weeks on end.
Look at your typical crypto investor/trader. What things are they putting their money into? Where are they diverting resources, and what sorts of products are they after? In 2017, the sort of thing that was popular was platforms – Ethereum was the hype, and if you slapped a shoddy github together and got Ian Balina to talk about your project, you too could be an “ETH competitor” and rake in tens of millions. It was an easy cash grab, and that was where all the focus was. Fat protocols were the only game in town. Fast forward to 2021, and the environment is a lot more varied. DeFi in particular has led the charge, and the myriad of bootstrapped projects in the ecosystem all vie in fierce competition for the liquidity of each actor in the system. Though many of these are simple APY draws (earn X$ by staking your tokens), many others are becoming increasingly more interesting, and this sort of attention to utility and fundamentals like never seen before sets the stage for the rise of NFTs.
In many ways, NFTs are really the final synthesis of crypto economics, game theory, and killer features that only blockchain can provide. Taking a look at the field, and it seems the market agrees:
With headlines like these, it is no wonder that people are flocking by the hundreds to try and find that next rare NFT token or speculative investment. Of course, we’re in a bull market – so let us temper your silly ideas of buying just any trash NFT and making it big (remind anyone of 2017?). We are of the opinion that very few of these platforms are actually worth their salt, and even fewer will stand the test of time. What’s appealing as an investor is more than just quick cash grabs, but longer term fundamentals. That’s where you really make the big bucks. A few of these are part of our portfolio, of course, but none are as interesting as our investment in the DOKI project.
When DOKI first started, it was just a typical DeFi finance shitcoin, the type you would expect from the deluge of YFI clones after Andre Cronje famously made it a mainstream topic. There was absolutely nothing special about the token, other than the people involved – they might have been anonymous, but they were brilliant. Those brilliant founders ultimately decided to make the switch from a proto-typical DeFi project into one focusing exclusively on NFTs – and what a change it has been. While other NFT projects focus on stupid things like unsustainable yields and hype by getting twitter influencers on board, this team has been quietly working on delivering their decentralized gacha experiment – one that has been returning huge numbers. On the first day of their product release, Doki outperformed Rarible’s (the leading NFT platform) volume by over 10x. You heard that right.
Of course, crypto traders are as generally unintelligent as they are laden with capital to hand over, and the fact that DOKI was no longer doing DeFi made them collectively shit-their-pants and sell en masse. Damn the fundamentals, right? Smarter investors will pick up their bags at a wonderful discount, smarter investors such as the ones reading this very article.
But what makes gacha special anyway?
For those who don’t know, gacha games were first introduced to mainstream users a decade ago through various mobile games. The concept involves taking people’s hard earned cash and trading it in for 2D waifus, power up items, or other nerdy things. It’s an absolutely massive market, particularly because it is just about as close to gambling without actually calling it that (same with lootbox mania). The global gacha market has generated billions in returns, and it’s a tried and true formula that people continue to enjoy.
The interesting thing here is that Doki’s product is the only one of its type on the market. They have a beautiful eye for design, the user experience is fun and engaging, and the product truly speaks for itself. Needless to say, the artwork is also a tier above anything else on the market right now. Go try and roll their machine if you want to be convinced, that experience will do more than this article ever could. This sort of unique value proposition combined with good fundamentals ultimately makes it an attractive purchase for the long term.
So what do we have here? We have a few elements in our pot that are starting to come together. We have pseudo gambling (degenerate crypto anons are more than happy to tell you about their own streaks), NFTs entering their Golden Era, and topped off with the world’s most insane crypto bull run. What do you get when you combine all of these? We won’t do all your homework here, but you do the math.
NFTs are transformative in the way they tokenize talent, lucrative in the way their mechanics reward early investors, and interesting beyond typical speculation. It’s a concept that crypto believers keep coming back to over and over again through the years – and it may prove in the long run as one of crypto’s killer features. We’re heavy proponents of the NFT Golden Age, and we are investing heavily in select projects – which we’ll be selling at a hefty premium when the herd catches up.