Until recently, I knew very little about NFTs but the space has become difficult to ignore. I wanted to figure out what the hell was going on. Why are people paying millions of dollars for profile pictures?
So I decided to immerse myself in the world of NFTs. To go down the rabbit hole and attempt to make some sense of this crazy phenomenon.
“It’s a JPEG. Can’t you just right-click and save it?”Someone you know, 2021
The simple answer is: Yes. Yes you can. But like me, at some point you’ll realise that the answer doesn’t matter. And you’re asking the wrong question.
Rookie Mistakes – You Gotta Make ‘Em
So I bought some ETH, set up a Metamask wallet and opened an OpenSea account. Ready to go.
I Started browsing the art on OpenSea to buy my first NFTs, but I didn’t exactly throw a ton of money into this. It’s just a research project, after all, and I still had that fear of buying an image online. The logical part of my brain was telling me ‘No. You can’t spend that much money on a JPEG’.
So in truly tentative fashion I bought a cheap cartoon hamster and a Pepe card.
I liked the hamster – it looked a bit like one of my favourite football players. The Pepe card? Well, the less said the better. I soon realised that the hamsters had a total volume in the trillions, so not exactly what you’d call scarce. And the Pepe card was one of a series out of multiple series. Pretty much anyone could have one, but nobody really wanted one.
I’d paid a small amount of ETH (roughly $20 & $100) for them, and sold both at a small loss. This experience also taught me about gas fees. So, in truth, I sold both for a big loss!
I wanted to figure out how you could buy NFTs earlier – to get in at the start and watch the price increase. Instead of eventually being priced out of buying on the secondary market.
Whitelist and Minting Angry Boars
I found Angry Boars on NiftyDrops, an app that lists upcoming projects. There would be 10,000 unique Boars and presale would start on September 15th. The price was 0.04 which was in my kinda ballpark. And better still, I genuinely liked the art. The Boars on show at that stage just had a lovable quirkiness about them. They made me laugh.
I downloaded and joined Discord – Yes, really. My son uses Discord to talk to his mates when they’re gaming. For me, I’ve never used it. I just knew it as a cooler version of Slack.
I did have the fear that I’d be talking to a bunch of youngsters, and I wouldn’t understand their language. This was partially true. Not that they were all young, but I did find myself Googling terms and phrases like “Wen Moon”, “LFG”, “WAGMI” etc.
To guarantee I could mint a Boar, first I had to get on the whitelist. The presale list. To do this I had to get up to level 2 in the Discord server by chatting and engaging with the community. Unless you’re completely new to Discord and NFTs, I probably sound like an idiot here. Fair enough.
Seemed like a lot of people were happy. Sharing gifs and memes and joking around. So I just joined in. Got a little bit carried away and excited with it all, to tell the truth. I remember walking down to the supermarket, phone in hand, talking to random people, sharing stupid gifs, nearly getting run over. You know how it goes if you’ve ever “grinded”.
Boom! I made it to level 2. And lots of people congratulated me. Felt good!
So now I was on the whitelist. Just had to wait until the 15th so I could mint the Boars. I had about enough ETH in Metamask to mint two of them. Obviously, I minted as soon as I could but just got 2 images of a big flashing question mark in my wallet. It was hard to know if I should be excited by this, or if I’d just thrown a few hundred dollars down the drain.
Oh well, it’s just research. And research costs money – that’s what I told myself.
Public Sale and Reveal
It seemed like a long wait for the reveal, felt like two weeks although history will probably tell me it was only a few days. I’ve got to admit, I didn’t spend much time in Discord and didn’t contribute much after qualifying for the whitelist. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t see the point. I got what I wanted by getting a presale spot.
When the public sale came around the Angry Boars sold out in just a few hours. I only realised in hindsight how good that was, now that I see some projects struggling to sell out weeks after launch.
Waiting to see which Boars I’d got, I knew each one would have a different rarity score, so naturally I was hoping mine would be ‘good’ ones. First one was the rainbow tusks with the rose in its mouth. I thought this must be good. Second one had the dollar bills stuffed up its nose. It looked a bit less exciting to me, so I wasn’t really sure if I liked it.
People started sharing pictures of their boars so I did the same. Some of them looked pretty damn amazing, and I got a definite sense of jealousy. Ha! If only I had golden skin or a diamond pipe. I was pretty convinced it would be worth loads more money.
But it’s only a research project anyway, so it’s not about the money. (Money would be nice though).
Friday night after the Boars had been revealed I was sharing a glass of wine with my wife and we were looking through the different Boars on OpenSea on my phone and laughing at how funny and cool each different one looked. She chose a really nice looking Boar – Green with a yellow background. “Clean” is how you might describe it.
I couldn’t be bothered to go upstairs and get on the laptop to transfer some ETH and buy it. But I’d pretty much decided by then I wanted to buy another one. It’ll still be there in the morning, I told myself. Except it wasn’t. And the floor price seemed to be going up all the time.
So I panic-bought another Boar! I quite liked the random bacon ‘n eggs eyes so I went for the knight, he’s a mess, but a lovable mess. Paid a bit more than mint price for him, and he didn’t have any special rarity. I just wanted another one.
What was cool about the project roadmap was that the team were running twitch streams every Sunday where they’d hold raffles. One of the first was to raffle off a Tesla. In real life! Or the equivalent in ETH if the winner preferred. I understand that the winner chose to take the ETH not the Tesla, and who can blame them – it’ll probably be worth a lot more in a year than the Tesla would.
What would I have done? At the time I’d probably have taken the Tesla. I mean, it’s a Tesla. For free. Yeah, I’d take the car and park it outside my house. No doubt.
The team raffled off a bunch of other top-rate NFTs, like Mutant Ape Yacht Club, as well as giving away more Angry Boars. They also set up a reward program where they drop 0.5 or 0.25 ETH into people’s wallets on a regular basis, like every day or two. I’ve never won a raffle or a reward, but that’s okay. I never win anything. It’s just cool to see the Sunday afternoon hype and excitement it generates. Especially when someone who’s really active in the Discord wins it. The guys behind this project really know what they’re doing.
Roadmap 2.0 – The Next Steps
I’d read about future plans in Roadmap 1.0, and I’d seen how transparent the Devs and the team were in Discord. But I was still blown away when Roadmap 2.0 was announced. It turned out there was a lot more to this project. A hell of a lot more!
I’d started spending a bit more time in Discord by now, and while it was clear some people had been there from the start and grown to be friends, it wasn’t a clique at all. Any time I spoke up, the community of Boars and Boarettes (as we’re affectionately known) were friendly, chatty and made me feel right at home.
I learned way more than I ever expected from some of these people, they’d obviously been in the NFT space for a while. I was still very wary of scams after reading about them elsewhere, so to have a community who were actively teaching each other and helping each other was a massive eye-opener for me.
Roadmap 2.0 said that for every Boar you hold, you can mint an Angry Meerkat – the first companion collection for the Angry Boars. What’s more, the Meerkats will earn $Oink tokens, and at some point in the near future 2 Boars, 2 Meerkats, and 450 $Oink tokens could be used to “Breed” a new NFT. Symbiosis they called it.
‘Happy days’, I thought. For the price of 3 Boars, I’m now gonna get 3 Meerkats, and a Symbiote – another NFT. I only have to pay the gas fees. (Didn’t realise back then that gas prices were going to go insane, but hey-ho).
The Power of the Community
As part of my research I wanted to deconstruct what made a successful NFT project, and how you can pick them out when researching new drops. I came up with a list of what I think are the core components – which I’ll detail in another article.
It was only later I added another, and the most important component – Community.
Previously, I had no idea that the community plays such a vital role in the success of the project. But after joining a few other servers and minting a few other NFTs (which shall remain nameless). I realised just how great things are with the Angry Boars. None of the other servers even got close to the level of activity, fun, friendship and knowledge-sharing. In fact, if I could have my time over, I wouldn’t have minted those other NFTs and would have just bought more Boars. C’est la vie!
The team behind the project have done an amazing job to cultivate this level of camaraderie.
Just a few brief examples:
On a couple of occasions, people’s wallets were unfortunately hacked and their Boars were stolen and listed at low prices (aka dumped on the floor). Straight away the Devs and a few of the “whales” in the community bought them and restored them to their owners. That was pretty special to watch.
There was a charity competition where the team would give 5 ETH to a charity, voted for by us Boars and Boarettes. It was a delight to hear that some of our ‘investment’ was split between three different charities founded by members of the Boar community.
One day recently I logged in, and the first message I read was from a guy saying he’d had hiccups for two hours straight and was “literally dying!”
I gave him this piece of time-worn advice: “Hold your breath for twenty seconds and stay completely still. If you move or hiccup you have to start again. It works.”
He said “Holy smokes, you cured me!”
Alright, fair enough. It’s not going to help him get early access to the next blue chip NFT, it’s not going to replace lost Boars, and it’s not going to fund charities. But we all help in our own little ways don’t we?!
At some point by about Mid-October, I genuinely thought that for the price I paid for the 3 Boars, I’d already got more than my money’s worth in knowledge and sheer entertainment. Angry Boars Discord is pretty much the first thing I open automatically when I pick up my phone. So much so, the phone doesn’t even try to auto-correct me when I type “Good Boarning.”
Angry Meerkats Companion Collection
If the wait for the reveal felt like a long time, the wait for Meerkats was excruciating. It’s just a research project, I kept telling myself. Even while I was counting the days and hours until I could mint my Meerkats.
Worst of all, the day finally arrived and we were in the middle of the Gas Wars! It was insane how high the fees were. I’d thought $30 or so was enough for a gas fee when I lost it on that goddamn hamster, but by then the fees were looking like $100-$120.
The team had already said there’d be a window of 30 days to mint Meerkats. It’s still ongoing until the 29th November, and at the time of writing around 6,000 have been minted. I couldn’t wait that long. I was checking gas on an hourly basis.
A couple of Boars shared tips on how to reduce gas fees, so I followed those and found my window around 6am on a Monday morning. Paid on average about $70 per Meerkat, which wasn’t too bad, all things considered.
The first one with the broom I thought was really cool. The second with the weird hamster eyes I wasn’t all that keen on. (maybe I’m still having nightmares about that goddamn hamster).
But the third mint came out shining, and I pretty much knew I’d struck gold! In the rarity stakes he’s number 337 out of the 6,000 minted so far. It may change when all 10,000 are minted but at a guess, I’m hoping he doesn’t fall out of the top 500. That would be awesome!
Funny thing is, I’m realising now that rarity really doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as I thought it did. Each Meerkat will still only earn 5 $Oink tokens per day, no matter what the rarity.
What’s The Future for Angry Boars?
It’s been a successful research project, and a lot of fun along the way. I’ve got a huge amount of material to write about. And I’m very Bullish about the numbers we’re seeing in the NFT space. Alongside other developments in Web 3.0 and the Metaverse, I have no doubt that communities as collectives and DAOs will explode in the next 2-3 years, and the scope across creative disciplines is unimaginable.
Back to my Angry Boars and Angry Meerkats…
The Best thing is, just by being part of the community I’ve been whitelisted on another project, and I’ve got great advice on upcoming projects, crypto, and tokens from other Boars.
Worst thing is, that even if Boars or Meerkats go to 5 ETH or 10 ETH, hell even 100 ETH, I don’t think I want to sell – If I sell I won’t be part of the community anymore. What a dilemma!
The Meerkats start earning $Oink tokens from the 18th of November, and by mid-December I’ll have enough to carry out symbiosis and create my new NFT. Not only that, the $Oink tokens can be used for a whole bunch of other things, including the game that’s set to be released – Truffle Tussle.