Batman, Alan Turing, and Why Overlooked NFT Projects Can Still Win Big
Public perception of complicated situations is usually wrong. Just ask Batman, Alan Turing, and the hardworking developers for innovative NFT projects.
This article sounds like the start of a terrible joke – Batman, Alan Turing, and an NFT developer walk into a bar – but I assure you, it is no laughing matter.
In The Batman (2022) with Gotham’s fate resting squarely on his shoulders, Bruce Wayne (wonderfully played by former Twilight star Robert Pattinson – I’m as shocked as you are) is told that he isn’t doing enough for the city by the then candidate for Mayor, Bella Reál.
Imagine that. You just finish up fighting off the city’s worst criminals at 5 a.m., don’t get any sleep for the fifth straight week, begrudgingly show up to an event you don’t want to be at to keep up appearances, and this lady has the audacity to come up to you unprovoked and ask you to do more for the city.
But what is Mr. Wayne going to say – actually, Ms. Reál, at night I put on a bat suit and battle it out with the city’s worst vigilantes? Of course not, he has secrets to keep and vengeance to seek.
And it’s the same old song and dance for Alan Turing, the University of Cambridge professor that helped end the Second World War two years early and save an estimated 14 million lives by solving an “unsolvable” German code created for military communication via an encryption machine called Enigma (and the father of modern computer science).
In The Imitation Game, Turing defends his work against Commander Denniston, who disdains Alan for his condescending demeanor and is highly skeptical of the code-breaking machine he is building.
“You will never understand the importance of what I’ve created here,” Turing says, to which Denniston replies, “Have you decrypted any German messages?”
“A single one?” Denniston’s questioning continues. “Can you point to anything at all that you’ve achieved?”
The short answer, of course, is no. Turing has not decrypted any German messages. That wasn’t his goal. His goal was to decrypt every German message instantly via his machine, which he called Christopher.
But to do that, Turing had to sacrifice the small wins. He had to spend all of his time on this one project, this one lofty goal, this one seemingly impossible feat – an “impossible” feat that eventually helped defeat Adolf Hitler during WWII.
But before he solved Enigma, Turing was fired. Fortunately, his team came to his aid and told Commander Denniston to give Alan six more months. Denniston gave him one, which turned out to be just enough time.
Bruce Wayne and Alan Turing fell victim to surface-level public perception. Their efforts to save the world went unappreciated for years. They were seen as failures, said to have let down their fellow citizens.
But in the end, movies were made about them. And isn’t that the real end goal here? To have Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Pattinson/Ben Affleck/Christian Bale/George Clooney/Val Kilmer/Michael Keaton/Adam West/Robert Lowery/Lewis G. Wilson immortalize you on the big screen?
So, anyway, NFTs… the connection here is clear, right?
Just kidding. But there is a connection. Heroic, groundbreaking, innovative work takes time, and while it’s happening, looks like nothing is being accomplished.
NFT projects pushing the boundaries of technology and web3 innovation will go unappreciated, will be seen as failures, and will have movies made about them… er, maybe not that last part.
But the first two points are true. Doing new things is hard. It’s even harder when the public doesn’t understand the end goal, especially when funding comes from the public and they’re constantly pressuring you to raise the floor price with silly companion projects and whitelist giveaways.
Short-term, wasting developer resources on weekly and monthly roadmap items might help bolster collector confidence in an NFT project and raise the floor price (or at least keep it from plummeting). But long-term, those resources should be working toward unprecedented achievements in the web3 space. That’s what crypto and NFT technologies are all about.
It’s easier to walk down the trail already blazed by the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) team. And some projects will get away with being the second or third NFT collection to drop a consumable NFT and mutate the original NFTs into mutants or monsters or whatever else. But it gets old fast, and they’ll always be a step behind.
Which NFT project is the next Bored Ape Yacht Club? It’s the one you least expect; the one that looks nothing like BAYC; the one that is blazing its own path in the NFT space – because BAYC didn’t get to where they are now by striving to become “the next Project X.”
And that brings us to this article’s main takeaway: there will be winners in this space that are overlooked for months, maybe even years.
Of course, some NFT projects aren’t building the future of web3. They’re looking to make some quick money and move on. Those projects will likely (and hopefully) fail.
But some NFT projects are pushing the boundaries and working behind the scenes on something radically new. They’re protecting Gotham during the night, only to wake up as Bruce Wayne. Maybe they’re one month from solving Enigma, only to be fired because they haven’t deciphered a single German message.
But how do we know who is Batman and who is Owlman (a Dark Knight doppelganger)? How do we know which NFT projects are building the future of web3 and which are out to rake in some cash? We don’t. And we won’t until they change the world or run off with your money. If we did know, we’d already be rich.
But we can make educated guesses. Look for NFT projects that are consistently pushing the boundaries of technology, aren’t repeatedly copying what the rest of the industry is doing, and continue to provide timely and significant updates along the way.
Providing long-term, sustainable utility for NFT projects takes time. Developing video games – even casual mobile games (not AAA PC and console games) – building successful brands, designing viable tokenomics, securing partnerships, and whatever else NFTs attempt to do in the future takes months, if not years to accomplish. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Until it does. Nothing at all, then all at once. This is how groundbreaking innovation works. It only takes five years to become an overnight success. Support great teams and trust the process. Some of the NFT projects that look like they’re doing nothing to the general public will end up shocking the world.
“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” – Alan Turing
Quick note on blind trust: supporting and trusting certain NFT projects does not mean blind trust. When projects fail to deliver, reevaluate the situation. Is the goal they’re attempting to complete extremely difficult? Do they seem to be working on it consistently? Are they clearly communicating the team’s blockers? Is the risk still worth the potential reward? If you answered no to any of the questions, it’s probably time to find a different team that checks all the boxes.