NFT Roundtable | Art Basel Hangover
Welcome to the weekly NFT Roundtable, where members of the Lucky Trader team weigh in on some of the most pressing questions, news, and events in the web3 space. This week we're discussing Art Basel, an IRL event in Miami that was a large focus of the NFT space last week.
The commentary below is purely opinion — not financial advice!
Before diving into the commentary, catch up on relevant news below:
- Morning Minute: New Friends & Friendship
- ‘Light Years’ Soars in Early Trading
- DeGods, y00ts Leading Volume Following Dox
- Grossman Leaving Time For Moonpay
Question 1: Art Basel Awards 🏆
Art Basel took place this past week in Miami — with many in the NFT space gathering for celebrations, project activations, art experiences, and more. In your opinion, which project was the biggest ‘winner’ from the event?
Restivo: Moonpay! For me, Moonpay won the week. I think the Keith announcement alone was enough, but they also threw an awesome party with a who’s who of the web3 industry.
Ghost: I think Doodles’ DoodlePutt activation was a really impressive show of how they can build a brand around the project. While Doodles have been ripped for a lack of communication, they have continued to shine when it comes to IRL events and promotions — and the golf experience looked to be yet another flex of that talent.
Tyler: Pudgy Penguins and y00ts. To me, the biggest storyline coming out of Art Basel was the budding new friendship between Luca Netz (Pudgy owner) and Frank DeGods (y00ts/DeGods founder). The two on their own have been receiving rave reviews from those that met them at the event, but uniting as “zoomer” founders could take them to the next level. And we’ve already seen the market respond.
Logan: As an outside observer, DoodlePutt was the most impressive display of brand and activation. Doodles has gained acclaim for its ability to “wow” IRL participants, firstly with its SXSW shop and experience. This seemed like a continuation of that trend. If I could only have attended one event, this would have been the one.
Cameron: DoodlePutt and the y00ts/Pudgy event. DoodlePutt because it is the most aesthetic mini golf course of all time, and y00ts/Pudgy because combining two of the youngest and most popular project leaders in the space is an exciting thing.
Question 2: Art Basel Awareness 👀
What was the biggest surprise that you saw come out of Art Basel?
Restivo: Pudgy’s pumping. It seems like the community really likes the new leadership and this, to me, was the unexpected winner of Basel.
Ghost: Frank DeGods commanding the attention of the space with his doxxing and staking announcements. We participate in an attention economy — and few are better at capturing it than Frank, even at an event with a zillion other projects. Revealing his identity during a live event, combined with the excitement around him vibing with Pudgy Penguins, was a masterclass in keeping the community buzzing.
Tyler: Pudgy’s pumping was not a surprise ,Restivo - it was inevitable. Winter is coming. A big surprise for me was the goblintown party - I heard it was pretty lit and in the perfect setting in an abandoned Macy’s basement. The fact that the goblin community still came out hard feels important to me, and I’m eyeing them at a 0.8 ETH floor right now.
Logan: y00ts/Frank legitimization. Are Solana NFTs dust? Would a doxxed Frank lull optimism around the DeGods/y00ts ecosystem? These questions might still be without answer, but the response from Art Basel has both projects trending in a “positive” direction.
Cameron: Lack of sell pressure following the event. IRL events usually fire up some speculation buys prior to the actual event. Floors can rise during this, but if the speculative buy ends up not coming to fruition, the floor price can end up worse than where it started.
Question 3: The Future of IRL NFT Events 🔮
As we continue through this macro Bear Market, will we see NFT projects continue to invest in IRL experiences, and do you think they are a good use of project funds?
Restivo: I think there is a time and a place for them – if they are done efficiently and in a way that truly creates lasting memories and value for the community, then yes, but I think the days of six hours of all-you-can-drink alongside 2000s rappers are over.
Ghost: I think there is definitely a place for them, AND they can be valuable — for the right projects where an IRL event makes sense. But does every NFT community need to have a presence or incorporate IRL activities? I’d say no, and that the funds are better spent building elsewhere if it isn't a cohesive fit for the project.
Jason: Yes, NFT projects will continue to invest in IRL experiences for both collectors and newcomers. When projects execute effectively on marketing, events like Art Basel are massive onboarding opportunities for the NFT and crypto curious.
Whether or not these events and other IRL experiences are a good use of a project’s funds obviously depends on the experience, but also heavily depends on the project and its goals. Art collections and creators could benefit from IRL digital art galleries or displaying artworks in certain museums, but don’t benefit at all from a party on Venetian Islands. Conversely, Bored Ape Yacht Club has to continue to deliver those upscale IRL experiences to stay culturally relevant. Streetwear brands like Cryptoon Goonz should focus on marketing their attire at events (and spend the money to do so), while gaming companies like BYOPills should keep their heads down and build throughout the bear.
The tl;dr here is: NFT projects are vastly different and the most effective ways to spend their capital will also be vastly different.
Tyler: Yes they will continue to do them, and yes they are a good use of funds. I heard several accounts of whales and NFT fund managers who go to these events to talk to the founders and do a vibe check on the community attending events. No presence equals less likelihood of whale investment (see: Cool Cats).
Logan: I think the budding optimism that comes from every IRL event will force the hands (and pockets) of treasuries. Do I think this is the best use of funds? Uh. No. These are digital collectibles, aren’t they?
Cameron: IRL events, to me, are like your third McDouble. You can say you want it all you want but at the end of the day, you’re going to be sick from overindulging in something you don’t need.
Question 4: Art Alpha 🎨
Speaking of art — several Art Blocks projects have seen massive gains over the past few weeks, Friendship Bracelets price action is holding strong, and Light Years by Dmitri Cherniak recently minted out at 22 ETH. Are we seeing a return to great art > PFP projects in the NFT space?
Restivo: I never really got distracted by flipping the next PFP, and every piece of art that I have purchased has spoken to me in some way. I think the people who are trading art are certainly playing with fire, and while trading assets is essential for this new medium, it is not intended to be used this way in generative art projects.
Ghost: The ‘utility’ meta is getting more difficult by the day, and collectors that entered in 2021-22 are starting to see the house of cards that many projects are built on. In the midst of many NFTs becoming virtually worthless in the Bear Market due to a lack of innovation/interest, a flight to quality (with the only expectation being great art) makes a ton of sense.
Jason: It’s nearly 2023 and the promises made by PFP NFT projects have been largely ignored or poorly executed. Meanwhile, artists continue to slowly build their followings by ignoring utility and making no promises. It shouldn’t be shocking that art projects are performing better in markets where frustrated communities are no longer blinded by increasing floor prices and demand the utility they were told was coming soon™. Additionally, art collectors have more disposable income and art collection sizes are much smaller, which means established floor prices are more likely to be resilient to market downturns.
Tyler: The “great rotation” is happening before our eyes. The risk/reward just is not there in the PFP space right now (see what just happened to RTFKT and Clone X with one misstep), and people still active in this space want something less volatile. Generative art is the clear winner here, propelled by whales like Seedphrase building full Art Blocks Curated sets (and Friendship Bracelets sets). It is easier to value than digital art 1/1s and more liquid. I’m personally done investing in PFPs for the foreseeable future to rather focus on art, other than short-term PFP flips, and I think several active traders feel the same.
Logan: I’m not sure this trend actually ever died. Tyler calls it the “Great Rotation,” but I’d liken it more to the “Great Awakening.” People are seemingly developing an understanding of the ephemeral (PFPs) and the iconic (art).
TD: PFP projects will always endure. Sure, some of them are silly, but they are part of people’s digital identity, and people are sometimes silly. Art Blocks may outlast most of the individual PFP projects, but I’d bet PFPs (maybe fashion or brand-based avatars or game characters) end up being more ubiquitous than any randomly coded picture that moves when you click. But don’t just take my word for PFPs being here to stay, just take a look at all of our social media profiles.
Cameron: The market wants what the market wants. If it ends up being artworks leading the charge, so be it. But I struggle to see the whole market suddenly abandon its PFP-centric approach.
This Week's Roundtable
Restivo is the CEO of Lucky Trader.
Ghost is an NFT analyst at Lucky Trader. He has been in crypto since 2017, and entered the NFT space via NBA Top Shot in January of 2021 before minting Bored Apes and degenning into the broader market.
Tyler is a high-volume NFT trader, having reached the top 100 in NFT sales revenue using NFTBank’s rankings, a Pengu maxi (in Luca we trust), and a writer for Lucky Trader. Tyler’s writing spans market analysis, news breakdowns, project ecosystem overviews, and web3 opinion pieces.
Logan is a content lead at Lucky Trader and is best known for selling every good NFT far too early. He also maintains an irrational exuberance for clay-based NFTs.
Jason is an NFT lead at Lucky Trader. He has been involved in the NFT space since CryptoKitties in late 2017, and, like most, he lost a lot of money on Top Shot in early 2021. But nevertheless, he persists (with his Series 1 Legendary From The Top LeBron James Block).
TD is a NFT analyst and fancies himself a blockchain sleuth. If you have any tips or if you’re about to rug a project, email him at email@example.com.
Cameron is the social media/marketing manager for Lucky Trader. He came on to LT last year and has moved his way up the ranks thanks to his “dope zoomer vibes.”