NFT Roundtable | Yuga Hires, Doodles, Trump & Holiday Fun
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 Yuga Labs newest hire, Doodles' new roadmap announcements, Trump NFTs, and more.
The commentary below is purely opinion —not financial advice!
- Yuga Taps Blizzard Head as Next CEO
- Doodles Updates Holders on Roadmap
- Donald Trump Announces Trump Card NFTs
Yuga Labs Hires Blizzard COO
Question 1: Yuga announced a big hire on Monday, tapping former Blizzard COO Daniel Allegre as the next CEO. Allegre’s resume at the gaming company (World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, Call of Duty, Diablo) is impressive. What do you think of the hire? Does this impact your view of Otherside/Other Yuga assets?
Tyler: At first I thought it was bullish based on Alegre’s credentials. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more it feels more like a move in the wrong direction for Yuga. Yuga is the face of web3 in NFTs right now. The founders all have this edgy, punk, even outsider ethos and vibe, and people have connected with that. And they have done things their own way. Alegre feels like a very web2, buttoned-up hire, and it feels like they are going corporate. Also, I absolutely HATE that he bought a mutant and not an ape. The guy made $18M in total compensation last year - spring for the damn ape.
Ghost: Absolutely buying. If you’re a big industry gaming person, you aren’t leaving that type of position unless you are confident in its success. Regulation-wise, I think there is this entrenched looming fear of the SEC, Ryder Ripps-type lawsuits, etc. But a hire like this honestly quells a lot of that fear — I don’t think someone of this caliber would agree to a position if he was worried about any of those things being serious issues.
While many (including myself) have been skeptical about The Otherside, this hire is absolutely huge, especially given his experience with World of Warcraft. But even things like Call of Duty and Candy Crush — these games are played by millions of people. And bringing those successes and principles into web3 could blow the doors off the entire industry.
Logan: I do not have a strong opinion here, and could easily be swayed in Tyler or Ghost’s direction with just a bit more prodding. I do know one thing though, people have HIGH expectations for The Otherside and Yuga’s gaming future. It was a quieter hire, but the team just recently announced a Chief Gaming Officier, and now Alegre will take over the reins in early 2023. I do think that surrounding Yuga Labs with a bevy of gaming experience is better than not, but all my gamer friends tell me, “it’s really difficult to build a good game,” and it might not even be enough. Perhaps there is no way out, but I really wish the default for projects was not “build a game”….but that’s coming from a bitter non-gamer.
Jason: The hire itself is bullish because, as Ghost mentioned, any time an NFT project can land someone of Daniel Allegre’s stature, it is a win for the industry. But the direction that this hire suggests Yuga Labs is moving in is bearish. As Logan alluded to, expectations are too high for Yuga Labs to meet. AAA video games take an average of four years to develop (40 years in the web3 space) and cost upwards of $100 million to make (during this economy?). If that isn’t enough to scale back on Yuga’s gaming future, most AAA video games (and all video games) fail. This year, Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and Sony all reported declining revenue and missed financial expectations. Video games are not recession-proof, and NFT companies should be hoarding money right now, not spending it.
It is, however, more likely than not that Yuga Labs is pursuing a Candy Crush-style game and not a World of Warcraft-style game. Mobile gaming is the future. In 2020, mobile gaming outperformed both PC gaming and console gaming. Mobile gaming brought in $80 billion, while PC gaming brought in $37 billion and console gaming brought in $45 billion. And the cost to build a mobile game is about 1/100th that of a AAA console game.
Best of luck to Yuga Labs, and I look forward to playing a Bored Ape Yacht Club-inspired video game in the future. But I’m not betting my ETH on its success. And PLEASE, leave the CryptoPunks out of this.
Doodles Upcoming Roadmap
Question 2: Doodles updated holders on Roadmap plans this week, with Dooplicator utility coming in January, followed shortly after by the reveal of Genesis boxes. Are you bullish or bearish on the project heading into the new calendar year?
Tyler: Bearish. It felt like an announcement of an announcement to me. We are going to find out the Dooplicator “utility” in January, and then the Boxes will reveal “soon.” And then Doodles 2 coming “sometime” in 2023. I’m not buying it. I think we’re well over a year away from Doodles 2 being a real thing, and the other NFTs all hinge on that. I wish they’d just make the Doodles a collectible set at this point and just dropped the utility - people love the art and its stand-alone. I think it would perform better that way.
Ghost: I’m still bullish. I think the project remains one of the best-positioned NFTs to be a major brand and has shown potential through recent activations like DoodlePutt. While the communication style of the project might turn off some, I personally think the upcoming roadmap items will be worth the patience.
Logan: Bullish. I’ve long admired the Doodles brand and aesthetic, which I believe to be one of the strongest in the industry. In large part, I think the biggest community gripe, and rightfully so, has been the dreadful communication from the team. Jordan Castro (Poopie) openly admitted the team is aware of how poor that communication has been, and spoke to some of the drastic delays in the community Discord this week, citing a commitment to unparalleled product excellence. While it would be crazy to blindly accept that excuse, I believe the Doodles’ productions at IRL events like SXSW and Art Basel showcase just how committed this team is to make every detail right. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here. Of course, let me provide the obvious disclaimer that I have just recently purchased a Doodle, which hopefully plays no role in me leaning bullish…right?
Jason: I’m bullish on Doodles in 2023 and beyond, but not because of the recent roadmap announcement. The announcement was basically a nothingburger, and that’s fine. Certain NFT projects, like Bored Ape Yacht Club, rely heavily on the attention economy and staying in the cultural spotlight. Doodles doesn’t have to operate that way. They recently hired former Billboard executive Julian Holguin, and they have great IP. It is unlikely Holguin left Billboard to rug holders. Let them build quietly and make announcements when the announcements actually mean something.
Will Trump NFTs Go to Zero?
Question 3: Donald Trump NFTs have seen significant volume over the last week, with a rollercoaster of a floor price (up near 1 ETH, back down to .30). What are your thoughts on the ‘project’, and price action in the future? Good or bad for the space?
Tyler: The price action is down only from here. There is just no liquidity on Polygon right now, and the shiny new object pump is now over. They probably don’t go to 0, but they’ll continue a slow decline until they reach a resting point (probably near mint price). I actually think the project is a net positive for the space, though (Trump thoughts aside), as I do think political fundraising is a really interesting use case for NFTs that this project exposed that wasn’t really on the radar. I guarantee we see several political trading cards ahead of the 2024 elections.
Ghost: I think these things will slowly trend to zero, and if it doesn’t it will solely be because the holders don’t know how to operate a wallet or sell them. Between the potentially stolen Shutterstock/stock images used, the “third-party” company having an address at the Trump International Golf Course, and countless other red flags, this is a low-effort grift that does more harm than good for the space.
While it certainly got plenty of eyeballs, it doesn’t do much to quell the “scam” and “joke” sentiment that often comes with NFTs outside of our bubble.
Logan: I’m with the team here…this is headed to very near zero. And I tend to believe this is a marginally negative event for the space. As Ghost points out, the numerous red flags keep this from being a “legitimate” project, and anytime you draw major negative attention because of illegitimacy or grifting, it just stacks on the reputational damage that blockchains, crypto, and NFTs already hold.
Jason: That this project would eventually head to 0 was about as obvious as it gets in web3. If this does somehow convince the world to use NFT technology to fund and create a more robust republic, that’s a net positive. But it likely does the opposite – detracts younger politicians who already planned on pursuing this path from associating with “that thing Trump did” (other politicians have been using NFTs since 2021 to raise for campaigns, fwiw).
Question 4: The holidays are here! What one NFT project would you gift to a normie friend to get them into the space, and why?
Tyler: I’m going to recycle my answer from Thanksgiving - a Friendship Bracelet. It is an intro to generative art, is stand-alone (no need to follow project updates), and the art is great. Plus, I do believe there’s some real financial upside in the future. My runner-up gift would be a Meme by 6529, though that would be a bit harder to explain (though maybe more beneficial).
Ghost: I am buying a friend a Wolf Game asset for use in the upcoming Full Game. I think games that are actually fun and engaging are the perfect trojan horse to get people into the space without even realizing it — and I think Wolf Game has a great chance to capture that. I’m also getting them some Woolish merch — which is a great addition to any closet.
Logan: Lucky Ducky. There is no close second for me. This collection is super affordable (nice rares for 0.05-0.10 ETH), has a hard-working founding team, has high ambitions (they are building a claymation series people!), and is cute and age-appropriate.
I’ve already gifted multiples to friends and family, and I think my niece and nephews might need a Ducky stash as well. Who knows what happens if Netflix comes calling?
Jason: I think gifting an NFT to a normie friend is the wrong way to initiate them into the space. It is sort of like gifting someone Apple stock instead of an iPhone, but if Apple stock was potentially worthless in two years. People just want the iPhone, pal. We should give our normie friends the cooler, more useful gifts that make the NFT project significant in the first place. Art excluded, if the project you’re gifting to a friend is fun because its price might go up in the future or it might release a game down the road… normies don’t care. I’m buying my friends Cryptoon Goonz merchandise, Cool Cats plushies, the new Lucky Ducky animated movie (it’s coming, okay!?), an Infinite Objects frame accompanied by cool art or an NBA Top Shot Moment, a gift card to Bored & Hungry… you get the point. I’m buying the iPhone, not the Apple stock. If your normie friend loves the phone, eventually they’ll buy themselves the stock.
Meet the Roundtable:
Ghost: 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: 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: 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: 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).