How a digital artist used Chat GPT to create a $50 million meme coin
Everything can happen in Web3. In fact, one of the most alluring aspects of the crypto and NFT space is its wild west-like nature; play your cards right and you can stumble into generational wealth in a way that just isn’t possible anywhere else. And while scams, scams, and ruins are certainly among the seemingly endless possibilities space has to offer, it’s important to remember that innovation and even altruism do as well.
One of the more encouraging stories Web3 has seen in recent days is the rise of $TURBO, a meme cryptocurrency created as both an experiment and a piece of performance art by artist Rhett Dashwood (AKA Mankind). Mankind is a Sotheby’s-selling OG crypto-artist whose work often depicts ethereal and otherwise literal scenes and figures covered in saturated colors.
The gimmick behind the token’s rise? Mankind created the coin with a budget of $69 and help from ChatGPT – and no experience in coding or creating a coin to speak of.
You could say that his experiment has been a success. $TURBO currently has a market cap of $50 million and has done over $26 million in volume in the last 24 hours alone. Here’s how he did it.
Starting from scratch
“I gave ChatGPT-4 a budget of $69 and asked it to create the next great meme coin,” Mankind’s read April 23 tweet. The simple premise was the product of humanity’s reflection on the current state of the crypto-art space.
“I’ve been into crypto art for quite a few years and this year has been absolutely dead trying to sell digital art,” Mankind said in a recent YouTube video detailing his reasoning for starting the project. He is not wrong. NFT sales volumes are at 20-month lows, and the entire Web3 ecosystem is feeling the weight of a crypto winter that no one can see the end of.
Humanity says he figured it was the perfect time to play around with some AI tools he’s been exploring lately, with ChatGPT being the main focus. Perhaps, he thought, he could draw people’s attention to his artwork through an experiment.
The first thing ChatGPT told him to do was flesh out the concept. This included coming up with a name for the coin, a catchy backstory and a logo. Humanity then asked ChatGPT to help come up with a name or come up with other ideas.
As part of the experiment, he encouraged his Twitter followers to help him with the decision-making process. Given four options from GPT’s suggested list of ten meme coin names – HypeHound, AstroCorgi, FomoFeline and TurboToad – his followers overwhelmingly chose TurboToad as the way to go.
After coming up with a name for the coin’s mascot, a character called Quantum Leap, Mankind used Midjourney to help him create the logo. Again, he asked his followers to choose the mascot image, and settled on a cute, Pixar-esque image of a yellow-orange toad character wearing a space suit.
Code big or code home
At this point in the experiment, humanity encountered an obstacle. ChatGPT’s capabilities are limited as the program is trained on data up to September 2021, with no access to developments beyond that. This prompted the artist to consider how the lack of access to trends in the coin economy beyond that point might affect the kind of information he received from the AI. After feeding new and updated context back to ChatGPT, the AI gave him new information and advised him to write the code for the project. The only problem was that he had no idea how to code.
“This was probably the first stumbling block,” Mankind said of his experience. It was problematic because the AI had asked him to learn to code, which he had neither the time nor the inclination to do. So humanity’s natural next question was, “Can you help me with the Solidity coding?” After hours of back and forth with the human and the AI creating and checking the code together, the artist succeeded.
At the end of the first day of the experiment, Humanity had evolved the concept of the coin, tokenomics, its white paper, and had 75 percent of its smart contract written.
“I thought it was amazing. In one day, to be able to get this far.” said humanity.
His next step was to get an audit of the code. After ask his followers if someone could check the code for him, someone volunteered to give him some advice, which he then fed back to GPT to optimize the code. By end of day two by his experiment, humanity had completed the smart contract for the coin and started building the project’s website and social channels.
After a failed launch of TurboToad that saw bots come in and ruin the experiment by snapping up most of the liquidity pool, throwing the price out of proportion and preventing him from adding more liquidity to the project, humanity decided it was the end of the line. He had sunk about $600 at this point (well beyond the $69 budget he started with) and didn’t have the funds to try again.
Fortunately, his community came to his rescue. After asking them what he should do next, the followers said they should find a new way forward. With ChatGPT’s help, humanity decided to crowdfund, promising contributors that they would be fairly rewarded with the token for what they put in to help fund the project. After choosing a new name for the token, Turbo ($TURBO)he decided that the total supply would be 69 billion tokens, with 60 billion reserved for the community and the rest for himself as a core contributor.
The community voted for a way forward. Here it is! https://t.co/XE798VTRtw
— Rhett Mankind (@rhett) 26 April 2023
Turbo, take two
At this point in the experiment, humanity felt that the project was past him. He didn’t own the majority of the token and had encouraged his followers to take the project in whatever direction they wanted, whether it was starting a Telegram channel or creating a Discord for the coin.
They did just that, and that’s when the meme coin started winning attention from artists Noticing how innovative the experiment was, Mankind polled their followers to see what they wanted to do next with the project. Their response was to increase liquidity. As $TURBO continued to take off, it got a big boost from well-known Web3 collector Pranksy, who created a V3 liquidity poolwhich solved the problem the community shortly before voted to address.
In the first 48 hours after the launch of the new version of $TURBO, the coin reached a market capitalization of $1 million, which was far beyond what humanity had imagined would happen to the project. Now the symbol is spreading like wildfire throughout the Twitterverse, with some of most things notable commentators and influencers praises mankind for the idea and its success.
As the ground wave continues, humanity aims to decentralize the project, asking its followers whether it is the right to relinquish ownership of the project’s smart contract, making it unavailable. While the poll has yet to conclude, a majority of followers have so far indicated that it’s time to do so.
Unexpected innovation, unexpectedly good
The NFT space has a well-deserved reputation for scams and for shady actors, but $TURBO’s story is one that reminds Web3’s critics and supporters of its ability to do good, too. As $TURBO continues to rise, humanity’s experiment has long passed the point where it can be described as a success. While claims that holders of the project Discord can pay off mortgages because of the meme coin have yet to be substantiated, there is no doubt that it is changing things for the better for the creator.
“Just to think that my daughter could look up to me and see something I’ve done is successful; it was also amazing,” Mankind said in his recent video. “So many things have come out of this that it’s overwhelming because it’s already taken on a life of its own that’s way past me. Just knowing that I’m speeding up something that can take on a life of its own is really special.”