Why DeGod’s NFTs seem to be everywhere

Why DeGod’s NFTs seem to be everywhere

It’s February 2022 and the podcast Why not? has one of its foreign guests.

He sits on a gray sofa with a microphone hanging in front of his face. He is wearing a gray hoodie with the hood up and large black sunglasses. An orange bandana patterned with the Bitcoin logo covers his nose and mouth.

“I find that it allows me to be much more clear-headed as a leader of this community,” he says, explaining his desire to remain anonymous. At that point he passed – and still passes – Frank.

But since his identity was revealed earlier this year, we now know he is Rohun Vora.

Vora is the founder of DeGods, an NFT pool that has generated nearly $170 million in trading volume, according to NFT analysis site CryptoSlam.

The rebellious guy in the class

If the DeGods were a high school stereotype, they would be the super rebellious guy who sits in the back row of the class and aces all the tests, Tiffany Huang said.

Huang, head of marketing and content at NFT marketplace Magic Eden, has been working closely with the DeGods team, and she has two of the NFTs.

“They’ve developed a very cool reputation for themselves as this very mischievous, very daring and adventurous, but also very high society that’s very unapologetic,” she said.

Originally launched on Solana in October 2021 to little fanfare, DeGods’ 10,000-strong collection of Profile Picture (PFP) NFTs cost only 3 SOL.

With a then-anonymous creator quickly establishing a reputation for being highly engaged in the DeGods community, interest in the collection increased with the implementation of the Paper Hand Bitch Tax, an additional 33.3% tax levied on anyone who sold a DeGods for less than the floor price at the gathering.

The streetwear-meets-deity design of the PFPs soon became a common feature of the Twitter profile pictures of those involved in the Solana blockchain, including the Solana co-founders and several members of the Magic Eden NFT marketplace team.

The DeGods project has since excelled in navigating new trends in NFTs. It was among the first to abandon royalties when it finally made the correct judgment that marketplaces were headed that way anyway (although DeGods later reinstated a 0.5% royalty fee).

But in recent months, it has attracted attention — and criticism — for its decision to migrate chains.

Experiments on multichains

The DeGods team announced in December 2022 that they would move their collection from Solana to Ethereum. The sister collection, y00ts, moved to Polygon. Polygon gave the team a $3 million grant. The Ethereum Foundation did not disclose any payments to DeGods, and the project is not listed among the grant announcements published on its website.

The response was mixed, especially from Solana fans. One of the most successful brands in the chain, the move represented a loss of around $200 million for the Solana ecosystem.

Three months before the jump to Ethereum, Solana Labs had invested in Dust Labs, a DeGods community project focused on building NFT utility products (among the other investors was Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX Ventures).

In addition to moving to Polygon and Ethereum, DeGods has also pursued its multi-chain agenda on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin NFTs are digital assets inscribed in satoshis, the smallest unit of a bitcoin, made possible after a Bitcoin network upgrade two years ago. These bitcoin NFTs have exploded in popularity in recent weeks and months.

Despite some controversy surrounding bitcoin NFTs, they are currently the second most popular chain for NFTs after Ethereum, having raised $167 million from April 22 to May 22, 2023 alone. And the numbers continue to rise.

In mid-March, DeGods debuted its 535 bitcoin NFTs, which were clones of the NFTs that were burned after they failed to mint in their original Solana launch.

Taking one wasn’t cheap. A total of 500 were for sale on a first-come, first-served basis, costing a minimum of 0.444BTC (then $12,464). The remaining NFTs were auctioned for the community’s native token $DUST and the proceeds went to the token’s governing DAO, DustDAO.

A very vocal community

That’s not to say that everything DeGods has done has been a win. The Paper Hands Bitch Tax which attracted it so much attention was eventually abandoned as the mechanism was “wrong”.

Meanwhile, some of their attempts to push the boundaries of what’s possible with NFTs at a technical and community level have drawn community ire as quickly as praise.

Although there are 10,000 NFTs — although not all of the Solana-based ones have connected to Ethereum yet — there are just under 2,000 unique holders of Ethereum-based NFTs, according to OpenSea. And while the community can be very vocal in promoting the project, some fans don’t mince their words when it comes to criticism.

For example, DeGods released some limited edition hoodies in May 2023 that drew derision on Twitter, deemed to be ridiculously low quality. In response, the once-anonymous Vora offered a rather weighty apology, tweeting: “we will never be able to repair the damage caused by these DeGods hoodies, but we must try.”

“So we started working on a hoodie design more appropriate for a blue-chip luxury NFT community,” he continued, posting a photo of a Cryptopunk hoodie.

Unorthodox and radical, DeGods now faces the same challenge that faces all NFT collections: how to continue and evolve. It has a current floor price of 9.29 ETH ($16,200). But it is not clear where the road leads for the DeGods.

After all, their current roadmap is literally a cartoon.

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