👋 Welcome to the tenth issue of The Syllabus from Invisible College – a weekly newsletter that will help you navigate the complex world of web3. To get this newsletter delivered to your inbox, subscribe here:
Before we begin, a disclaimer – nothing here is financial advice. We’re analyzing projects that we find interesting in the hope that you’ll enjoy learning about them as well. With that, let’s dive in.
Vibes. They're everywhere in the NFT universe. Unfortunately, for most projects, they aren't distributed evenly. mfers is a profile picture (PFP) project by Sartoshi that’s endowed with a generous dose.
The mfers mint began at 4:20 PM on November 30th, 2021, at a mint price of 0.069ETH. The art consisted of algorithmically generated variants of hand-drawn seated stick figures. All of them staring ahead, displaying a look of general contentment. As you’ve probably noticed from the dates and the art, the project has been optimized for meme-ification from the start.
And in today’s crypto world, memes are everything.
Beyond the memes, the project also has a range of unique features that set it apart from most PFP projects:
It is in the public domain, which means that anyone is free to use them however they wish.
There is no official discord community.
There is no roadmap.
All of this is by design. As Sartoshi wrote in his blog post about the project, “you can state a roadmap that says where you will go, but you can also plant seeds and see where they grow.”
So far, the seeds have spread far and wide, and their plants have been growing quickly. Derivative projects have sprung up. An ‘official unofficial’ Discord server has been spun up by mfer holders. mfer merch has been produced. mfer songs have been written. There’s even been a mfer book published. Meanwhile, the floor price has steadily risen and is currently hovering around 3 ETH.
But what makes a project like this take off? And what might fuel its continued growth?
With no inbuilt utility, mfers rely on the presence of ‘vibes’ to spark the creation utility. This utility could be tangible, like merch. But it could also be intangible, like status gains from ownership. While the former protects the floor price, the latter pushes the ceiling.
The intangible utility (status growth) has been fascinating to watch. To understand it, we first need to agree upon the definition of a ‘vibe’. For the sake of this piece, let’s define a vibe as an instinctive feeling you get when you experience something. In this case, the feeling you get when you look at a mfer.
If the vibe is one that resonates with you and if it is one you are proud to display, you have the key ingredients of a successful PFP project.
When an NFT project with the right kind of vibe is born, people initially ape in based on the resonance they feel with the art and the community. This typically leads to a bump up in the floor price immediately after launch. However, this is almost always followed by a slump during which short-term buyers exit the project, and holders start second-guessing their individual vibe gauges.
Given enough time, if the project’s floor survives at a respectable level, holders become bolder about displaying their NFTs. PFPs of the project start popping up all over Twitter. Doubt gradually fades, and the initial spark of resonance ignites, flaming public displays of pride.
In this case, the more mfer PFPs that are displayed, especially by more established market participants, the more it encourages other holders to display their mfer PFPs. This creates more demand for mfer PFPs, driving the floor price up. Gradually, the project captures the attention of the masses, and before you know it, everybody knows what it stands for. And more importantly, everybody knows that everybody knows what it stands for. This is the power of common knowledge.
As common knowledge of a project’s prestige builds, prices climb. This is what happened with Crypto Punks, Bored Apes, Azuki, and Doodles. And who knows, it might just happen with the mfers too. What they will signal will be determined by the roots of the seeds that Sartoshi has planted. Either way, it’s going to be fun to watch.
Wed. Apr 13, 9:00 AM PT
From DeFi to blockchain gaming, tokens are a fundamental component of nearly every web3 project. Whether you're investing in cypto or looking to build a project of your own it's critical to understand how tokens govern user behavior.
Join Invisible College faculty member, Rockwell Shah as he explains the fundamentals of tokenomics and provides a framework that you can use to evaluate web3 projects.
This event is open to the public. To join, register here.
Other projects we’re exploring
Shift – A weekly newsletter sharing news, startups, and job opportunities across web3.
An Important Memory for Humanity – An upcoming limited-edition NFT collection using data from Inspiration4, the first all-civilian space flight.
Planet Finance – A DeFi protocol on Binance Smart Chain that is offering over 20% APY on multiple stable coins.
Invisible College Recommended Reads
The Pseudonymous Founder’s Playbook | 16-minute read
An in-depth playbook for how to start a company pseudonymously, written by Sachin Maini and pseudonymous founder Bored Elon.
How to ape responsibly | 12-minute read
In this piece from the Bankless newsletter, learn how to do your due diligence on new projects when you don’t have time to extensively research them.
People are the New Platforms | 10-minute read
In web3, platforms succeed by becoming protocols—which means people succeed by becoming platforms.
Here are the events we’re hosting at Invisible College this week:
Preserving Memories on the Blockchain
Tues (3/29) @ 10 am PT (Twitter)
We’ll talk with Yu-kai Chou, is the founder of Metablox, an NFT project on a mission to preserve humanity’s memories by anchoring real-life memories and virtual assets to real-life locations.
Why care about crypto?
Wed (3/30) @ 1 pm PT (Discord)
Community member, Tom White makes the case for why you should care about crypto beyond just the hype and price appreciation.
Thurs (3/31) @ 9 am PT (Discord)
Join us to hear the latest updates about what’s going on at Invisible College.
DeFi Deep Dive on Node Projects
Thurs (3/31) @ 6 pm PT (Discord)
Node projects allow investors to gain yield-farming exposure to a set of diversified DeFi projects across multiple blockchains. Join node master, Kenji for a discussion about this unique way to invest in DeFi.
🗓 Event Calendar
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Invisible College, is a learning DAO that helps people learn to build and invest in web3 projects. To access our courses, events, and learning community, you’ll need to hold at least one Decentralien. You can get yours on Magic Eden.