NFTs & Me - Dancing The Discord Disaster And The Fall Of Wukong
There are several different ways to check out an NFT project before buying into it, yet the main way still seems to be via Discord.
Whether it's an Ethereum project with NFTs costing tens of thousands of dollars each, or one on Solana costing just a few bucks, they both have something in common, a Discord channel where you'll be able to assess the vibe of the community.
Generally if you see a Discord channel that is well stocked with sub channels with plenty of positive comments and high activity then that tends to be a good sign.
However it is important to realise that the timing of when you first enter the room is crucial. Coming into a Discord just before a Mint can be a stark difference to entering after.
Goodwill often turns to toxicity very quickly in the NFT world, sometimes with such speed and force you'll feel as if you're on the latest gut wrenching rollercoaster designed to make you feel as if you are dying.
Yesterday we saw this toxicity ruin what looked to be a good project, the Baby Wukongs, one that I've written about a couple of times now.
The Wukong Discord went from a positive boon for the project to a millstone around its neck. It all came to a head yesterday when the Baby Wukong Discord and Twitter were deleted and the project owner Wang has disappeared.
This isn't your typical rug, but a different phenomenon all together.
Before we get into that, let's look at the different types of Discord you may come up against and how to spot signs of a good and a bad channel.
The Pre Mint Discord
Okay, so you have found what looks to be like a decent project. The artwork is on point, they have a game behind and they have active beta testers, for all intents and purposes this looks like the real deal.
So in you go to the Discord and you do your verification and start to browse the various rooms and everything looks good.
You go into the general chat room and see that there are people posting every few seconds, the messages are going too fast to read, so you stop and scroll up to check the last few days worth of messages.
Everything checks out, people are excited to mint, the project devs seem to be open and honest and you're ready to take the next step and buy into the project.
Everything is going well, the mint price has been released and the link is in the appropriate room in the Discord.
The chatter during this time is centered mainly around the NFTs that people are minting, what they're trying to get, with the odd person reporting technical difficulties.
The mint might sell out in a day or it may take a few days and during this time the chat stays mainly positive. Some talk may be speculative, with buyers wondering what the eventual floor price will be once the token is listed.
If the mint does take more than a few days, this is where the toxicity can start to creep in, especially if the NFTs cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars each.
In every example whereby a large group of people are investing, there will always be some who can barely afford to be in there. These investors tend to need fast returns, they have their asset and now they want to put it up for sale, hopefully at a huge profit.
When the toxic comments do start to fly, the thing you have to pay attention to is how are the devs reacting?
Are they calmly stating the status quo and sticking to the promises made before the mint? Or are they fobbing off the complainers?
Or worst of all; are they simply ignoring the complaints?
Obviously if you have already minted at this point and it seems to you that the devs are adequately answering questions about the mint, then chill, don't add to the general toxicity of the room.
If however the devs are giving surly replies or are ghosting the room, then do not mint any further, or preferably not at all.
To be fair it is usually the scam projects that turn toxic this early. Usually because everyone involved has had it in the back of their heads that this is a scam, so it doesn't take much to trigger an avalanche of negativity falling down the screen.
That's not to say a good project won't have any negativity at this stage. There will always be someone who is not happy regardless of the project. You could be giving out free hundred dollar bills but someone would find a way to complain.
So you have to be discerning, just ask yourself if all the things that drew you to the project are still there.
Importantly though, you must also ask yourself if the complaining people have a point, and if they do, have their questions been adequately addressed?
Remember it is easy to dismiss negativity when you are infatuated with something. Be that a new partner, car, or haircut, it doesn't matter what it is, but we can all get shiny new object syndrome from time to time.
All in all though, you don't want to be involved in a project that has turned negative this early on.
The strength of this type of Discord lies almost wholly in the quality of the art. In partnership with that, the clarity of the roadmap will play a big part in how the investors behave on the Discord channel.
If the devs have clearly stated that they expect listing to be a couple of weeks after mint and that in the interim they will be focusing on various project tasks, then the room will be chill.
Remember, here I am talking about real projects that are not rugs, they have been set up by genuine people who intend on doing the right thing. However if they do not follow the roadmap to the letter, then I'm afraid it's bad will from here on out.
Okay so now your NFT is on Magic Eden or OpenSea or whatever blockchain and marketplace you use, it's time to see the true colours of the Discord members.
If things are going well with the price of the NFT then as you'd expect, the overall vibe of the Discord will be great.
The chatter you want to look out for is that which focuses mainly on how best to increase the value of the assets.
For example; are there a group of individuals who are always pointing out what the floor price is? Are these same individuals investing more money by buying up what they perceive to be undervalued assets? Or are they just moaning about their NFTs losing value?
Another thing to look out for is the level of chatter in the channel. All too often after launch we see Discord channels that were full of activity in the days leading up to the launch/listing, only for all that excitement to die as suddenly as a candleflame in the wind.
As an example, one of the best projects I've seen for this on Solana is the Stoned Ape Crew, their Discord is vibrant, the members all seem to follow each other on Twitter and they are tweeting and retweeting each other via the Discord.
A lot of their tweets are organised via the Discord, if someone sells one for a lot of money, it's announced via the channel and then they are tweeting and retweeting.
For me, they are the perfect example of what a community should look like after they have launch/listed.
Fall Of The Wukongs
Unfortunately for holders of the Baby Wukong NFTs, their Discord went from a place of hope to one of despair.
Wang the sole developer of the project did seem to do all the right things. The Discord was stacked with information and it was well moderated. Questions were answered, promises were made and kept.
It seems the problems started when the price started to plummet, adding to that, no further marketing actions were taken after the Baby Wukong Times Square and HK billboards.
Investors weren't happy that more wasn't being done to promote the project and they were impatient to see beta examples of a promised game.
I think the final straw for Wang came when a small but persistent core of channel members started giving him stick for taking time off at Christmas.
As far as I saw, he did not answer any of the questions as to why he dared to take a few days off to chill out with his family at Christmas. He simply deleted the channel. Ditto Twitter.
I have mixed emotions about how everything went down with the Wukong.
On one hand I feel bad for the investors, my very good friend @bleepcoin along with others, bought into this project and for a while they were riding high on the wave of positivity sweeping the project along.
They are now left with an NFT that is still technically listed on Magic Eden and Alpha, however it is flagged on Eden and as you'd imagine the price has tumbled as people sold in a panic.
On the other hand I feel sorry for Wang, he's obviously a good guy. @bleepcoin woke up the other day to 5 $Sol in his wallet, he'd won a meme contest that he didn't even mean to enter, and Wang stayed true to his word and paid out the prize money. Something that a lot of projects claim to do but don't.
I also admired the way he took the dirty tactics of the Monkey King in his stride. He could so easily have gotten angry and bitter, but he didn't.
However if we look at it another way, he was naive to think that he could run such a potentially large project all on his own.
At the end of the day he was trying to do everything, artist, coder, chat moderator, customer service, marketing. This multi-role juggling trick worked well when everything was working out fine, however when the cracks appeared he needed a team behind him.
So I guess that's the main thing you should take away here. All the best will in the world does not necessarily make a hit project.
You need good art, good ideas, good utility and most of all, a good team.
Memebers of the Baby Wukongs are trying to do another project, whether anything will come of it I don't know. But hopefully they'll get their money back and future owners won't view them as a project, but simply as a piece of pixel art they'd like to own.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN DISCORD CHANNELS THAT HAVE TURNED TOXIC, OR PERHAPS YOU ARE PART OF AN AMAZING COMMUNITY THAT IS DRIVING THE POPULARITY OF YOUR NFT PROJECT?
AS EVER, LET ME KNOW BELOW!