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Art Not Charts

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Written by   5
4 months ago
Topics: Blockchain, Art, NFTs, Philosophy, Crypto, ...

There’s an old theory in the investing world that the time to buy something is when nobody else wants it. Provided, of course, that thing that nobody seems to want has some sort of purpose or value. Last week, I told paid subs about Webzee NFTs. Long story short, Webzee is a pseudonymous artist who just released a collection of generative NFTs. Each NFT is a 1 of 1 artwork made from a mixture of hand drawn elements. Those elements include pre-drawn characters, backgrounds, epigrams, marks, and signatures.

The mint was initially supposed to be 3,450 pieces in the full collection but after an AWS outage disrupted the initial minting, interest in the project didn’t seem to return when the mint reopened two days later. Webzee and the team closed the mint down for good after just 438 NFTs were created.

Look, I’m not an expert in anything. And I’m certainly not an expert in NFTs or Discord servers. But I know enough to know these NFT projects that are wildly successful are driven more by community than anything else. I would guess there are very few people who actually think CryptoPunks are great for the artistic prowess they display. I’d say the same about most of these dime a dozen avatar projects, punk/ape knockoffs, and yes, even my beloved PunkTulips. My point is, turning off the Discord server was a mistake and I hope Webzee’s team acknowledges that internally if not publicly. The best way to eviscerate a community is to prohibit it from conversing.

Now what?

Now that the negative is out of the way, it’s time to focus on the future. While I did not mint any Webzee NFTs on the 7th, I couldn’t help but see the mint halt last week as an opportunity to dig for buyer-related data. As I detailed in the paid-sub only post, the minters who were holding pre-reveal pieces were generally buying several Webzee’s. My thesis: at a 0.1 ETH mint price, if you can buy several of these things, you probably have quite a bit if crypto and you’re probably doing digital assets somewhat well. One of the original minters who had several Webzee NFTs pre-reveal was also a Meebit holder.

I like betting with people who I think know what they’re doing. Meebits are a very successful NFT project and Opensea user DrBurry4 has 4 of them. DrBurry has also been very active in the Webzee secondary market and now holds roughly 20 Webzee’s at last check.

Follow bigger money

With the exception of DrBurry4 and a few other diamond hands wallets, there has been a bit of run for the exits in some of the lower rarity rank Webzee pieces. My thinking is these pieces are being sold by NFT flippers who would rather cut out under mint than wait for the Webzee market to mature. Opportunity cost perhaps? I’m not sure. I can’t speak for them I can only speculate.

Source: Opensea.io - As of 12/18

While the average sale price since secondary trading opened is still 60% above the mint price, we now have a floor price of 0.03 ETH in Webzee’s World pieces. That’s 70% under mint price. Just this morning, Webzee #378 went for 0.02 ETH - 80% under mint. We’ve actually seen the holders of Webzee’s World NFTs start to decline over the last few days while the collection consolidates. The asks and bids are one thing, the real sale prices tell the tale. And that tale is one where rarity rank and price are very aligned.

Source: Opensea.io - As of 12/18

The scatter chart above shows how important rarity has been for sale price as the secondary for Webzee's World develops. Generally, rarity rank has to be in the top half for the seller to get a premium over the mint price of 0.1 ETH. To get anything above .25 ETH, the rank has to be top 20. It is my view that this market fixation with rarity is stupid.

Rarity is mostly irrelevant

I believe those dumping out of low rarity rank pieces below mint will ultimately regret it if the Webzee team can get their act together. Getting bent out of shape about rarity rank is silly and it’s the most annoying aspect of NFTs. Take Webzee’s World #128 and #414 for example.

They have the same focal head character and the same epigram. There isn’t a massive difference in rarity between the marks or the background. The biggest rarity differentiator? The signature.

That small difference in signature makes one of them get assigned a 134 rarity rank while the other gets a 423 rarity rank. Without cheating can you tell which one gets the higher rarity rank? Rarity rank in NFTs is manufactured scarcity. In a collection of this nature, it’s of little real concern when it comes to the artistic expression. Here's another example:

The similarities between Webzee #422 and Webzee #235 are apparent. Which one do you think has a rarity rank number that is 261 positions higher than the other? I'm not going to tell you the answer because it doesn't really matter. This is what happens though when communities aren't allowed to engage. Without the ability to converse, there's nothing else for Webzee fans to do but judge the works based on rarity rank. This fixation with rarity is an entirely self-inflicted wound and it's hurting the real value of the Webzee's World project. The lack of engagement among the community is almost certainly the biggest reason why sentiment on Webzee is so low a week after the reveals.

Open the damn Discord server

I actually think Webzee’s team has an opportunity here and I hope they see it that way as well. The real opportunity I see for the Webzee team is to let the less serious holders turn over and rebuild the base with fresh tone and an open discord server.

I’m beating a dead horse with Discord and there are certainly other factors driving some of this race to the bottom in floor price. Intentional or not, the project just probably hasn’t attracted enough of the right buyers to this point, in my opinion. “Start up, cash in, sell out, bro down,” while funny and endearing if you “get it,” probably positioned the project toward the quick flipper a little too much. I get it, it’s NFTs. That’s pretty much what all these ridiculous projects are.

But Webzee’s actual artwork feels deserving of better than that. The art itself is substantially deeper than "bro down." When you read the project website and then the medium article explaining the process, it’s like they were written by completely different people and about completely different projects. Webzee’s website is whimsical and short.

Using some spaghetti code some rando intern wrote on a scrap of toilet paper this one time, we generate the artworks using math and stuff.

via Webzee.co

Cute. The process explainer though is educational and deep.

In “Vaporized Space Time”, the electric neon-esque light blue undercoat scintillates through the darker top coat, as though the latter has been scraped off or worn down, conferring it a greater physical rather than digital sensibility.

via Webzee's Art Dealer

Two completely different tones. The point is, nobody knows who this person is yet figuratively or literally. Perhaps Webzee doesn’t even know. All we really know right now is what we can derive from the art itself. What defines Webzee? Rarity ranks and manufactured scarcity of arbitrary characteristics? Personally, I think that’s the wrong way to look at Webzee’s World and Webzee’s Twitter is guilty of perpetuating the rarity silliness.

Every single Webzee piece is a 1 of 1 on the blockchain. None of them are the same. Yes, there characteristics that are harder to find than others. And as we can see above, some of the pieces are similar. But that doesn’t make the low-rarity rank Webzee pieces any less special if you actually enjoy looking at them.

Its real art

It’s conscious of the moment. We see on numerous epigrams that Webzee has something to say about the crypto market, about tokenization, about social conformity, and about the state of art itself. Webzee isn’t a Bored Ape or a fucking Chromie Squiggle. The market will either get it or it won’t. Regardless of what happens on secondary, Webzee is a smart, interesting artist and I hope Webzee's fans are allowed to express that on Discord soon. My hope is Webzee and the team will drop the bullshit and get back to the basics. The art is really good. Build off that.

I bought some

Thursday night I bought #242 and #358. I happen to think they are both awesome. I grabbed #358 for 0.065 ETH and #242 for 0.05 ETH. For a little over the price to mint 1 Webzee, I got 2 and I love them both. Are these high on the rarity ranker? No. Do I care? No.

Webzee #242

Art not charts, baby.

Disclaimer: Don’t ever take anything I say as investment advice. Especially not art or NFTs. I thought Webzee’s mint would sell out and it didn’t come close. So my judgement here has a poor track record. These Webzee pieces could all go to zero. I own Webzee NFTs and stand to potentially benefit from any future market demand for Webzee art. Furthermore, art is completely subjective and those who believe digital art NFTs are a bubble could prove to be correct.

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Written by   5
4 months ago
Topics: Blockchain, Art, NFTs, Philosophy, Crypto, ...
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