Welcome to the Weekly NFT Roundtable, where members of the Lucky Trader team weigh in on some of the most pressing questions, news, and events in the Web3 space. The commentary below is purely opinion —not financial advice!
A Ripp Off 👨🏻⚖️
Question 1: Yuga Labs was awarded a summary judgment against Ryder Ripps and the RR/BAYC project in court late last week — a big win for the company and a precedent-setting ruling for legal protections on digital ownership. How important was this decision, and what implications does it have for both Yuga Labs and the space as a whole?
Tyler: It was very important, for several reasons, including getting this monkey (bad pun) off Yuga’s back. IP is one of the most important components of PFP projects and likely one of the only hopes for future revenue streams for most. Now it’s pretty much protected for any major PFP, even if they didn’t register the trademark. That’s big.
The ruling is even more important and relevant as projects like Pudgy Penguins and Gutter Cat Gang begin empowering their holders with Brand Toolkits to use their IP in marketing and business-building activities. While this isn’t something I personally have done, I applaud those who have built off of their personal IP and now they can sleep at night knowing it’s protected.
Ghost: Agree with Tyler — and am happy that Yuga can close this irritating chapter out for now. Ryder Ripps and co. have been a troll-thorn in the company’s side since mint — and I can’t imagine the frustration at having to devote so much time and resources to fighting that over actually building your bustling ecosystem.
But it’s good to see malicious actions actually have consequences — and setting a precedent will help protect other IP-driven NFT projects in addition to Yuga. Getting positive creator-rulings into the case law will help pave the way for future battles, as bad actors and trolls always seem to pop back up.
Logie: I wouldn’t dare feign any legal expertise, but I imagine those with more legal acumen would indicate this is a rather important ruling for a nascent industry that is bound to run into issues like this again. I can only imagine how exhausting the trolling over the last year felt for Yuga, as I was exhausted just reading the silly drama and conspiracy theories that occasionally dented my timeline. It’s not going to have any major impact on price or community at this point, but it may deter bad actors or attention seekers in the future and that’s a huge win for the maturation of the space.
Jason: I don’t have too much to add here; Tyler, Ghost, and Logie nailed it. I will say that this decision was low-upside and high-downside for Yuga Labs. What I mean is that if the ruling came back as anything other than a win, Bored Ape Yacht Club would be in trouble. Thankfully for holders, judges saw it the same way most of the NFT community saw it.
Coinbase Punches Back
Question 2: The ongoing war for cryptocurrency in the United States continued on Monday, with Coinbase initiating a lawsuit against the SEC to force the regulatory body to provide guidance for the industry.
Coinbase also made headlines last week, obtaining a license in Bermuda and announcing plans for an offshore exchange. How are you feeling about the state of crypto in the US, and are these moves by Coinbase encouraging, or the last hope for the industry in America?
Tyler: I’m still a US permabull even if that means my head is slightly in the sand. While Gensler and the politicization of crypto has been dreadful, I do think we will work past it here soon. Just this week, we saw California lawmakers pushing to legalize DAOs and create frameworks for them to operate. The smart people in the US want crypto and Web3 to succeed, and I do believe they will triumph.
Regarding Coinbase, they have cemented their place in US crypto history. They’re the good guys now, the heroes in this fight (for US citizens at least). We should all be rooting for them, even if you self-custody.
Ghost: It certainly feels like the US is blowing any chance it had as a global leader in the space, but Coinbase’s attempts to force the SEC to clarify literally anything are positive. It’s just sad that it has to come to this — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see unfavorable legislation continue and force major innovation offshore, which would be a depressing result.
I am comforted that Coinbase is leading the charge because I believe they are best positioned (both financially and ethically) to lead a major stand for crypto in the US. And as I always mention — we have a ton of tribalism in NFTs and crypto, but at the end of the day, we’re all fighting for the same thing.
Logie: What’s a layer deeper than your head in the sand? That’s what I am. I am PURPOSEFULLY ignorant (yeah sure, this is probably bad) of this topic because I just keep telling myself that “there is no way we don’t figure this out.” Too many of the world’s brightest people are attracted to cryptocurrency… the US attracts the world’s brightest people. Something, something, transitive property…we’ll figure it out. I’m not quite as optimistic as Tyler that it might be “soon,” but I’m just going to keep DCA’ing in and not thinking about it.
Jason: Like Tyler said, Brian Armstrong and Coinbase are the good guys now. As more Americans warm up to the idea of blockchain technology, it’ll be more and more difficult for the United States to ignore demands for clear regulations. Right now, most people see cryptocurrencies and NFTs as scams and pump and dumps (and most of the time, they’re right).
But as the industry continues to grow, more people will see the massive potential for the US to play a pivotal role in the development of a new way of life (yes, it’s that serious). It doesn’t matter if Coinbase moves offshore; everyone wants the U.S. market share, and when it is primed for the taking with clearer regulations, they’ll all return. There is, ofc, something to be said for the eventual decline of U.S. dominance in the global economy, but it’s a discussion for smarter people and another day.
A Macabre Market 😭
Question 3: The NFT markets continued a slow bleed this week, with volume at yearly lows and user numbers continuing to dwindle. What moves, if any, are you making right now in the space — and what advice would you give to others struggling through the tough current conditions?
Tyler: Funny you ask - I’m actually preparing for “the big dump.” I’ve got an increasing belief that the end of Blur farming (or perhaps just the halving of rewards) will lead to a large capitulation event driven by the farmers pulling their bids and dumping their bags. Looking more closely at what is actually happening on a daily basis in the primary PFP markets (thanks to NFT Stats) has been eye-opening, and it doesn’t look good. Any and all projects that are heavily farmed are likely at risk. I’m sounding the alarms now.
For those struggling with how to trade, I’d say 1) if you’re losing sleep due to your bags, then sell them for peace of mind; 2) choose new positions very carefully, even with long-term conviction; 3) don’t get married to your jpegs (it’s fine to sell and then re-buy later).
With that said, it’s also fine to just hold what you believe in and zoom out and ignore the day-to-day. But probably don’t take my advice, I’ve been on a bad streak.
Logie: I am making no moves, which probably means it’s time to make moves. The last time I told myself “man I can’t imagine spending any of my ETH, it was when a friend told me to buy a Bored Ape (around 1 ETH floor price). Once again, I can’t imagine spending any of my ETH.
My advice is lame and boring. Just keep your eye on the market until something really interests you. When a headline or a project catches your attention, make sure you put at least a little effort into understanding and investigating it.
Ghost: I’ve been mostly sitting on my hands and keeping most of my funds in ETH/BTC — I’d like to see some sort of a turnaround before I start buying, and I’m comfortable missing a bit of the bottom for the added security.
My advice would be to stay active and engaged, even if you aren’t necessarily buying — you never know when the next major opportunity might spring up. Remaining present when most others are leaving/capitulating will position people well for when the tides do change.
Jason: I’m not making moves. If you’re still holding NFTs, you should be okay with them going to literally zero. If you’re not, sell them. If you are, forget about price for awhile and focus on what communities are forming and which technologies are being built. Learn, build, and have fun. Bears always hibernate eventually.
A Mad Lad’s World 🌎
Question 4: Amidst the brutal market was one buzzy winner last week, with the 10k PFP collection Mad Lads dropping on Solana and immediately surging to the top of the volume charts across all chains. The project from Web3 company Coral is the first launched on Backpack, a new all-in-one wallet built around xNFTs.
With the departure of DeGods and y00ts, there has been speculation on which project would fill the void — is Mad Lads a contender? Are you buying any non-ETH NFTs right now, and is Solana’s NFT ecosystem attractive at all?
Tyler: I don’t know too much about Mad Lads other than that they’ve been destroying volume lately across all chains. They’re already 10th in monthly volume and they have only been around for like 4 days. Feels bullish for them, and certainly there’s a huge void for PFP projects on Solana right now. All you really need is a decent team and decent PFP art and you can be a top contender in that ecosystem it feels like. I’m not personally buying, as I’m mostly focused on ETH NFTs and I’m basically done buying PFP projects, but happy for everyone who printed.
Ghost: The Mad Lads bursting onto the scene has been impressive, and it’s nice to see some excitement and volume over on Solana. With gas prices consistently elevated on ETH during this Memecoin run, it really highlights the value of chains like SOL that have near-free transaction costs.
As the others mentioned, it definitely feels like the DeGods/y00ts departure has left a void at the top of SOL, and it seems like Mad Lads could be well-positioned to capitalize. In my brief research, it seems like the team is well-respected and the tech they are building (Backpack, xNFTs) certainly has strong utility. Sometimes being a big fish in a small pond is a great differentiator, and Mad Lads might be able to find that sweet spot.
Logie: Mad Lads is certainly a contender for the best non-clay Solana project. Just kidding, sorry - yes, Mad Lads is definitely a contender for the Solana NFT throne, as evidenced by its community’s ferocity and the overwhelming top sales just a few days after the mint. The project had enough hype pre-mint that it actually made its way onto my radar months ago and I quietly sat back and did nothing to try to earn a Mad List spot. I regret that decision.
Also this is completely off the wall, but I feel like the hole left by DeGods and y00ts is best served and most likely to be filled in by a project with “edge.” Frank and team had that sort of brash “we’re gonna do whatever we want” feel, and there’s just something about the Mad Lads art and narrative that feels like it is “going to take over.” The best part about that? Even if that was not intentional, the community and actions thus far have made me feel that…and if that sentiment is creeping into others’ minds, that’s probably all it takes.
I love what Claynosaurz has done, it’s hard to argue with the organic reach the project has built - but it doesn’t strike me as a “we’re going to own this blockchain” project, and I think that might hold it back from being the top dog.
Jason: That question reads as if in a foreign language to me, so I’ll spare readers my likely-egregious take here.
Meet the Roundtable:
Ghost: Ghost is an NFT analyst at Lucky Trader. He has been in crypto since 2017, and entered the NFT space via NBA Top Shot in January of 2021 before minting Bored Apes and degenning into the broader market.
Tyler: Tyler is a high-volume NFT trader, having reached the top 100 in NFT sales revenue using NFTBank’s rankings, a Pengu maxi (in Luca we trust), and a writer for Lucky Trader. Tyler’s writing spans market analysis, news breakdowns, project ecosystem overviews, and web3 opinion pieces.
Logan: Logan is a content lead at Lucky Trader and is best known for selling every good NFT far too early. He also maintains an irrational exuberance for clay-based NFTs.
Jason: Jason is an NFT lead at Lucky Trader. He has been involved in the NFT space since CryptoKitties in late 2017, and, like most, he lost a lot of money on Top Shot in early 2021. But nevertheless, he persists (with his Series 1 Legendary From The Top LeBron James Block).