After a chilly trading month, almost the entire NFT Twitter community gathered around a Twitter Space on Thursday, May 26 for Goblintown NFT. Deep in the first “NFT Winter” – a month of trading activity that was persistently lower than anything witnessed before the August 2021 NFT boom – the live-audio Twitter Space had a sizable following. It was attended by thousands of regular traders, influencers, and major investors.
What drew the entire NFT universe to this one digital location?
A group of around a dozen grown males made barely audible goblin noises for the next three hours. They talked inarticulately and for a long time about giving burgers to the audience with “Gary Pee sauce,” a reference to NFT influencer Gary “Vee” Vaynerchuk.
The hosts were the unknown developers of Goblintown.wtf, a collection of 10,000 NFTs that has achieved remarkable success since its May 19 introduction. Each NFT includes a monstrous goblin that can be used as a profile photo on Twitter, Discord, or Instagram, with varying traits and accessories. (Some are visible in the image above.)
Because Goblintown NFT was a free mint, people who took advantage of the public auction merely had to pay the transaction charge. Only a small percentage of free mints become valuable. Goblintown’s admission price on the NFT marketplace OpenSea has risen from $0 to $11,500 in the 12 days since its debut (6 ether). Rare ones can cost up to three times as much.
It’s an unprecedented rise that has even hardened NFT traders perplexed, as they’ve grown accustomed to seeing the most unlikely initiatives succeed. Because NFT trading sometimes resembles a stock market for memes, witnessing a large number of individuals spend a few hundred dollars on irreverent art isn’t surprising. Most meme collections, on the other hand, vanish after a day or two. Goblintown managed to entice the NFT community, which had been largely dormant in May following the frenetic opening months of 2022.
So what is Goblintown NFT?
OpenSea Since its inception, gamblers have been encouraged to believe that Goblintown’s mysterious crew comprises well-known figures. As a result, they’ve gone about deciphering messages sent out on Goblintown’s Twitter, which are all written in stylized goblin speech.
Here’s what they’ve discovered so far. “Goblintown” is a word used to denote a cryptocurrency bear market, derived from a song in the novel The Hobbit. Several goblins in the collection have characteristics that make fun of NFT culture. Many goblins have tattoos of the luna cryptocurrency, which crashed in early May. Another is a blatant reference to “Kevin,” the mascot representing the Pixelmon NFT collection flop. The squad talks primarily on Twitter in stylized goblin speak. Many are still trying to figure out why these goblins are obsessed with burgers.
The biggest mystery is who is behind the collection. Rumors circulated at first that it was backed by King of the Hill creator Mike Judge or the folks behind Bored Ape Yacht Club. Around 2,000 people attended the May 26 Twitter Space to learn more about the concept. Instead, they were served Gary Pee burgers.
“The Goblintown space is either a new low or a stroke of genius,’ tweeted Kristy Tillman, Netflix’s director of product design. “The line is razor-thin here.”
Beeple’s theory on NFT
As enthralled as some are with the collection, others regard it as the epitome of everything wrong with NFTs. Michael “Beeple” Winkelmann, the artist behind the NFT collage that famously sold for $69 million, was initially supposed to be on the Goblintown team. “‘It’s insane, but I haven’t joined any astonishingly low effort pump and dump ventures that will go unnamed,’ he tweeted. “Look at the charts of similar initiatives; you know how this story finishes in your heart.”
Beeple’s thesis is that meme collection that takes off rapidly tend to crash and burn just as quickly. Even if that happened, the designers of Goblintown, whatever they are, would be ecstatic. The anonymous team receives 7.5 percent of each sale on the two largest NFT marketplaces, OpenSea and LooksRare. So far, $37 million in Goblintown NFTs have been traded, resulting in a $2.75 million profit for the team.
Goblitown NFT’s role in NFT market
Despite criticism, Goblintown has injected new life into an NFT market that has been sluggish for the past month. Markets have shied away from speculative assets as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in response to high inflation. Tech stocks previously traded on the assumption of future profits have taken a beating: Netflix, Uber, and Tesla are down 68 percent, 35 percent, and 30 percent, respectively, from a year ago. In comparison to six months ago, bitcoin is down 45 percent, and ether is down 58 percent.
This has penetrated the NFT market. Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs that were going for $400,000 in April are now selling for slightly less than half that. That’s a good summary of the NFT market as a whole, which has seen practically every collection lose value since the beginning of May.
While approximately a dozen high-profile collections are released each month, Goblintown has been one of the only new NFT sets to grab attention in May. When I asked the creators of Goblintown what the project’s goal was, they replied: “gₒbₗᵢₙₜₒwₙ ₑₑₛ dₐ ₚₗₐₑc wₑᵣ ₐₗₗ dₐ gₒbₗₒₙᵢ ₗᵢᵥₑ. dₑy ₗᵢₑₖ ₜₒ bₑ dₑₘₛₑₗᵥₑₛ ₐₙ ₛₑₗₗₑbᵣₐₜₑ dₑᵣ ₜₐₗₙₜₛ. dₑy ₐₗₛₒ ₗₑᵢₖ ₜᵤ ₑₐₜ dₐ bᵤᵣgᵤᵣ ₐₙ yₑₗₗ. ₑᵥₑᵣyᵤₙ ₕₐₛ ₐ ₗᵢₜₜₑₗ gₒbₗₒₙᵢ ₑₙₛᵢd dₑₘ, dₑy ⱼᵤₛ gₒₜₜₐ ₗₑₜ dₑₘ ₒᵤₜ.”
In other words, “Goblintown is where all of the goblins live. They enjoy being themselves and showcasing their abilities. They also enjoy eating the burger and yelling. Everyone has a tiny goblin inside them that needs to be let out.”