So…I had this grand plan on the way to hyping up the Bored-N-Ciaga sock runner and the idea was to try and educate others on the virtues of NFT’s through my experience…every time I post, I see several comments or DM’s along the lines of ‘I’m too old to understand this stuff’ and I figured, hey, I’m old too, if I can understand it, why can’t you?
One thing that’s happened since I started posting serious about NFTs…my IG account has suffered pretty heavily. Whether or not it’s that the audience doesn’t want to see it or if it’s IG pushing it down, I don’t know. But the insights are pretty staggering. Take a look at the two posts below…the first one is one of my sneaker posts that I posted about a week before…
…the second one…an NFT post…check it out:
The numbers to pay attention to are the ones in the bottom right - 81k accounts reached on the sneaker post, 96% of which weren’t following me, followed by 4k accounts reached, 35% of which weren’t following me.
Take a look at my ‘follower count’ insights for the past two weeks:
Guess which day I started posting about our NFT sneakers? Since I started, I’ve lost roughly 175 followers…which, I dunno, feels like a lot.
I got a message from some dude who told me that IG and FB are actively suppressing NFT conversation - they’re penalizing people who are talking about it…apparently, this dude ran a few tests to see what was going on and that’s what he determined. Could also be that people just don’t care about these posts and that’s what’s driving them down, but who knows? Seems to me we’ll never know the ways of the algorithm.
One thing I’ve come to understand about crypto and NFTs - the majority of the powers that be do not want them to succeed. Why? That’s a post for another time.
In any case, I wanted to post my ‘NFT Journey’ in full…here…without getting penalized. I’ll put the posts in order with the number markers…
(1/?) I know a lot of y’all don’t give a damn about this stuff and I know a lot of y’all think it’s stupid, but I still feel compelled to tell the story of what’s going on…y’all have rocked with me through a lot and, to be frank, this is the beginning of a pretty significant chapter…a chapter that ends with me embarking on something I never thought I’d ever embark on. I’ve always been into sneakers and I’ve been flipping sneakers for more than 20 years. Flipping sneakers is actually something that helped me understand what it’s like to speculate and understand the value of certain things. Sneakers helped me understand stocks, sneakers helped me understand eBay, sneakers helped me understand Crypto. And I think, for all of y’all that don’t understand what’s going on - this is going to be the thread for you.
I’ve told y’all…I’ve been into crypto for several years. Not as like an investor or anything, but more of like a ‘this is fascinating’ kind of thing. I dabbled here and there and just thought - not even in the least bit ironically - ‘this is the dawn of a revolution’. I started with Bitcoin, then Ether, then all the other crap that was created while everyone was losing their minds. I got caught up on a few of those shitcoins and ICO’s and wasted quite a bit of USD jumping in and out throughout the years. (I’d hate to think how much in fees I’ve paid…)
After the last crypto crash (early 2018), I felt like I didn’t even want to look at it all. One minute you think you’ve got a future and the next you’re embarrassed you ever even thought that for a second. I’m telling you I put thousands of dollars into something that was virtually worthless the day after the crash…
Anyway, my cousin hit me up super early one morning this past winter/spring and told me he wanted some help figuring out how to buy some DOGE. So I dusted off the old flash drives and started dipping back in…
(2/?)A few weeks into the DOGE saga, I started paying closer attention to the crypto markets. I sold a tiny bit of BTC I had and took out a few thousand dollars for the first time ever. It felt good. My other, stock-market focused friends, told me all about the GME and AMC stuff and I really just had no interest. Sure, I felt like I missed out, but whatever. I’ve missed out on a lot. I just hated the stock market. Still do. I hit up some people I used to talk with back around the last crypto market cycle and I felt a sense that I just missed out on a lot. Defi (decentralized finance) appeared to have made a TON of people who were in my position rich and I missed out on it all because I was so pissed off I ever thought things would be that easy.
At the same time, the NBA Top Shot stuff really started popping off…everyone and their mother was asking me about Top Shot and I just…I really could not care less. Sure, I love basketball as much as the next person, but…I dunno…’not for me’ is the first thing that came to mind.
I also started noticing the stuff that @franalations was posting - I watched one of his videos like 10 times in order to figure out how to set up a Metamask and buy an unlisted token - I think it was like BAO coin or something. I made a few bucks off of it, but it was interesting to watch all the stuff he was getting into.
At that point, I was pretty knee deep in ‘creating content’ for IG and releasing my Dunky Dunk card set…trying to promote it and talk about it and take dope pictures, when out of the blue, one of my early crypto buddies texted me - ‘hey you should check out this rarible site - I think you could do some cool stuff with your sneaker cards on the blockchain.’ I took one look and my mind was blown…
(3/?) I went back to him and asked him to explain a bit better…and he mentioned the word ‘NFTs’. I had heard the term a few years prior in relation to a music release but still couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time. Another good friend (who just about ALL of you know indirectly) had mentioned the idea to me but I still couldn’t grasp it. We talked a bit longer and when he relayed the idea of NFT’s into my cards I felt like my mind had exploded. I voraciously started gathering up as much info as I could and I was super excited because I noticed that no one had capitalized on the idea in the creative world that I was working on (sneakers). I noticed this company RTFKT but I really didn’t feel like they had captured the essence of what it was we loved as sneakerheads…
Anyway, I kicked my ass into gear and worked with @sonsofblackmaria and his brother on creating some sneaker card NFTs that tied directly to sneaker cards that I had just released. I listed them for USD on my Shopify site and we sold quite a few… and…what was really dope…was that I personally helped each and every person (who bought an NFT) set up their own Metamask and take ownership of their token. I really liked just talking with people and helping introduce them to this world. After about 30 or 40 had sold, I took a step back and started thinking…’I need to provide value for my customers’. Instead of just doing pictures and videos (of which there is absolutely NO shortage of), I needed to figure out a way for my customers to benefit in a more tangible way. So I pumped the brakes a bit and started messing around with other ideas. Maybe I needed to buy an NFT…
One day, @franalations went live (or put a video on his story) about how he minted a Meebit or two. And I knew that Meebits were the new ‘crypto punks’ created by the same folks who created ‘crypto punks’ so I watched the video another 5 times and figured that I had to see what it was all about.
I went on over to Opensea and my mind was blown…after several hours of searching, I bought my first Meebit. And then my second. And then a bid I had placed out on another came through and I kicked myself. I just spent 4 ETH on jpegs! I immediately regretted it. “What if my wife knew I just spent $6,000 on 3 jpegs?” I decided to do a bit of research on the topic and came across this thing called the ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’…
(4/?) The thing about the Meebits - I spent hours poring over listings simply trying to find one that I thought looked like me. I settled on one but the two others I ended up with looked nothing like me. One looked like one of my friends and the other looked like Pharrell circa 2006.
Spending hours on Opensea - I quickly found the Bored Apes. And…shit…these guys had some style. Just the coolest looking characters with way more detail (and personality) than the Meebits that I just blew a shitload of cash on. I liked the guys with ‘Commie Hats’ and I really took to the guys with the Fez hats. The first one I found, the dude above, immediately reminded me of this shady tour guide my wife and I met on our Honeymoon in 2012. He took us all over the place over the course of like 5 days, then brought us to his ‘friends house’ (which was actually like a sweatshop of sorts) and basically had us sit on the floor of this ‘house’ for close to 3 tense (borderline hostile) hours trying to get us to buy some stuff from his ‘family’. It was brutal.
The prices for the Bored Apes were about 1/5rd the price of the Meebits so I figured ‘what the hell’. 0.3 ETH for the dude with the Fez? Done. Sold.
Over the next few days, I watched Meebits immediately dip in price and I saw a tiny bump from the Apes. I thought…’shit, I better not get too attached to this dude, especially if he ends up being worth some money.’ And then I reframed my thinking…’maybe I should double up and buy a couple, in case they end up being worth something, I can sell the others and always keep my forever ape.’ I saw two more Fez apes close to the floor (<0.75 ETH) and scooped ‘em up. FUCK. I spent a total of $10k on 6 JPEGS WTF IS WRONG WITH ME?
(5/?) After I copped my 3 Meebits and my 3 Bored Apes, I mostly took a step back. I was so mad at myself and got even madder every time I saw the price - I felt like I got taken. God I’m a fucking idiot. What was I thinking? Three months of my salary as a teacher on JPEGS? FUCKING IDIOT.
So I chose to ignore the price. And I started working on some other stuff to take my mind off of it. I saw what @franalations had been posting and promoting and I jump in a few and got immediately burned on a few (Arabian Camels? Panda Golf Squad?) so I ultimately said ‘fuck this I need to create my own stuff.’
I started paying attention to NFT Twitter and saw that it was like a completely different world that NFT IG. People on Twitter were actually interested in this stuff. #ApeFollowApe was actually a thing and talking about stuff I was actually interested in got way more interaction that my sneaker topics on Twitter. And the twitter crowd seemed to really run with the idea of NFTs, whereas I was getting a lot of pushback on IG…I went through a lot of push and pull on IG and ultimately decided that I shouldn’t do too much NFT talk on IG I should really just focus on the sneakers.
But then an idea hit me. Bored Ape owners seemed to really take pride in their profile pictures. I hit up @sonsofblackmaria and asked him if we could do a few sneaker illustrations that looked like apes. We posted a few and people really liked them. People liked them so much that they actually started paying us to create them. Custom ape sneaker illustrations. Hm. Who woulda thought?
(6/?) I’ve already told this story a few times, but I’ll shorten it here for continuity - shortly after we did a few ‘custom’ ape sneaker illustrations, I honed in on this VOID project and thought of customizing the white on white V01’s that my dude @voidequipment created.
Again, I hit up @sonsofblackmaria, asked him for a quick mockup, ordered the shoes, then passed them on to my dude @marrio_restores and he made his magic happen.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the VOID guys are all that interested in fashion IRL…they seem to be much more interested in metaverse fashion…nevertheless, our pairs came out incredible and unlike anything else out there…VOID branded sneakers based on VOID branded PFPs…Like it or not - these are the first sneakers that us as a company, 1ToStock, created. Props to all who made it happen…
(7/?) Creating the VOIDs led to a discussion with one of my good friends in the sneaker space…and just about EVERY friend I have in the sneaker space (that I talk with on a regular basis) is fascinated with the potential of NFTs…so the discussion was like a natural progression of the things I’ve been trying to work on/accomplish. He basically said to me ‘yo, we can create custom 1 off sneakers based on NFT pfp’s.’
To be clear, this wasn’t the first time I heard it…in every clubhouse room I’ve been in, there’s been like one guy who says ‘I’m making NFT sneakers’ and I’ve come to look at it as just a statement (because doing it is extremely difficult and I have yet to see anyone who has gone beyond stating it). So…I didn’t want to be that guy. But…being that this is someone I trust in the space, I took a minute to actually think about it. I’ve created all kinds of shit that people have said I couldn’t, so I got to a place where it actually seemed like a possibility.
We talked for hours, made a bunch of sketches, and decided…'hey, this might actually be doable.’ I ran the idea by a few of my other friends in the space - absolute rockstars in their respective fields, and they saw an opportunity as well. Everyone wanted in. Dope.
So we came up with a concept…something similar to an AF1 upper on a SFB sole. Something I would LOVE to see IRL, but we ultimately decided against it for a plethora of reasons…we needed an original design so my homie got to work…
(8/?) While my dude was designing the sneaker (based on what we talked about), I started looking for manufacturers, and the manufacturer discussion is always a difficult one because it requires some serious skill in communication. I had to find someone - likely halfway across the world - who could understand that we didn’t want 10,000 pairs of shoes, but more like 1 of 1 bespoke shoes (to match each owners ape). This proved to be a really difficult discussion to have as most manufacturers do not work in ‘1 of 1’s’…
It took me a while to find a manufacturer who said they could do 1 of 1’s….and it took us a few weeks to think about what the whole structure would look like. We looked through catalog after catalog and found the sole we wanted and trial after trial of the upper:
To put it in perspective…a shoe is a shoe…it’s a physical product with tangibility and measurements and material properties…and it serves a function and a purpose so would be relatively straightforward…but to add a digital NFT component on top of that requires a bit of imagination in the realm of ‘this is something that hasn’t really been done before’.
We bounced around a few ideas and came up with something we thought would be solid…allowing the owners of commercial rights to make money off of their products.
(9/?) One of the most interesting aspects of Bored Apes - which, I believe I already mentioned - was this statement here: “Ownership and commercial usage rights given to the consumer over their NFT”
To me, the question for the past few months has been ‘how can I make money off of my ape?’ It’s not a pair of shoes, that I’d just store in my closet. It’s not a bunch of baseball cards, which’ll sit in a dark box somewhere gathering dust. It’s not a bunch of money, sitting in an account making 0.003% interest while the bank uses it to make their own money. It’s not a gold coin, which, again, will just sit in my closet. It’s an ape that can give me ‘social media’ power the more I use it. The more I interact with people online, the more they recognize my ape. The more I put it out there, the better it is for MY personal commercial rights.
So I wanted to post a question to ape owners (but never got around to it): ‘Now that you have commercial rights for your ape, how do you plan on monetizing it?’
My idea was that people would start making money off of their ape shoes…and then my buddy came up with an even better idea - why not let ape owners create a whole size run of their shoes in order to create, essentially, their own StockX. Say Steph Curry wanted a full size run of the custom shoes of his ape - wouldn’t people be falling over themselves to get a physical pair from him? I know I would…Or even a pair of the #1 rarity ape…or…one of the apes that I wanted but couldn’t afford. The value of this stuff multiples the more it gets put out into the world and the more recognizable it is…
So where are we now? We’re still plugging away. I kinda jumped the gun in showing my hand before everything was all set (I hate doing that), but I assure you, we’re still working on it…real life samples coming soon.