Duck Success Factors
Many have asked us how we pulled off what we did with the Dastardly Ducks. Here are what insights I can provide.
Since the launch of Dastardly Ducks and our feature in CNBC, one question I get from tons of people can essentially be distilled down to: how? Some out of disbelief and others out of a desire to recreate our success. I must make it abundantly clear that I cannot make lightning strike twice in the same spot. We did a lot right in a way that came together better than I ever expected, but we were also lucky.
These factors in our success do not guarantee success, they simply increase the likelihood of it. However, hopefully the insights will be useful for people trying to break into this space.
Many newcomers to the NFT space tend to see them as nothing more than tokens with art attached — and that’s all some NFTs are. However, many buyers seem to want to feel like they are buying a piece of a story that transcends a simple image — especially if it is from a larger collection rather than one-off pieces of fine art.
In our case, people resonated with our story of being at risk of losing our home. But “story” is so much more than just real world circumstances of the creators of a project. For instance, my favorite project by other creators, Crypto Coven, centers around a shared lore of witches. They are not just art of witches, they are part of a much greater world in which witches you own can be a portal.
Many people seeking to get into the NFT space as an artist rely on simply uploading things through forms on sites like OpenSea in order to mint their work as NFTs. There’s nothing wrong with this, though it provides a somewhat less exciting experience for buyers.
To purchase the original set of 10,000 Dastardly Ducks from us directly, you connected your Ethereum wallet to our website and paid to mint one, six, or twelve directly on the blockchain without ever going through sites like OpenSea.
Though if you want one of the ducks now, you have to buy them through markets like OpenSea, the $120,000 made from minting was collected directly through our site. This is by no means a requirement to successfully sell NFTs, but almost all projects that make a lot of money quickly at launch use this method.
Well-Optimized Smart Contract
Every NFT is tied to a “smart contract,” which is basically just a block of programming code that lives on the blockchain. This contract governs how the NFTs are minted and function, though they must conform to certain standards.
When uploading art to a site like OpenSea, the NFT just becomes part of their shared smart contract. The creator address on the NFT will still be yours, but it will just be yet another NFT in a massive collection attached to this smart contract.
When minting an NFT, one has to pay “gas” fees, which cover the computational and storage costs of processing the transaction. Custom contracts can often dramatically reduce the gas required. By utilizing an innovative new approach to minting NFTs, I got the gas costs dramatically low.
Ethereum is an expensive blockchain to use. Many artists looking to sell their art as NFTs avoid it for this reason — and the first smol farm NFTs were ten copies of this rabbit art on a far more affordable chain called Tezos. They did not sell quickly or generate much money.
NFTs on alternate chains are getting more popular — and that’s great for independent artists. Initially, we were expecting to have to release this project on one of them ourselves.
However, the most popular projects that generate the most money fast are still on Ethereum. We had friends who could not donate enough money to save our home but could cover the costs of getting our smart contract deployed on Ethereum. Generally, I would advise against smaller creators using Ethereum because of the costs involved.
A lot of people see the NFT space as for “crypto bros,” which are largely imagined to be a cishet white guy carbon copy of Mark Zuckerberg. Though many NFT projects revolve around “traits” applied to a base template, those are often designed to be apolitical.
However, a significant number of the Dastardly Ducks are wearing pride shirts or shirts with political states fighting for more political autonomy and freedom like Taiwan and Palestine. The point is not to generate controversy but rather to enable people to see their own struggles and dreams more realized in projects like this. There’s a reason I have already made heavy use of my trans rights duck as a hexagon profile picture on Twitter.
It’s easy to see someone’s success and assumed they must have some secret that can be replicated. There were a number of things we did that helped us stand out, and we want to do what we can to help other creators understand this space and what worked for us.
However, the biggest factor in so much of life is luck. I can give perspective that might help you increase the odds, but I am as in just as much shock in our story still as so many people reading about it are.
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