BAYC Holder’s Story: How I Became a Diamond Hand?

Becoming a Diamond Hand: A BAYC Holder's Story

Original Author: Zeneca

Translated by: Jaleel, BlockBeats

Regarding BAYC, as a holder for over two years, I have many thoughts and perspectives:

Many may not have witnessed its early days, and many may not remember the wildfire-like situation when apes took over NFT Twitter. The timeline was filled with endless #apefollowape (ape holder mutual following). Once someone purchased an ape, they immediately gained 1,000 Twitter followers, and even got “Twitter jail” due to following too many people.

With full commercial IP authorization (always reminding that BAYC wasn’t the first, as I recall Avastars was the earliest), artists flooded the timeline with art derivatives. People became more and more creative on various commercial ideas: beer, neon signs, merchandise, coffee, bars, hamburgers, stories, comics.

The community is thriving. Honestly, the reason I bought into apes was because of FOMO. I was looking from outside in, seeing them having fun, and I wanted to be a part of it all.

But let’s take a step back and look at why BAYC is so popular. They weren’t the first 10k project, nor the first ape project, and they weren’t the first in many things (although they did have many firsts). So what are they, what did they create that’s so special, and how did the lightning in the bottle happen?

In my opinion, it’s culture. More specifically, counter-culture.

From Outsider to Insider: The Sense of Belonging That Monkeys Bring

I believe that most of us feel like we’ve been priced out of all the “cool” projects. Many of us, especially newcomers of 2021, feel like we came too late. Punks were made for elites; what “regular person” can afford to spend over 15 ETH on an avatar? I personally really really wanted a Hashmask, but even those were out of my price range at the time. Then Meebits came out, and I (or we) once again felt overlooked, forgotten, priced out, like an outsider looking in.

There was a trend at the time of fake bonding curve mint prices, what we called the “panic slope” or “FOMO slope”. I think my first topic was actually about this. Basically, the more people minted, the higher the mint price would go. In the fastest Ponzi scheme imaginable, minting in the first 1k would cost you 0.02 eth, the next 1k would cost 0.04, and so on, until the “latecomers” had to pay 0.2 or more. Meanwhile, NFTs were skyrocketing in popularity. We were in the midst of a crypto craze and NFTs were the talk of the town. Beeple’s $69 million auction made headlines. More and more people were pouring into the space, looking for things to buy and hoping to be a part of it all. Everyone was thinking, if only it wasn’t so expensive.

That’s when Yuga came along; they decided to release a series of 10k at a fixed mint price of 0.08 (which was considered very fair and reasonable compared to other options at the time).

Although its performance during Mint wasn’t great, taking a week to mint and most of the minting happening on the last day, our game was officially on. Thousands of people were having fun with their PFPs on Twitter. We felt like we were part of a community like never before.

Things spiraled out of control in a frenzy of summer 2021 madness, and the apes had all the impact.

The only constant is change itself

The interesting thing about the PFP NFT community is that it’s always changing. At some point, the community from the first few weeks and months is no longer the same community. Of course, BAYC had many holders from the beginning, many outstanding community members supporting the community, and many new members making huge contributions.

But it changed. Change isn’t always a bad thing, and it’s always inevitable, so it’s not surprising. However, the scale of the change is the craziest part. Apes went from counter-culture, affordable PFPs for everyone, to the most expensive PFPs in NFT history. Suddenly, the people buying these things weren’t “John Smith” and “Jane Doe,” they were celebrities and whales. At this point, I want to emphasize again that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The community just changed.

Despite all of this, Yuga still provided some excellent experiences and the community has always been strong overall. But when you become as big as the apes, you become a target and you’re under a microscope. You become easy to hate because now all of the new counterculture projects are against your culture.

From street beggars to the elite; from muddy swamps to the moon.

Thus, after a terrible year-long bear market, people’s emotions changed and they began to feel some resentment towards the apes. But I’m not particularly surprised, as this has been the case for some time now. It’s no longer a project created by four degen founders who (possibly) got excited and came up with funny ideas, hung out in Discord, and resonated with the community.

It has become a company that has raised nine-figure funding on a ten-figure valuation, dealing with various lawsuits, trying to create a new type of game (MetaRPG). It has a DAO, an ERC-20 token, endless NFTs, complexity, depth, chaos, legend, and confusion.

There is no doubt that they are one of the communities that are most likely to thrive ten years from now. 99.99% of NFT projects are running out of money, and their communities are dying. 99.99% of NFT communities are not talked about; Yuga has everyone talking about them, even if it’s not always favorable, but BAYC always comes up in every NFT conversation.

BAYC will also be compared to some of the “newer” style PFP projects: DeGods, Pudgies, Azukis. All of these are amazing communities and I think they will also be successful and thrive. But they are different beasts and it’s not always fair to compare them just because they all have animal jpegs as their core product. There is one other thing that comes to mind for me: I often think back to the early days and the apes I spent a lot of time with on Twitter and Discord.

Many of them are still in the community, but many of us have started our own businesses. It’s hard to continue being an active community member of BAYC when you have your own community. For me, BAYC and everything it has meant to me, my life, and my career in web3 will always hold a special place in my heart. I know many others feel the same way. From a certain perspective, I’m lucky that I haven’t really been bothered by price fluctuations – of course, it’s never comfortable when the numbers go down, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

We have a tendency in NFT culture where when the price is high, we love the project, and when the price is low, our love for the project decreases. It’s crazy, but that’s how most of us think. I think it’s time to admit how much things have changed since the early days.

BAYC is no longer the BAYC from two years ago, and that’s okay. It has battle scars, new members, and a million new things in the ecosystem.

Has BAYC become more decentralized?

I don’t know what will happen to the price from here – it could continue to drop, stabilize, or rebound. However, one thing that I’m very sure of is that if it does recover to the insane valuations of late 2021/early 2022, it’s very likely not going to be because of any product that BAYC delivers. No one wants to spend $500,000 to own an avatar, get some land, play a virtual universe game, or go on a treasure hunt.

People spend big money because they want to be part of an exclusive digital country club. Being in the same club as celebrities and whales, taking care of each other, helping each other, making connections, and having fun together. That’s why we’ve seen Azuki and DeGods recently booming – because their communities have spent quality time together. BAYC is fun too, don’t get me wrong. BAYC communities are thriving all over the world, but things are different now than they used to be, and I can’t help but ask: has BAYC become more decentralized?

The dirty little secret of this crazy PFP game we’re all playing (not so dirty, really) is that there’s almost no real substance to any of it. The vast majority is speculative based on perception. I said this a year ago, and it’s still true today: one of the problems with our market is how much of it is driven by pure hype and speculation.

The “value” of most NFTs is simply “how much other people are willing to pay for them,” and people decide how much they’re willing to pay based on emotions, usually without any real substance. When deciding whether to buy an NFT for economic reasons, the important thing isn’t my opinion of the project, it’s my perception of other people’s opinions of the project. When everyone is deciding whether to buy an NFT based primarily on what they think other people think, that quickly becomes problematic.

I think all of this also shows the difference between PFP/NFT, which have almost no external dependencies (i.e. Punks) and NFTs with a lot of external dependencies. One roadmap is a double-edged sword, and this sword will eventually pierce most projects.

Anyway. I’ve talked enough, I just wanted to share some thoughts as a long-term holder of BAYC. It’s undeniable that I’ve been a pretty bad holder and community member over the past year, focusing only on my own projects. But I haven’t lost confidence in what BAYC is building and what the community can achieve.

And finally, all the talk about “if Yuga fails, the entire NFT space will fail” is nonsense. If Yuga fails, it will certainly be bad for the industry and provide ammunition for some ignorant people to try to destroy us, but it will hardly change the long-term adoption of NFT technology. NFTs are not “either successful or a failure”. They are inevitable and unavoidable.

In the future digital world and even the whole world, NFTs will play a foundational role. The question is not whether we will see this happen, but when.

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