Behind the blockchain and the dizzying world of digital files are the creators themselves—many of them as mysterious as the digital world they belong to. A large number of NFT founders have remained anonymous throughout their spectacular rise. Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, the billionaires behind the Bored Ape Yachet Club (who counts Paris Hilton and Eminem as fans) remained largely unknown until an article revealed their identities earlier this year. Now, Tatler has met the creators behind Creepz, who have created more than just cryptocurrency art, and cultivated a strong cyber community and empire.
“We’ve created a kind of small supercity,” said Dominic Smith, one of the co-founders of the blockbuster NFT. The 29-year-old Eatonian told me at a villa in Ibiza that he and his business partner Joe Carnell rented it for a change. After launching Creepz last August, the couple have raised nearly £250m worth of sales and amassed 80,000 users online (more than half of Ibiza’s population) who are all communicating and buying a range of The reptiles — known as “lizards” — are used in their cryptocurrency portfolio.
Who are these digital art lovers? “We’ve got CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, astrophysicists at NASA, all the way up to a 21-year-old artist who is very free-thinking and free,” Smith said. Creepz has also attracted a number of shiny celebrities, including Par Reece Hilton, Steve Aoki, Jaden Smith and Brooklyn Beckham are all snapping up the digital artwork. Beckham was featured in Vogue’s “What’s In My Bag” last month “The series proudly shows off his Creepz lizard, pulls out his phone, smiles at the camera and says, “This is my very beautiful screensaver with one of my favorite NFTs”.
Before Smith and Carnell started their successful brand last summer, the two 29-year-olds worked in the fintech world and invested in NFTs on the sidelines. Disappointed with their work, the two tech entrepreneurs decided to venture into the virtual space and build a community around the NFTs they wanted to create. We looked for a connotative storyline that people would be emotionally acceptable to,” Carnell explained, “and we came across a conspiracy theory that the highest echelons of society were run by a race of alien lizards that could morph into humans. In the United States, 15 million people actually believe this statement. We flipped the script and thought, actually, these characters are actually kind of cool. So can we make a set of these alien lizards that are actually kind of cute?
So the couple teamed up with a streetwear artist to create a “base character” that was then transformed by applying different traits; be it different skin or eye colors, outfits and accessories. The character is then placed in a generative script and sold as art on the blockchain, allowing the artwork to be verified and made clear that it is an original work. After months of nights and weekends, Smith and Carnell have officially launched Creepz with the first line-up of lizards (which cost £160 at launch and are now worth over £30,000) Carnell said: “All Stuff sold out within an hour”, “We got to a point where we thought, wow, we need to jump down the rabbit hole and do this full time”. Five months later, Creepz is not only one of the leading brands dominating the virtual space – NFT’s product flew out of Opensea (link) for £90,000 – but also the first NFT company to sign with Three Six Zero Management, The company is the entertainment agency behind the likes of Jason Statham, Calvin Harris and Willow Smith.
There is no doubt that Creepz’s bright future extends well beyond the scope of metadata. The entrepreneurs are negotiating with the top five production companies in Los Angeles to develop a line of toys in Hong Kong, and Smith and Carnell are also busy organizing a festival with their agency in New York next month. “We’re going to invite some Very famous musicians come to play,” Smith hinted. In a world where the boundaries of reality and cyberspace merge, are NFT music festivals the hottest ticket? People from Creepz communities around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Los Angeles, are meeting in real life,” Smith said. “They go to bars, they talk about art, they dress stylishly. They post pictures of the party and everyone is so jealous saying “I wish I was there”. Whether Brooklyn Beckham, Paris Hilton or Smith will be at the event remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that Smith and Carnell are at the forefront of society.
5 underrated NFT projects
WAGMI-SAN drawn by 10KTF Twitter
10KTF, launched on September 17, 2021, is an NFT project that provides unique Metaverse wearables to holders of specific NFT projects. The collection currently has over 18,000 NFTs and was created by a mysterious digital artisan named Wagmi-san.
Originally, 10KTF gave owners of popular PFP projects (like Boring Ape, Cool Cat, Women’s World, etc.) a unique way to create digital clothing in portraits and colorways of the NFTs they owned. Collectors were able to mint NFTs featuring high-top sneakers, backpacks, socks, and even items in collaboration with Gucci.
The project has now grown to include an in-depth storyline phase in which Wagmi-san, as a lone shopkeeper, fights to keep his shop from being shut down by a frog mafia called Boss Toadz. 10KTF, which has direct ties to Beeple and various new Metaverse-biased projects on Horizon, remains a unique and sometimes mysterious species in the NFT ecosystem.
Two, The Meta Key
Launched in May 2021, Meta Key is a comprehensive Metaverse membership program. With the goal of being the first to achieve interoperability within the NFT ecosystem, Meta Key offers a wide variety of innovative Web3 incentives to its community members.
By owning a Meta Key NFT, collectors can gain access to virtual events, game integrations, exclusive academic courses for NFT enthusiasts, and even whitelisting for prestigious projects like Clone X.
As The Meta Key ecosystem has grown, the project’s developers seem to have started to focus more on gaming and community activities. It remains one of the first NFT projects to implement a membership-based community model, with new and unique additions to its core product being rolled out almost every month.
3. The Free NFTs
COMPUSOPHY’S FIVE FREE NFTS
The Free NFTs is a public domain project created by big V crypto artist and developer Compusohpy to incentivize enthusiasts to collect a full suite of NFTs to earn free empty investment slots for the series’ upcoming tokens. While The Free NFTs series was released in March 2022, the project stemmed from a regular NFT giveaway program that its creators began hosting via Twitter around March 2021.
Compusohpy is a mysterious creator whose trajectory in the NFT space has been unconventional and controversial. At the start of 2021, they launched a series of giveaways, offering participants a word like “time”, “energy” or “truth” and prompting them to define the word in just two words.
The enigmatic artist ended up disappearing for a long time, leading to many claims that they may actually be another name for leading crypto artist Pak. However, these claims appear to be unfounded, and Compusophy has been as active as ever in 2022.
4. Adidas Into the Metaverse
Launched on December 17, 2021, adidas Into The Metaverse was created by adidas Originals, the casual activewear and creator-focused offshoot of the overall adidas brand.
Through Into The Metaverse, Adidas Originals has partnered with renowned NFT collector and ambassador GMoney and the popular Punks Comic NFT project. The collection features 30,000 digital collectibles, offering holders exclusive collaborative physical merchandise and ongoing digital utility.
After months of waiting, at the end of April 2022, Adidas opened a merchandise claim portal through their website, allowing Into The Metaverse NFT holders to redeem free sweatshirts, tracksuits and caps to match GMoney and Punks Comic’s Brand. Adidas will purportedly roll out more uses as a unique use case for a major brand to have significant success joining the NFT space.
5. Cool Pets
Cool Pets, launched on January 31, 2022, is a companion NFT series to the coveted Cool Cats series. With 20,000 NFTs, Cool Pets offers NFT enthusiasts an economical way to join the Cool Cats community without having to shell out thousands of dollars in ETH to get one of the original 9999 Cool Cats.
Despite the myriad of hurdles Cool Pets encountered during its launch, Cool Pets is still touted as a unique endeavor among the rest of the companion series, as it provides an innovative expansion to the Cool Pets universe, Cooltopia. As the price of the original Cool Cats continues to drop, so does the price of Cool Pets, making this secondary collectible undervalued, so it is recognized as a historic blue-chip project by many collectors in the NFT community.
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