If you’re short on time, here’s what investors, operators, and founders alike must know about NFTs and the Philosophical Foxes vision.
NFTs are an opportunity to tell the story of a large-scale community. Each philosophical fox is the protagonist of a separate, shared story. Their unique characteristics and on-chain inner lives tell them how to act in a given situation, providing the elements for true “multiplayer media”.
Different NFT projects require different approaches. Each NFT of Zhesihu is hand-designed, with ideological features written by myself. This manual approach is atypical and has obvious tradeoffs. However, in our case it made sense.
Dutch auctions prevent quick resale and fee scuffles. Cunning holders can gamble on open mines, grab a low price, and then sell to ensure a quick appreciation. Dutch auctions prevent this behavior by starting with the “highest price” and then gradually dropping. By spreading out sales over a period of time, they also reduce the chance of a fee scuffle.
· NFTs can evolve gradually through “progressive personality”. Due to their name, it is often assumed that NFTs should not change – they are “unforgeable” after all. Sticking to this definition is too rigid and limits creativity. In order for our little fox to develop, we adhere to the concept of “progressive personality”. By adding personal ideas, foxes can take on new traits and grow just like us.
“Composable narratives” generate new possibilities. Decentralized financial projects have leveraged the concept of composability to create new products. These “money blocks” are designed to be remixed and combined. Can we do something similar with stories, breaking them down into different components? Doing so may unleash a cross-project narrative.
What you need to know
Looking for details about Drop? The following words should be kept in mind.
· We made a new official website. Take a look at it to learn more about the vision of Philosopher Fox and where we want to take the project. I hope you like it.
· The new series will be released on February 3rd at 5pm ET.
· Will be available on OpenSea. We will be hosting a Dutch auction on our OpenSea page.
· Take a look at the foxes for sale before the auction starts. 60 minutes before the auction starts, you can browse and choose the fox you like the most. All preparations are made when the auction starts.
Discord is already open.
The Bayeux Tapestry is a material drama. Commissioned in the 11th century, it tells the story of William the Conqueror’s vicious battle to successfully seize the British throne. On the 70-meter tapestry, viewers can see ships approaching the British coastline, horses stumbled in battle, supplies being brought to the front, nobles drinking and having fun, and heads being chopped off in ferocious skirmishes. It is both a spectacle and a documentary. In fact, astrophysicist Carl Sagan called it “the newspaper of the age”, noting that Halley’s Comet appeared on a frieze of the tapestry.
The Bayeux tapestry is the product of many. At least, we think so. Maybe dozens of embroiderers worked on it at the same time, sewing miniature plays that, combined, form a super narrative. A total of 626 different characters appear on its fabric, not counting the 202 horses and mules. Everyone has their own story, some face death, others go to glorious victory.
Nearly a thousand years have passed since the Bayeux tapestry was made. Our ability to coordinate large, interlocking projects has grown exponentially. However, as I pointed out in an article on the subject, I believe our greatest “multiplayer” work is yet to come.
It is through this perspective that I see the future of Zhesihu. The NFT project is an experiment in storytelling, intellectual property, community and multiplayer media. It’s an opportunity to create a sprawling visual literature, stitching a tapestry in pixels.
In today’s article, we’ll examine what this means and how we can get there. It is important to note that the following must be ensured.
The story behind the philosophical fox. Created last October, Philosophical Fox almost involves a convoluted murder mystery.
Reflections on the first delivery. Our Genesis collection of 100 foxes and 11 individual ideas quickly sold out and sparked secondary sales.
How to make 1,000 new foxes. We take an unorthodox approach to creating our work. While not very efficient, it has distinct advantages.
Where will “narrative 1” take us. Our current roadmap ends with the “Dream Fox” and the opening of a portal to a new world.
topic being explored. The existence of Zhesihu is to open up the storytelling of the chain. This involves playing around with “progressive personality” and “narrative composability”.
How we got to where we are today
A year ago, I simply could not have imagined what we have achieved today. In hindsight, this feels like one of the most natural extensions of the generalist ethos and values.
In October 2021, I am in Lisbon for a month. My fiancee Ali and I loved it there after visiting for a few days in late 2019. Just thinking about going back and staying for a longer time if there is a chance, it was not a concrete plan at the time, it was more like an idea. Both of our jobs require a physical office, and I’m a venture capitalist focused on the New York market.
As many of you know from Generalist Turned Regular, a lot has changed in the two years since your first visit. By mid-summer 2021, we’re all working entirely remotely, and the pandemic has subsided enough for us to travel. We went to Lisbon.
When I was writing my OpenSea article, Ali said something that should have been obvious to me. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist was: “Maybe before you publish an 8,000-word article about this company, you should use it to buy things?” Well said. I’ve done NFTs before and have been airdropped a few times, but never bought on OpenSea.
I have a characteristic that I always tend to put my passion to good use. Found something interesting? I’ll drag this joke to the point where my stomach hurts from laughing or I can’t talk about it anymore. Show me a song I like? I now need to listen to it 200 times in a row until the first beat can make me grin.
Ali suggested that I make a purchase on OpenSea, setting off this spiritual wild goose chase to extremes. Of course, I can buy an NFT. But wouldn’t it be cooler if I made one myself? If it’s a full series, if it’s in a storytelling way, wouldn’t that be a better way to learn NFTs? If they are real people (how? what does that mean?), what if I give up after a week?
Lisbon’s many buildings are covered in ornate tiles, one of its many beauties. Tile patterns, pictures, sometimes seem to tell a story. If you squint, they seem to make the building look almost pixelated. I was walking the section between Santos-o-Velho and Chiado that week with NFTs on my mind. I am very firm. I’m sure it makes sense. When I published the OpenSea article, I had decided: it’s time to start doing some thinking foxes.
Over the next week, I worked on the core concept of “Fox NFTs with Inner Life”. Before I settled on the name “Philosopher Fox,” there was the alternate term “Think Fox Alliance,” adding a domain name to my Google account. I also spent two days that week writing a puzzle involving a murder, planning to plant different clues as “secrets” throughout the Fox League, only possible if each NFT holder leaks their information solve this problem.
We ended up with a neater, cleaner solution. On October 17, 2021, General Knowledge magazine published an article titled “Thinking NFTs”, shedding light on the idea that many projects taking off in the field have “thin IPs” that are incompatible with Traditional iconic creations are different. Cypherpunks, Boring Apes, and other projects give NFTs unusual physical characteristics, but don’t tell us anything about their personalities.
I think this is a missed opportunity, especially as NFTs cross the boundaries of profile pictures into games, comics, and TV shows. Whenever a rich story needs to be built around these attributes, creators only code the least important features into the blockchain. How would a particular bored ape handle being rejected? What would a particular cypherpunk do in a crisis?
The fact that we can’t find a decent answer to a similar question means we’re deviating from the greatest and most enduring narrative attributes. If you take Jay Gatsby, Anna Karenina, James Bond, Miss Havisham, Tom Ripley, Elizabeth Bennett, Humbert Humbert, Sherlock Sherlock Holmes, or even Peter Parker thrown into a particular scene, we have strong feelings about whether they will or will not act. Even though they may look different in different mediums, different versions, we know who they are.
How do you bring this depth into NFTs? What elements do you need to make something that looks like a profile photo really fit into a narrative?
Philosopher Fox represents my attempt at these questions. By giving the fox unique ideas, philosophies, emotional baggage, virtues, and secrets, each NFT has the necessary qualities to infer and tell stories. Throw an absurd fox with a sharp tongue, an Oedipal complex, a hidden past, deflated thinking about their dance party into a scene and you’ve got somewhere to go.
On the same day we published our article, we minted 100 foxes and 11 “personal thoughts”. When we finally opened the collection, it was already night. In order not to indulge ourselves in checking OpenSea, email and Twitter, Ali and I plan to go to dinner. After all, I think, it might take a few days for the collection to sell out.
At times, it feels like your little corner of the internet is on fire. I’ve felt this way three times: when Durable Capital threatened to sue me, fintwit took them down, when I wrote about Tiger Global, and when I launched Philosophical Foxes. It felt like seconds after I sent out the email outlining the premise, the first fox went on sale.
One, two, three, ten, twenty. The entire collection sold out in about 30 minutes, and an active secondary market began. Although most fox coins are priced at or below 0.2ETH, within a few hours they are trading at 20 to 25 times that price. Is this… a good thing or a bad thing? I’m still not sure how to look at this.
Without a doubt, the best part is seeing some of my favorites on the internet buy and hold. There have also been many messages from people who pointed out that the project resonated strongly and said they wanted to be a part of it. Some made suggestions for future iterations, some wanted a place to meet and talk, and some of the sharpest minds in the business confirmed that we created something truly new. Talent brokers start contacting us.
There is a clear need for an NFT project that tells a story on-chain in a different way and builds a community around it. Started as an experiment and seemed to have a life of its own.
At the time of writing, Zhesihu has a base price of 2.3ETH, which is 23 times the minimum minting price and 9 times the average price. The total transaction volume has reached 173 ETH, and the collection is distributed among 80 collectors.
how we do it
On February 3rd at 5pm ET, we’ll be launching the latest series from Philosopher Fox. It will feature 1000 foxes and 300 individual ideas and kick off our first “narrative”.
Every once in a while, someone texts me asking how to start an NFT project. The truth is, after our first run, I didn’t know. Most profile picture (PFP) projects start with 10,000 NFTs; ours has 111. Many people launched a Discord or Telegram before their mints; we have a less active Twitter page. Some people run giveaways and contests to build a following; we have this newsletter. Most of these decisions are accidental rather than tactical, but I think it’s ultimately an advantage. Instead of launching a full series, we created an MVP that gave us room to learn and iterate. In this respect, the development of this project is more like a corporate venture than an art collecting act.
After working on this latest instance for three months, I have a better answer to this question – although I’m still not sure if this is correct for most people. For better or worse, here’s the story of how this latest chapter came to be, and the decisions we’ve made along the way. We are here thanks to an incredible interim team.
Every fox is thinking about something. As with works of art, each one is created by a human being, in this case me.
Coming up with 1300 different ideas is challenging, but also very fun. Take a look at my browsing history over the past few months and you’ll find a long list of Wikipedia rabbit holes, poetry detours, clueless clicks on physics concepts, and long visits to paradoxes, thought experiments, and other mysteries . Many ideas came from this semi-focused exploration, while others popped up when I was bored in the back seat of a taxi, while walking, brushing my teeth.
Is there any logic to the fox’s idea? Dreams only make sense when you are in them. There are quirks and inside jokes, and little stories embedded in them, dancing figuratively between them. I can remember some of these allusions; I have forgotten many. However, they are still there.
The overall effect, I hope, is thought provoking. Take a look at this set and you’ll see the beginning of 1300 leads. The phrase “Rokeach in Ypsilanti” may not make much sense at first, but Google it and you’ll find a strange and fascinating psychology story. Take a look at “Free Sculpture” and maybe you’ll be reminded of what Michelangelo once said. “I saw the angel in the sculpture and set him free”.
Not all of them are profound. Some are goofy, funny, self-absorbed, goofy and empty — just like us. But I think all of these are worth your time and your time to think about.
Metadata plays a key role in Philosopher Fox. After all, the internal characteristics of our NFTs that make them unique are the core premise of this project, and the philosophical consistency, virtue, and baggage are all here. For the first batch of 111 NFTs, I went through them one by one and added the characteristics that I thought best matched their minds and personalities. If a certain fox is a nihilist, I’ll probably add the “probably Slytherin” baggage.
While this is fun, it is very time consuming. It also doesn’t look complete. Is there any logic behind how I assign characteristics? Is there enough room for happy surprises and fun juxtapositions? This is too limiting for my mind.
While retaining the basic feel, we set out to create something fairer and faster. To help, I turned to Secret Sqvirrel. An interesting part of building this new iteration is that it involves friends and readers of The Generalist, and Squirrel is one of them. After the genesis event, they wrote me an email to share some thoughts on the project that align very well with the project’s long-term vision. They also offered to use their considerable technical expertise to help in the next phase of the work.
To this end, Squirrel is tasked with automatically generating NFT metadata based on specific probabilistic rules. We define these by deciding whether a particular thought is associated with a particular philosophy. For example, “The Will to Power” Fox would have to be a nihilist given its connection to Nietzsche’s philosophy, while “Losing Lost” could fit any number of worldviews.
Whether or not an idea is directly linked to a philosophy, that philosophy should influence which baggage and virtues are chosen. For example, if a fox sticks to r/WallStreetBets’ philosophy, they should be more likely to have the “frequently said YOLO” baggage. Meanwhile, Fox, who is a relativist, should “do that on LinkedIn, each line a separate paragraph” more often than anyone else. (Only moral relativists would condone such behavior).
This system relies on inherently subjective input. Once formulated, the metadata it produces requires no human intervention. The result is a character that feels right, has inherent logic, but still surprises you. Not every follower of Peter Thiel has to be a “chronic interrupter” or “extremely persuasive.” Randomness and sanity can coexist.
As we discussed, after our first coinage, a ferocious secondary market was sparked. Faced with the potential for a 10-20x markup, many who joined hours early sold.
This is perfectly reasonable, but not desirable. Conversely, the winners of such deals are those with the weakest beliefs. As soon as they get a chance to make a return, they sell it. This is not a judgment, but an observation. 5 ETH was worth over $20,000 at the genesis sale. That’s a big number, especially for something you snagged 40 minutes ago for $800.
To complicate matters, those who can best capture the collection at mint price tend to be sophisticated buyers. While this doesn’t seem like a significant issue — no way to prepare ahead of time — it’s an outcome we want to avoid.
How can we build the basis for the highest conviction rate as effectively as possible? After a lot of research and consideration, we have decided to hold a Dutch auction for the V2 edition of the collectible. (This comes after a limited pre-sale opened to General Knowledge magazine members and current Fox holders). We hope that this stage and mechanism will result in an extremely engaged, coherent community.
If you’re not familiar with it, projects like Artblocks and Mutant Ape Yacht Club already use the Dutch auction format. The way it works is to set a “high” and then go down until a “rest” is reached. For example, a project from Artblocks set a cap of 5 ETH and then slowly lowered this price to a lower cap of 0.25 ETH. We think this is the best structure for a project like this for a few reasons.
Stopped the quick hype. The Dutch auction reduces the chances of a mint selling quickly for a markup by starting at a higher price and dropping continuously. We hope to attract collectors who are excited to be a part of this journey and stick with it for the long haul.
produce a better match. As you know by now, every fox is a real character. They have ideas, philosophies, virtues, baggage and secrets. Because they are unique, different pieces will appeal to different people. Dutch auctions allow collectors to pay more to secure their favorite NFTs. We want the largest number of people to end up with their favorite Fox or Lone Ranger thoughts.
Less miner fees. As the Dutch auction is spread out over a longer period, bids are less concentrated. This means that the Ethereum network will not become as congested and miner fees will remain low. This approach means less money goes to the miners and more goes to the project itself.
It would not have been possible to create this structure without Jorge Izquierdo. Like Sqvirrel, Jorge and I met through Generalist and became friends. He contributed to our multiplayer work on The DAO and is a member of our community. During my stay in Lisbon, we met for a coffee and chat.
In addition to being one of the most enduring crypto architects in the world, co-founding Aragon, Jorge is also one of the kindest, most humble, and thoughtful people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in this space. Frankly, it is unreal that someone like him builds the smart contract and auction infrastructure of Zhesihu.
our ultimate purpose
This is just the beginning. While I recommend checking out the new Philosophy Fox website for an additional version on our direction, there is a lot of thinking that doesn’t fit neatly into its scope. (Lovely work there thanks to Peter Dimitrov and Daniel Georgiev).
Let’s jump into how we think about the road ahead and share some thoughts that will define our journey.
We are at the beginning of the first “narrative” of Philosopher Fox. While this is a roadmap, it revolves around a specific story. Over time, the narratives will build upon each other, deepening the connection between the fox and the world of our own making.
Narrative 1 is “The Story of How We Learned to Sleep” and culminates in the creation of “The Dreaming Fox”. Below are some details on the steps along the way. As an illustration, percentages refer to the total number of items sold.
0%. We publish a genesis set consisting of 100 foxes and 11 individual minds. [completed].
8%. We open “Ethereal Cafe” to early customers – our Discord. (Now open to everyone!) [COMPLETED].
8%. We share our entire collection of 1,100 foxes and 311 ideas with the world.
30%. We put ten wild foxes into the wallets of existing holders. These look different from other collectibles.
50%. We stake 11 individual thoughts in existing holders’ wallets.
60%. We share a secret, revealing that an NFT hides something profound.
75%. An ancient lost love poem is discovered, revealing the origins of the Foxes.
90%. Our holy garments are in production. (In other words, we’ll be making some amazing merchandise and offering limited editions exclusively to holders).
100%. A powerful hypnotic mist pervades the vixen’s abode, causing vivid hallucinations and visions of madness. This event, called “Somni”, opened the door to a new dimension and created the dreamy fox.
While I’m excited about every step, the star of Narration 1 is “Somni”. From the first week of working on this project in October, I knew I wanted to create foxes with dreams. Not only does it open up narrative possibilities—dreams are the realm of great truths and great mysteries—but it also expands the terrain. How do foxes behave in different portals? What might it produce?
Practically speaking, the dreaming fox is a way to expand our packs while rewarding existing collectors. Each fox holder will have the opportunity to forge a dream fox, while individual mind owners can forge an independent dream.
Over time, we may see the thinking fox enter the dream world and the dreaming fox into the waking world.
In cryptocurrencies, composability is often referred to in relation to Decentralized Finance (DeFi). Different financial elements, such as borrowing, saving or paying, can be segregated and recombined. These components are like “money blocks” stacked together to form new structures.
One of my goals in Philosophical Fox was to experiment with the concept of “narrative composability.” What does it mean to break a story down into its component parts? If you manage to do this, what can you create?
To get started, you need a good character. The first phase of this project has been geared towards this purpose. Every fox has meaningful depth that guides how it should behave in certain situations. In addition, the loneliness allows the fox to add traits over time, a process we call “progressive personality.” Just like us humans, foxes change and develop by increasing.
These aspects ensure that we have the attributes of a realistic protagonist, but we need “story building blocks”. While I’m still in the early stages of thinking about this, we can take inspiration from Joseph Campbell’s seminal work The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In this book, Campbell argues that the world’s great myths all fit into a common structure. He outlines a series of steps, beginning with “The Call of Adventure” and ending with a homecoming.
Can we separate each of Campbell’s stages into independent blocks that holders can use to support their fox’s narrative? What if the specifics of each stage reflected the fox’s own personality? After all, the proper journey of an existentialist is different from that of a Manichaeus.
Nor do we need to religiously adhere to Campbell’s framework. For example, we could start by creating a series of “dilemmas” for the fox. Imagine your fox finds an envelope full of ten thousand dollars. What will it do? A Kantian who puts others first would turn it over to the police. But an arrogant hedonist might run out of money in Atlantic City.
Through the dilemma, we learn more about who the foxes are and what makes them who they are. Like thinking alone, these experiences may even add new traits to our protagonists.
Now, what if these experiences touch other foxes? What if the decisions of the nihilist affect the stoic? How can stories be intertwined, forming lace between each other? By breaking narratives into pieces, we can turn them into rich legends. The resulting product may have the sophistication of MMPORG, but also some elegance of fiction.
It’s not impossible to imagine how the world of “Fox” interacts with other projects. Will the selfless devotion of the boring ape ruin the fox’s tricks? Could the dreaming fox share a vision with the hermit prophet? The fox will actively experiment with the potential of narrative in our world, and perhaps outside it.
Although I didn’t realize it until recently, the potential for this kind of vertical storytelling is encapsulated by the aforementioned “Multiplayer Media” paper. As a reminder, in that article, I argued that in the coming decades, many great works of art will be created by large teams of loosely organized contributors. Rather than a writer pecking and grinding a novel, hundreds of participants come together to create a sprawling story of their own.
The Philosopher Fox is an example of this premise. Like dozens of people who might be working on the Bayeux Tapestry, this project is an opportunity for us to learn and play together, weaving a story of our own.
Don’t miss the next Philosophical Foxes drop on Thursday, February 3rd at 5pm ET. You’ll also receive a weekly briefing from Babel.
So far, we’ve been focusing on the goals of Zhesi Fox as a creative project. Equally important is our ambition for it to be a kind of community. I hope it becomes our own web3 playground, a place for us to experiment and learn among our friends. It will also be where we drive the development of the Zhesihu project. (In this, and in many other respects, its goals are very different from the community of General Knowledge members).
To this end, we will open “Empty Cafe”, a discussion area for Philosopher Fox. It aims to be the most thoughtful cryptocurrency discussion forum on the internet, both in terms of subject matter and atmosphere. We’ve invested in great, motivated hosts through HomeRoom. They focus on keeping participants as safe as possible and reducing unnecessary noise. We’ll just start with a few channels and see what resonates. Instead of a torrent of memos, we have a space dedicated to sharing our favorite philosophical quotes and concepts. Look further down and you’ll find an audio room with lo-fi music for focused work. While there may be peak activity, we focus on creating a laid-back atmosphere that is relaxing rather than frenetic.
NFT holders can enter a private channel to discuss the future of Foxes and receive special treatment. Hopefully, as the project builds, most of its development and direction will come from this group.
Joseph Campbell said, “If you’re going to have a story, there’s a big story, or there’s no story at all.” The Bayeux Tapestry is a big story. Not only literally, but within the scope of what it encompasses. Tragedy and victory dance together, swap places. Loss implies celebration—life is everywhere, and death is everywhere. Nearly 1,000 years later, we still care about it, and we sympathize with the image of a howling dog, or find humor in the hideous look of a soldier facing a battle horn, a testament to the power of characters, the power of stories .
Philosopher Fox provided an opportunity for us to paint with a new palette and embroider a different kind of chronicle. Let’s tell a big story.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/how-to-make-your-nft-project-an-ip-universe/
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