The team behind CryptoPunks, Meebits: the NFT pop-up maker with only two people

They had blasted the Android app market over revenue and later created CryptoPunks.

On May 4, the somewhat dormant NFT space came to life again when Larva Labs launched their third NFT project, Meebits.

Meebits is offered in a Dutch auction format with a starting price of 2.5 ETH, which will gradually decrease after a period of no trading volume. However, backed by the Larva Labs brand, Meebits was sold out in a very short time with an average price of 2.4ETH.

In just three days, the total trading volume of Meebits in the secondary market has reached 12,000 ETH, or about $42 million, which is much higher than the seven-day trading volume of CryptoPunks, the most popular NFT collectibles project at present. On the first day of Meebits secondary market trading, OpenSea reached a record high of $23,137,500 in trading volume.

A million feet high.

One may ask, who is this Larva Labs, why is its NFT project so much in demand, and why is its NFT project able to make it to the seventh place in today’s hectic and chaotic NFT trading market?

Before the cocoon became a butterfly

Larva Labs, which means “Larva Labs” in Chinese, has done the most widely known thing so far is to launch CryptoPunks, but before the larva “became a butterfly”, Larva Labs was just a software company specializing in developing mobile applications for iPhone and Android. John Watkinson and Matt Hall were the only two people involved.

John and Matt have known each other for a long time. They went to the University of Toronto in 1994 to study computer science. After graduating, Matt worked as a software engineer at Agency.com, Modus, and Columbia University Medical Center, while John chose to continue his education, completing seven years of graduate studies in computer science at the University of Toronto, followed by a PhD in electrical engineering and genetics at Columbia University.

In 2005, the two decided to start their own business, Larva Labs, which was just a few years into the Internet’s development, and they positioned Larva Labs as a “small mobile independent software developer,” focusing on app development, and as the iPhone took smartphones to a whole new level in 2007, mobile apps became the new rage.

Larva Labs also created some hit games, such as Trism, which generated $250,000 in sales in its first two months on the Apple App Store.

Like many developers, the two founders of Larva Labs complained about the problems of a centralized platform on their way to finding their niche. They could not have imagined that more than a decade later, they could generate nearly $80 million in revenue in a single day with a decentralized project.

The birth of CryptoPunks

The year 2017 was perhaps the most important year of their lives for John and Matt.

In early 2017, John created a “pixel character generator” that they have been able to use to create a lot of cool pixel character avatars. But at first they didn’t really think about what to do with the generator – create some characters for a new game? A bit too boring, but what else could they do? One by one, their ideas were proposed and rejected, until they learned about blockchain and ethereum.

John and Matt finally decided to bring these pixel avatars to the blockchain, to validate their uniqueness and make them available, and these pixel avatars, inspired by the 20th century cryptopunk movement, became true collector’s items. And time has proven them to be incredibly correct in this decision.

It was an experiment,” Matt says. It was an experiment,” Matt says, adding that they were incredibly apprehensive about whether the idea would take off, whether the technology would work, and whether people would accept virtual collectibles.

The ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards, which are widely used in the NFT space today, hadn’t been created yet, the ethereum community was just getting started, and there was very little information about Solidity’s development or responses on Stack Overflow forums, so all they could do was build on the ERC-20 standard.

So they were left to figure out what to do, and as it turned out, they made a huge mistake.

In the beginning, John and Matt kept 1000 CryptoPunks for themselves and gave away the rest for free, and within a week or so all the CryptoPunks were claimed. Once the primary market was closed, the secondary market became active.

John and Matt embedded a trading market in the smart contract, and they wanted to make it easy for users to trade their CryptoPunk. In their scenario, a user would bid 1ETH to buy a CryptoPunk, another user would list 1ETH to sell the CryptoPunk, and the smart contract would act as a proxy for the trade.

Until one day, a user tweeted, “I sold my CryptoPunk for 1ETH, but I didn’t get paid.

One stone stirred a thousand waves, John and Matt began to examine the smart contract and found that the problem was that instead of distributing the buyer’s money to the seller, the smart contract was distributing it back to the buyer, meaning that the buyer not only got CryptoPunk after spending 1ETH, but also got back the 1ETH he spent.

Until then people were very optimistic about CryptoPunk and were proud to own one, but such a vulnerability would have been a disaster.

Contracts find problems and fix them just fine. However, making sure everyone still got their hands on a CryptoPunk required re-running countless transactions and requiring John and Matt to pay thousands of dollars in Gas fees, which is no small amount of money. Even more difficult was whether they could still be trusted by the community after this happened, and whether members of the CryptoPunk community would continue to recognize the value of CryptoPunk?

John and Matt anxiously told the community about it, admitted the mistake they had made, and told people that CryptoPunks needed to be migrated to a new smart contract. Surprisingly no one objected, everyone was in favor of it and chose to continue to support them, “No one complained that ‘I only accept the old smart contract’. John and Matt were overjoyed, and it gave them a real sense of community cohesion.

The problem was quickly solved, and John and Matt added a new “bidding” feature, where people could bid on a CryptoPunk, and the money spent by the buyer would be stored in the smart contract, and when the seller accepted the bid, the transaction would take place immediately, giving each CryptoPunk a small marketplace of its own.

Then came the familiar story of CryptoPunks being exhibited offline in Zurich and selling out quickly, secondary market transactions topping 4,200 ETH (about $7.5 million at the time), and coming to Christie’s and Sotheby’s in the second quarter of 2021.

The team behind CryptoPunks, Meebits: the NFT pop-up maker with only two people

I think we’re artists now.

Larva Labs’ second project is not quite as prestigious as CryptoPunks, but it’s just as much a reflection of John and Matt’s creative genius.

The team behind CryptoPunks, Meebits: the NFT pop-up maker with only two people

The project is called Autoglyphs, a blockchain character generation art NFT project. Compared to CryptoPunk, where each NFT has a figurative pattern, Autoglyphs is much more abstract, with seemingly simple, jumbled characters that conceal a mystery.

This series of artworks was inspired by the work of generative artists Michael Noll and Ken Knowlton in the 1960s, when computer storage capacity was limited, so they had to use these simple characters to put together a piece of art.

The team behind CryptoPunks, Meebits: the NFT pop-up maker with only two people

Michael A Noll, Computer Composition with Lines, 1964
John and Matt wanted to challenge not computer storage capacity, but block storage capacity.

When creating CryptoPunk, they chose to store their image files on Larva Labs’ off-chain servers rather than on the chain, which easily avoided the problem of block storage capacity, despite the risk of not being able to prevent tampering.

This time, however, John and Matt wanted to try storing Autoglyphs on the blockchain, and traditional jpg or png image files were too large, so they had to choose to create them in characters.

“We had to write a lean but efficient piece of code, and the output had to be a small amount of data or text, and these constraints had made it difficult for us to move forward. John and Matt repeatedly tried to create countless generators and rewrite their code into smart contracts before they finally found the best one, but even then, the transaction costs were still prohibitive – the Ether block Gas Limit was 8 million, and it cost them 3 million to generate an Autoglyphs NFT. Even so, they chose to keep doing it. Even so, they chose to go ahead and do it.

Technically, what’s stored on the blockchain is not an image, but just a piece of code that runs to generate an image when you want to see it.

John and Matt say the Autoglyphs series of NFTs is a tribute to the generative artists of the 60s and 70s, a time when they launched CryptoPunk and began exploring the digital space, and they found it a great shame that the art of that era wasn’t much noticed and appreciated.

In an interview shortly after launching Autoglyphs, when asked by the host what they are now, or are they still “small mobile indie software developers,” John said, “I think we’re artists now.

Hello, Metaverse

From CryptoPunk, which symbolized the crypto-punk movement and set the crypto world on fire, to Autoglyphs, which pays homage to the generative art of the 60s, John and Matt have been portraying the world and spirit they love and respect in their own way, and their third project, Meebits, represents their passion for the meta-universe.

Meebits has been getting a lot of attention even before its official launch, and True Ventures partner and prominent investor Kevin Rose tweeted a preview of the project: “I just saw an early preview of the next NFT project coming from Larva Labs, the team behind CryptoPunks, and holy crap! Get your ETH ready.

These words undoubtedly made everyone incredibly excited about this project, and the anticipation proved to be worth it.

The team behind CryptoPunks, Meebits: the NFT pop-up maker with only two people

Meebits is more like an “upgraded version of CryptoPunks”, from pixel avatars into voxel figures, plus a series of NFT collectibles commonly played with different elements and rarity, attracting countless users to participate in the rush. But if only this little change, is not enough to say that this is an excellent and innovative work, more importantly, in the past these static “ornaments” in this time surprisingly can move.

The team behind CryptoPunks, Meebits: the NFT pop-up maker with only two people

And these small figures that can move freely will be adaptable to any metaverse. Meta-universe is arguably the hottest concept recently and is considered to be the next form of the Internet and the future virtual world where people will socialize, play, work and live. And in this virtual world, it would be super cool to have a Meebits character “skin”.

Larva Labs is the pioneer of NFT, opening the door to the world of NFT through CryptoPunks, but at the same time, Larva Labs has been doing what they really want to do, portraying the world they love through their works, from crypto-punk to generative art to metaverse, although it is not known There’s no telling where Larva Labs will aim their next series of work, but there’s no doubt they will continue to make treasured collectibles dedicated to Generation Z and all digital natives.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/the-team-behind-cryptopunks-meebits-the-nft-pop-up-maker-with-only-two-people/
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