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#30: Walmart Toys with Plush NFTs

Also: Researchers Shocked Most Collectibles Never Had Any Value

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Pudgy Penguins NFT-linked plush toys are now available in Walmarts across the US. The toys are sold alongside legacy consumer brands - aiding the collection’s popularity - and generating alternative revenue streams - outside the crypto industry (David Dobrik loved the unboxing). Pudgies is part of the Walmart pallet program, which means it’s getting its own bespoke display in the middle of the stores. The project is run by the impressive 25-year-old Luca Netz, who acquired the failing NFT projects for $2.5M and turned it into a consumer-first merch business within a year.

Rolling Stone Magazine reprinted the findings from recent industry research claiming that 95% of NFT collections are “totally worthless”. The truth is… they always have been, but the suggested generalizations make little sense (imagine surveying school kid drawings and concluding the entire art market is 95% worthless). In truth, the “expensive jpeg” application of NFTs is outdated, and we’ll unlikely ever see a boom like in 2021-22. Instead, technology will quietly evolve to solve select business problems where email-based solutions are weak.

The NFT-backed web series from Mila Kunis’ production company has recently settled SEC charges with a $1M penalty and destruction of its collectibles. The case has sent a shockwave across the entertainment ecosystem, which hoped that NFT projects could serve as an alternative way to raise capital directly from loyal fan bases instead of relying on the hyper-centralized studio system. Industry insiders expect more lawsuits like this and no more crowdfunding until clear NFT regulations are established.

Metrics and numbers, particularly in the digital and entertainment industries, have become increasingly unreliable and manipulated. In many instances, claims like “the most popular social-media video” lack transparency and context, leading to a distorted understanding of popularity and success, ultimately eroding trust in data. Case in point - streaming services' secrecy regarding viewership metric.

OpenSea, a leading NFT marketplace, was built on a promise of perpetual royalties for digital artists. Since facing its no-royalties competitor Blur, the platform has abandoned its once-mandatory royalty payment policy in a race to the bottom. This move has raised concerns among artists who saw NFTs as a way to secure long-term royalty streams. Paired with the general decline in demand for digital collectibles, the artists are forced to reevaluate their business models.

In a come-to-Jesus moment, crypto VCs are beginning to realize that the mass adoption of crypto is not really blocked by complicated UX, but rather a lack of sufficient value for mainstream users or the so-called ‘Product-Market Fit’. So far, early adopters were willing to jump through the UX hurdles and learn new behaviors to pursue (speculative) financial incentives. When these dried out and users left, builders realized they were not really solving any core consumer need. The fix? Focus on non-income use cases and creator-fan connection.

  • Gucci's Milan Fashion Week show debuts on Roblox and Zepeto.

  • Paris Saint-Germain is giving away free AI-generated NFT posters.

  • Mario Götze talks web3, NFTs & football’s digital future.

  • CAA partners with a web3 startup platform for college and pro athletes.

  • Pokémon trading card packs arrived onchain.

  • Crocs and Mattel partnered with GaryVee’s VeeFriends project.

  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Pararde will host Cool Cats project’s balloon.

  • LG Smart TVs will feature 'Tracks' web3 music streaming platform.

  • Sony is partnering to build its own blockchain network.

  • Decentraland Music Festival ‘23 is calling artists and creators.

  • Idris Elba partnered with the “crypto-for-good” blockchain foundation.

  • Miss Universe denies link with recently unveiled coin project.

  • Karat is launching an angel investing program for creators with capital.

  • Metaphysic gives stars a new way to lock down their AI likenesses.

  • AI likeness: Metahphysics helps celebs patent their image; Afterparty raised $5M for fans to engage with AI versions

  • Substack’s redesign makes it feel like a more traditional social media app + Has Substack revolution come and gone?

  • OpenSea is introducing Creator Studio after acquiring a minting tool.

  • OneOf partnered with web3 emerging artists for Creator Mint platform.

  • Rarible partnered with Mantle network to launch an NFT marketplace.

  • Mirror launched Inbox feature for published and collected entries.

  • Orb raised $2.3M for a community-focused web3 social app.

  • 8 NFT artists building their own crypto communities.

Creators are diversifying their revenue streams, relying increasingly on affiliate marketing, ad revenues, and paid subscriptions.

“Social platforms are now a launchpad, rather than a final destination, for many creators,” (…)

The brutal decline in NFT volumes continues. Yesterday ETH NFTs did just 3286 of total ETH volume. This is 30% less volume than the prior year-to-date low.

Blur had its lowest volume day since November. OpenSea did just 1000 ETH of volume which is less than the avg daily fees they made in Jan 2022.

@journeytothepage

#stitch with @Paige Taylor in short: everyone should read Ready Player One. #tubegirl #VR #booktok #readyplayerone #tech #metaverse #virtu... See more

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Author Bio

Kuba Szewczyk is a Director of Strategy & Ops at ConsenSys, helping build NFT tools for creators and brands. He previously worked at Bain & Co. Digital Assets and earned Harvard MBA.

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