The Secret NFT
I have a huge ego.
Nothing feeds that ego more than feeling smarter than everyone. Part of the way I feel smarter is being ahead of the curve and instantly understanding things others need time to digest. When that doesn’t happen for me I’m depressed and angry. That has been my primary experience in the NFT space, frustration fueling depression.
Twitter is filled with success stories of artists quitting their jobs to do art full time and amateur collectors turning $1000 into $50,000 because they bought a PFPs (profile pictures/avatar art, e.g. Cryptopunks, BAYC) and flipped it.
It can be exhausting, waiting and watching, wondering if you’ve made a mistake. Letting the outside world tell you that this is just a bubble and that the hype is over. Between March and August that’s all I thought about; I was just too late. I’m going up against people that have been in crypto a lot longer and people that have made money and have money to spend. I got in far too late to make any money. I was making nothing on pieces I was buying and I was ready to just stop multiple times.
Then this past weekend I was reminded how early I am.
Window Still Life 066 by john karel
The Worst Kept Secret
I began hearing about Hic Et Nunc from artists on Twitter back in March and continued hearing about it from artists I was forming relationships with (@angietaylor and @kareneng). At the time I didn’t think much of it. I still figured I was late to the scene and learning about things far too late. I had a familiar feeling like a dork asking the cool kids where the party was at.
I cannot take credit for discovering @jjjjjohn on HEN. I’ll be the first to admit that I would have seen his work and scrolled right past it. Others smarter and more knowledgeable than I began buying all of his pieces months ago. I only discovered him because I was gifted one of his pieces from someone who’s opinion I trust (@michaeldifeo). By now, anyone who has been on HEN for more than a week knows the artist John Karel.
Karel is the top selling artist on HEN for his Window Still Life series. The one above in particular (Window Still Life 066) has a high mint of 3350. Last month I bought one. It wasn’t an investment but rather a purchase to brag to others in the future that yes, I owned not one but two John Karel window stills. At the time, I purchased this piece on July 21st for 1.5 XTZ which was about $2.40 USD at the time. A speculative purchase for sure but one that did not carry much risk. My mistake was not buying more.
For months I’ve been taking what little money I have and buying cheap art and building a collection. Usually a daily task of just digging, searching, finding hidden gems that I enjoyed (thank you @artbyjstelco for this idea).
Then, over the weekend, the site went down.
The Tipping Point
I did not know of Kevin Rose until this past weekend. However, 1.5 million followers of his already do and now they too were going to know of the secret NFT. I only heard of the podcast because of who retweeted him:
And just like that…
There was plenty of criticism thrown around all weekend. The site was spotty at best because of an influx of new users trying to buy up the new secret NFTs that were just leaked.
Criticism aside, and much of it valid, there was good that came out of the past weekend: the price in Tezos doubled, popular art that had stagnated saw rejuvenated sales, and overall art investments, in relatively unknown artists, of 0.5 XTZ were now being listed on the secondary market and selling for 10 XTZ.
Most importantly, I felt like one of the cool kids because I knew about something first.
Not Financial Advice
The best advice I can give anyone in this space is something I saw on Reddit awhile ago. What makes people smart is not their intelligence. Intelligent people tend to have a general curiosity about the world, surround themselves with others they believe are more intelligent than them and allow for the possibility that they know nothing for certain.
It’s not a matter of what you know but rather who you know; yourself and others.
That’s me. I have a crushing fear of being found out that I am not as smart as I present myself. So I am constantly reading, surrounding myself with intelligent people and ensuring I digest everything they have to offer.
In the case of NFTs I have surrounded myself with people who have studied art, know art and live in the art world. I look at what other artists collect and build from there. I am confident in the opinions of others and in this new space this strategy appears to be working.
My gut instinct about art is shit. But instinct about people, my judgement is spot on.
And it’s starting to pay off.
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Thanks for sharing this very honest account of your experience in the NFT space. The truth is, no one knows which artists or platforms will be popular and which NFTs will stagnate. We're still early in this space so as long as you're prepared to HODL a while, the odds are that anything you invest in now will come good in the future. Its always good to remember rule no. 1, 'buy art you like and you can't lose.'
I am the same way and have no instinct in knowing good art. Finding a community of people who know what they are doing is excellent advice.