NFTs are down. Crypto is down. So what has the Web3 community been up to? Meme-ing, apparently.
In the NFT space alone, we’ve seen a host of absurd — and often humorous — projects climb up the ranks on OpenSea. Most notable is the quick rise of Goblintown to the top of OpenSea’s charts. Named after a Web3 synonym for ‘bear market,’ beneath the project’s crass exterior lies a very earnest plea to the community: we know that times are tough, so we hope you’ll stick with us and build.
To its credit, the NFT community at large seems to have heeded its call. Today, the project sees floor prices of 7 ETH on OpenSea and has amassed 22,000 ETH in total sales volume. It’s not the only project of its kind generating buzz on OpenSea, either.
You’ll do… what?
Just this past week another strange project called “Buy this NFT or I’ll do it” breached the top of OpenSea’s charts, following in Goblintown’s footsteps. The 1,000-piece collection of cartoons depicts NFT community members threatening to blow their genitals off unless their NFT-related demands are met.
These range from addressing problems in the NFT sphere like high mint prices, high gas prices, thefts, lack of communication from project leads, and the drop in Ethereum’s value since its $4,000 peak. However, the most direct demand these cartoons are making is in the collection’s name: buy this NFT.
This is all part of a community-wide initiative to boost morale and maintain activity in the market — which Goblintown kickstarted. So far, it seems to be working — the collection generated 500 ETH in trade volume within 24 hours of its free mint.
But there’s a catch.
Are we really doing this in 2022…
Despite the short-term success of the project, as well as how it encouraged others to make an equally puerile collection in response, the “I’ll do it” NFT collection has a problem. Ironically, despite its intended function as a lighthearted callout of the NFT community’s faults, it still manages to represent one of the space’s most talked-about issues.
These cartoons, despite their intentional juvenilia, are guilty of the same racial stereotyping that pop culture at large has desperately tried to move on from since the 2000s. One quick glance at the collection shows that the variable for each cartoon’s skin color and genital size are correlated. When stereotypes are baked into the very code of a project, it becomes hard for anyone but degens to hop on board and support it. But then again, the “I’ll do it” NFT’s creators do state this project is marketed towards degens in its Twitter bio.
Despite the project’s intentions, we need to do better. Thankfully, Goblintown has already shown us that you absolutely can be vulgar, absurd, and crass without playing into stereotypes. The long-term growth of the NFT community is contingent on that being the norm. If we’re to get through this bear market, then we’ll need to ensure that when new people enter the space, they feel welcome regardless of their background.