September 13, 2021 - 9 min read
In this article, I break down the CrypToadz NFT project that exploded in sales volume after a stealth launch and no marketing push. I wrote about what the project is and the reasons why I think it organically grew so quickly.
Note: If you are interested in NFTs or own NFTs, we strongly encourage our readers to consider purchasing a hardware wallet, which starts at $59. Hardware wallets like the Ledger S or Nano X are the most effective ways to protect your NFT assets from scams. The following links contained below are affiliate links and we may receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. You can read my full affiliate disclaimer disclosure here.
If you want to protect yourself and your NFTs from scams and hacks, you can shop for Ledger Hardware wallets by clicking here.
On last week’s Top 10 Fastest-Growing NFT projects list, CrypToadz by GREMPLIN came in at spot number 10 with 4,900 ETH volume ($16.6 million) in trading at the time and a floor price of 0.69 ETH ($2,346).
Just a few days earlier, the project launched. However, there was no marketing, no big promotion of a minting period, just a stealth launch with a mint price of .069 ETH ($234) that could be done directly on the CrypToadz website.
The project grew and hit a 1.1 ETH ($3,740) floor before settling at a .45 ETH ($1,530) floor.
So, how did a project with no big marketing push and a minimal roadmap jump in value in such a short period of time? I’m going to break down what the project is, the artist behind it, and why it grew so fast organically.
Disclosure: I purchased 1 CrypToadz asset for .22 ETH. I still own it. Just because I own 1 and like the project does not mean you need to. This is not financial advice and I strongly encourage you to never spend money on NFTs that you can’t afford to lose.
You can shop for CrypToadz by clicking here.
You can join the project’s Discord group to learn more and chat with owners of assets in this project here.
You can see more of GREMPLIN’s NFT work here.
CrypToadz was created by GREMPLIN, a respected artist in the NFT community who contributed to the Nouns DAO NFT project that has rocketed in popularity. The project releases a daily NFT and buyers of the asset get a seat at the table to use secondary funds however the collective group of owners decides to use them. For context on the popularity of the project, the current bid with 12 hours left for Noun 39 is 50 ETH ($170,000).
The project contains 6,969 toads, each with different traits that weave in the history of NFTs including traits from CryptoPunks, Nouns, and Fidenzas.
The assets contain various traits, including up to two accessories, different backgrounds, bodies, clothes, custom traits, eyes, head, mouth, and the ability to name a toad.
The art itself is pixelated toads but is reminiscent of the dominant avatar NFT project, CryptoPunks.
The first example trait that ties directly to CryptoPunks is the cigarette attribute:
961 CryptoPunks have this trait:
There’s also a reference to Fidenza, an NFT project that has seen multi-million dollar sales for its assets. The Toadenza body type has a supply of just 43 and incorporates a color pallet similar to the artwork in Fidenzas:
Fidenzas have become a premium art NFT project and it’s fun to see a take on this artwork in a pixelated toad:
There are plenty of other NFT references in the artwork, but the final one I’ll highlight here is the hoodie attribute, which is another popular trait for the CryptoPunks project:
There are just 66 slime hoodies, 65 grey hoodies, and 61 force hoodies in this collection.
The artist also included other cool trait features, including a Matrix background for 10 of the assets:
The artwork is filled with NFT culture, pop culture and is fun to explore. For those who have been in the NFT space for a while, even just a few months, there are elements of nostalgia at play.
Lastly, the project does include 1/1 GREMPLIN artwork, which commands a significant premium on the market:
CrypToadz made their pre-sale available directly on the website and disabled Discord invites before announcing anything. Launching a project without marketing may be counterintuitive, but given GREMPLIN’s respect, I believe it helped the project because it created a feeling of exclusivity. Those who were “in the know” were able to mint these assets and enjoy the attribute features that incorporated so much of iconic NFT imagery.
We are seeing a rapid evolution in the way NFTs are marketed and sold at launch — there are free mint projects, there are projects where you can reserve your NFT, and now, we are starting to see more and more stealth drops as a way to build excitement.
Doing “what everyone else does” in NFTs won’t last long — once there is a success, there will be many other projects that follow those models. It wouldn’t be surprising to see many more stealth drops since it worked so well for CrypToadz and a handful of other projects.
In this case, it primed CrypToadz for organic growth as it ran up to a floor of over 1 ETH.
While there wasn’t an explicit roadmap on the CrypToadz website, there are a few plans in the works according to the Discord group, which is moderated by motivateme.eth.
First, 120 ETH ($408,000) of the pre-sales were donated to charity to support wildlife. An NFT project using funds from the initial sales isn’t unique, but given the success of the stealth drop, it was great to see the team give back even though it wasn’t an outlined goal during the pre-sale of the project.
The only other item on the roadmap that’s been mentioned is building a CryptoVoxel (Voxels are 3D pixels) in the metaverse so that holders of CrypToadz could join the space. It’s been said in the Discord group that this space will be used to host events.
No marketing. Very little roadmap. A stealth drop.
How did CrypToadz grow so quickly?
The reputation of GREMPLIN and the team was a significant reason why this project took off the way it did. I first discovered it in the CryptoPunks Discord Group when a bunch of Punks owners were buying the assets and showing them off. I’ve written before how “OG” NFT support can really drive the value of a project.
CryptoPunks are the top NFT asset and those who own them have a lot of social capital associated with these assets. Once they “validate” a project by spending money on them and sharing it on social media, it’s off to the races:
Most of the action started in the Discord, which is why I was able to get one for just .22 ETH. I saw the posts about CrypToadz and immediately knew there would be some kind of momentum behind the project once people realized CryptoPunks holders were buying them.
As I dove in, I really liked the artwork and the connections to other NFT projects, even the meaning people made from their Toadz:
I watched as the floor rose and more and more well-known names in the NFT community were buying them. Whether we like it or not, this validates a project. “If smart people who own CryptoPunks are buying CrypToadz, why shouldn’t I?”
I always encourage my readers to think for themselves and to never spend money they can't afford to lose because it is always hard for projects to maintain momentum, but this is likely the psychology of what happened behind the rise of the floor price. It’s important to keep in mind, even the social proof from established buyers is short-lived. At some point, the momentum will slow, and that’s where we will see the true market value of the project.
The artwork and the reputation of the artist and team also matter significantly, especially after momentum slows, so this point is not to take anything away from them and their work. The fact that this project is still maintaining a strong floor after an initial pump speaks to their work.
However, even a few days after the pump, there are still some recognizable people who are buying assets from CrypToadz:
This also includes the NFT person at Christie’s:
This project had a few ingredients that gave it initial organic growth and potential for the future:
Stealth launch that created some exclusivity
A well-respected artist and team
Artwork that brought in elements from other top NFT projects in a creative way
Social proof from CryptoPunks holders
Continued social proof from additional big-name buyers
Memeability — pixelated Toads are funny. They are cool. I enjoy owning mine and love the plays on other NFT traits
Before you rush to buy one, please remember that people move on from projects quickly. It’s been fun to buy in and watch what happens, but I’m still learning. I only spent .22 ETH on this, which was profits from other sales.
Observing this project over the next month will be a great case study of how well that initial social proof carries sustained value. There’s no formula for the success of an NFT project — the whole market may LOVE this project, or they may move on from it quickly. I’ve seen it happen too much with other projects that now seem forgotten about with all of the new supply coming out each week.
Regardless, if you do own 1, this is a very cool project connected to a great artist and team and you're in good company with other asset owners.
Enter your email address below to subscribe to my newsletter
Support The Blog