August 21, 2021 - 12 min read
This article is a deep dive on the NFT project, Meebits, voxel art that was generatively designed and created by Larva Labs, the same company that released the famed CryptoPunks project in 2017.
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The current lowest price Punk that’s available for sale is 49 ETH ($159,453) and there has been $1.09 billion in total sales during the project's lifetime.
The Meebits project is a collection of 20,000 3D characters and their creators aspire to them being used as avatars in virtual worlds called the metaverse.
As you research NFTs, what you’ll learn is that who is behind the project can significantly add or reduce the value to it in the secondary market. Larva Labs is not the only creator of a 3D avatar project, but their historical significance with CryptoPunks is likely why the lowest price available for a Meebit is currently 2.8 ETH ($8,960):
Meebits launched on May 3rd, 2021, and is the 3rd NFT project from Larva Labs after CryptoPunks and Autoglyphs. The project has already seen 43,936.98 (over $140 million US dollars) of total sales volume since launch.
Unlike CryptoPunks, Meebits are full-bodied 3D characters generated by an algorithm. Each Meebit has a variety of combined traits that include tattoo motif, shoe color, shoes, shirt, shirt color, pants, pants color, overshirt color, overshirt, jersey number, necklace, hat color, hairstyle, hair color, glasses, earring, beard color, and beard.
Meebits are voxels, which is like a pixel, except in 3D. CryptoPunks are pixel art, and Meebits are voxel art, which is a fascinating step in the evolution of generative (created by an algorithm) art on the Ethereum blockchain.
The highest sale for a Meebit occurred on July 9th when one character was purchased for 1,000 ETH or $3.2 million dollars.
The $3.2 million dollar Meebit #17522 is the most expensive one ever sold:
There have been an additional 28 Meebits sold for 100 ETH or more! That’s at least 320,000 US dollars per sale.
Scarcity plays a large role in which Meebit characters command value. For example, there are 5 dissected Meebits, and just two are available for sale. There are 18 Visitor Meebits, 57 Skeleton Meebits, and so on.
Much like CryptoPunks, there’s no “roadmap” for the project, but it doesn’t make it any less valuable (I’ll dive more into the utility of this project that the average person might not see a bit later).
Cultural relevance and acceptance are critically important for the success of an NFT project and Meebits owners are adjacent to the exclusive club of CryptoPunks owners because it was made by the same creators.
Celebrities, CEOs, and athletes like Odell Beckham Jr. are changing their Twitter Profile Pictures to the punks they own to signal they are part of this elite club that holds a piece of NFT history in their NFT wallets.
9,000 Meebits were offered to buyers in a dutch auction format at launch. This means that there was a high mint price set, and it was lowered until a buyer accepted the price.
You can watch a video of a user minting a Meebit here when at the time it cost 2.47 ETH ($7,904) to do so.
The smart play by Larva Labs was to gift 11,000 Meebits to CryptoPunks owners for free. It both rewarded CryptoPunks holders (many other projects are beginning to airdrop tokens to holders as an incentive) and created a connection to the famed project for new owners.
Over the summer, a rare CryptoPunk sold for $11.7 million dollars by prominent auction house Sotheby’s and it was an important event that helped trigger the NFT boom which has brought in over $1 billion sales on the peer-to-peer marketplace OpenSea in the last 30 days.
It’s important to remember, though, that rarity still matters significantly. At the time, the mint price hovered around 2.47 ETH and the current floor (lowest price available) for a Meebit is 2.8 ETH. Users received a random Meebit with different traits and rarity levels at the time of minting.
You can view the full trait and rarity levels here, but certain elements make Meebits more expensive than other assets in the same project.
There are 5 Dissected Meebits characters that have had an average sale price of 700 ETH.
There are 18 Visitor Meebits (with green skin that resembles that of an Alien, an homage to Alien CryptoPunks) with an average sale price of 330.1 ETH.
There are 57 Skeleton Meebits with an average sale price of 94.63 ETH, which is still very expensive, but you can see how the jump in supply from 18 to 57 impacted value.
There are also Robot, Elephant, Pig, and Human elements. The most common Meebits, Humans, has a supply of 18,8881 and has an average sale price of 2.91 ETH.
Why Meebits are so expensive is a combination of rarity, brand affiliation, and the inclusion of CryptoPunks holders in the release.
Being a CryptoPunk holder is a sign of status that carries weight with other NFT collectors and investors — I’ve been in many Discords that take note and celebrate when an owner of a CryptoPunk buys an asset from a project they are invested in.
It’s an honest signal of people who hold significantly valuable assets believing in a project (although, you should still think for yourself because everyone makes mistakes and bad purchases from time to time).
CryptoPunk owners are NFT celebrities and bring a “cool” factor to owning a Meebit.
As you evaluate NFT projects, you must remember that the project creators matter significantly. This is why Gary Vaynerchuk constantly talks about focusing on the jockey of a project to determine whether or not it will be successful in the long term.
Matt and John co-founded Larva Labs in 2005 and describe it on LinkedIn as “a product studio, consulting company, and home for our wide range of experiments . . . including large scale web infrastructure, genomics analysis software, an art project on the blockchain.”
Matt and John both studied computer science at the University of Toronto. John also went on to get a PH. D in Electrical Engineering and Genetics at Columbia University.
According to their LinkedIn, both Matt and John also work in Google’s creative lab.
It’s also worth noting that Larva Labs was founded to create applications for the T-Mobile sidekick phone (remember that one?). According to LinkedIn, they wrote over 50 applications including best-selling ones.
Both creators have very impressive resumes — they are builders, creators, and strategists with a well-documented track record for success.
As you evaluate NFT projects, LinkedIn can be a great resource to dig in on the creators. It’s pretty evident based on my research why Matt and John would be two people I’d trust guiding a project even if I didn’t know they created CryptoPunks.
With so many new NFT projects launching, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. Not everyone is going to have a Ph. D., built and sold a company, created top-selling mobile applications and companies, but not every NFT project is going to succeed.
John and Matt took a chance on producing generative art at a time when it was a foreign concept. Not only that, but they released the output of that algorithmically generated art and put it on a blockchain to enable decentralized ownership for token holders. This doesn’t mean that every project they put out will experience the same success, but they both seem thoughtful and calculated with how they bring new projects to market. They’re also 3 for 3 so far on successful NFT project launches.
They make for a great case study of creators who were ahead of their time and fully capable of bringing their idea to life through technical skills.
The Meebits are valuable for a lot of the reasons I’ve described earlier in this article, but the project doesn’t have the traditional utility roadmap being introduced by most new projects (remember, the roadmap is worth nothing if it’s not properly executed).
We now know that Matt and John are smart, accomplished creators so we should pay attention to a nugget of value they did include in this project: owners of a Meebit will receive the 3D model of their asset. This is important because that 3D model can be animated and potentially leveraged in the metaverse in a multitude of ways.
The metaverse might be our next big digital paradigm shift (as if NFTs weren’t enough) and if it is, Meebits holds powerful utility in that case.
In today’s world, our metaverse (read: social verse) is social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. In tomorrow’s world, it might be the virtual reality Metaverse and Meebits that could be the token that symbolizes status in that world.
What’s so powerful about CryptoPunks is that they are a “status-as-a-service” for the reasons discussed above with its holders displaying their avatars as their Twitter profile pictures.
There’s a great write-up in more detail found here, but the author posits that these pixelated avatars act as a form of social capital:
“Social capital is, in many ways, a leading indicator of financial capital, and so its nature bears greater scrutiny. Not only is it good investment or business practice, but analyzing social capital dynamics can help to explain all sorts of online behavior that would otherwise seem irrational.” — Eugene Wei
Effectively, this quote suggests the reason why people pay big sums of money for “jpegs” is for the social capital and status that it indicates when being displayed publicly on a social media network.
Meebits might be able to capture some of this status-as-a-service on the Metaverse, if that virtual reality world indeed does become as large and popular as people think.
Before you rush to buy one, please remember that this is speculative and only my opinion. It’s very possible someone will work out a way to display CryptoPunks in the metaverse (or build a more culturally relevant 3D avatar) but the 3D model utility of Meebits is utility that should not be overlooked.
As I always say and will continue to say, do not spend more money than you can afford to lose. I have not purchased a Meebit because I cannot afford to lose 2.8 ETH.
Instead, I recommend understanding why Meebits saw success and keeping an eye on the project over the long term. It’s also valuable to imagine what the future could look like and how a project fits into that model. In the case of Meebits, I would keep a close eye on the metaverse. We don’t know what this will look like, but we are now educated about the importance of social capital and how a project that fits nicely into a display model (how users can show off that capital) can command a significant return.
A lot of the time, significant returns are earned by those who spot trends before most others do. This can be a difficult task and carries a lot of risks. NFTs have already been discovered, and they aren’t free anymore like they were in 2017.
Be thoughtful about how you invest. Take a pause before buying into the hype. Always consider the “what ifs” in the opposite direction — i.e. what if the metaverse doesn’t become popular? What if another visionary comes up with a better 3D avatar?
The whole reason I started this blog was to give myself a reason to do deep research. In order to write about something, I need to study it, otherwise I wouldn’t bring you value and this would be nothing more than a private journal of notes.
This comprehensive review is meant to double as a resource for the Meebits project and as an example of how deep you should try and go when researching a project. We may be living in a moment where NFT projects are exploding and making people rich overnight but overreacting and moving too quickly can do more harm than good.
Do the homework. Scour sources from all areas of the internet. Get informed about what makes “bluechip” projects stand out. Be disciplined when evaluating projects and remember, we’re just at the beginning of the NFT movement.
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