I’ve been thinking about this quote for nearly a year now. Trying to digest it, feel it… learn its nuances: “timing isn’t everything… it’s the only thing.”
In Awe Szn, this seemingly simple quote continues to do just that: to inspire newfound appreciation in layers and meanings everywhere. Rolling around in my mind like a Jolly Rancher rolls around in my mouth – clicking off against the hard edges and dissolving into the soft tissues – timing, timing, timing…
I suppose timing has always nagged at my subconscious. Y’see, the futurist in me has long yearned for timing to be less important that I guess I always knew it to be in my heart-of-hearts. I was perfectly happy to be an Apple fanboy (and shareholder) in the mid- to late-90’s, knowing that plus or minus a few years for a portfolio allocation decision wouldn’t matter so much over the course of decades. And that was true then, but time moved much slower a quarter century ago. Back then, plus or minus a few years really was the performance window.i Then came Bitcoin in 2013 when I became a Satoshi fanboy and satoshi hodler. By then the performance window was measured in quarters. So whether I bought in at $200 in Q1 or $65 in Q3 was sorta neither here nor there. I still very much had time on my side, as anyone would’ve had in that position. But time moved slower back then too. Hell, blocks moved slower back then.ii
Today, the tech world that I’m most deeply engaged with and invested in – the NFT space – has performance windows measured in weeks, days, and sometimes even hours and minutes. The time compression is almost nauseating and more than a little disorienting, simply because the difference between 2x and 20x (and even 200x or 2000x) is very often a matter of whether or not we were in the right place at the right time to mint a popular project for free or near-as-makes-no-difference-to-free. Of course minting is where the largest gainz are made, but even for “OG” projects that kicked off a few years ago, the difference between getting into Punks in April 2021 instead of December 2020 (when I was trying my damnedest to dismiss this wacky new phenomenon) is… better not to think about… or at least think in terms of the cost of an education! Likewise with EtherRocks, Loot, Rare Pepes, and countless other successful NFT projects. Not that every NFT project is successful, of course, but if you’ve minted a random assortment of almost anything in 2021, you’re probably so far into the black that an 80% pull-back tomorrow would knock the wind out of your sails but would still leave you up multiples on your initial investment. This is gold rush shit but played on FFFFFFFWD.
All of which brings us neatly to some potential solutions to the patent injustice that is timing, particularly as it relates to NFT minting,iii brought to us by the legendary 0̵̹̯̮͔̘͆̏̒̀̎̀̍͗̄͆̽̎̎̾̽x̸͕̞͇̱͙̭͆̊̽͐̆̚͝ͅṁ̶̒͑̉̾̏̀͐̈̚,iv who magically manages to have a name that copies like plaintext but renders crazy fucking cool, and also created the deceptively complex and completely on-chain 0xmons project. So without further ado:
Underrated NFT discussion:
Having a mix of distribution methods for your initial supply.
Most of the gas impact from NFT launches is due to the initial mint being first come first served. Demand is clearly greater than supply.
The typical rationale for doing so is some sort of appeal to fairness and affordability.
I think this is wrong. People are already botting launches.
Instead of having 100% of supply allocated to direct fcfs sale, may I suggest instead distributing supply more intelligently?
50% of supply via dutch auction (no wasted txs, everyone knows what they’re going to pay).v
30% of supply at fixed price for early addresses in discord/tg (you can do this with merkle tree, again no wasted txs).
20% of supply to people who make cool fan art/sites.
Dutch auctions are good because people can compete on willingness to pay without fucking up gas for everyone else.
Whitelists are good because you can intentionally choose who gets access.
First come first serve (when there is excess demand) IS BAD.
The point being that I think single biggest issue here with gas and NFTs is lack of sufficient thought being put into initial distribution.
The example above, of course, has its own questions. (e.g. What if someone sybil attacks the Discord?)
But it’s probably still a step up!
You can get even fancier, e.g. leveraging other chains for RNG like what @sammybauch is doing with https://fairdrop.0xessential.com
Or do a direct lottery for some NFTs like what I’ve made with http://nft-lottery.xyz
But the point is that I think this is maybe the single highest leverage thing for new NFT projects to think more about.
I’d love for something like 50% dutch auction, 50% whitelisted fixed price to become the norm.
Seriously, basically anything is better than what we have rn.
Inspired by convo with @_deafbeef
Not bad eh! And I mean, if you’re even having in-depth technical and philosophical conversations with Deafbeef, I’m sorry but that’s god-tier shit, and I think that even the most successful snipers/collectors would agree that there’s significant room for improvement on the status quo and that 0xm’s proposal shows real promise in doing exactly that. This space is simply moving too fast and there’s too much at stake for us to continue blindly with either 100% FCFS or 100% DA.
We need a blend, a more sophisticated blend, so waddya say? It’s time to think more deeply about timing.
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- Back then, that Buffett only checked his stock prices once per quarter and reallocated accordingly was entirely reasonable! Today, less so (if you’re a degen). ↩
- This was back when Bitcoin and its 10-minute block intervals so completely ruled the roost. This was pre-multi-chain world! ↩
- The injustice being that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and that our mortal coils need sleep! ↩
- Archived. ↩
- Remember how much shit Larva Labs took when they did a 2.5 ETH Dutch Auction for Meebits back in May? And how the countdown still only made it to 2.41 ETH like eight hours later when the 9,000 items sold out? And how much liquidity that sucked out of the system? And how much of the thereto typical mint-for-nothing-then-sell-for-a-killing-wealth-effect-spending-sprees slowed down for like two full months thereafter to the point that “nfts ded” became a meme?
Now go figure that Art Blocks is also doing Dutch Auctions now, some starting as high as 15 ETH, and look at how quiet that market has suddenly become! When the primary market sucks 100% of the short-term profits out of the collector’s wallet, it’s “more fair” like taxes/theft are always “more fair” but have the same exact economic drag that all excessive taxes do. News at 11? But hey, as Matt Levine is fond of saying, the whole point of crypto-economics is to rediscover old economic theories and reprove them [and of course adapt them to the decentralised 21st century], so what else should we expect?
Not that we can ignore 0xm’s wisdom forever, it’s just an immature and inefficient space right now, which is also why there’s beta for fucking days and WAGMI so no complaints!
But seriously we can do better. ↩