Text-based freedom.

Loot Bag 6212I played a decent bit of ADnD as a kid. I’m not sure that I was ever particularly talented at the game itself, but I enjoyed reading the various manuals and learning about the special abilities of my characters. At the time, I was attending a school for visual and performing arts, so spending recess playing “imagination games” wasn’t just the last refuge of nerds and left-behinds, it was a pretty standard thing. The “cool kids” played it too, but the “cool kids” also danced ballet or sang in the choir, so it wasn’t like like these were dude-bros in the classically “cool” sense. In hindsight, it was an incredible blessing to live in such a positive-sum bubble of creativity, particularly in a part of the world dominated by zero-sum hockey bro culture, and it’s to the credit of that little childhood bubble that I have at least a passing sense of context for this week’s earth-shaking NFT phenomenon: Loot.

You can read more here and here about Loot and its creator Dom (of Vine fame), but in the first week alone, the amount of innovation and numbers of airdrops has been nothing short of staggering, and is yielding absolutely fabulous returns in the span of mere days. This of course spurns serious FOMO, saltniess, and cope, which is yielded more aping in, more development, more air-drops, and more ripping of the same flywheel round-and-round. It’s already a challenge to keep up with the pace of creativity here, even for someone spending 40-50 hours/week immersed in NFTs (if on top of family and a full-time “job”). You’d need to (and frankly probably should if you’re looking for a new rocketship to tie yourself to) spend 40-50++ hours/week just on this one single project. It seems that many already are, including no small number of late-to-the-party VC firms, and hats of to them! This is clearly a fertile space.

That all being what it is, I feel fortunate to recognize a beautiful bubble of creativity when I see one. My ADnD crew in the late 90’s was just such a white space, as was Bitcoin in 2013, and NFTs in 2021 are again just such a platform for the geekiest of imaginations to run wild and free. Loot isn’t mankind’s first effort to put text on a page, codify it, give value to it, and make it transportable, transposable, and composable – that credit probably still belongs with the Ancient Hebrews and their traveling Torah scrolls – but Loot does feel like a fresh genre of NFTs as community token in addition to the already-established avatars/PFPs and generative/parametric categories. So in that sense, Loot has, out of left-field, captured our fantastical and magical zeitgeist in just eight short lines of text on a plain black background, which is really pretty incredible.

Go figure that, while visual culture has finally come to crypto, the text-based ethos of the not-to-be-forgotten IRC world has quietly laid the groundwork for this latest firestorm. In the Duchampian, Ablohian, Popescuian, Chanian spirit, the world of words has found in Looti a new platform, new meaning, and new value.

Isn’t that pretty cool? Well, at least as cool as this kind of thing can possibly be…

One type of DnD party meme
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  1. And Bloot, etc.