Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & collectibles
Dear Bankless Nation,
Since last week, Loot has exploded onto the scene.
The spontaneous NFT project has captured the imaginations of people from across the Ethereum ecosystem and led to a frenzy of social and trading activity the likes of which the NFT space has never really seen before.
Yet there’s no denying this Loot takeover happened at an absolutely breakneck pace. For this reason, many folks watching the frenzy feel lost and unsure where to start with making sense of it all.
My take? Loot is a meta-MMORPG. It’s a game of games, a game about games, building-together-as-game, play for the sake of play to see what play can lead to. It’s an unprecedented open experiment, and one that’s just beginning to unfold atop Ethereum.
Pretty interesting, right? Let’s dive deeper with a beginner’s guide to Loot, then. I demystify the project and explain all the basics in today’s Metaversal ⬇️
Intro to Loot
It all started with a tweet. Specifically this tweet from artist, entrepreneur, programmer, and Vine creator Dom Hofmann:
dom @dhoftext-based fantasy cryptoloot use ur imagination to play and maybe a smart contract dungeons & degens
Not even a day after putting this call for a weekend hackathon jam, Dom unveiled Loot on Twitter. The project was a randomized adventurer gear project consisting of 8,000 NFT loot bags. These game bags, which “intentionally omitted [images and stats] for others to interpret,” were free to mint directly from the project’s smart contract and cost only the price of gas to do so.
All Loot bags were minted in rapid fashion, and then an explosion of peripheral, organic community building efforts ensued around the NFTs. No worries if you’re still confused. Here’s why the project went viral so fast.
Word-of-mouth discussions were pivotal to the rapid rise of Loot. But what was the catalyst that kicked off these discussions?
You might call it the Dom effect. In recent weeks, Dom has created or played a founding role in a handful of innovative NFT projects that have quickly accrued cult followings. These projects include:
Blitmaps — a community-crafted sci-fi fantasy universe
Nouns DAO — an experimental avatar-a-day project
Accordingly, when Dom launched Loot many of the people who are fans of the aforementioned projects immediately jumped at the opportunity to mint from the prolific creative’s next experiment.
People then started telling friends and colleagues about Loot, and as interest spiked these word-of-mouth convos spread like wildfire among the NFT ecosystem. Loot’s “You can do whatever you want” mantra was (and remains) welcoming to all stripes of Ethereum-savvy Web3 dreamers, a reality which has surely factored into the project’s rapid ascension and decentralized worldbuilding efforts.
Loot 101 resources
Okay, so now you understand the gist of what’s happening with Loot. Some other helpful resources that can help you catch up quickly include the project’s FAQ and the following helpful Twitter threads ✅
So what is Loot now & what will it become?
As Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin suggested in a new tweet, Loot already exists as the foundation of a game and now the community has to collaborate to decide what happens next:
Additionally, my colleague David Hoffman just published a post called “The Metaverse Emerges” that provided some interesting insights on Loot’s prospects going forward.
Therein, David noted that the open and ground-up nature of Loot provided a model for growing the metaverse atop Ethereum and was well worth further exploration. He wrote:
“What did Loot Project unlock?
Potentially nothing. It’s brand new, and no one knows. Anything that is 4 days old (at the time of writing) has an unmeasurable amount of risk to it.
But ever since the genesis of Loot Project, derivative projects have been spun up to ‘attach’ or ‘append’ value upon the Loot corner of the metaverse.
While this corner of the metaverse is completely unstable, this model for establishing how the metaverse grows has gained precedent. This new model has pushed expression to the surface, while value and utility are embedded deeper into the Ethereum protocol.
A few people have noticed the potential behind this model. By embedding tokenized properties into a deeper layer of the technological stack, you optimize for maximal cosmetic choice, while establishing a single-source-of-truth of object properties inside the metaverse.
This helps reduce complexity and development costs for developers, while giving freedom, creativity, and expression to users.”
Open culture legos!
Because of the open nature of Loot and its smart contract infrastructure, the project is a “culture lego” that can be readily connected with other Web3 projects.
For example, in the fanfic illustration below you can see Blitmaps (the picture on the wall), Nouns (the character), and Loot (the items) all mashed up together. Is this a taste of what’s to come?
For that, we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime tons of community projects have already popped up and built new resources for Loot users. A few early highlights here include:
0xinventory.app — a tool for color-coding Loot items by rarity
$AGLD — Adventure Gold, a governance token for storybuilding that is already being used to vote on Loot Chapter 1
The Grand Exchange — a front-end Loot auction house underpinned by the Zora protocol that paves the way to group bids on Loot items via PartyBid (as PartyBid only supports Zora- or Foundation-based auction infra currently).
All that said, though, we’re already starting to see a dizzying range of Loot derivatives and spinoffs appear. Some of these efforts will likely prove to be awesome, yet with so many unaudited releases entering the community so quickly the conditions are ripe for scammers and blackhats to capitalize. Remain extremely vigilant in this fast-moving, risk-prone environment!
Loot for you, and you, and everyone
Many people missed the Loot mint event, and at the time of writing the Loot floor price was 13 ETH. So is most everyone going to be priced out from playing and participating around Loot?
No! First off, anyone can chip into the community-building and world-building efforts taking place around Loot right now. Beyond that, though, Dom also just released Synthetic Loot:
“Creators building on top of Loot can choose to recognize Synthetic Loot as a way to allow a wider range of adventurers to participate in the ecosystem, while still being able to easily differentiate between ‘original’ Loot and Synthetic Loot,” Dom added.
Simply put, then? Loot’s for anyone with an Ethereum wallet. And the game’s possibilities are wide open accordingly.
🧙♀ Check out the Resources page on the Loot website to explore tooling, guilds, market trackers, and more!
🌐 Read “The Metaverse Emerges” in Bankless
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.