A few weeks back, I was plugging the Okay Bears. Today — fittingly, given the turn the crypto tide has taken since then — the Bears Are Not Okay. On Tuesday, someone right-click-saved the entire line of the top-selling Solana-based NFT project, flipped them horizontally in Photoshop, and listed them via the Ethereum network as the Not Okay Bears. They went number one on OpenSea yesterday and got banned from the platform shortly thereafter, but are now verified on LooksRare and going strong.
This blatant act of clout jacking and IP theft feels less like a scam and more like performance art meta commentary on the rich kid degens that champion the pure superiority of the Ethereum Virtual Machine. But those rich kids are likely the same ones who launched it, so I’ll try not to project my own self-awareness onto them. The truth is, Ethereum is the MySpace of blockchains, and its token is a marvelous MVP for what a thriving blockchain protocol can look like. Unfortunately, because community-owned infrastructure is hard to upgrade with a decentralized governance system liable to end in either political or technical based gridlock, ETH’s strong start will surely fade as more sustainable and robust layer 1 ecosystems emerge over the next crypto build period.
But my ongoing diatribe against Ethereum and Proof of Stake aside, the real brilliance of Not Okay Bears is as a brilliant piece of manufactured viral marketing. Maybe it’s just my digital ads background, but I smell the touch of a top tier PR team in their launch strategy. If I’m wrong, then it’s just another flashpan cash grab cooked up by some anonymous degen with an intuitive understanding of our collective lizard brain, in which case it worked out well enough, too. But at the risk of projecting self-awareness anyway, I assume their strategy went something like this:
- Screengrab the only viable Solana NFT project to date.
- Repackage it for Ethereum purists.
- Generate enough Twitter hype to get the name into the ether.
- Flag the IP for theft on Opensea yourself and get the project banned.
- Use press coverage and newfound status as a rare collectible to unleash a rabid FOMO epidemic as the secondary market sells out again and again.
Some galaxy brain genius level shit, if I do say so myself. (*hits bong*) Now, I came up with this theory while listening to The Local Top — a Twitter Space hosted by the Doodles PFP collection — in between discussions of whether to ignore this blatant Ponzi of a JPEG on principle or ape in like a good degen. They overwhelmingly favored the latter. But friends of this newsletter tell me the leadership is feeling burnt out from the past year of meaningless NFT fever. Relatable.
Yes, I, too, yearn to see these projects develop into something more tangible for their community than just glorified day-trading Discords. Which gets back to my original point. No, the Bears Are Not Okay, and won’t be, so long as the Bulls care only about speculation and gambling, not utility and value.