Before NFTs: Surging interest in pre-CryptoPunk collectibles

“They’re looking for these antiquities but keep hitting a wall because they’re so used to using OpenSea.”

NFT hunters are suddenly rediscovering these forgotten vintage collectibles

Love them or hate them, blockchain collectibles are having a moment.

It’s good art. It’s bad art. It’s good, bad art. Folks are flipping apes and robots and pixely punks. Tweets (which are arguably ownerless) are worth millions to the right buyer. Literal children — we’re talking humans who weren’t even alive yet when Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper — are suddenly whales, and it just might feel like everyone but you is getting overnight-rich on that nonfungible JPEG money.

There is, of course, something to be said about how an object’s provenance relates to its value. CryptoPunks for example — often erroneously billed as the “first” nonfungible token, or NFT, series — are a well-known example of an old, long-dead project enjoying a renaissance of financial and social appreciation. A year ago, no one cared. You could have bought one for a couple hundred bucks. Today, that club is for millionaires only.

So, why haven’t many of the crypto-collectibles on Counterparty that pre-date CryptoPunks (and even the entire Ethereum ecosystem) experienced the same level of frenzy?

The times, they are a changin’

According to Shaban Shaame, blockchain pioneer and CEO of software company EverdreamSoft, it comes down to accessibility — and the times, they are a changin’.

“They’re on an older blockchain and not particularly easy to acquire,” says Shaame in an interview with Cointelegraph. Counterparty (XCP) is an early contract layer of the Bitcoin blockchain that allowed creators to mint and distribute their own tokens. As Bitcoin’s fees rose and Ethereum’s popularity soared, however, the tokens and contract capabilities offered by Counterparty became largely obsolete.

Today, it’s a ghost town. “A lot of people don’t know how to use Counterparty at all,” confirms Shaame.

“They’re looking for these antiquities but keep hitting a wall because they’re so used to using OpenSea.”

Pause. Let’s step into our time machine for a moment and travel back to the year 2015. It’s September. The price of Bitcoin is $236. Ethereum’s genesis block isn’t even two months old. Smart contracts, as they’ll exist in the future, are naught but a dream. And Shaame has just launched a token sale for the first-ever blockchain-based mobile game, Spells of Genesis.

The project’s main draw was a series of digital trading cards meant to integrate into the game at launch. Each card was provably rare, with fantasy-themed artwork based on moments and figures in early blockchain history. The game’s most coveted card depicted a purple-robed, druid-style Satoshi Nakamoto crafting Bitcoin’s blockchain. Its edition was a mere 200 cards.

Published By : Magazine

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