2021 was the year of the PFP. 2022 is the year of utility. In order to have a successful project in 2022 your NFT needs to come jam packed with utility. NFT holder standards have risen to new levels, and simply releasing a cartoon picture of a duck is no longer enough. Investors are expecting constant execution and value returned to the holder. While airdrops of companion collections have seen Bored Ape and Azuki holders see absolutely massive returns, for a vast majority of new projects this strategy simply does not work anymore. The law of diminishing returns is especially prevalent in NFT’s. As more mid-chip projects start airdropping companion collections of more cartoon animals, we are starting to see the value of those collections drop and drop. Utility in the NFT space needs to be way more than this. Utility needs to not only be valuable, but it also needs to be experiential, physical, and uniting. It needs to go beyond just another jpeg of a zoo animal. I believe at this current moment the two projects executing on this new vision of utility the most are Vee Friends and Relics Pass. Let’s dive into what they’re doing differently and how they are building the new roadmap for every other NFT project to follow.
Gary Vee is arguably the most influential figure in the NFT space. A serial entrepreneur who identified opportunity in NFT’s early and made a massive pivot into web 3. Gary has built and launched several wildly successful collections, the most successful of which is Vee Friends. If art determined the success of an NFT project, Vee Friends would have tanked. Instead, Gary’s flagship NFT collection has reached $50,000 of value purely based on utility alone. Just by holding one of these NFT’s in your wallet you got access to exclusive networking events (Veecon), incredibly rare pieces of artwork, and several other companion collections that provide even more utility. While building out Vee Friends Gary got a cold email from famous artist Jeff Cole and art dealer Mark Mastrandrea. Jeff and Mark had many ideas around art, motivation, and the future of web 3. One meeting in Beverly Hills Hotel later and Gary Vee was investing in Jeff and Mark’s company. Fast forward to March 2022 and Jeff is launching his own utility NFT- “Relics Pass“.
Still just a few weeks into the launch of the pass, it’s easy to see Relics is going on the exact same path as Vee Friends. Looking at the utility and communities of both, you can see they share the same lifeblood, which is true, since Gary’s investment dollars are enabling a lot of the value being returned to the holders. What stands out to me about the utility of Relics Pass and Vee friends is the experiential and physical benefits of holding one. By holding a Relics Pass you get access to Metarelics, an online print shop where you can get NFT’s from your wallet printed on canvas and shipped directly to you. A service I’ve been quite frankly waiting for for a long time. My emotional connection to my Mutant Ape is something I always wanted to show off in a way that’s more impactful than just pulling up Opensea on my phone. Continuing on the physical theme, the first companion collection dropping in the next few weeks is called Relic Punks. While releasing a small collection filled with handmade artwork is typically value enough, what’s really cool here is every single Relic Punk comes with a 12×12 canvas print. An incredible benefit I haven’t seen with any other NFT project. By providing physical items with the NFT project, Relics is building a connection with the holder, one that’s deeper than a jpeg in a digital wallet. By having your NFT on the wall you’re a lot more likely to hold long term and be more engaged with the community. Making the pass have even more extrinsic value. By providing these kinds of experiential benefits to holders, Relics Pass and Vee Friends are growing direct emotional connections to their investors. This kind of connection is a lot more powerful than just a companion collection, it has an impact on you outside the digital world. With Relics having Gary’s backing, as well as Gary holding 2 passes himself, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that both of these projects are rewriting what true utility is in NFT’s.
An important component of experiential value is community building. With Vee Friends all holders get access to Veecon. Not only will this drive attendance to Gary Vee’s massive NFT conference, it will also act as a giant community building party for holders. This will grow the bond between holders, the community, and their NFT. With Relics, their building community through physical goods, an incredibly engaged Discord, and exclusive events like an AMA with Daymond John just for Relics holders. This kind of networking event with a legit business genius will provide incredible value to the Relics community, but also legitimize it as well. Daymond John probably isn’t doing AMA’s with your average run of the mill cartoon zoo animal project. Networking is an incredibly powerful benefit to holders that goes way beyond an NFT companion airdrop.
As I do with all of my articles, I like to talk about the investment aspect as well. When researching Relics Pass there were a few things that stood out to me. I think the most important metrics that caught my eye was 1) their exclusivity. Only 1000 passes in the collection. That’s incredibly small compared to your standard 10k collections you see nowadays. The smaller the supply, the more exclusivity. The more exclusivity, the more demand for each pass. On top of that, the unique ownership ratio is the best I’ve ever seen. With only 1000 passes there are 869 holders. An 86% ratio which far exceeds Bored Ape Yacht Club (64%), Azuki (55%), and Cryptopunks (34%). I typically like the collections I invest in to have at least a 50% unique ownership ratio. Obviously 86% blows that out of the water. Also when I’m investing I like to invest in “cows”. I like cows that provide me milk. Relics Pass is a cow that will provide me milk in the form of NFT’s and physical items. By investing in assets that produce you more assets you get a lot of different opportunities to reduce your cost basis. For me as an investor, I want to constantly be looking for ways to reduce my cost basis and it seems that Relics gives me those paths.
I hope this article was helpful for you, the reader. This wasn’t written to sell you on Vee Friends or Relics, but to show you my investment style and what I look for when researching projects. Also I want to help you recognize new and interesting trends in the NFT space. If you found this article informative and would like more research in your inbox, feel free to subscribe to my absolutely free newsletter. Also engage with me on Twitter if you have any feedback, would love to hear from the community.