RMRK Artist Spotlight #17: Moon-Bearer and His Chaos Apes
Unlike previous interviews, our session with Moon-Bearer was more focused on trying to understand the reason behind his immensely successful collection which has pulled in ~1840 KSM (~ $739,772) in volume.
We talked about his journey into NFTs, the most important reason for his success, and, most exciting, the detailed steps he took towards releasing the ChaosDAO Apes.
RMRK: How did you start your NFT journey?
It was all more or less a fortunate accident. Being a KSM enthusiast, I came up with the narrative of KSM being “Golden Tickets” that you can use for investing but will get back after the parachain lease of the supported project has ended. So I used that Golden Ticket as a Twitter header. It so happened, that a comment about it was “you should mint it as an NFT”.
So I looked into options on KSM to mint an NFT and was amazed how easy and low fee it was to mint on Singular. I still hold the golden Ticket.
From there on out it all accelerated very fast. Being active in the community of Kusama, I was invited to this thing called ChaosDAO “a multilayered APE-protocol” which is a private Discord. I wanted to create a pfp for myself that somehow represents the multi layered APE and so I came up with my APE “BaBaBlue”.
As I have a background in marketing and community management, the idea jumped to mind to create an exclusive line of only 99 ChaosDAO APEs, I would give some to early key members (apes) of the DAO to represent our (at that time) little private Discord group.
So when I minted the first set of I apes I uploaded a few more for sale. They sold out within 20 minutes.
Well, from thereon out, it was all about building and pushing on all levels to give these NFTs the branding and the image they deserved.
How many collections have you minted?
Before I truly started with the APEs, I created some other pieces, that I called “real art” as they are not done on a computer but used actual paint on actual paper. One piece got sold, and one is still in my possession. This line has suffered from the immense work that my APEs require but maybe some day I will push a few more of those liquid birds out.
Which has been your most successful collection?
The success is definitely my ChaosDAO APE collection. It has been growing since day one. Not only has this collection grown to be a huge success in itself, it has pushed the existence and the hype around ChaosDAO a lot.
By now this closed Discord channel counts over 200 hand picked and scouted members reaching from APEs (holders of APEs are granted access to the DAO), KSM enthusiasts, bigger influencers in the Dotsama community, to devs and even KSM project heads who get involved in deeper discussions about their projects and the space.
Having contributed to this community being built is what I would consider as the real success for the APEs.
They became the mascot of the DAO and brought very valuable members into the group who are helping to build this community and thereby help bringing knowledge to the whole Dotsama community on various social platforms.
There are so many great things happening around these NFTs that any number of KSM that they brought in couldn’t reflect. Of course I am grateful for the profits but I am even more exited about the opportunities that these NFTs bring in.
What do you consider the most important reason for your success?
If it was one word that I would have to use it would be “symbolism”.
I didn’t set out to create an NFT line with the goal to rake in as much KSM as possible. I set out to give a symbol to a forming community with the right values at heart.
This project started out as visual support for the DAO. Of course this is a two way street. As the DAO grew and has caused more and more awareness in the general community on twitter, it has put a bigger spotlight on the APE collection as well which is the reason why I donated KSM to the DAO’s treasury. In my opinion it is important to note though that even the biggest spotlight couldn’t bring success to a collection that is lacking management. Proper community work and advertisement are just as important, if not even more important than a nice looking JPEG when you consider the size of this collection of only 99 APEs in total.
Walk us through the planning and execution of your NFT collection release. Please spare no details, particularly the marketing aspect.
It’s not witchcraft but it is also not plain and simple.
Being in crypto you might have found yourself being called “lucky” from some non-crypto holder. “You just got lucky for investing into XYZ so early”. I am allergic to this allegation as it isn't luck that strikes us. It is when preparation meets opportunity. How can you expect to spot an opportunity and take it when you didn't prepare to even spot it in the first place? “Listen, learn, build” is what I keep as a guide in my head. You have to be prepared to put in effort and time to learn and to be able to “get lucky”.
So with the APEs it was a similar story. I was prepared to put a lot of effort into this project without expecting anything in return. Gary Vaynerchuck always rocks his 51% rule. Look into this if you are not familiar with it.
I offered free APEs to a few early members of the ChaosDAO. They were able to choose colors and names. Just like this batboy “Ape Steak”
I received a lot of support in return in form of the APEs getting used as pfps on twitter. This was the foundation to kick off the twitter account @ApesAndArt which is the home of the APEs.
But not only the APEs are represented on this twitter account. By now there are many partnerships with NFT projects, that I am personally a fan of. I like giving to the community by raffling off NFTs. For example we raffled off KusamaDucks, HENCHMEN and even Kitty Paradies kitties. I try to have a Raffle every week and so far it has panned out very nicely.
The community gets the chance to win an NFT and I support fellow artists by giving them exposure to the APE-interested people. Do I gain many followers this way? Not really. Do I sell more APEs this way? No, because there is a limited number. But I can provide an upside to all parties involved in each raffle.
For me it is extremely important that I only present to the followers on this page, what I am personally convinced of. I am sure that my personal attitude that I tweet by is also a big factor. I do not act, I like to laugh online, I like to transport knowledge but I also see the need to apply seriousness where needed.
So this is my base setup I go by.
When it comes to the execution part there are some points I see as vital for an NFT line like mine. I treat this as a serious business case. Any potential NFT purchaser should take a look at the setup behind that NFT and do some DD. In the end you are buying an asset, so you want to make sure the person that is responsible for creating and promoting that asset is capable of doing so.
To build trust and thereby value I find it very important to always be reliable, keep pushing the quality and to standing by your promises.
All the above mixes together and creates a cocktail that represents your brand.
What is your advice to anyone who wants to release NFTs and make money?
Don`t think about making money when you start an NFT project. When you read this and want to learn from my experiences, chances are you are not a big company that is investing big $$$ to create a huge NFT line.This also means that you as an individual artist should be thrilled to get your feet wet in the NFT world and just try a few things.
Lets look at it realistically. You have to know a bit about the field you are playing on. You might have followed some NFT enthusiasts who share their newest purchases on twitter. Great, get in touch with them and ask them what they think about your style. Maybe they like it and even purchase a piece. You might want to connect your twitter, your email and even your homepage (if you have one) to your Singular account. Make yourself seen and don't be too lazy to do the footwork and spend time in the space and connect with likeminded people.
Go out, be yourself, do yourself and educate yourself enough to spot the opportunities that might come up.
What do you have to say to artists who are afraid to taking the leap into NFTs?
What is there to be afraid of? With Singular, there are practically no costs involved when you mint an NFT. You can stay 100% anonymous if you choose to and just play around a little. Get familiar with what NFTs are and what they might be. If you are an artist: Get some skin in the game. When you create real life painting: Great idea: mint a picture of your latest painting and put in the description of that NFT, that the real picture will be sent to the buyer (if the buyer would want that). It’s just an example of endless opportunities.
Heck, I know people who mint pictures of half eaten Bananas and those even sold. It’s a fun space.
NFTs will be all around us in a few years. There is no plausible reason in my opinion not to get into it if you want to do it.
Our conversation with Moon-Bearer has been one of our most illuminating yet. For one thing, it's clear to see the power a dedicated community can have on an NFT project. Thus, it would seem that every artist's ultimate goal should be to find a way to leverage such community power. Of course, the only way to do this would be to offer meaningful value to the community.
To learn more about releasing successful collection, read our 7 Tips for Releasing a Successful Collection.
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