Nakamigos Teases ‘CLOAKS’ NFTs, Sparks Community Backlash

BY Andrew Rossow

September 14, 2023

The bizarre, pixelated NFT project known as Nakamigos, revealed its next NFT initiative, CLOAKS, on September 13. It resembles the textbook hype we’ve continued to see with these derivative NFT projects that show little to no creativity – powered by aggressive marketing and puffery, and the Web3 community that often overlooks asking the right questions and challenging these projects and founders on their innovative purpose. 

Nakamigos was first launched in March by HiFo Labs, an out-of-the-blue company that claims its team has been producing NFT and digital projects for the past five years. Its OG collection mirrors CryptoPunks with 24 x 24-pixel characters, serving as the “friends of Satoshi Nakamoto.” 

Within four days of its launch, it had surpassed Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) in lifetime trades, reaching close to $13 million in trading volume on the secondary market when nft now first reported, increasing to around $39 million the following month, according to CoinDesk

Rumors began circulating as to who was pulling the strings or connected to HiFo Labs, with Crypto Twitter insinuating that HiFo was somehow connected to Larva Labs, the parent company of CryptoPunks, which was sold to Yuga Labs in 2022. Nevertheless, Nakamigos took to Twitter in late March, denying any connection to Larva or Yuga.

The Upcoming CLOAKS Mint

Its Early Access (free) Mint begins September 21 from 12:00pm – 3:00pm ET on the Nakamigos website, with eligible wallets holding a Nakamigos NFT during a snapshot taken on September 19 at 11:59pm ET. The Public Mint begins September 21 at 4:00 p.m. ET with a minting price of 0.05 ETH.

While there isn’t much to share about CLOAKS at this time, what we do know is that the NFT collection involves 20,000 Nakamigos characters that consist of “human-like characters and wolves.”

Main Characters and Wolves

There are three types of “human-like” characters – Warriors, Knights, and Archers, which all come with different rarity levels. There are also sub-human characters, including Sorceresses and Wizards. 

Each human-like character is also a member of one of seven clans – Water, Sky, Earth, Steel, Crystal, Fire, and Darkness. 

These “Main Characters” also have the ability to take on unique forms – Undead Reaper, Possessed, or Android (Good or Evil). Archers can appear in Wild form, while Wolves can appear as Grey Wolf, Forest Wolf, Mountain Wolf, or an Arctic Wolf. 

Non-Human Characters

The project also consists of six types of “non-human characters,” or “Rares” – Arctic Wolf, Komodo Dragon, Yin-Yang, Cheetah, Bat, and Black Panther. 

Each of these NFTs also reportedly comes with global gaming and commercial IP rights – similar to what Yuga Labs does with its respective portfolio of projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), CryptoPunks, etc. 

Community Backlash

The original announcement for ‘CLOAKS’ listed the mint price at 0.05 ETH for all minters. Shortly after receiving backlash from the community, the project updated it to a free mint for Nakamigos holders.

However, despite this change in pricing strategy, community members are still expressing skepticism about the project’s overall value and utility. They argue that the introduction of yet another NFT collection will dilute the project’s supply, similar to what happened with Azuki and its latest collection, Elementals.

Members of the community are drawing parallels between this approach and DeGods Season III, which initially introduced a “collection upgrade” but later altered their plans due to negative feedback. While some individuals suspect that these changes are deliberate, others contend that they are merely reactionary and lack a clear strategic intent.

Regardless of the perspective on the recent changes, there appears to be a prevailing consensus within the community that projects should prioritize providing additional benefits to their existing holders rather than continuously launching new collections.

IP Rights

Under the CLOAKS licensing agreement, HiFo Labs owns all the IP in the Nakamigos art and simply grants a limited license to holders to be able to use the Nakamigos art for as long as they hold their Nakamigos NFT. 

While it’s not exactly a Creative Commons (CC0) license, it still allows for holders to gain their own competitive edge. 

CLOAKS also comes with “worldwide gaming rights,” which “entitle any creator, company or entity to incorporate Nakamigos-CLOAKS characters into any game, metaverse, or similar endeavor.”

From the start, all 20K Nakamigos NFTs minted out, but they are still available on the secondary market with a current floor price of 0.26 ETH (approx. $424 USD) as of press time. 

The Nakamigos team has gifted “honorary” Nakamigos to well-known individuals in the NFT community – Art Blocks’ Erick Calderon (Snofro), Seedphrase, Comozo de’ Medici, and more.

While it’s too early to make any pre-conceived judgments as to the project’s long-term viability, it isn’t too farfetched in recognizing the understandable skepticism the NFT community has when a new meme or derivative NFT project is introduced.

Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft now staff member in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-3.5.

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