After two years of development, the Ether project finally launched its much-anticipated mint on June 30 to allowlist members. However, after the project launched its public sale a week later on July 9, the team paused the public mint due to a lack of activity. At the time of writing, less than half of the total supply has been minted.
While the low amount of mints could be seen as an immediate cause for the pause, the current state of the project has been shaped by a multitude of influences. These include community feedback and responses about elements like price, supply, and the project’s roadmap.
Here are five factors that likely contributed to the halting of the minting process and the decline in demand.
Price of mint
The initial asking price for each Ether NFT in the public sale was 1 ETH but was lowered to 0.65 ETH. Allowlist members were offered a discounted mint price of 0.35 ETH or a free option with a 10-week lockup period.
Despite price reductions, many still believed the cost was too high. It’s worth noting that Azuki Elementals recently also minted for a high price of 2 ETH. However, Azuki has already established a solid reputation within the NFT market, while Ether remains relatively new and its brand identity less defined.
Cut in supply
Originally, the project aimed to launch with a supply of 10,000 tokens. However, on July 2, the team announced a reduction to 5,555 tokens, attributing this decision to current market conditions and sentiment.
The adjusted token supply comprises 5,555 NFTs, with 3,678 allocated for public sale, 1,627 set aside for the whitelist minting phase, and the remaining 250 held in the treasury.
While the team says they cut supply to focus on a smaller, more tight-knit community, many saw the move as a lack of confidence in the project. A reduction in token supply coupled with a modification in pricing can instigate a sense of uncertainty, potentially undermining investor confidence in the project.
“Just reducing the mint price without changing the mechanics would only ensure that the floor continues to collapse and holders are f*cked,” NFT influencer Waleswoosh tweeted. “Cuts in supply do not solve the core issue.”
Despite not revealing their identities, the Ether team has cited founder Viii’s previous experiences in the art and gaming space with Sony, Nike, and Epic Games.
However, with increased transparency becoming increasingly important in the space, many NFT collectors prefer to invest in doxxed founders. When a team chooses to remain anonymous, it becomes challenging for the community to do due diligence, including the founder’s experiences, past successes, and failures— all crucial factors in establishing trust.
Today’s top projects started with undoxxed founders who later revealed their identities. Some examples include Frank DeGods of DeLabs and Zagabond of Azuki. After revealing their identities, the founders shifted toward more transparent and open communication with their communities. This cultivated a sense of faith and accountability, ensuring that an anonymous founder will put their reputation on the line and not just disappear with holder money.
Time between allowlist and public sale
Unlike many projects that immediately follow the whitelist mint with a public sale, Ether left a significant gap of over a week between the two. Unlike Azuki Elementals, which sold out in presale and didn’t make it to public sale, Ether left the majority of the remaining supply for public sale.
This strategy appeared to backfire, leading to a decrease in the floor price as a large number of whitelist members decided to flip. The lowered floor and wait for over a week led the project to lose momentum and hype.
The NFT market has undergone significant transformation since 2021. In its early days, mints shrouded in hype and mystery often sold out swiftly, aided in part by the bull run and the novelty of the space. However, the community has since matured and become more discerning.
In the current climate, investors display greater caution, carefully evaluating projects before making commitments. While Ether has a roadmap that promises clothing, physical and digital goods, and storytelling, many still find it too vague without specific details.
Ether’s initial mint experience provides invaluable insights for future projects and even minters who are scoping out projects to invest in. Projects can view Ether as a case study, learning from its successes and challenges to inform their own strategies and avoid similar pitfalls.
Despite the initial response, Ether still has a core group of believers who envision potential and growth in the project. As of now, Ether hasn’t disclosed its plans following the recommencement of the public sale. Moving forward, the team’s ability to respond to feedback and adapt their strategies will likely play a crucial role in shaping Ether’s story and success in the market.