In just a few short months, Doodles has transformed into one of the most influential and beloved NFT projects in existence. The collection of colorful line-drawn characters has, quite literally, swept across the globe and ranks high on the list of top PFP (profile-picture) collections in terms of both popularity and sales volume.
What is the Doodles NFT collection?
Doodles is a collection of 10,000 generative NFTs created by Evan Keast, Scott Martin, and Jordan Castro. The team uses “working aliases” and are known as Tulip, Burnt Toast, and Poopie respectively. Before Doodles, Keast and Castro were already well-established in the NFT community, as they helped launch the legendary NFT project known as CryptoKitties in 2017. Martin, meanwhile, had been minting his own pieces and growing his creative brand within the NFT space for about a year.
Doodles features original art that was created by Martin, who produced hundreds of unique visual traits for the collection. However, the project ultimately followed in the footsteps of predecessors like CryptoPunks, Bored Apes, and Cool Cats by randomly mixing and matching these individual traits to create the full Doodles collection.
Within the Doodles ecosystem live humans, cats, pickles, apes, sentient flames, skeletons, aliens, and more. As is the case with nearly all generative avatar collections, Doodles NFTs come in varying degrees of rarity, which is defined by their traits. Although the Doodles team has never officially released a catalog of what traits are the rarest and most common — you can find RaritySniffer’s unofficial rankings here — skeletons, cats, aliens, apes, and mascots have continued to resell for the highest amounts.
Keast, Castro, and Martin launched Doodles on October 17, 2021, originally pricing their product at 0.123 ETH per mint. At the time, the mint price was considered relatively high. Prior to Doodles, most PFP projects implemented mint prices below 0.1 ETH; however, the Doodles founding team decided on this higher price point to ensure an initial treasury of ~420 ETH.
During the rollout of the project, Doodles tried something that had seemingly never been executed by a PFP project previously. About a month before the project went live for minting, the Doodles team closed the Discord when membership numbers had reached just over 1,000. This made it so that no new members could join, creating an extra level of exclusivity within the project’s community.
This decision received mixed reviews, as it effectively gave whitelist access (priority minting) to a select few. Yet, as the Doodles mint date drew closer, the project’s following continued to grow, and the decision to close the Discord started to be seen as an innovative way to reward early NFT project supporters.
Building a community for Doodles NFTs
Shortly after the full supply of Doodles sold out, the Discord server was reopened, bringing a slew of new collectors and enthusiasts into the community. In the months following, a wide variety of NFT influencers and big-name celebrities would join Doodles as collectors, further solidifying the project as one of the hottest PFP NFT communities around.
While numerous avatar projects market themselves as community-centered projects, Doodles seems to have been all about empowering their community from the start. As stated on the Doodles website, owning a Doodle and voting on community proposals “makes the roadmap collaborative.” This facet of the project has become increasingly clear over the last few months alone, thanks largely to its voting system and anti-scam/pro-artist culture.
The entire Doodles ecosystem is basically one DAO, and each and every Doodles owner has a say in what that DAO does. Early on, Keast laid out how the DoodleDAO treasury would work, stating that 1 Doodle = 1 Vote towards any and all decisions regarding the DoodleBank.
So far, Doodles members have been able to vote on proposals for Doodles team scaling, Doodles live events, funding a 3D Doodles project, and much more. The Doodles Forum and Doodles Discord allow an extra level of discourse to take place for each proposal.
While proposals have become less frequent as the project has matured, initiatives have become much more paramount to the future and overall success of Doodles as a brand. This is likely due to the project’s leadership, which has seemingly continued to set a viewfinder for the horizon.
As one of the most popular projects on the market, Doodles quickly became the inspiration for numerous derivative and knockoff projects. Keast and the Doodles team seemingly anticipated this issue, as they had already implemented a sort of derivative approval system within their Discord. Developers were incentivized to submit official proposals to create projects that take inspiration from the main Doodles collection. Numerous projects proposed within the Doodles community have been put to a vote, with collections like Noodles and Pukenza coming as a direct result of the 1 Doodle = 1 Vote system.
A scam alert channel was also implemented in the Doodles server, promoting a sort of “see something, say something” mentality. A large volume of fraudulent accounts and projects have been reported there to date, and it seems the channel has helped mitigate a number of unapproved Doodles knockoffs and potential scams.
Doodles: To the moon
Although the Doodles floor price remained somewhere between 1-5 ETH for months after launch, things started to really pick up towards the end of 2021. Around this time, Keast and the rest of the Doodles crew began to release short animations teasing something new on the horizon. This led to a spike in secondary sales and some of the largest Doodles sales to date.
Yet, while a quick uptick in purchases and trades (a “pump”) is typically experienced when a project makes a major announcement (i.e., Nike acquiring RTFKT) or rolls out a collectors reward, Doodles’ managed to keep the momentum going even a month after making their announcement. The announcement? Space Doodles.
While we’ve seen the launch of Cool Pets, Bored Ape Kennel Club, KingFrogs, and more help popular projects capitalize on demand and further expand their collector base, Space Doodles works directly with the original collection of 10,000 NFTs.
In short, instead of launching an additional collection of NFTs to complement their original collection, the Doodles team implemented a mechanism that allowed Doodles owners to swap their NFT for a new, spaceship-themed one. These spaceship-themed NFTs live in a different collection on the Ethereum blockchain as a way of distinguishing them from the original.
Doodles as an entertainment platform
Possibly one of the most interesting aspects of the Doodles project is its crossover from the blockchain into the real world. This is due to the fact that Doodles is endeavoring to be much more than a simple PFP project. As co-founder Keast has said multiple times, the ultimate aim of Doodles is to become a comprehensive Web3 entertainment company, and the crew has already taken numerous steps to help make this goal a reality.
Twice now, Doodles has created immersive in-person experiences coinciding with annual NFT events. First, in December 2021, the Doodles team partnered with The Heart Project to put on a large-scale event during Art Basel Miami. Heart Basel Miami, as they called it, gave the NFT community its first glimpse into what to expect from Doodles as an entertainment company. The event — which, according to the expenditure proposal, was planned and executed within a very short amount of time — featured a gallery, exclusive merch, live music performances, and more.
The event was an apparent success, with Keast even mentioning shortly after the event that several prominent talent reps have taken an interest in Doodles. It seems events aren’t the only thing that the Doodles crew has in the works though. As revealed during an interview with HYPEBEAST, the founders ultimately aim to “bridge web3 and the real world and connect NFT enthusiasts through community initiatives such as installations, concert merchandise, and more.”
The second event, dubbed the Doodles Genesis Factory, launched in June 2022 alongside NFT.NYC. The activation further helped communicate Doodles’ desire to show up and show out, providing a stage for the unveiling of many upcoming Doodles initiatives, including Doodles’ first fundraise, Doodles 2, Doodles Records, and more.
Although the full scope of how a web3 company might leverage a PFP project to accomplish all this remains to be seen, we’ve long heard similar sentiments coming from the Bored Ape Yacht Club and World of Women, both of which are now managed by Madonna and U2’s manager, Guy Oseary. It seems Doodles is now echoing that same cry.
The future of Doodles
Considering the young age of the Doodles project, it’s incredible to see the growth and accomplishments achieved by this project and its three founders. Currently, the collection has amassed around 141,000 ETH in secondaries. While Doodles still has quite a ways to go before they’re seen as a true contender for the PFP NFT crown currently held by the Bored Ape Yacht Club — which has generated upwards of 629,000 ETH to date — the collection of vibrant characters has undoubtedly won the hearts of countless NFT enthusiasts.
What’s more, the Doodles project is showing no signs of slowing down, even as crypto prices continue to fluctuate greatly since its conception. From live, immersive events to unique, innovative project development, the company has onboarded a range of talent to the team, including former President of Billboard Julian Holguin as CEO and none other than Pharrell Williams as Chief Branding Officer.
And as the Doodles Web3 entertainment company continues to grow, so too have its initiatives. Here are some of the things the Doodles community has to look forward to.
In summer 2022, it was announced that 776 Management, a venture capital firm created by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, would be leading the first round of funding for Doodles. Although the amount of financing was not disclosed, the partnership inherently seemed robust as it was also announced that 776 co-founder Katelin Holloway would be joining the Doodles board of directors.
Even beyond Space Doodles, Doodles 2 is possibly the most exciting next step in the Doodles lengthy roadmap. Yet again, Doodles seems to be foregoing the route of a companion project to launch a completely unique new initiative that is aimed at onboarding more enthusiasts into the Doodles, and the greater NFT ecosystem.
Doodles 2 will likely live on a different blockchain entirely. Although Doodles founders have said that this decision in its entirety is still pending, it’s one that the team hopes to help further mass adoption of the Doodles project.
Marketed as “A Doodle for Everyone,” Doodles 2 will allow new collectors to mint a base-level Doodle, choose generic traits like skin tone and hair color, then customize your Doodle with wearables that come in varying tiers of rarity. Doodles 2 are said to be dynamic NFTs where owners can change their look as often as they like, swap between a full-body or PFP perspective, and unlock an animated version of their NFT complete with original music.
Doodles 2 is also where something called the Doodles Genesis Box comes into play. Unveiled at the aforementioned Genesis Factory, this NFT box holds first-edition wearables that will seed the wearables economy of Doodles 2. This full collection of boxes features 24,000 NFTs and was launched via a unique auction format that Doodles called a Bucket Auction (more details here).
Another new sector of the overarching Doodles brand that Doodles enthusiasts can look forward to is Doodles Records. While little is known about the supposed record label, Doodles Records: Volume 1 has been announced to include original music with executive production from Pharrell, hand-drawn album art from lead Doodles artist Scott Martin, and limited edition wearables for Doodles 2. The first volume comes in partnership with Columbia Records and will feature music that Doodles 2 owners will be able to layer into their new animated NFTs.
The Dooplicator, which has lived as one of the most enigmatic facets of the Doodles ecosystem, has been stated (via the Doodles Twitter account) to have “perpetual utility beyond Doodles 2.” Labeled a “super-powered device” that will allow collectors to bring the rarest original Doodles traits into Doodles 2, Doodles co-founder Keast says these NFTs are a sort of dealer’s choice when it comes to interacting with the greater Doodles ecosystem.
The slow burn of Doodles
Beyond the general hype cycle of price increases and celebrities being onboarded into the Doodles community, Doodles has been known to (in some cases) leave their community hanging. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing, as while the wider NFT community has become accustomed to biweekly teasers and announcements, it seems that the Doodles team is more than happy to keep quiet until they have something to say.
Sentiment aside though, it’s clear Doodles is planning to take their community on a wild ride over the next few years. With millions of dollars in capital sitting in the Doodle bank and a major fundraise set to kick off, the Doodles team has made their initial treasury holding — which was worth over $1.5 million at the time of the project’s launch — back many times over.
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, members of the nft now staff were holders of Doodles NFTs.