The 2022 NFT market crash gave birth to one of the strangest NFT collections the world has ever seen. It’s known as Goblintown. Its purpose? To make weird goblin sounds. No, seriously.
Here’s how the creators describe the project on OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, “AAAAAAAUUUUUGGGHHHHH gobblins goblinns GOBLINNNNNNNNns wekm ta goblintown yoo sniksnakr DEJEN RATS oooooh rats are yummmz dis a NEFTEEE O GOBBLINGS on da BLOKCHIN wat?”
Enlightening, isn’t it? And for better or worse, the project took the NFT world by storm.
The Goblintown collection went live the week of May 20, 2022. In the span of just a few short days, this unabashedly irreverent project saw all 10,000 of its freely minted pieces claimed. Shortly after selling out, the floor price went to more than 2 ETH ($2,500). Makers throughout the space immediately jumped on the hype, with Goblintown derivatives flooding OpenSea’s volume charts just weeks after Goblintown first opened its doors.
Eventually, the floor price crept up to 4 ETH ($4,800) and individual NFTs started selling for tens of thousands of dollars. One of the most expensive sales was Goblintown #8995, which sold for $136,440.
If you’re confused, please know that you’re not alone. Here, we did our very best to suss out what’s going on with Goblintown and explain why the NFT project achieved such popularity.
What the heck is Goblintown?
Goblintown’s name and site URL, which ends in .wtf, both embody what every NFT collector feels during a huge market drop: Anger, chaos, utter confusion, and pandemonium. In this respect, the name is a colloquial expression for bear markets, and the project could easily be seen as elaborate commentary on the state of NFTs — and NFT collectors — during the 2022 drop.
The purpose of the project is also rather surprising. Recently, several prominent NFT collectors have noted that, to be taken seriously, an NFT project must have meaningful utility. Goblintown’s creators….don’t care.
From the start, the founders were upfront about the nature of this project. On the official website, the team outlined their plans in bold letters: “No roadmap. No Discord. No utility. CC0.” That last bit is especially worth paying attention to, as each Goblintown NFT is registered under a creative commons license, meaning buyers have free reign to do whatever they want with their goblin NFTs.
With its quickly rising floor prices, CC0 licensing agreements, and the amount of support it currently enjoys from the community, some observers believe this crass project holds massive potential.
When Goblintown launched, its creators were anonymous. However, despite the remarkably silly way the founders described the collection, it didn’t seem like an amateur project. In fact, what jumped out to more seasoned members of the NFT community was the project’s high overall quality.
To begin with, there is the art. It’s far from stick drawings made in MS Paint, and anyone who looks at the images can tell that they were made by real artists. The same can be said of the website. The UX is complex and enjoyable, with a number of fun surprises baked into it. Clearly, it’s made by someone with a background in user experience design and engineering.
Then there are the surprisingly on-brand events, which were one of the earliest measures of the project’s overall quality. In a bizarre Twitter space hosted just past midnight EDT on May 26th, guests were subjected to nearly three whole hours of various speakers taking the stage to make — for lack of a better term — goblin noises. More than 86,000 people tuned in, and media publications around the world picked up the story.
Rumors flew about who was behind the collection. Many users thought it had ties to prominent crypto artist Beeple. However, he denied any affiliations in a tweet, calling the collection “a shockingly low effort pump and dump project.”
Eventually, though, Goblintown’s creators came clean and revealed who they are. In a tweet on June 15, the Goblintown team uncharacteristically issued a formal message to their community.
In the post, Goblintown’s creators identified themselves as Truth Labs. It’s a collective of creators whose mission is “dedicated to sharing delightful blockchain mischief, exploring creatively, developing rich, fun worlds and experiences (both IRL and in the digital realm), and providing a platform for new voices and visions in this space.”
The Truth Labs team previously created The 187 and Illuminate Collective. Finally, with Goblintown, it looks like they were able to meet their goal of lightening up discussions and bringing some levity to the wider NFT space.
The power of community
Taking everything we’ve seen during this project’s lifespan at face value shows us one key thing: the continued power of virality. Despite lacking a comprehensive marketing plan, partnerships with established brands, or affiliations with prominent members in the NFT sphere, it has made a huge mark within the community.
In short, the idea of Goblintown — its irreverent “nothing really matters” tone — struck a chord with collectors who had experienced weeks of stressful financial losses. Plus, it was simply absurd and just made no sense. This made individuals curious and also gave them a sense of FOMO. What is this project? What if it’s a cunning ploy by someone huge? What if I miss out?
These all came together to make Goblintown go viral, and the project quickly transformed into a thriving community.
In fact, at NFT.NYC 2022, the Goblintown horde was able to meet up and connect in-person en-masse for the very first time. Numerous attendees of one of the biggest conferences in the space came dressed in goblin garb, proudly representing their community.
If that wasn’t enough, members of the Goblintown team were even able to deck out a food truck into a fully functional roving branch of McGoblinBurger — complete with goblin staff, of course. One attendee even reportedly received ‘pee’ to go with their McGoblinBurger.