Pudgy Penguins Look to Foster Community on Web3 Social App Phaver

Pudgy Penguins and Phaver strive to be crowned Crypto Project of the Year

By: André Beganski

December 1, 2023

Over the next several weeks, Coinage is coming to a consensus on which Web3 endeavor shall be crowned Crypto Project of the Year — and it’s truly up to you. Vote to crown the winner from 16 crypto hopefuls!

The speculative nature of NFTs has borne fruit for some PFP projects. Yet, Pudgy Penguins CEO Luca Netz believes the tech could reshape industries outside crypto while establishing sustainable business models in a characteristically volatile space.

“NFT projects need to go and make money,” he said. “The best way to do that is the way that Disney and Sanrio and all these other character companies have done for 100 plus years now, which is to distribute, license, make products, [and] make content.”

By transforming how people engage with brands and intellectual property, Pudgy Penguins is pioneering a unique approach: Attracting participants instead of consumers. Meanwhile, Phaver CEO Joonatan Lintala believes decentralized social media protocols can play a role in helping those communities connect.

“Bringing people together and verifying that they're the genuine [NFT holders], and not impersonators and scammers, actually has a pretty big value,” he said. “We're hoping that this is going to be something that will actually bring more utility to NFT projects.”

With a market capitalization of more than 63,000 Ethereum or $129 million, Pudgy Penguins established itself as a leading PFP collection in 2023. The collection’s floor price, or the cheapest NFT listed for sale, has risen from around $7,200 (6 ETH) in January to $14,500 (7.1 ETH) as of this writing, according to NFT Price Floor.

Pudgy Penguins, featured in a trailer for a Sotheby's auction promo. (Credit: Pudgy Penguins YouTube)
Pudgy Penguins, featured in a trailer for a Sotheby's auction promo. (Credit: Pudgy Penguins YouTube)

While the increase stands out amid an NFT market that’s faced headwinds, the floor price of Pudgy’s first edition collectible isn’t Netz’s barometer for achievement. Instead, he’s focused on the overall attitude of the project’s community.

“How I gauge success is really based on community sentiment,” Netz said. “Are the community members happy? Are people having a good time? Are they galvanizing around the vision? Do they believe? [Or] are they confused?”

At the same time, Netz acknowledged that most people in the crypto space aren’t assessing NFT projects purely based on vibes. 

“You're very much running a publicly traded startup,” he said. “This first-edition collectible that [...] early supporters collect — that ultimately kind of references how good or poorly you're doing.”

One metric that Netz highlighted: Pudgy Penguins gifs and stickers have amassed over 10 billion impressions on the animated search engine Giphy. Additionally, he underscored the significance of Pudgy Penguin toys debuting in Walmart.

“Every time one of those toys sells, [NFT holders] get a royalty in perpetuity,” he said. “It’s an ambitious vision, but one that I think will disrupt a lot of the traditional models.”

While Pudgy Penguins builds a community, Phaver seeks to give holders a home.

In October, Phaver raised $7 million to help onboard users into a Web3-native social media experience. Around 70,000 digital wallets have connected to Phaver, Lintala said, noting those wallets contain close to 36 million NFTs. (Coinage NFT holders can pair their NFTs to unlock perks as well.) Users are rewarded for the content they post and share on the platform and will be able to unlock rewards as Phaver rolls out its token in 2024, according to Lintala

Describing it as a “big feature,” Lintala said Phaver users will soon be able to tap into their favorite holder communities. Like social groups on Facebook, he said, “It's going to be a lot easier for people to come together” on a larger scale. Pudgy Penguins will be one of the first featured communities when the tool goes live in the coming weeks.

Lintala said he’s excited about the prospect of subgroups within NFT communities based on location, which could take root organically when the feature is released.

“There are tons of these local alliances or clubs for NFT holders, whether it's Pudgys or Bored Apes in different cities,” he said. "And they can organize with this sort of a setup on their own.”

Coinage Members can vote on Crypto's Project of the Year. Mint an NFT to participate in the celebration and elect a winner!
Coinage Members can vote on Crypto's Project of the Year. Mint an NFT to participate in the celebration and elect a winner!

Which project deserves to progress in Coinage’s Crypto Project of the Year? Coinage Membership Pass holders can watch the full video above and vote on which projects advance in our celebration of crypto’s top projects. Don’t have a Membership Pass? Mint one now!


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