Into The Squishiverse (An Affordable NFT Collection)

When considering buying any NFT, especially those from less-established projects, there are several factors to consider. “Affordable” often means riskier, and there’s always a chance that the project will go kaput.

On this first ever episode of NFT Investor Nation, Scott discusses how to evaluate NFT series to make sure you’re not wasting your money. Plus: we talk about Squishies!

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Episode Highlights

Squishiverse: “Squishiverse is a collection of incredibly cute slime, blob-like NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. They’re inspired and intended to pay homage to the many slime references you’ll see, typically in popular Asian culture.

Holding a Squishie will bring never-ending returns of art into your wallet, the opportunity to support and help artists flourish, and a potential opportunity into metaverse integration.” (Squishiverse.com)

The Squishiverse NFT Collection

About The Show

NFT Investor Nation is the show for passionate NFT traders, collectors and investors. Listen in as host Scott Hawksworth talks with leading NFT artists and entrepreneurs.

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Transcript

Scott: Hello, and welcome to NFT Investor Nation. I’m Scott, your host and so excited for our first ever episode. We are going to be having so many great episodes coming up talking to creators of NFTs, collectors of NFTs, and folks really from all over the world of NFTs, and really hoping to demystify the idea of NFTs and owning them and making them maybe a part of your investment portfolio, maybe something to collect, maybe something else entirely.

And joining me on the show today is Andy Hagans, who’s the co-founder of Cryptogic. And Andy, thank you for being here. I’m really excited too because we’re going to be talking about a specific NFT series today, the Squishiverse NFT. And we’re going to be talking about it through the lens of affordable NFTs and how to evaluate new projects and determine if it’s worth your time, if it’s worth maybe purchasing one of those NFTs.

So, Andy, thanks again for being here. How are you doing?

Andy: I’m doing great, Scott. I’m ready to squish it up. And, you know, it’s funny when you… Normally, I’m your partner in crime talking about crypto investing and it kind of makes me smile just the idea of NFT investing. Of course, you know, we’re going to cover NFT collecting and, you know, the art side and all those other aspects of it as well. But I almost want to crack the joke that, you know, you say making NFT as a part of your investment portfolio.

Maybe we should say making them a part of your speculation portfolio.

Scott: I think that is pretty accurate. Yeah.

Andy: But, you know, on the other hand, there’s an index fund that tracks “blue-chip NFT series.”

Scott: Exactly.

Andy: There is an index fund that, you know, I don’t think they directly hold like Bored Apes and Cyberpunks, but derivative or tracking index of them. So, I think at the very top end, they actually are an investable asset class, a highly, highly, highly speculative asset class, but they are literally an investable asset class when you buy them directly or put your money into a fund.

And I think some people listening may hate that, some may love it, some of them may not care, but it doesn’t matter. They’re here. And I’m excited to dive in. And I don’t own a Squishy, but I want to get squished. I want to learn…

Scott: Yeah.

I mean, I think too it’s important to note as well that there are just all kinds of NFT series that are launching constantly and there are new projects coming out each and every day. And so many of these projects, unfortunately, will not succeed, but some will. And determining what will or will not succeed or what has the best chance, I mean, I think there’s a lot to be said about that whether you just like the art and you want to know that the artists behind it are going to be continued to be supported with the series and with the project, or whether you’re saying, “Hey, maybe this is the next Bored Apes.”

That I think is where a lot of the rubber meets the road, so to speak. But, hey, you wanted to talk about Squishies and that’s what I’m excited to talk about as well. And this is a relatively new, and by relatively I mean very new. They just are a month old this project. They had their minting a month ago and they sold that out.

And so they’re only available on the secondary markets. You can go to OpenSea Squishiverse NFT. And this project is interesting and, again, of course, it could be wildly successful, it could not, it could fail, but they have sort of some interesting aspects. And that’s why when I was looking at it, I wanted to kind of go over the elements to consider when you’re looking at a project.

So, Andy, if you’ll allow me I’ll just kind of walk you through maybe some of the metrics of the Squishiverse and some of the, I guess, overall, you know, propositions for what their community is going to be and what their project is.

Andy: Yeah, go for it. Tell me all about it.

Scott: All right. So, first, I’m going to start by just reading, you know, what they say about the Squishiverse. So, the Squishiverse is a collection of incredibly cute slime-blob-like NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. They’re inspired and intended to pay homage to the many slime references you’ll typically see in popular Asian culture.

And holding a Squishy will bring never-ending returns of art into your wallet, the opportunity to support and help artists flourish, and the potential opportunity into Metaverse integration. So, that’s their overall, “Hey, this is our project. This is what the Squishies are about.”

Andy: You’re investing in slime.

Scott: You’re investing in slime, cute slime blobs, but slime. And if you look at their OpenSea page, you can see they’ve got… I think they… Yeah, 8888, that was their minting, 4000 owners. Their current floor price at this recording is 0.094 Eth.

And the volume traded is 1.4K. And so you can look, the floor, at least, this week continues to go up a little bit. I know there was a lot of talk on the Squishiverse Discord about, you know, why the floor was going down and people needing to sweep the floor, so to speak.

So, I know there’s still a lot of that because it’s so early. But I think that’s one of the…

Andy: Hey, Scott, can I jump in?

Scott: Yeah, go ahead.

Andy: So, you and I are both heavy Discord users. But just for any listeners or viewers who aren’t aware, Discord, you know, it’s like a chat app. A lot of people have it on their phones. It’s kind of like Slack. And a lot of these NFTs use private Discord to sort of run their community. Right?

Scott: Absolutely. And at the heart of NFTs is community. That’s the idea behind all of these projects is how do we build a community? How do we support the project itself and grow it and grow the community and, you know, help folks who are collecting those NFTs, see that floor price go up or whatever it may be? And a lot of these Discords as well you can verify that you are an owner of one of the NFTs as part of that series.

So, if you have a Squishy you can join the discord, and then you can verify with your wallets that, “Yep, I own a Squishy. So, I’m a verified Squishy.”

Andy: So the Squishiverse Discord, can you get in without a Squishy, and then there’s special functionality if you’re there?

Scott: Yeah, you can without a Squishy, but if you don’t own one, there’s just certain channels that you wouldn’t have access to.

Andy: Okay.

Scott: And I know it depends also on, you know… Every Discord community is slightly different. So, some may say you actually can’t even…you can’t see anything unless you’re verified or you can’t comment or whatever it might be.

Andy: I see.

Scott: So, the rules vary, absolutely. But yes, good point about discord. That’s another piece and I think it’s a really important one to consider when you’re talking about, okay, more affordable NFTs or newer projects. What are the bare bones of the community? Do they have a Discord? Is it active? Are there people joining the Discord each and every day?

These are really good signals of, okay, is there a real community here? Because if there isn’t, then, you know, that’s something that you would really want to consider before, you know, buying that NFT. So, for example, the Squishiverse Discord, there’s a little less than 14,000 members of that Discord.

And when I first got into it, apparently there had been a bit of a calling because bots exist. And so they had kind of trimmed down some of the membership of the Discord and there was a little sidebar conversation between a couple of members and, as you’re saying, that’s good. I know it might seem bad, “Oh, we went from, you know, 19,000 to 14,000, but we got rid of bots, and so we have more people.”

So, I think that’s kind of just another aspect to consider. And then you can look they have their stats as well and they link to their Twitter account right from OpenSea. So, almost 50,000 followers for the Squishiverse NFT Twitter account. And then this is another aspect to consider because the fact is, is you can buy followers. So, if you’re evaluating a collection and you’re saying, “Well, this is affordable. I can… I don’t have to pay a ton to get one of these.”

Well, evaluate, “Okay. Do they have a Twitter account? Is it active? Are they tweeting each and every day? Are they interacting with their followers? Are their followers just real people or does it look like, oh, they just have a bunch of bots?” These, again, are other pieces to consider when you’re looking at a project. And the Squishiverse is quite active on Twitter.

And so then I think another piece is that communication because you have a project but then you have a roadmap. The Squishiverse, again, only minted a month ago. And what is their roadmap for developing the community, doing the things that they promised to do when you’re talking about Metaverse integration?

So, I know the Squishiverse team is working on a game, so a game with Squishies. So, there will be the potential for playing that game. There’ll be a currency in the game, I believe it will be a Slime currency. Yep, Slime, which is a utility token and in-game currency. And they’re going to offer staking for that, that’s their plan anyway, to allow you to stake your NFT and then earn that in-game currency.

And again, they’ve posted right here just two days ago, they posted their roadmap on Twitter, got a lot of responses, a lot of excitement from members of their community. So, that’s another piece too is just that communication from the developers, from the project team. That’s a really, really key piece because if you are evaluating something that’s newer or, you know, seemingly more affordable and there’s just not a lot of communication from the team and you’re not seeing a lot of back and forth and them really working on that community building and really explaining what their goals are, that’s something…

Andy: Well, let me stop you.

Scott: Yeah, go ahead.

Andy: Well, let me stop you there, Scott, because I think it needs to be said now at this juncture that there are so many of these. It’s like everybody and their cousin is launching an NFT series right now. And the vast majority of them pretty much have no point. Many of them have absolutely terrible art.

Scott: I’ve seen some rough ones.

Andy: I mean, maybe it’s so bad it’s good that I don’t think so. I think a lot of it is just bad and, you know, most of them don’t really have any community. It’s basically just, I don’t want to say a couple of suckers will…what suckers will come buy these, but I think that’s, like, frankly…

Scott: There’s some of that. Absolutely.

Andy: Yeah. So, I think a lot of these creators are just trying to make, like, a quick buck. So, what you’re talking about really is, you know, looking into the project before investing and seeing how much meat there is, seeing how much actual community there is, how much interaction there is. If there’s a real roadmap, if it looks like it’s just vaporware. And I guess reading between the lines, it sounds like this project is interesting to you because it’s kind of that intersection between having, you know, some actual legit community, but still being affordable because a lot of the NFT series that have really active communities and, you know, really active Discords, they’re going to have a floor price that’s like way, way higher.

Scott: Right. They’ve passed sort of an affordability standpoint that would shut out a lot of folks that might be interested in owning one.

Andy: Right. Right. Whether that’s, you know, in the case of Bored Apes, you know, that’s very unaffordable. But, I mean, even in the, you know, four figures or whatever, I think a lot of people are going to have a harder time making the leap. Whereas, you know, for 100 bucks, 200 bucks, 300 bucks, I think that for a lot of people that’s going to be the gateway. It’s something that’s more affordable.

But to your point, actually, has some legit community, and legit roadmap, and so on. So, yeah. Tell me more. Tell me more about the Squishiverse.

Scott: Sure, sure. So, that’s kind of their roadmap overall. And I think too it should be said that I like that you pointed out the sort of terrible art aspect. Of course, it goes, you know, art is subjective, but subjectively, there are these cute little slime balls and some of them are pretty cool-looking and there’s unique ones.

And you can touch on rarity as well. There are tools, of course, that can evaluate the rarity of an individual NFT because there’s features. Does the Squishy have a hat? Does it… Is it scowling? Is it smiling? Is there a background or is it just blank?

You can see some of these Squishies back here. This one has a cone on his head. It does that. How many of the 8888 have a cone on their head? So, there’s that rarity aspect as well, but I think it does tie into the art because, you know, some of the folks I’ve spoken with about NFTs and who are active collectors, they’ve said, “Well, sometimes the rarity is a little overstated. Yes, it’s an important piece, but a lot of it is, is how cool is the art? Do you like whatever that NFT is?”

Because this is art, so there is that sort of subjective nature. When you look at Bored Apes, there are some Bored Apes that are valued highly and you might think, “Well, the rarity isn’t quite matching what their current value is, but a lot of that, yeah, because it’s a cool-looking ape in some specific way. Right?

So, I think that’s the other things…

Andy: I mean, if you look at the broader art market, right, and again, this is probably an absurd comparison, but, like, take a Picasso painting…

Scott: Sure.

Andy: …or something. Picasso paintings are worth all over the map in terms of their value, you know, from six figures to seven figures to eight figures, I think, nine figures. Maybe not nine figures, but just all over the map. And, you know, the market is looking at those as how good is the art and how historically important is it and all of these other aspects, not just how rare is it?

Oh, that’s a blue painting? Well, Picasso rarely painted…

Scott: He only used blue this many times.

Andy: I mean, that might affect it, you know, but also just the quality. Essentially, at the end of the day, the demand, which can be based on all sorts of factors beyond just rarity. So, really, any kind of factor that would influence the demand for art is going to influence. It’s not just because it’s art, you can’t just put it into this mathematical algorithm and say, “Well, because it has these rare aspects, it’s worth exactly this amount.”

That’s not how it works. If three people think it looks cool and they get into a bidding war, then it’s…

Scott: It is.

Andy: Yes.

Scott: You know, Andy, I think that’s a really great point too to consider because it is something that’s a factor when I’m looking for an NFT to purchase. Of course, you know, I may consider the rarity or consider some of these aspects of it, but if I don’t like the art, if it doesn’t compel me in some way, it doesn’t bring me some kind of pleasure to own and collect it as part of my other NFT collections, then I might pass.

I might be like, “Well, this is not really an NFT I’m interested in.” So, I think that…and I think a lot of folks do, do that because these are pieces of art that many people are owning and you have all these other aspects. And we’re going to, again, cover this as we have future episodes, but you do have communities, you do have real-world benefits and value and potential.

But if you’re kind of looking at it at its pure base, there is still that art piece. So, I think that’s…and that really is something that’s compelling whether you’re talking about the Squishiverse or a number of other projects. Who’s the artist behind it? How great of art have they produced? And do you enjoy it?

And so I think that’s where when you’re looking at some of these newer ones, you can really kind of eliminate that. When I look through some of the newer projects out there, I can see right off the bat, I’m, “You know what? I don’t care for this art.” And maybe, you know, you can be wrong. Maybe there was… No, not maybe. Definitely, there were people that were like, “Bored Apes. Pass. I don’t like the look of these ugly apes. Who wants that?”

But I still think that there’s value in that, right?

Andy: Yeah. I mean, and I think there are different types of NFT collectors, NFT buyers, NFT investors. So, you know, I recently bought a few of the IPC leprechauns. And to me, I mean, the art, it’s interesting, but a big aspect of those is they’re essentially utility tokens in the sense that they are a ticket into a tailgate every year, you know…

Scott: Which is… Yeah, exactly. And as a Notre Dame Irish football fan, that provides you with a real-world benefit to owning that NFT. So, okay, the art piece it’s there, but then there’s a real-world benefit. So, I think you’re right in that there’s different aims depending on what series you’re interested in.

Andy: Yeah. And all of these collections, you know, it’s kind of interesting because I think most of them, the art is the primary benefit, but they all have, like, a diversified, or they don’t all… Most of them have a diversified feature set, so it’s kind of like you’re buying into the whole thing.

You’re getting this piece of digital art, you’re getting into a Discord. And then possibly, you know, you can get airdrops or stake your NFT or get other digital rewards.

Scott: Giveaways, you know, any number of things. Exactly.

Andy: Yeah. So, I think that, you know, Squishies and these kinds of series that are at this kind of price point, it seems to be, you know, right around that $100, $200, $300 price point. I think a lot of people end up buying in there as their first NFT. Right?

I mean, there are people who are buying a Bored Ape as their first NFT, you know, but there are a few…far and few between? Few and far between that are going to be in that Bored Ape yacht club, right? It’s fixed.

Scott: Right. And then it should be said too that there are some of the aspects of just learning about, okay, getting your wallet set up, transferring your Eth, you know, signing up on OpenSea or whatever platform you’re going to be making your purchase on, finding the NFT, doing all of that. And so there’s a lot of movement that happens.

And so I’d almost…not almost, I would absolutely encourage folks that are newer to the NFT space to start smaller, start with a newer project that you’ve evaluated or something that’s not necessarily super expensive and really make sure you’ve kind of figured out how to navigate it all and make your purchase and have your secured wallet because if you go and you start trying to really sprint, you might make a mistake and that would be a horrible thing.

Andy: Well, and that’s… I remember that’s what we talked about in our DeFi episode at Cryptogic. Just when you start out in DeFi especially if you’re not a technical person, like, you know, me when I started, I’m not a technical person, I just wanted to play with it a little bit. And I’m like, “You know, I think I’m going to start with a pretty small amount of money in case it just gets stuck somewhere or I lose all of it by making some, you know, new mistakes.”

Scott: You lose your keys or whatever, you delete that email, whatever it is.

Andy: Exactly. Exactly. So, I think the same thing applies here. And, you know, these are speculative. And that’s okay. And they’re meant to be fun. So, you know, don’t put your life savings in an NFT.

I think maybe it’s more something that, you know, you can dip your toe into and, you know, look at it more like a hobby or something to enjoy while you learn about it. Right?

Scott: Absolutely. And then, really, then you have the benefit of whatever joy you’re getting from owning that NFT, whatever benefits the community behind it provide whether they’re real-world or whether they’re still in development, and then you have that potential. Maybe it becomes a success, maybe it becomes the next Bored Apes, maybe becomes something else.

And then that could get really exciting and you can buy more, sell one, do whatever you want, and then next thing you know you’re feeling pretty great and excited about a strong community that you’re in. Or it goes the other way and, hey, if that’s the case, if you didn’t invest too much into it, if you learn something, if maybe you even it’s a defunct project, but you know what?

You still like your Squishy or whatever it is, then great, keep that as your profile picture and have a good time. Right?

Andy: Exactly. You can pry my digital art from my cold dead hands. Right?

Scott: Right. I still own that NFT. Exactly. So, I think to kind of sum it up, when you are looking for affordable, maybe entry-level NFTs, do your due diligence, take your time, look at the community and the project, look at the activity, look at the NFTs themselves, not just rarity, but does… Do you like the art?

Do you… Is it something you believe in? Do you want to support the artist? Do you want to support the creator? And then make your decision there. And, of course, like with anything, whether you’re investing or just making a purchase, be prepared to maybe have a great return or maybe have no return. And have fun.

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Scott Hawksworth

Hailing from Evanston, Illinois, Scott is co-founder of Cryptogic as well as host of the several popular crypto podcasts. Scott believes that cryptocurrencies and NFTs represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity for investors of all types to participate in the future of decentralized networks.