First of all – I’ve put together a couple of online galleries in the metaverse that showcase the work I’ve been doing the past couple of months:
This is the best of the art that I’ve created since coming into the NFTverse
This is the collective work of the Bald Jesus Collective which I’m proud to have built, regardless of what the end results are
This is the cautionary gallery of largely worthless NFT animal avatars I’ve purchased in these past months – also a couple of Crypto Kitties that go back to 2017 when the modern crypto ecosystem really took off.
I’ve said it before, I’m in love with the potential and the community that has grown up around NFTs on the blockchain. There are however, problems. Not the least of the issues is the insane amount of money that this space is generating and the types of people that brings into the space.
The metaverse is an NFT space or will be so I might as well start calling it the Metaverse – but I’m hesitant so let’s say
- NFTverse for the NFT centric internet
- Cryptoverse for the more coin/token/finance
- Metaverse is more the online world ecosystem including things like Roblox, Decentraland, and even the online NFT gallery space.
In any event, the NFTverse is the most fascinating place I know of right now. Art, technology, community, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, game theory, and scamming have all collided. I’m fortunate to be in it as early as I am and it’s been strange to watch the migration of new groups into it over the last six months – at first, we were artists, crypto-geeks, and cypherpunks, geeks, nerds, and countercultural types trying to learn how to survive and collaborate in a post-covid society. Then the money started flowing with Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Crypto Punks and Beeple – that’s when it started changing.
In a way, it was a huge process of gentrification. When I worked as a community organizer in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland’s lower income neighborhoods – I developed a theory of gentrification that I think stands pretty good to the test of time. It’s not entirely PC but it works – here is the cycle of gentrification in low income neighborhoods.
- Rents are low. Policing is low. Residents are those who have stayed while things have gotten worse or those who simply can’t afford to live anywhere else. Large numbers of scumbag landlords who exploit and abuse tenants for as much as they can.
- Artists, musicians, and counterculture types who can’t afford to live elsewhere begin to populate the neighborhood. Low rent and dangerous conditions provide opportunity to express art without having to have the soul sucked out of you.
- Hangouts with some cool cachet begin to appear – coffee shops, dive bars, restaurants from those who can’t afford to start in a better place. The artists and musicians energy is absorbed into and creates these spaces. Other businesses might follow.
- I call this the Lesbian Vanguard. Lesbians seem to be the next catalyst that accelerates the gentrification process. Lesbian couples begin moving in, lesbian businesses open. A softer edge is added to the crustiness that existed before.
- The Gay migration begins. Male/male couples traditionally are more affluent and when they follow the Lesbian Vanguard into neighborhoods the property values begin to rise. Also, there starts to be a more focused approach to business and dominator capitalism.
- Young hip professionals follow. First time home buyers, young childless couples. Predatory lending starts ramping up and developers begin buying property for future development. Policing goes into overdrive.
- Rents go up as property values go up. Families that survived the neighborhood in decline now are either legally scammed out of their property or sell before the values begin to skyrocket. Artists and musicians and counterculture types who have not successfully rode the wave of capital are forced to find the next cheap neighborhood to move to – eventually.
- Development kicks into overdrive with luxury condos, remodeled single family homes, and businesses like Starbucks and Whole Foods moving in and driving out locally owned business.
The process in the metaverse is eerily similar:
- Empty space largely unused and mostly free for those who are early. No monetary utility.
- Artist, musicians, counterculture.
- People start making money. Bankers, finance, and scammers enter the space.
- LGBTQ, minority voices, early innovators
- Fashion, streetwear, influencers. Projects backed by bigger teams and more money.
- Brands that appeal to young people. Rug pulls. Lots of people enter the space hoping to get life changing money.
- Organized process of separating small holders from their holdings with hype, pump and dumps, celebrity cash grabs, influencers
- Multi-million dollar developments and platforms begin to claim the lions share of profits with one or two early businesses rise to large status while the rest slowly are eaten or fail into obscurity.
And this brings me to these random thoughts: