Jenkins the Valet and the Land of Azurbala
This article was originally published in Issue 6 of Vagobond Magazine.
A History of Jenkins the Valet and The Writer’s Room
Not everyone was lucky enough to mint the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Yes, there was some knowledge and skill involved for some, but ultimately minting a BAYC was a matter of being lucky and being in the right place at the right time. It moves beyond luck when people bought on the secondary or minted and saw huge gains – and chose not to sell.
Skill and knowledge came into play when we started to see people using their BAYC to build. No one has built better than ‘Jenkins the Valet’. Ape #1798, the ape that would come to be known as ‘Jenkins the Valet’ was bought at the floor price in May.
On June 16, 2021 – this article from ‘Jenkins the Valet’ appeared – Announcing My NFT RoadMap. On August 4th, 2021 Jenkins’ launched and sold out a 6942 piece NFT project – ‘The Writers Room’ was born.
In September, Jenkins – the character – was signed by CAA – the first NFT to be represented by a major talent agency. This was no small feat and frankly, it had nothing to do with luck. It was pure strategy, well executed.
In November, it was announced that 10x New York Times best selling author Neil Strauss would be writing Bored and Dangerous’ with input and decision making by the community.
It’s worthwhile to take a look at some of the early goals of the project announced in that first Roadmap post:
- Create the world’s first community generative full-feature book
- Votes on plot and more provisioned by Writers Room NFT holders
- First instance of ‘mass IP licensing’ with 4075 MAYC/BAYC participating. The 4075 Apes and Mutants licensed to B&D will split 50% of net profits from the primary sale, secondary royalties, and any other way the book is monetized.
On July 13th, 2022, the ‘Bored and Dangerous’ NFT book covers were released to writers room holders. A total of around 15k were minted by Writers Room holders, allowlist, and the Apes and Mutants who had been licensed (each Writer’s Room NFT could partner with a BAYC/MAYC to be included in the book for a portion of royalties). As of this writing, the book itself has not been released because the team is working to create a well received and hopefully powerful traditional-nontraditional book launch.
There is much more to the story.
Much much more. This is where it starts to get exciting. First a quick recap – the Jenkins Team (aka Tally Labs) took the IP from an NFT project (BAYC) and turned it into the world’s first community generative full feature book, created the first mass IP licensing agreement, recruited a 10x New York Times best selling author to collaborate with the community in writing the book, embraced the first instance of an NFT character getting representation by a powerful talent agency, took in $12 million in funding from venture capital groups led by Chris Dixon at a16z crypto, and the project has embraced storytelling as the most powerful use case in NFTs and Web3. The Tally Labs team is now 11 people (soon to be 13) across product management, design, software engineering, marketing, vibes, strategy, and story.
So let’s move on to the story aspect. Jenkins was a valet at the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Bored and Dangerous is his story and the story of the apes he encountered there. At the conclusion of Bored and Dangerous, Jenkins decides to move on – to a mysterious jungle world called Azurbala, first teased in November of 2021.
Expansion of the Project: Beyond Jenkins
In January of 2022, Tally Labs announced their ‘Roadmap 2.0’ in which they let it be known that the Bored and Dangerous book would be gamified and there would be tokenomics at play with it. Holders could burn it for a different NFT or they could stake it for rewards. At this time it was also announced that screenwriter Emma Needell had been brought on to create the world of Azurbala where Jenkins would be headed next.
Burning a copy of ‘Bored and Dangerous’ will give you a mintpass for an Azurian NFT. These characters are designed to react to what happens in Azurbala. Let me emphasize that – these are reactive avatars that change in response to the story that unfolds in Azurbala, although that will come over time. The Tally Labs team is building character creation tools that holders can use to build characters in the same way that they created Jenkins the Valet.
Tally Labs has gone to great lengths to protect the full uncapped commercial rights of holders. These rights cannot be impinged even if Tally Labs or the entire Azurbala project were to be sold to another party. The rights are irrevocable. This is another first from a team that has already delivered many firsts.
Staking a copy of ‘Bored and Dangerous’ will give you governance token rewards and membership in ‘Hawthorn’ a DAO that is reimagining creativity in the Web3 Space. Hawthorn members will ‘brainstorm, define, pitch, and ultimately produce the crypto-native IP that will help to define the Metaverse.’ Finally, OG Writer’s Room NFT holders can also stake to be part of Hawthorn and will have ownership interest in the Jenkin’s properties and more as time goes on. These are not a one use NFT – they will gain more value as time goes on. Writer’s Room NFTs will earn the most with Writer’s Room + Book staking earning a significant bonus.
What the Heck is Azurbala?
Burning a book will earn you an Azur Root which in turn will act as a mint pass to create an Azurian. Azurians are the citizens of Azurbala – which already has a pretty significant lore and history unfolded by Tally Labs and in some cases by the community.
Azurbala is a jungle kingdom on the far side of the metaverse. It is ruled by a number of factions and has a rich culture that is rapidly unfolding. The factions are House Calypso, The Syndicate, The Monastery, The Sprawls, and The Edokan. I highly recommend that you go to the Azurbala website (https://www.azurbala.com) on a laptop or desktop, turn the sound on, and explore a bit of what is already there. It’s really cool.
There is an excellent twitter thread by Captain Trippy which goes into much greater detail but here are a few tidbits. Azurbala is so dangerous that a trip to the grocery store is a life or death situation. Azurbalans use the term !bala as an expression of many things including joy and outrage. There are a number of non-playable characters who are already unfolding the story on Twitter and in the Azurbala discord. The community has already created more than forty characters – and the Azurian PFPs haven’t even been previewed yet!
The book burn is coming soon – and no one knows exactly how all of this will unfold – because it is dependent on the community to determine that.
Frankly, I’m more excited about Azurbala than almost anything else in the Web3 space.
Update: The team put off the August Book Burn so they could focus on getting quality right – stay tuned in September for the exciting launch of this project.
Update to the update: The team released teasers of the Azurbalan characters and the community hated them so in true Web3 fashion they went back to the drawing board including the community in creation of the characters and artwork.