On August 9th, a certain non-fungible token collection was poised to make waves. In two years, it had risen from the mint price of 3 SOL and changed to the Ethereum blockchain. Bolstered by its sometimes frenzied leader, the floor price shot up to over 9 ETH, a remarkable achievement given the dead state of the NFT market.
That day, all eyes were on it. One NFT influencer, Wale, wrote that some of the hope in the space was riding on it because the NFT community needed a win. Others, the eternal faithful, were pumping the Twitter timeline with showings of support. Then, a miniature disaster occurred.
The plan was revealed, and the floor price quickly dissolved.
Over 100 of the collection’s NFTs were dumped into Blur bids, causing the floor to drop below 6 ETH, an unfathomable loss given the stature of the collection. But then, as Luca Netz, at the helm of perhaps the most successful NFT collection in the past two years said, a ‘reverse UNO card was played.’
This is the story of DeGods Season III, which began with calamity and ended with a renewed vision. Let’s dive in.
The Preview of Season III: The Hype Begins
As July turned into August, there was one organization on everyone’s minds: Dust Labs. The company was behind two of Ethereum’s best-performing NFT collections — y00ts and DeGods — both of which had done well in harsh bear market conditions. Each collection was poised for an upgrade, called y00ts Season II and DeGods Season III respectively.
A man named Frank DeGods was at the helm of both. Real name Rohun Vora, Frank had spent some time in Y Combinator before venturing into the Web3 space. He was known for his brash statements, sometimes controversial but always attention-grabbing. In the attention economy, he was winning — and the NFT space loved it.
After a successful y00ts announcement (the collection would move to Ethereum to unite with its big brother collection), attention turned to DeGods. Wale, an in-house resident at Azuki, wrote in a Tweet:
I really hope that DeGods Season III will be a success.
Bags aside, we just need a big W in Web3 again.
— wale.swoosh 🐳 (@waleswoosh) August 7, 2023
No one knew what was to come. The excitement was building, with DeGods becoming the primary collection on NFT Twitter discourse. The second-best PFP collection on Ethereum making a move in full bear market. People trusted in Frank to do well by the collection. He had brought it to great heights. But there was trepidation. Would the move bomb or inspire further greatness?
Then, August 9th arrived.
Season III ‘Reveals’: Shock and Dismay
The news spread rapidly through the NFT space: DeGods Season III was about the art.
In a Tweet from the collection’s Twitter page, the team revealed that it had worked with Midjourney, an artificial intelligence tool that turns text prompts into images, to create four separate versions of DeGods that holders could use. It was a non-dilutive move. No extra tokens. Presumably, the goal was to give collectors flexibility, without devaluing the original NFTs.
The team labeled the four versions of DeGods: Flat, Muted, and Luxury. Each version would come with traits linked to the themes. Luxury DeGods, for instance, would have suits and bowties. There was also a ‘female’ version for each DeGod in case a holder wanted to change the sex of their character.
Welcome to DeGods Season III.
Here’s some previews. pic.twitter.com/FulByhp3iZ
— DeGods (@DeGodsNFT) August 10, 2023
There is a saying: People vote with their wallets. And after the announcement, the floor crumbled. Major holders in the collection dumped their NFTs into Blur bids. The lowest selling price for a DeGod went from around 9 ETH to under 6 ETH. On Twitter, people were FUDing the collection. Even Frank was not spared.
The second-best PFP collection from 2021 was under fire. DeGods were trading hands rapidly, with trading volume spiking in the thousands of percents.
But Frank was not done. In a move that would perhaps be even more shocking that the original announcement, DeGods would introduce ‘The Downgrade.’ And with it came redemption.
The ‘Downgrade’: Making the Art Cleaner
On August 13th, in response to the community’s reaction, the DeGods Twitter page unveiled the next stage of the project, called the ‘Downgrade.’
1. We thought DeGods needed to be “serious”.
That was our mistake. After digesting the community feedback, we realized that we were wrong.
DeGods are fun. So, we made them fun. pic.twitter.com/1OGILwWs5c
— DeGods (@DeGodsNFT) August 13, 2023
The Downgrade, like the previous announcement, was also an art change. But instead of four different versions of the art, this move made simple alterations to the original DeGods art: Eliminating messiness and making the appearance of the PFPs cleaner. It countered many critics who had argued that the DeGod art had too much going on to be an effective PFP.
According to a press release, the ‘Art Downgrade’ draws inspiration from 1960’s pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and vintage American comic book illustrators. The goal was to create a nostalgic impression with the DeGods art.
Twitter responded accordingly. Soon, Tweets would roll in celebrating the change. Even Beeple weighed in:
DEGODS SEASON 12 pic.twitter.com/kkbyKYX8KG
— beeple (@beeple) August 14, 2023
To ‘downgrade’ their DeGod art, all a holder needed to do was pay 333 $DUST, which is the collection’s utility token. But the team was clear: The price would lower with time so that everyone would eventually have a chance to change the art of their NFT.
And that wasn’t all. Season III debuted a new platform that would move DeGods from a collection rooted in speculation to a more mature, sustainable venture. The platform, called Points Parlor, connects brands to DeGods holders, and allows those same holders to earn prizes and rewards through games.
As they say, boom goes the dynamite.
Was the first announcement a PSYOP?
After yesterday’s announcement, some individuals surmised that the original announcement was made to get all the FUD out of the way. And it wasn’t just small Twitter accounts speculating on that as well. Wale, the top thread creator on NFT Twitter, wrote that he believed the first announcement was strategic:
People can deny it but for me one thing is clear:
The first Season III art was deliberately not the real one. The DeGods team just wanted to get rid of the inevitable fud.
Now the new art dropped, most engagement farming on NFT Twitter is over, FUD about the art hardly…
— wale.swoosh 🐳 (@waleswoosh) August 13, 2023
Frank, in turn, denied that it was a PSYOP. But the second announcement, the new art, and Points Parlor were launched quickly, almost as if they were prepared. And as everyone knows, Frank is a master marketer.
So far, the floor of the DeGods collection hasn’t quite recovered. As of this writing, it’s 6.3 ETH, still very low compared to where it was before the announcement. Time will tell if it rebounds in this bear market or if it will remain low.
But there’s no doubt about one thing: It was a wild week in the NFT space, and DeGods (and Frank) were the center of attention once again.