OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace, has a new contender atop its daily volume leaderboard.
The project du jour is Tubby Cats, which has traded 4,954 ETH, equivalent to $12.9M, in volume in the past day. That’s good for the top slot on OpenSea, ahead of Bored Ape Yacht Club, Doodles, and well, every other NFT project on the platform as of Feb. 22.
The whitelist mint for Tubby Cats went live on Feb. 21 at 12PM EST and will run for 48 hours, with any remaining NFTs from the 20,000 token collection made available to the public. The cheapest Tubby Cat is currently selling for 0.79 ETH, worth over $2,000, according to a Dune Analytics dashboard dedicated to the project.
Enthusiasm for the NFTs has already proliferated on Twitter. “If u rug me from getting a tubby f*cking cat i will bring pain upon you that is unfathomable to ur simple human mind,” tweeted Cobie, one of crypto’s most influential voices and host of the UpOnly podcast, who evidently couldn’t mint an NFT despite being on the whitelist.
“On the verge of economic collapse and all I see are tubby cats on my timeline,” tweeted Hentai Avenger, a pseudonymous crypto influencer and investor.
Ratwell, the project’s lead, was surprised by the strong positive reaction for Tubby Cats. “Honestly just mind blown,” he told The Defiant. “I wasn’t expecting it to be like this at all. Really happy to say the least.”
The project has a handful of features that may have bootstrapped its early momentum. One is a whitelist that gives early access to holders of select NFT collections, including Nouns, Forgotten Runes, and Wassies. Ratwell said he chose the collections based on an affinity for their art and the people involved with them.
Tubby Cats also issued honorary NFTs to some of the biggest names in crypto, with the image often based on the person’s Twitter profile picture. For example, one honorary featured a cat based on the profile picture of eGirl Capital’s CL207.
Ratwell said CL207’s hazmat-wearing cat image actually inspired the collection, which evolved as he brought on more artists.
One element that the project’s lead believes supported the collection is that certain traits were matched with certain color palettes. Instead of all traits randomly mixed together as is usually done with profile picture NFT drops, only certain traits will be matched with certain colors. A detective hat is an example.
Outside of the art, Tubby Cats also uses what 0xngmi, DeFi Llama’s founder who also wrote the smart contracts for the mint, calls a “progressive reveal system.” This means that the NFTs are revealed in batches of 1,000, rather than all at once.
0xngmi sees a couple of benefits to this system. One is that it keeps people excited — they can see their NFT soon after they mint rather than having to wait for the collection to sell out, which isn’t guaranteed to happen.
Another benefit is that sometimes when NFTs get revealed, they turn out to be rare ones, which their owners don’t immediately reprice as such. This means that bots or so-called ‘rarity snipers’ can figure out which newly revealed NFTs are rare and buy them at a discount. By revealing more frequently, that loop from mint to reveal is shortened, allowing people to manage their NFT’s prices more efficiently.
“It was a huge risk since we made our whole sale dependent on some complicated code but people loved it,” 0xngmi said of the new reveal system. The DeFi Llama founder made the progressive reveal code for Tubby Cats open-source in hopes of driving the space forward.
In all, the mix of elements that make an NFT project break through the mold is hard to pin down. If it was straightforward, every project would soar. Tubby Cats appears to be on the right track.
“This project has been a long process,” said Ratwell. “Why is it successful? Is it because people like me and my team? No idea. I think people just like the cats tbh.”