The Pulse

Gossamer World & The Risks of Free Mint meta

Gossamer World seemed to come out of nowhere. They quietly launched on Twitter last month and offered anyone who was paying attention a free mint with some pretty exceptional 3D artwork.

This free mint, the Gossamer Seed collection, was offered on June 18th, and once connected wallets were allowed to mint up to 5 of them. Despite being described as “Seeds”, they were visually cocoons, with vague promises that they would become something more.

Gossamer got a lot of people excited when they found out it was being created by BRON Studios. BRON Digital describes themselves as a “state-of-the-art virtual production and service company that utilizes Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to develop and produce premium animation, original content, interactive games, motion pictures and other forms of innovative programming.” BRON Animation has recently produced the 3D animated film THE WILLOUGHBYS which is now streaming on Netflix, trailer here:

BRON has an incredible art and design team and it’s exciting to see them take this step into Web3, they have so much potential to offer. What got people even more excited was the announcement that BRON was finishing up work on a new animated Netflix series called Gossamer which would be connected in some way to this NFT project. Something that I’ve never seen done before, and am very excited to watch play out. Not only that, they also announced a coming P2E game the foundation of which was said to begin with these very Seeds.

BRON Studios are new to the web3 space so they chose to hire the company DIG (Decentralized Investment Group) to manage their NFT project and presence. DIG is led by Hadyn Snape (here’s his Twitter) known to some as “Professor Snape”, and Hadyn has co-founded 3 other companies: WildThunder, RookDigital, and XYZZY which he utilizes to launch, build, and manage all of DIG’s prior P2E games and now the Gossamer project. They’ve done impressive work, and while their launch hasn’t been perfect the quality of their 3D models has been consistently high. I’ve been excited for each of their launches and really enjoyed the way they manage their social media presence. 

With a background like this it seemed like this project was poised to be an absolute home run, and at first it looked that way! These seeds that had cost people only gas to mint had at one point climbed to 0.6ETH, and reached over 4,000 total ETH volume on OpenSea. So what happened? 

There was a decent amount of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) in the community when they discovered these freely minted Gossamer Seeds would be used as WL access tokens to mint their next project, Gossamer Academy. These Fairy Warriors would mint to the public for 0.3 ETH, but would be available on WL for Seed holders for only 0.15 ETH. The community was not happy about this. The consensus at the time across Web3 was that during the bear market the only way to succeed was with a free mint, and the community at large seemed to believe Gossamer/BRON/DIG did not understand web3 enough to make this call on their own. The community believed the winning strategy here would have been to allow any Seed holder to mint for free, while maintaining a public mint cost. It’s possible they were right, but we’ll never know. Gossamer chose to move forward with their plan – and here’s where it got tricky.

As with many free mints during this bear market free-mint meta, once the original “true believers” began minting, the project gained traction on and people began to dive into the hype. This trending success brought a lot of positive attention to the Gossamer project, but also brought with it an unforeseen consequence: Bots.

Gossamer’s Seed launch performed so well it caught the attention of a free mint botter. His series of bot-wallets caught wind that Gossamer seemed to be a successful and worthwhile free mint, and they went to work. Before the project minted out this botter had minted about 1,000 Seed NFTs. Roughly 10% of the total collection.

Rather than sitting back and slowly taking profits, he decided to take an active role in the community. Considering he had 1,000 Seed NFTs, and therefore 1,000 whitelist slots to mint their next project, Gossamer Academy, he wanted the next launch to be a free mint for all Seed holders. It would have been a double victory for him, allowing him to slowly offload both projects and hopefully accumulate a ton of profit. When the team did not listen he responded by creating a series of “walls”, dumping the price of the Seed NFT. While the NFT had at one point climbed to 0.6 ETH, it dipped to around 0.2 during the FUD, and though it had begun to recover its fate was sealed when he set a wall of dozens upon dozens of his free mints at 0.2 ETH, causing anyone looking for a quick sale to have to list lower than him.

He did this a few more times, taking the floor all the way down to 0.15 ETH, and this combined with the FUD of the community’s reaction to Gossamer’s decision not to make Academy a free mint was a very serious blow to their budding web3 presence. Suddenly the community went from the euphoria of a group of free-minters who had made massive returns to a group of people who had FOMO’d in at the top who were now livid that the project had tanked seemingly overnight.

There are a lot of pros and cons to the decision to launch a project with a free mint, especially during a bear market. If done well it can get a ton of traction and allow a project to take off when it otherwise may never have even minted out. However, if Gossamer had not been a free mint I do not believe they would have found themselves in this position. There are very capable people in this space that have access to tools and resource pools that others lack. Projects should always take a moment to think of how their system might be abused, and before going live they should ideally have plans in place to avoid or work around this abuse. This space is so new, we’re all learning as we build, and for all its incredible benefits decentralized ownership can sometimes come with unforeseen consequences.

I’m curious what each of you think about how this played out. If this was your project, how would you have operated it differently to have avoided this outcome? If you found your project in the same situation Gossamer did, what would you do to turn it around?

E.clipse is a writer for The Pulse and an explorer of Web3. He's involved in many different projects, especially those with origins in anime and video games. He is currently a Community Advisor for Impact Theory, an Engineer with Collected, a Lore Writer and Moderator for the Overborne NFT project, and an Ambassador for the Legendary DAO.

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