"I've been in the circle for so long, this is the first time I've seen an NFT with an avatar, which can trigger such a large-scale decentralized community spread in the Chinese circle" —— A Web3 user
Have you noticed that, seemingly overnight, the avatars of many Web3 WeChat friends around you have changed to a black cat?
Have you found that when you open the Twitter timeline, the screen is full of pictures related to black cats sent by users with black cat avatars?
Are you surprised that participating in a Twitter Space, whether it is a Speaker or a Listener, has a black cat portrait, like a galloping black cat army?
This is exactly the subject of our research analysis today: Mimic Shhans, aka "Black Cat", a PFP NFT project
If you feel the above, it is not surprising at all, it shows that you are still paying attention to what is happening in the Web3 community
Mimic Shhans is a PFP NFT project created by shhans.eth
Mimic Shhans does not have a centralized project operator, but since July 7, 2022, it has caused a lot of decentralized community communication in the Chinese community
The two profound effects of Mimic Shhans' spread and development on the Chinese community: the recharge of the Chinese's decentralized beliefs, and the revival of pan-East Asian aesthetics relative to Western aesthetics
Two major challenges and risks for the further development of Mimic Shhans: project dissemination out of the circle, potential concentration of chips
一. Background and Development History of "Black Cat"
1.1 Project introduction
Mimic Shhans is an Ethereum-based PFP NFT (Personal Avatar NFT) project by shhans.eth (Twitter: @shhan1211), based on the ERC-1155 standard. The project follows the CC0 protocol, copyright development, and has a development attitude towards commercial use and secondary creation; people in the Chinese circle generally refer to the project as "Black Cat".
Mimic Shhans is a playful "mimic black cat" in a variety of outfits, each with a unique set of outfits, expressions and accessories. The design of a small number of rare NFTs will also be linked with other well-known NFT projects, such as BAYC and Azuki.
1.2 Artist introduction
shhans.eth, whose real name is Seung Hun Han, abbreviated as SHHAN, now lives in Seoul, South Korea.
SHHAN has lived with a Russian blue cat named Niki for 9 years. Because of his love for Niki, SHHAN wants it to live forever on the web in some form, so since 2017 he has been drawing cats and posting them on Instagram. At first, SHHAN was not good at drawing, so he only used simple lines. In 2020, the author began to try to paint black cats, which is also the birth of the prototype of Mimic Shhans. The author himself has a relatively large-scale vision for the project, and hopes to spread Mimic Shhans to the world.
It is worth mentioning that what makes this project very different in terms of dissemination is that SHHAN himself did not build a very centralized project operator like many other NFT projects and publish a detailed Roadmap about the project. "leave it open to the community". That said, Mimic Shhans didn't have a centralized, recognized "project team" from the start. When you put on the black cat avatar, help the black cat publicize, and construct the narrative for the black cat, you are actually doing what the "project team" does to a certain extent.
But despite this, after the release of the project, SHHAN is still an important part of the community and has made many contributions to the community:
SHHAN is very active on Twitter, interacts efficiently with fans, likes and forwards tweets related to Mimic Shhans, and is a super communication node.
SHHAN opened 2 creation collections for community creators on OpenSEA, but did not get any revenue from this work.
SHHAN has also participated in some activities in the international dissemination of the project, such as planning art exhibitions in Japan, Taiwan, London and other countries around the world.
1.3 Development History
Mimic Shhans has actually been listed on Opensea in April 2022, but there was not much attention and transaction volume at the beginning. At that time, people only needed to spend Gas Fee to Free Mint a black cat. However, due to its beauty, many people mint and use it as an avatar for promotion; so Mimic Shhans gradually spread in the NFT circle.
The first wave of Mimic Shhans' explosion occurred around 2022/6/25, and the floor price reached a maximum of 0.09E, but then the transaction volume declined to a certain extent. According to a number of people familiar with the matter, due to the low attention and low acquisition cost of black cats in the early stage, the amount of chips at that time was concentrated in the hands of a small number of people. These people gathered together to communicate with each other and made the first wave of publicity and marketing for black cats. ; However, due to some internal contradictions and differences, some holders finally chose to sell the black cat and leave the market, which not only brought an end to the centralized communication of the project, but also affected the confidence of the community to a certain extent, resulting in the transaction volume of the project. Atrophy occurred in the following period.
However, this is hardly bad news for Black Cat - the spread of the project has since changed from centralization to decentralization, and it has gradually transformed. The basic value of the project has not changed, and most people who have changed to black cat avatars have not changed their avatars. The social activities of these people in the next two weeks also subtly let more people know about the existence of the "Black Cat" NFT project, which has continuously accumulated potential energy for the project.
On July 7, 2022, along with a series of decentralized and crazy community communication events, the floor price of the project soared from 0.09E to 0.18E within a few hours, and its 24h transaction volume also approached goblintown. This is essentially a release of accumulated energy, a natural sublimation of decentralization.
二. The fundamentals of the value of the black cat: why are people willing to use it as an avatar?
As a PFP NFT project without Roadmap, the basic value of Black Cat is mainly reflected in its social value as an avatar. So, why are so many people willing to use the black cat as their avatar? Even when the price of the black cat fell on June 25 and may go to zero, they still do not change their avatars and do not sell NFTs?
2.1 Cute cat: the vacancy of blue-chip NFT concept
Cats have always been one of the most favorite pets of human beings, especially with their independent and noble cuteness, they have spawned countless literary and artistic works.
However, among the well-known blue-chip NFT projects before Mimic Shhans, not only none of them are related to the concept of "cat", but most of them are not suitable as social avatars in terms of aesthetics - there is actually a gap in the related market. Needless to say, projects such as goblins and shit have the element of "ugliness" at the beginning; and Cryptopunks, BAYC and other PFP NFTs that have become popular in the English-speaking world actually do not meet the aesthetics of most Chinese and even Asians , most people use them as avatars just for their expensive price as a "status symbol"; in terms of aesthetics, only Azuki and Mimic Shhans may be comparable to blue-chip projects. This is also an important reason why so many people are willing to change to black cat avatars.
Only considering the beauty of the picture itself, which picture would you prefer to use as your social avatar?
There is a saying in the NFT circle: "Projects that can explode out of the circle must be innovative projects, not imitations of previous successful projects." Just as the "boring ape" is popular, it will be difficult to become a "boring pig"; if the "AI moon bird" is popular, it will be difficult to become an "AI moon monkey". Mimic Shhans aims at the vacancy of the aesthetic needs of "cute cats" in the pan-East Asian cultural circle, which is an important background for its rise, as the so-called "time creates heroes".
Maybe from the point of view 2 months ago, the related concepts may also be "cute white cat" and "cute blue cat", but now the black cat has become so prosperous, it has become an undisputed The NFT unicorn of this part of the concept.
2.2 A large number of female players enter the game: community value gain
It is precisely because of the attribute of "cute cat" that among the holders and propagandists of Mimic Shhans, we can find that the proportion of female users is significantly higher than that of other NFT projects that have been spread in the community before, which may also be related to "female users". Xiang", especially the lack of blue-chip NFT projects of the lovely department.
Some of the previous NFT projects focusing on "women-oriented" were not so much "women-oriented" as they were "feminist-oriented". These projects were naturally socially aggressive at the beginning of their conception, which not only reduced their potential The market also hinders its spread. It is true that women do have the right to fight for their own rights and interests, but they cannot be generalized because of this, denying their gentleness and beauty, and the pursuit of lovely things. The popularity of black cats is also closely related to seizing the vacancies in this part of the market.
The admission of a large number of female players has brought strong community value to Black Cat:
On the one hand, female players buy NFTs more out of a consumption psychology than an investment psychology. Compared with many male investors who are purely looking for financial returns, they pay more attention to the aesthetic value and social value of NFTs themselves when purchasing, and are more willing to hold these NFTs for a long time, rather than "sell at a profit". out”; this has greatly helped stabilize the consensus and confidence of the community. In addition, the promotion of some female players with many fans outside the NFT circle has also further broken the circle of Black Cat.
On the other hand, when the community communication and social activities around "black cats" are in full swing (which will be described in some detail below), many onlookers, even those who have never played NFT before, finally made up their minds to buy black cats The reason is actually "you can get to know many young ladies and sisters by using this as an avatar". Although this reason sounds a little funny at first, it also reflects the purchase factors that Black Cat NFT holders transcend speculation and value their social value when purchasing.
Left: Black Cat and Miss Sister, Right: Record of some community members' feelings
三. "Black Cat" Communication Record: Crazy Decentralized Community Communication
The few words in the opening introduction briefly summarize some of the feelings of outsiders, but they are far from fully describing this [crazy] [decentralized] feast of community communication.
In fact, it is difficult to clearly define the reason for this spread. This is also a feature of decentralized spontaneous spread. Many community members are doing various things at the same time. When the accumulation exceeds a certain threshold, It is in the trend of "a single spark ignites a prairie fire", and it is difficult to block it at any single node.
Some specific cases are provided below, so that everyone can feel and reminisce about this fiery atmosphere.
3.1 Twitter Mutual Fan Activities
Since the afternoon of July 7, "You can increase fans by changing the avatar of the black cat" has been circulating in the Chinese community, and has aroused widespread resonance among the holders of the black cat. Black cat holders then started a large-scale tweet and mutual fan activity.
The amazement of many members of the black cat community
In fact, even now, if you change to a black cat avatar on Twitter, and send a Twitter with a black cat picture and #mimicshhans (with text, second creation is better), there will still be a large number of black cat communities mates follow.
(If you are confused or even anxious about Twitter's increase in followers, if you want to quickly gain nearly 100 real followers on Twitter, then you might as well try changing your avatar to a black cat~
3.2 Twitter Space and the army of black cat avatars
From the afternoon to the evening of July 7, the Twitter Space about black cats has been in an endless stream, and many community members have also carried out passionate discussions around black cats:
Even in Twitter Spaces with other themes, a large number of black cat avatars can be seen among the participants, such as:
3.3 Full WeChat group & social networking in the same city
In addition to Twitter, WeChat, as the main social network for Chinese people, has also become an important carrier of community enthusiasm. The WeChat group established by the members of the Black Cat community at the beginning soon filled up with 500 members. Everyone opened up various new groups and urban friendship groups, and had heated discussions in it.
It is said that there are already 6 full black cat groups, as well as countless city groups and theme groups…
3.4 Emerging secondary creations
"Black cats are so cute, 10,000 pictures are far from enough to tell the story of black cats." ——So, countless community members also joined the secondary creation of black cat pictures, all kinds of interesting ideas also sprouting.
The second creation of the cat itself: Meow Group and Meow Emperor
In addition, community member wiger.eth also came up with the idea of making black cat shirts, and spontaneously contacted relevant Taobao merchants to order production in batches, preparing to spread the black cat's MEME to real life.
Preliminary design draft of black cat shirt
3.5 Spontaneous publicity and promotion by community members
Community members are also constantly promoting black cats spontaneously, in countless specific forms. Here are just three representative cases:
3.5.1 Publicity to other blue-chip project community members who have linkage
At the beginning of the design of Mimic Shhans, some rare models were linked with BAYC and Azuki; therefore, it became a natural thing to use these rare models to promote these two community members:
Publicize the BAYC and Azuki community members through the linkage rare funds
3.5.2 Promotion to Web3 KOLs & Celebrities
Changing the avatars of famous people has always been one of the main ways to promote the PFP NFT project, and Black Cat is no exception.
One of the most significant cases in this regard is that Yawn Rong, the co-founder of StepN, has also become the "family" of the black cat, and there is more possibility of follow-up linkage with StepN; The reason for the popularity is attributed to this incident.
StepN co-founder Yawn switched to a black cat avatar
3.5.3 Making pictures with MEME properties
Some exaggerated and funny MEME pictures can often have a good effect of community communication and touching the hearts of onlookers, such as:
Black Cat's Rank Tier! ?
The most outrageous propaganda scene I heard was this: It was rumored that someone was invited to communicate with a local regulator about the industry situation.
四. The significance of "black cat" to the Web3 Chinese community
The staged success of Mimic Shhans is not only reflected in the rise of NFT prices and the spread of decentralized communities, but also has far-reaching significance for the long-term development of the Web3 Chinese community.
4.1 Recharge "Decentralized Faith" for Web3 Chinese
For a long time, Web3 has circulated such a saying: "Chinese (and even East Asians) do not have the concept of decentralization in their culture, even if they do Web3, they have no belief in decentralization or even any value, only Speculative and pragmatic mentality, you want to run when you make money.” This view has even been endorsed by a considerable number of Chinese themselves, and the development history of many projects with Chinese participants in the past seems to support this view. . In this context, if there is still a "language/racial contempt chain" within Web3, the Chinese participants have always been at the bottom, and the value assessment of Chinese participants and even Chinese project parties is not as good as similar backgrounds. European and American whites.
And the black cat is a project that broke out in the Chinese circle for the first time. It is different from many previous popular NFT projects - those NFT projects often originated in the English community and then passed on from the Chinese community, and most Chinese played the role of a "successor" rather than a "fire spreader". . More importantly, the bottom-up decentralized communication method of Black Cat, rather than the top-down project-led communication method, not only made many Chinese feel the enthusiasm and power of decentralized community communication, but also Let them rekindle their belief in "Chinese can also have a decentralized community". As many community members sighed on Twitter Space: "I always thought that the promotion and marketing of NFT had to rely on the project side, but I didn't expect that decentralized community communication could have such power, and I didn't expect this kind of communication to be led by our Chinese. ."
This belief will continue to be consolidated as the black cat community spreads further. Even if the price of the black cat NFT reaches the top, the atmosphere of this black cat communication event will be deeply imprinted in the hearts of the participants, for the next Chinese-led decentralized community communication event, and even the long-term Chinese-led event. A successful Web3 project lays the groundwork.
4.2 The revival of pan-East Asian aesthetics relative to Western aesthetics
In the past, many PFP NFT projects, due to the consideration of the communication chain of market participants in the business, will try their best to cater to some Western aesthetics, such as digital punk, beautiful man style, and even the pursuit of strangeness and ugliness. The cute cat style of Mimic Shhans was designed from the beginning to conform to the pan-East Asian (mainly China, Japan and Korea) aesthetic, and the background of the early participants and avatar adopters also confirmed this. Here is an additional point: Although the popularity of this project originated from the Chinese-speaking circle, many Japanese and Korean people also made great contributions to it. They also recognized the value judgment of "black cats are very cute and suitable for avatars". .
If the black cat can further go out of the circle, enter the European and American communities, and trigger FOMO and fission transmission in the European and American communities, then this will be a landmark event for the revival of pan-East Asian aesthetics in Web3 - after this, not only more European and American people will They are more willing to accept the aesthetics of the Pan-East Asian region, and more Web3 project parties will take this into account when designing art. The far-reaching cultural impact of this is immeasurable. For example, there will be more projects of national style and Japanese style, which will give people more confidence and make it easier to go global.
五. Challenges and Risks of "Black Cat" Development
For calm and rational project analysts/investors, the popularity of the black cat community is certainly worthy of attention, but this does not mean that the price of its NFT will continue to increase until it becomes a blue-chip project. According to the author's observation and research, there are two challenges and risks in the further development of black cats:
5.1 Out of the circle of project communication
At present, the project is almost unknown among Web3 Chinese users who use Twitter, but at this stage, its dissemination really relies too much on Twitter and acquaintances to socialize. Considering the fact that the number of Web3 Chinese Twitter users is quite limited, how to let pan-Web3 users who do not often pay attention to Twitter hotspots know about this project may be an important issue for community propagandists to think about in the next step. WeChat, media, Youtube, Tiktok, maybe the next communication channel for the Chinese community.
In addition, if the black cat really wants to become a blue-chip NFT, it is also essential to spread to the international community and get out of the circle; the way of publicity in this regard will be based on English Twitter threads and Twitter Space. There are also many community members working in this direction, and we look forward to further progress in this regard.
5.2 Potential concentration of chips
As of the evening of July 8, the number of addresses held by Mimic Shanns was 2.6k, which is not much compared to 6.4k of BAYC and 4.4k of goblintowns. Although after the sell-off event around June 25, there were no obvious "big owners" in the community, but in the OG group of black cats, there are not a few people who hold dozens of NFTs, and a small number of people hold hundreds of NFTs. NFTs. After all, the price of black cats is not expensive compared to those blue-chip NFTs.
Although at present, the selling of a single large household will not greatly affect the development of the black cat, but if some large households conduct a large number of sales for some reason, the floor price will plummet, and the project development will be stagnant, and it may be quite bad. Influence - the belief in decentralization that was finally established among the Chinese will collapse again, and the notoriety of "the Chinese have no decentralized belief" and even "the Chinese community has no future" will be realised. Although this possibility is extremely remote, relevant stakeholders must also be aware of the existence of this risk; for large position holders, they should also consider the potential impact at this level when considering profit exits.
The popularity of black cats may only be the beginning. The decentralized community communication is still in full swing, and the avatars of black cats will continue to spread on various social accounts.
Black Cat is the first large-scale decentralized community dissemination of NFT that broke out in the Chinese-speaking circle. It is a recharge of Chinese decentralized beliefs, and it is also a revival and self-proof of the pan-East Asian aesthetics to Western aesthetics. No matter how Black Cat develops afterward, it will surely leave an indelible mark on the hearts of community members participating in this decentralized communication.