MoonCats Seeking New Rocket Ship Back to the Moon

MoonCats IP Acquisition Rumors

Disclaimer: All information used within this dialogue has been referenced from public sources. Please note that dates, timelines, and graphics may be subject to inaccuracies. It’s possible that rediscoveries, relaunches, and revivals may have occurred prior to their public announcement. For the purpose of this series, we will be following the publicly available timeline for the sake of narrative and storytelling.

Created by: Jake Gallen
Published: June 7th, 2022
Last Edit: December 30th, 2022

June 17th marks two months since the last MoonCat pump. Since then, we’ve dwindled down to a .3 ETH floor, causing yet another cycle of frustration within the community. “Will anything ever happen?!” some may ask. During the micro bull cycle, there were some wild rumors thrown around that surprisingly turned into action. For some, it caused fear, for others joy, and for others an opportunity. MoonCats are being sold?! Well, let’s investigate the situation and see what may be a big change in the world of MoonCats.

April 18th added 200+ new owners, pushing total owners to over 7200+ across all wrappers/unwrapped

The Build Up

Ponderware and MoonCats have always found themselves in a precarious position. WanderWonder and Jurfles began theorizing the idea of MoonCatRescue around the time of the DAO Hack, way back in 2016, and nearly a year later deployed the MoonCatRescue contract on August 9th, 2017. This insanely cute rescue mission was not originally created with the intent to maximize profits, but more as an opportunity to experiment near the outer boundaries of smart contract capabilities, in the form of an ERC20 contract. MoonCats were free + gas to mine and Genesis MoonCats began at .3 ETH and scaled upwards on a bonding curve which could be purchased on the original Adoption Center. (ERC721 was not officially proposed until January 2018 and adopted officially a few months later).

Sometime in 2018, MoonCatRescue was turned offline, with the hopes of revival one day in the future. As the 2018 Crypto Crash took hold over the market, combined with the irrevocable mistake of routing all Genesis MoonCat sales to a burn wallet (oops!), it became economically unfeasible to maintain the MoonCatRescue operation, leaving tens of thousands of MoonCats stranded on the moon.

As the story goes, on March 12th, 2021, NFT leaders including Justin Trimble, Allen Henna, and many others revived MoonCats from their multi-year long slumber. Rescuing the remaining 19,682 MoonCats from the moon! One day later, Ponderware was back in command of the space station ready to reignite the original vision that WanderWonder

The Cause & Effect

We are now approaching 15 months since MoonCatRescue was rediscovered. During this period, a slow yet intense internal war had been brewing within the community between the “!floor moonboys” and the “muh utility tech chads”. This conflict dates back to the peak of MoonCat mania around the time MoonCats were auctioned off at Sotheby’s Natively Digital 1.2, by yours truly. After the auction concluded in late October, the floor for MoonCats had dwindled down from 1.5 ETH to .3 ETH, while the promised P2E platform and game GravBall had encountered some delays, causing community frustrations to take a more directed approach towards the creators of MoonCatRescue, ponderware.

Ponderware and MoonCats find themselves in a unique situation, establishing themselves as a Hybrid Historical NFT project. In the real world, all historical artifacts are passively managed, meaning they just exist and accrue value as long as they don’t become damaged. But in Web3, tokenization offers a unique opportunity to actively manage, or build on top of, “Historical Value”. With an elite and technically competent dev team like ponderware, how could you not want to build your original vision of on-chain generation, fair distribution, and user customization?

This approach has landed them directly in the middle of Mafico’s Historical NFT Management style, leaving them in uncharted waters with no other project to review for reference. They have an extremely diverse community full of developers, vintage hunters, investors, flippers, philosophers, and crazy cat ladies.

MaficoNFT’s “Historical NFTs: Being Old Just Ain’t Enough

The issue at hand is not just a microcosm of the MoonCat ecosystem but a macro problem of the Historical NFT space. That issue is, you may ask, funding or the lack thereof. Unlike the modern NFT (2021+) world where teams have the ability to raise 800 ETH at a .08 mint x 10,000 piece collection, Historical NFT teams and communities are forced to become creative in the domain of raising capital.

This has led ponderware to participate in unique fundraising modalities including on-chain accessories, MoonCatPop vending machines, and Genesis lootprints. Of course, while still maintaining the original ethos of ponderware and distributing multiple airdrops for free along the way including lootprints, MoonCatMoments, and MoonCatNameService.

The active experimentation, inception of Vintage NFTs, and community formation has been exciting from a collector’s perspective. What most of us hadn’t considered was the dev’s perspective. This led to a community-rattling message on April 15th, 2022 in the form of a Discord announcement, regarding the tall obstacle that currently stands in the way of successfully growing the MoonCat ecosystem. This multi-paragraph announcement can be summarized in one sentence: a formal request for assistance in the form of gauging interest via a potential acquisition of the MoonCats IP.

Rumor Mill

Over the course of 48 hours between April 17th and 19th, MoonCats saw over 700 sales. This was likely due to speculation about the potential acquisition of the MoonCats IP by a well-known party. It’s no secret that the crypto and NFT industries are driven by hype and speculation, and this situation was no different. So, let’s dive in and see what happened.

1) Justin Trimble’s Referral

We know Justin as one of the original MoonCat excavators. Not only did he help rediscover the Cats, but he also set up the MoonCats Discord. While doing so, he received backlash from the Punks community because MoonCats were considered “the 2nd oldest NFT” at the time, which we now know is not accurate. Justin owns a Genesis MoonCat and several other personally rescued MoonCats, so it’s safe to say his financial incentives are aligned with the success of MoonCats. In addition, he is a well-respected member of not just the NFT community, but the wider crypto community as well. He is also the co-founder of the AI-Art NFT platform Braindrops.

Justin confirms in Twitter Spaces he has referred a potential buyer

“And so yeah, we started to tweet a little bit about that tonight. I got some interesting DMs…..from like serious people that I think would be potentially good and i’m not going to go into details obviously about like who they are and everything but i would say they’ve already told me they have they had to do an NDA so it’s already like there.” -Justin Trimble (Twitter Spaces)

“I mean there would be like 4 teams that could really be potentially bad ass and this is one of the four that kind of popped into my DMS and I put them in contact with ponderware, so we’ll see.” -Justin Trimble (Twitter Spaces)

Justin mentioned that a few teams reached out to him to learn more about, or even accelerate, the acquisition of the MoonCats IP. It’s likely that these teams are based in the Web3 space and are already working within the NFT industry. Of the four teams that he “imagined” would be a good fit for the MoonCats IP, one of them actually contacted him and signed a NDA with ponderware within hours of their conversation. It seems that this team is very interested in acquiring the IP.

1.5) Twitter Spaces “Mega Whale” Buyer

During the nearly 3-hour long Twitter Spaces conversation, it was leaked that one of the potential buyers attempted to acquire the Punks IP at some point. With rumors of the Punk IP deal ranging in the nine figures, this team has a large war chest and is looking to expand their already successful NFT ecosystem. There are rumors that this team is currently building out a “very large metaverse,” so you can begin to narrow down options and let the FOMO take over.

Leading Community Speculation

The Sandbox: With 150k ETH traded at a 5% royalty, Sandbox has a whopping 7500 ETH + all of their primary land sales and sponsorship deals. This “metaverse” definitely has the funds to get a deal done. But why would Sandbox want to acquire a specific NFT collection?

Tweeted on August 10th, 2021

MoonCats…THE PETS OF THE METAVERSE! Okay, I’m not going to lie, I’ve been shilling this “Pets of the Metaverse” narrative since last summer, but it makes sense, right? We’ve already seen World Wide Webb push this narrative, with a ton of success, so why not acquire the IP and market them with incentives inside of your metaverse? Not to mention, there has already been a MoonCats x Sandbox collaboration that took a primitive attempt at this idea (plot twist: it failed pretty hard due to a communication mix-up). In conclusion: Funds secured, metapets yes, relationship exists.

Coinbase NFT: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Coinbase NFT? Really Jake..They can barely even get a Marketplace off the ground, why would they acquire IP of a NFT collection. They don’t even have a metaverse! Yet….

There are a few variables that seem to line up when considering Coinbase’s potential acquisition of the MoonCats IP. MoonCats were the first official Coinbase NFT Creator partner, and ponderware has mentioned that Coinbase NFT reached out to them to become a partner. Ponderware has been under a signed NDA with Coinbase for at least 8 months, and negotiations may have been ongoing for weeks or months before the announcement.

MoonCats are a family-friendly collection of 25,440 NFTs that currently have a low entry price in crypto terms, which gives retail investors an opportunity to join the party. Customizable assets that can be integrated into Coinbase’s new social NFT marketplace make the acquisition seem like a good fit. Thoughts on accessories, MoonCatPop sales at .05 ETH, and integrating GravBall into Coinbase Ventures are just a few possibilities for the future of the MoonCat ecosystem.

Pixel Vault: This one seems like it’s out of left field, but the more I think about it the more it seems like a slam-dunk-case-closed-deal. I mean their name is literally called PIXEL Vault. How any more obvious could it be? Just sitting there in plain sight, out in the open. Let’s dive a little bit deeper to let that FOMO train gain some more steam…

GFunk confirms Pixel Vault was a bidder on Punks IP

Pixel Vault has been one of the leaders in combining NFTs & DeFi over the last 18 months. They began with the widely successful Punks Comic and later launched Metahero, which has also found success. They have a Pixel Vault Founders DAO, Metahero planet tokens, 10+ editions of Punks Comics (including Bored Apes), Metahero PFPs, and over 10,000+ owners in the Pixel Vault ecosystem. So it’s safe to assume they have the ecosystem (a very large one at that)… but do they have the funds?

You bet your ass they do. In 2022, they received an injection of $100M in private funding, on top of the royalties they receive from their numerous collections. FUNDING SECURED.

So why MoonCats? Maybe it’s the metaverse pets narrative? Maybe it’s the Pixel narrative? Maybe it’s the Historical NFT narrative? Maybe it’s the fact that ponderware is one of the few technically competent dev teams that could easily integrate and build out the pixelated vision. I can sit here and ramble on and on about the parallels and possibilities of this acquihire by Pixel Vault. Q3 can’t come soon enough.

2) TommyGun

TommyGun is the developer of CryptoBeasts and Decentrabis. He has been purchasing Bitcoin since before he graduated high school, and he has technical knowledge and experience in operating an NFT project. When he met ponderware at NFT NYC, it changed his view of MoonCats and he became interested in acquiring their IP. Ponderware has said they are in discussions with TommyGun, and Tommy has said he is discussing the matter with his lawyer. However, Tommy has also mentioned that he is young compared to other potential buyers and it’s unclear if his offer will meet ponderware’s expectations. It remains to be seen if TommyGun is the right fit for the MoonCats IP.

3) Web2 Brands: Puma, MonsterCat, Et. al

Looking into the future, we must first look into the past, right? In an industry with an equal weight of hype and infancy, we only come across two other situations where the IP of an NFT collection was acquired:

So, without any previous history of a Web2 brand acquiring the IP of a Web3 collection, what would it mean if this were to happen? Could they handle a Web3 integration? When we look at the history of Web2 brands that have stepped into the arena of Web3, we’ve seen pretty much one result…downfall.

This doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a harmonious unison between MoonCats and a Web2 brand, but looking at the historical data, it seems unlikely.

4) Kevin Rose / Proof Collective / MoonBirds

ponderware appeared on the Proof Podcast on September 30th, 2021

Moonbirds…Moon…Cats? Both are pixelated. Moonbirds just raised $70M in primary sales and probably another $15M+ in secondary royalties, FUNDING SECURED. But does it make sense? Or is this something that the community is attempting to meme into existence. I mean it’s worked before, could work again?

Within just a few months, Kevin Rose and Proof Collective are already viewed as one of the leading competitors to dethrone Yuga as the top dog of NFTs. With a $70M Proof floor, $20M Moonbirds floor, $3M Moonbirds Pellet floor, how does retail find their way into the ecosystem? With only 21,000 NFTs to compete with Yuga’s 250,000 NFTs, expansion of the Proof ecosystem is a must.

Kevin Rose already has an established relationship with ponderware, as they’ve appeared on his podcast back in September. This already gives them a direct line of communication and a more seamless transition to integration. Proof will need elite developers, and ponderware and MoonCats can fill that role.

5) Yuga Labs / Animoca

See you on the Otherside

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if the “monkeys” of the NFT world weren’t included in this speculation. I mean, that’s what they do best, right? They crushed Punks, purchased the IP, and gave them a back seat. That’s what we want, right?

Speculation — -> Marketing — — > Branding — — > More Speculation

Personally, I don’t think there’s much to say here. Yuga, Animoca, a16z… this combined force has unlimited capital to play with. What would an acquisition of the MoonCats IP mean? Who knows, really. Speculators throw in Yuga without really knowing what it means. But we all know what the Yuga prophetics want… numbers to go up.

Hail Mary Acquisition

Now that we’ve covered the most popular choices, who may come out of left field and take the market by surprise? Knowing ponderware, they aren’t just looking for additional capital. MoonCats are their baby. There needs to be a harmonious relationship in place.

1) GaryVee

“I’m so excited to learn more about MoonCats”

Gary, Gary, Gary. Could the man who owns 2 MoonCats (which were likely transferred) and is “so excited to learn more about MoonCats” be a potential suitor? He owns 50+ Punks, has launched three NFT projects (VeeFriends 1+2 & Book Games), and has publicly displayed a large interest in Historical NFTs.

What is now known as the “Gary V” pump of early January 2022, where he popped into the NFT Relics & Adam McBride Discords to learn more and became a two day Cult of Gary pump fest, how could we not see this happen? I mean the royalties that Gary Vee would make from a MoonCats IP acquisition would pay off the entire buyout in less than a year, let’s be honest here.

Now Gary’s little brother AJ is launching NFT projects, the family is more than all in. Between both of them, they have IP/access token projects, sports NFTs, and some very strange book game attached to physical books that’ll end up with paper being burned just like the tokens. But what they don’t own is a pure collectible token with historical value.

Gary’s brand was built on wheeling and dealing old stuff for new cash and new cash for even more old stuff, thus the circle of life for a flipper. Maybe he can turn MoonCats from a collector purist’s safe haven to a flipper’s paradise? He has the experience, cult following, war chest, team, and general interest. The two things he may be missing are history and an elite dev team.

2) Matty & Metakey

Matty loves his OG projects. He owns MoonCats, Curio Cards, Etheria, Pixel Map, Spells of Genesis, and Rare Pepes. Metakey recently even airdropped MoonCats, Curio Card, and Pixel Map metaverse apparel to all owners of each collection. Perhaps this is a community engagement test?

DCLBlogger’s life has grown from Metaverse land Youtuber to NFT visionary and builder in just a few years. Metakey has even collaborated with RTFKT Studios. They deeply understand NFT culture and have been metaverse evangelists since day one.

In fact, Metakey is now launching its own game called “New Ganymede,” which has been teased as a 3D MMO NFT-enabled metaverse…or game? It’s hard to say. The interest is there, the relationship exists, funding isn’t an issue, and what metaverse isn’t fully complete without 25,440 cats from the moon?

3) World Wide Webb

World Wide Webb is a leading 2D metaverse, also known as a pixelverse, that has been successful in integrating NFT collections like Punks and MoonCats into their platform. Thomas Webb, the founder of World Wide Webb, even made MoonCats his first ever NFT purchase due to his personal interest in the collection. In fact, MoonCats have been such a hit on World Wide Webb that sub-communities have formed around specific cat accessories within the game, indicating that the MoonCat community is one of their most active.

It’s worth considering whether an IP acquisition of MoonCats would make sense for World Wide Webb. With a primary sale that raised a few hundred ETH and secondary sales of 25,000 ETH at a 5% royalty, there may be room to maneuver. Additionally, ponderware, the team behind MoonCats, is a highly skilled development team that could bring even more value to the World Wide Webb platform through utility, token drops, unique events, and specific MMORPG-style quests. The combination of a hacktivist founder and a boundary-pushing dev team like ponderware could set World Wide Webb apart from other metaverses.


There’s no doubt that MoonCats are a beloved collection within the Historical NFT community and are viewed as one of the OG projects from the broader non-fungible ecosystem. The cats are one of few vintage assets to find itself in market fluctuations outside of a HNFT sector-wide pump. They have also built a home for over 7300 holders and sit at the top as the largest Historical NFT community in the world (Rare Pepes could have more holders, but it is uncertain how many across chains).

Meanwhile, ponderware, the MoonCats community, and outside spectators seem to cordially agree that there needs to be a dramatic change in the marketing, branding, hype, and narrative construction of MoonCats if they ever want to return home on the moon. The big question that only those interested parties may know is what is the asking price of the MoonCats IP — WITH or WITHOUT ponderware? And has that asking price changed as we draw closer to the depths of crypto winter?

As we approach the quoted “Q3” announcement timeline, we will begin to understand more completely if help is really coming or if this gets tossed into the same bucket as the long-awaited GravBall.


On September 6th, 2022, ponderware announced that they would be selling the MoonCats IP to themselves. The original creators of MoonCatRescue, WanderWonder and Jurfles, are selling the IP to the third and fourth members of ponderware, Midnight Lightning and Paws, for an undisclosed amount. As a result of the sale, MoonCatRescue and ponderware will become separate entities, with the team separating as well. Ponderware will continue as a Web3 development studio, while Midnight Lightning and Paws will enter the workforce and work on MoonCatRescue in their free time. This news came as a complete shock to the community and was a major disappointment. The high hopes for the future of MoonCats were shattered, and the value of the collection dropped to 0.2 ETH over the following months as things behind the scenes were sorted out. While the security of MoonCats is now in good hands, the future of the 2017 project is uncertain. With the promised utility drying up, it remains to be seen if the narrative will return to its historical roots. Only time will tell.

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