NFT Archaeology Calendar II: Uncovering Ground Zero

NFT Archaeology Calendar II: Uncovering Ground Zero

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: September 28th, 2022
Last Edit: December 30th, 2022

Before you begin review Part 1 of the NFT Archaeology Calendar Series!
Checkout the NFT Archaeology Part 2 Companion Twitter Thread

Welcome back, my Digital Indiana Jones comrades. Are you ready to continue the madness of NFT archaeology history? The story behind the assets is vital to long-term value accrual, but the story behind the culture is just as important to the credibility and success of early NFTs. That’s why it’s important to immortalize the crazy narrative that brought us to where we are today. The path is bumpy, the road is full of potholes, and the journey is anything but direct. Without further ado, let’s dive back into the madness.

PixelMap relaunched on August 23rd, 2021 with the help of NFT archaeologist Adam McBride. When this project was first announced, it immediately became the hottest relaunch/rediscovery since MoonCats six months prior. This project was the first 2016 NFT to be revived while also adopting modern day mint mechanics. The remaining tiles were sold at 0.25 ETH a piece and founder Ken Erwin became an instant millionaire. Not bad for someone who was just tinkering with software back in the day. It was a great day for Adam McBride as well. When Ken appeared on This American Life, he noted that he “tipped” $500,000 to Adam McBride for his honesty and integrity, who originally asked for nothing upfront.
-Pixel Map Tiles can be purchased for 1 ETH each on OpenSea

ETHMap is a Pre-ERC721 project that launched in early 2018 and was rediscovered around the same time as PixelMap. The project was created by the founder of the 2017 project WeiCards. The community managed to establish contact with the creator, who unfortunately stated that he didn’t want anything to do with either project’s future. ETHMap Zones needed to be wrapped to sell on OpenSea, which then encountered some technical issues, and eventually the momentum for the project faded.
-ETHMap Zones can be purchased for 1 ETH each on OpenSea

DeepBlackAI is the first “end-to-end” AI-created NFT artwork. Rediscovered on August 25th, 2021, this 2019 project of 3,074 unique artworks has become a highly touted Historical AI collection. The creator, Pete, even separates himself from DeepBlack, who he considers the true artist. There are only a few AI projects that came before DeepBlack, with the most famous being Robbie Barrat’s “Lost Robbies” from 2018. This is a collection you’ll want to be a part of!
-DeepBlackAI is currently available on OpenSea for .9 ETH

KLEEE02 is a 2019 on-chain generative art project that was launched around the same time as Larva Lab’s Autoglyphs and gener8tive’s K-Compositions. When it was rediscovered, there were still remaining mints available and the creator had to get involved in the project’s revival. KLEEE02 is now considered an important part of early on-chain generative art history.
-KLEEE02 can be purchased on OpenSea for 3 ETH

2017 project Thousand Ether Homepage became the third pixelated billboard to be rediscovered after Pixereum and PixelMap. The project found some early interest and required wrapping to be sold on OpenSea. The project contains 1621 “ads”.
-Thousand Ether Homepage Ads can be purchased on OpenSea for .1 ETH

Of course, I’m going to plug my own bags. If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably just as passionate about the history of NFTs as I am. I started my podcast journey in April 2020, but it wasn’t until August 27th, 2021 that I had the opportunity to interview Ponderware for one of their first interviews. Since then, I’ve hosted nearly 80 interviews with creators, leaders, and collectors from the Historical NFT community.
-The Jake Gallen Podcast can be viewed on Youtube Here
-The Jake Gallen Podcast can be listened to on any streaming platform

And to close out the wild month of August, the potentially first ever turn-based strategy card game used as NFTs resurfaced, known as Mythereum. This 2018 project even houses 547 cards known as “Mythicats,” which is a collaboration with CryptoKitties. The project had a hot start, but momentum has fizzled out since.
-Mytherium Cards can be purchased on OpenSea for .04 ETH is a database of ALL Pre-ERC721 NFTs

Finally, we made it out of that hectic month. Maybe it’s time for a rest! Nah, fam. Although not as frequent, the first half of September saw four rediscoveries of Pre-ERC721 Collections, as well as the first NFT Archaeology Discord launched to house all of the vintage hunters, historical enthusiasts, and non-fungible pseudo-socratic thinkers of our era.

  • In what may be the 1st Play-to-Earn-Battle-Arena, Early 2018 project Cryptofighters was swarmed on by archaeologists.
  • First Play-to-Earn and 2017 NFT Collection CryptoBots was found.
  • Unique November 2017 Project Numberboard was uncovered, wrapped, and announced by Adam McBride & Co.
  • The 3rd known Ethereum “Metaverse” (Following Etheria & Decentraland) Aether City was brought back to life and has found a devout and active community to this day.
  • Adam McBride is on the scene again and opened up the first NFT Archaeology Discord.

Remember way back in the beginning of NFT Archaeology I: Front-Running History I mentioned that there were multiple NFT Archaeology movements moving in parallel unbeknownst to one another? Well, on September 15th, 0xWodan shared to the Twitterverse what the Namecoin community had been working on. That’s right! The first ever altcoin (a fork of Bitcoin) had been housing thousands on non-fungible assets for OVER A DECADE! (There is much more to this story in due time)

That same day a Twitter Egg, registered to the Namecoin blockchain in 2014 was sold over-the-counter to many eager collectors ready to posses tokenized relics that predate the existence of Ethereum. Over the next few weeks these Twitter Eggs would sell upwards of 50 ETH and eventually sold via Emblem Vault a few months later.
-Twitter Eggs are currently available on OpenSea for 10 ETH

CryptoCities is a Pre-ERC721 strategy game inspired from the legendary game Civilization. Users own land and can attack other players to take over their tiles. After revival the founder decided to build out his original vision of the game and rebranded to Liquid Lands, while still honoring the original 2018 tokens and creating additional tiles to fill out the map. Liquid Lands has now grown to over a thousand active users.
-CryptoCities plots are currently available on Opensea for .1 ETH

Rare Pepes are heavily considered the origin of the Crypto Art movement, which began on Counterparty in 2016, a dapp deployed on Bitcoin in 2014. With the creation of Emblem Vault (a cross chain tokenized wallet which allows for buying and selling of Non-ETH native assets) all Bitcoin NFTs finally found a path to awareness and liquidity. On September 18th, 2021 (and still currently the ATH EV sale) a RAREPEPE sold for 200 ETH.
-RAREPEPE is currently available on OpenSea for 100 ETH

A second Namecoin collection known as Blockheads began trading over-the-counter in September. This collection of 34 was tokenized in 2014–2015 via the OneName Dapp which allowed users to register their Twitter Profile Pictures to the Namecoin blockchain. The images were originally created from an Eightbit avatar creator that launched in 2010 (Eightbit launched their first NFT project in 2022 called Eightbit Me). During this time Blockheads were selling over 50+ ETH each and are some of the earliest tokenized pfps.
-Blockheads are currently available on OpenSea for 100 ETH

My Blockchain Corner was deployed on April 8th, 2017 making it the 4th oldest live NFT project on Ethereum (at least at the time of this writing) predating Punks, Curio Cards, and even the first contract of ENS! The book is allows for infinite pages to be minted of customized HTML pages stored on the Ethereum Blockchain.
The website is still live and can be viewed here.

The latter half of the NFT Archaeology Calendar II contains some rediscoveries but more-so contains thrilling moments of confusion, excitement, and evolution of the growing Historical NFT market. Some may say it’s only up from here, and you may be right but FIRST we must get through the event that happens next, which is non-other than the Terra Nullius Incident.

Launched on August 7th, 2015

Through 6 long months of rediscoveries NFT Archaeologists thought they hit the jackpot when they uncovered a project that predated ETHERIA by a whole entire month! That’s right, what they found was the FIRST EVER NFT project, known as Terra Nullius.

The idea is that you get “claim your spot on the blockchain” by minting an on-chain text of your choice (sounds too novel 7 years later). Turns out, the original contract is infinite so the dev team who wrote the wrapper (so they could sold sold on OpenSea) put in a hard cap of 4,000,000.

Shortly after the OpenSea page was up and sales were flying some members of the community discovered that these tokens are non-transferable, meaning there is no token inside of the “wrapped tokens” being purchased on OpenSea.

This would spark the beginning of a long series of philosophical questions relating to “What is a token?” and “What is ownership?” that is still being discussed today. The ending wasn’t pretty and the 600 ETH in trading volume is largely lost, leading to harsh questioning of NFT Archaeology and the way people revive these old contracts.
-Terra Nullius V2 can be found on OpenSea here (Please do not buy unless you are ready to lose money)

Turns out Dogecoin has had NFTs since 2014, that’s not a joke. Counterparty, which allowed for the minting of NFTs on Bitcoin, was created in January of 2014 and later that year somebody forked it to Dogeparty. Unfortunately, Dogeparty didn’t catch much attention and faded into obscurity during 2015. On September 29th, 2021 some members of the Dogecoin and Counterparty community revived the platform, as well as the original tokens that were minted in 2014!
Checkout Dogeparty

On October 1st, 2021 a Full set of Curio Cards (including the misprint 17B) sold for $1.2M to Ethereum Co-Founder Taylor Gerring at Christie’s Auction House.

After 6 months of community turmoil some anonymous community members decide to rebrand Etheria V1.1 as Blockplots, against the founder’s requests. Then just days later some in the community rebranded the Discord from ETH Relics to NFT Relics.
Join NFT Relics Discord here

After all of these rediscoveries, finally a counterparty collection was woken up from its lengthy slumber. Sarutobi Island may very well be the first ever play-to-earn metaverse. The game is also credited as one of the first interoperable gaming assets, crossing over with Spells of Genesis & Rare Pepes. The NINJASUIT token is considered the first metaverse skin. A true grail found in the rough.
-NINJASUIT is currently available on OpenSea for 11 ETH

Heading into Halloween Weekend 2021, the FIRST EVER token issued on Counterparty was unearthed: TEST. This token is exactly as it sounds, used to test the network. The image you see above was uploaded after rediscovery to commemorate the historic asset. The original supply was 1,000 and since has been burned down to 400.
-TEST is currently available on OpenSea for 6 ETH

We love the cards! The CryptoCards originally launched at the end of 2018 with a vision to create a marketplace for tokenized Bitcoin history. Misfit Art never really gained traction and took a long slumber before being revived by Historical NFT degens.
-CryptoCards are currently available on OpenSea for .05 ETH

What caught many by surprise was the rediscovery of UMBRELLA. This November 2014 token (with the image above not originally tied to the Counterparty token, but had a similar image published in a BitcoinTalk forum around the same time) is the first known use of a redeemable token that could be exchanged for a physical item. What item was that? Well, an umbrella, of course! The original supply was 600 and has been reduced to 300.
-UMBRELLA is currently available on OpenSea for 1.5 ETH

Another unique find by Adam McBride on November 9th, 2021 was a handful of rare 1/1 ERC20 tokens that were minted towards the end of 2017 by artist Victoria Verdandi. The unique concept behind Verdandi’s Artefacts (2017) is that they originally didn’t link to an image, but were all uniquely registered at the US Copyright Office. The images were later added to the tokens via IPFS and the original pieces of artwork were proven to be registered around the time of token creation. This is truly a rare example of provenance.
-Verdandi’s Artefacts are available on OpenSea but not currently listed

The “Birth of the Crypto Art Movement” began with Rare Pepe Frogs minted on Bitcoin in 2016 (some argue Spells of Genesis is the beginning, I’ll let you decide). Over the next 5 years, they would give inspiration to many popularized artists to pursue a career in digital art. With the help of Vincent Van Dough and the Counterparty community, a Pepe explorer was launched. Pepe.WTF has onboarded thousands to the green machine by simplifying how to search through the directory of 1774 different cards from over 300 different artists.
-Rare Pepes are available on OpenSea for a wide variety of prices

XCPinata is a collection of 24 vintage tokens that were minted in 2015. The artist has proven that there was intent and motivation to use these specific tokens for a handful of use-cases. Although they were never proven to find implementation, the artist has still found credence in following his original vision. In 2021, the project was revived, art was added to the tokens, and a community has formed.
XCPinata tokens are available on OpenSea for 1.5 ETH

To close out the NFT Archaeology Calendar II:

  • EGGSDAO launches on December 10th, 2021, marking the first Namecoin token community to form a DAO and becoming the second HNFT community to do so.
  • A fractionalized oil painting was found on the NXT blockchain from 2014. “World’s First Fractionalized Oil Painting” was deployed on the NXT blockchain on May 14th, 2014. There were 100,000 shares in total, representing real ownership over the physical painting.
  • NFT historian Leonidas drops “The Definite Timeline of Early NFTs on Ethereum V2” on December 13th, 2021. This Twitter thread went viral with over 2,000 retweets and 5,000 likes, propelling his account over 10,000 followers and encouraging many to dig further into the history of NFTs.

And there you have it, coming up just short of 2022. We’re now 70 unique moments and 9 months into the History of NFT Archaeology. Although these concurrent write-ups and graphics cannot fully convey the raw emotions of financial gain, success, deception, sadness, confusion, and sheer displays of douchebaggery that took place, I hope you have been able to understand the unique nature of the Historical NFT industry and how its culture has evolved. The path is still somewhat murky, but it becomes clearer every day. That’s all for now. See you in The NFT Archaeology Calendar Part III: Civil War!

UPDATE: Part 1 & 3 of the NFT Archaeology Calendar series are now live!

-NFT Archaeology Calendar I: Front-Running History
-NFT Archaeology Calendar III: Civil War

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