In this bear market, the fear in the community is palpable. Many coins, projects, and therefore people are down large percentages from their all-time highs. There is less liquidity to go around, and therefore, investors are starting to be more cautious with their purchases. Some projects that earned a lot of hype pre-mint underperformed significantly based on expectations (i.e., Jikan, Kings of da Street, and Trippy World), and the reasons are multifaceted, including botted Twitters and Discord servers and this sense of fear. Investors are becoming more scrutinous of upcoming projects, demanding answers from project founders about mint fund plans and treasury management. However, in a different section of the market, projects young and old are flourishing, seemingly quietly. These projects are ones that offer tangible utility, whether that be upcoming technology or tools: the builders.
Many of these projects look more like startups than typical NFT projects, and collectively, they aim to improve the ecosystem and beyond. Investors see these projects as a safer place to put their liquidity. Because of the bearish context of the market, more investors have a long-term vision than ever before, since it may be months before the market recovers to a place that resembles the market they entered. Adapting to the ever-evolving market has always been important, but it is even more important in these bearish times, as the market is extremely unforgiving and unrelenting to projects that do not fit in with the times.
Some projects directly benefit holders by offering access to some sort of tool, often relying on data and/or code to perform a task. All of the following projects are outperforming the majority of the hyped mints that have underperformed: Chippies, Moonly, Sol Decoder, and Smart Sea Society. Additionally, a popular sniper tool, Rarikeys, has maintained its high floor through these bearish times. These tools all offer something slightly different, and because of the unpredictability of the market, the safest course of action is to only invest in tools that you would actually use yourself, making the decision one based mostly on personal preference. However, investors intended to flip should look for projects with teams they feel have the most potential to innovate. Below are quick summaries of the mentioned projects’ main tools (not including all or future, just the ones that are the main draw to the project)
Chippies: Uniquely uses AI to gauge changing sentimentality for projects on Twitter.
Moonly: Stunning UI that gives data on upcoming and past projects, organization tool.
SOL Decoder: Gives data on mints, including Twitter and Discord data to track how much hype a mint is receiving.
Smart Sea Society: Uses AI to give signals that point toward a growing floor price, last update shows that 98% of calls lead to an increase in floor price
Another class of utility/builder project aims to benefit the entire ecosystem, and these ones offer holders a variety of unique benefits. Established projects like Famous Fox Federation, Blocksmith Labs, and Atadia all fit into this category, as well as younger projects like Vault-X and Solful. The growth potential of Vault-X and Solful is high given the floors of the mentioned established projects, and their success and timeline will be driven by the progress of the deliverables themselves. In this sort of project, it is important to pay attention to the benefits of holders, which are sometimes not obvious. Some waive transaction fees to holders, but it is worthwhile to ask if this benefit is enough of a draw. Some offer revenue share, but it is important to consider the potential payouts and if it will be enough to keep long-term investors satisfied in a space that moves so quickly. Interestingly, many of these projects have collaborations or partnerships with each other, which further solidifies that these projects are looking to create the most innovative ecosystem possible.
Vault-X: Creating contracts to secure P2P transactions, holders receive lower fees, DAO access, and revenue share.
Solful: Creating a Web3 job platform where hirers and people looking to be hired can make and respond to posts, post CVs, etc. Holders receive lower fees, DAO access, and a subsection of holders with multiple NFTs receive revenue share.
While it is true that the meta always shifts and changes, it is notable that the above projects are finding success in the most bearish of times. As sentiment in the broader market improves, it is likely that the buzz around these projects will quiet down again and be replaced with the next hyped thing, but it is clear that these projects will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of the ecosystem. Any project can be classified as a “builder” if it works to provide tangible value to its holders and/or the ecosystem, and it is also possible that this new focus on “builders” is less of a typical meta or a phase and more a symptom of a maturing space whose investors are smarter and more scrutinous.