A collection of NFTs featuring anthropomorphic deer has netted its creator nearly $600,000 within hours of it being minted.
In March, Welsh artist Ashley Crossland dropped 7,200 of his Stag Alliance NFTs, a series he’d spent thousands of hours creating outside of his design agency day job. Each deer has a name and is built out of more than 400 traits from epic fantasy to steampunk to, well, outright silly—Bluedew of Domence appears dressed as a Victorian gentleman with horns aglow and Lilac Larry like some surfer dude on a woodland retreat.
“I chose the stag because of its strong, positive connotations in many cultures around the world,” Crossland told Artnet News. “The traits reflect on cultures from many parts of history and culture. The juxtapositions represent the wild and unpredictable nature of the NFT space.”
In a few hours, the NFTs, which are Cardano-based and cost about $85 to mint, had sold out, with secondary sales now pushing the floor price to around $140.
Crossland became enamored with the NFT space during the pandemic and began collecting in 2020. His deer sketches were received positively online, but he wanted to world-build rather than just mint and so partnered with Jimmi Sandham, a friend from university, who has created a whole mythical universe, Elderworld. “The lore gives all the characters meaning and this improves their collectability,” Crossland said.
In short, Elderworld imagines a herd of deer placed on earth in 2519 BCE by a mad sorceress. In her bid to take earth from humans, the deer are blessed with supreme magic, wisdom, and artifacts from across the ages. War duly ensues between the Stag Alliance and humans who see the devil at work in their horned adversaries.
It is the thoroughness of the project’s story building that seems to have piqued the interest of collectors. The hope is to reach beyond the silo of NFT collectors and connect with fans of fantasy, in part through publishing stories on Amazon and Apple, including audio versions for the reading averse.
Despite the project’s early success, Stag Alliance is wary of some of the trappings of other large-scale collectible projects, such as creating connected tokens, offering incentives for collectors to hold NFTs, and artificially inflating the value of an NFT collection, a tactic called floor sweeping.
“We want people to hold and use our NFTs,” Stag Alliance wrote on a webpage explaining its market ethos. “We’re focusing on true demand, not superficial and unsustainable or illogical value.”
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