How to Create a Successful Algorand NFT Project with M.N.G.O
Welcome back to How to Create a Successful Algorand NFT Project! If you didn't get a chance to check out our first article in this series, be sure to read our discussion with Flemish Giants here. As the Algorand NFT market continues to flourish and grow, we're excited to share with you a discussion with M.N.G.O, a true pioneer within the ecosystem.
This week, as of May 23, M.N.G.O is ranked number 3 on NFT Explorer's Algorand NFT Rankings with a 7-day volume of 53.9k ALGO and a total sales volume of 1.44m ALGO and 4,533 sales. CC Token had the opportunity to sit down, virtually, with Stitch from M.N.G.O and hear about his path into the world of Algorand NFTs.
How did you break into the NFT space?
I learnt about Algorand towards the end of 2020, early 2021 and fell in love with the official wallet and its ease of use, but quite quickly wanted to do something with it.
There were some small pockets of great Algorand communities before we really had any actual Dapps, filled with like minded people eager and excited about the potential of Algo.
The Algo NFT Reddit was one of those, so I started connecting directly with artists such as Matthias Trinley. In May I was learning about and buying these amazing unique NFTs from him, direct for 0.5A. Then in July I started my own project: Yieldlings. It was really supposed to be an experiment in learning to mint etc and I started by giving away around 25% of the collection. And began listing them at a set time, once a week on Ab2 for 4A-25A.
The first thing I noticed was there was no trading history for NFTs on Algorand back then. The trading experience was completely blind and I felt it was holding back everything. So I connected with two devs (Tomasso + Josh) I had got to know through the YieldlyPrice community chat to see how difficult it would be to scrape that data from the blockchain. From those conversations they ended up building NFT Explorer - now the dominant NFT market aggregator and statistics tool on Algorand.
What's the origin of Mostly Not Going Out?
The community around the YSS (Yieldling Swap Shop) was always amazing. Sales had far surpassed anything I had imagined, so I wanted to create something to reward holders but also that I could see growing more as a brand.
In October 2021, MNGO released a collection of 2999 NFTs. ~30% of the collection was given away to holders.
A lot of the way MNGO launched for me was to try to usher in a release the same way a project on a more mature market like ETH would. Not a slow drip drop method we were used to on Algo, no dutch auctions etc.. just a flat mint fee.
It was also a collection with rarity data that hadn’t really been done on Algorand at that point (I think Matthias just beat me to the punch with his Faces project though!)
Originally, the project was actually going to be called "Mingoes". However, coincidentally, days before launch another project was announced with an extremely similar name. That made me think more about the brand and the name, reflecting on how to capture the culture of online socializing and community building through Discord and Telegram.
From there, Mostly Not Going Out was born. It made sense.
"It was a bit of timing and a bit of luck"
Did you look to other collections for inspiration?
For sure, the whole profile picture / trait based collection all ties back to BAYC. It’s like a genre in itself. There’s lots of clear inspiration from these early trendsetters. There’s also a lot of personal influence, references to films, skateboarding, football etc.
I look at Solana projects for examples of how to build utility as they share a similar low fee transactions but have exploded with devs experimenting with ways to engage holders. Low tx fees open a lot of creative possibilities. A few projects in particular are Famous Fox Foundation, Jambos, and DeGods.
We launched a free 1000 piece project called Shrimp Game after MNGO based on Squid Game where all but one NFT would survive. I think the tx’s to do all the asset creation and burning would have been close to $50k on ETH but it cost more like $5 in tx fees.
The next project in the pipeline, Mostly Frens uses the utility token $SHRIMP (dropped to Yieldling + MNGO holders) to evolve the image from its ‘birth state’ that begins black and white, then progresses to full colour with each evolution step.
This mechanic will create an ever evolving ‘rarity score’ and create a sort of game theory for collectors that look for rarity. But will also give aesthetic choices to those that purely collect based on the look of something. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out!
Who's work do you admire the most?
From the ‘irl’ world I’m really into street photography books. William Klein, Eggleston, Todd Hido, Denna Templeton, Trent Parke. I hope that photography finds its own groove in NFTs. I think it’ll eventually become its own large market.
Also I like greats like Keith Haring and Basquiat, skate graphics from companies like Real, Foundation and Alien Workshop. I'm not really a fine art person, it wasn’t accessible to me as a kid. It was stickers, street art and skate decks. I collect some prints from Parra, a graphic designer from Amsterdam and really love their use of colour.
Within the NFT space you have to admire Bored Ape Yacht Club, they influenced the whole game. In Algo its Thurstober and Stupid/Tinyhorses. They’ve always been ahead in adding utility to their NFTs. Gary/Soodle/Hurley as OGs that focus on community. Matthias Trinley for staying true to his art. I’m fully aware creating an animal profile picture project isn’t a new original concept, so it's key to bring your own humor or style to create something that doesn’t get lost in the zoo.
Why Algorand? Did you consider another Blockchain?
Not really. I had a connection with the Algorand community already. Any blockchain to get mainstream adoption in the next 10 years simply has to be low energy use, and using it just felt like it made sense to me… the reliability of sending transactions and the speed of it.
There were points where the lack of development in Algorand NFTs frustrated me a bit. Early on I was doing a lot of bouncing between Discords involving myself in dev discussions. I was impatient for a metadata standard for example, I was trying to inject urgency for these things and developing what we could do in the NFT ecosystem at a faster rate.
ARC69 was conceptualized and created by MEOW and Kraken, and unfortunately named by me as the wait for ARC3 at the time was putting this open ended release date on MNGO. That standard sort of embodies how community driven the ecosystem has been, as it was rightly or wrongly never put through the riggers of a normal ARC standard. We as creators/collectors just made it so, and eventually it became a formal standard. I think that’s something that should be embraced and celebrated. I should say it's not better or worse than ARC3. There’s lots of pros to ARC3 and I’m sure more standards will come. I’m excited to use ARC19 with Mostly Frens. ARC69 was just a more easily adoptable route that was also backwards compatible.
I should compliment Kraken more here too. Through many iterations and feedback, he’s always looked to enrich the buying experience of NFTs on Algo. ‘Instant Shuffles’ - aka the addicts button was a big change in how projects were released. It was Tim P I think that had the idea that made it work as we know it today. I’m pretty sure in saying Tim P’s Rugs were the first to use it and were all sold at 1A each.
How are you building your community? How do you engage with them?
Algorand is quite a tight knit community, I feel I know a lot of people on a personal level now. To connect with the wider community, I just try to be myself through Twitter and Discord. I never used Twitter before doing an NFT project so I’m still figuring it out. I try to communicate with images as much as possible… memes and create scenes and comic strips. I enjoy it as a way to share content that doesn't necessarily have to be an NFT.
Within the MNGO discord, a utility token $SHRIMP is air dropped to collectors twice a week which can be used to access raffles, auctions, sports bets and other features. The token was originally created by Tim P for LingLing holders, but we couldn't let the other berds starve, so drop them to MNGO and Yieldlings too. The quantity of $SHRIMP received depends on what collection a user holds.
Ted puts a bunch of work into running the Popcorn Lounge (daily sports bets to stack more $SHRIMP) and is much loved by the community, and me. I really love Ted. We’re constantly thinking of ways to create engagement.
If Algorand is the borderless economy, we want to create the ‘Bored Less’ economy.
What's next for M.N.G.O?
I’ve been working on the "Mostly Frens" companion project since January, aiming for release in the coming month with the artwork nearly finished. Each MNGO and Yieldling acts as a greenlist spot, and there will also be a small public mint. It’s designed to be more accessible and inclusive to a wider audience.
I’ll keep working on MNGO and am keen to make the utility aspects more accessible for those that don’t enjoy spending time in Discords so much.
We’re partnering with other projects at NFT NYC to get more eyes on the space as a whole, rather than competing with each other and attract Ethereum and Solana collectors who are eager to try a new chain.
What's your advice to artists looking to break into the NFT space?
Think of creative ways to add engagement with your project beyond buying and selling. It's gotten harder to break into the NFT space by repeating what's done before. Octorand is a great example of a project probably no-one anticipated and it instantly catapulted into the top 3 Algo NFT projects. To me that shows people are hungry for innovation as well as collectibles or cool profile pics.
With how cheap and quick transactions are, it's my hope to be a blend of the two.