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In a Bear Market, the NFT Scene Embraces Goblins

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Participants in 2022’s brutal bear market in NFTs and cryptocurrency developed their own “gallows humor” as they experienced losses of 90% or worse. While some NFT “projects” scrambled to develop new “utility” to bring tangible value to JPGs in decline, the New York City-based team Truth Labs embraced the bearish, Tolkien-inspired meme “down down to Goblin-town” to explore new potentialities in performance art and in willful rejection of the idea that NFTs need to “do” anything. Instead, mischievously identifying as crude and fantastical “goblins” became a way for NFT traders and enthusiasts to laugh at absurdities and express communal frustrations.

On May 21, the struggling NFT scene on the Ethereum blockchain witnessed a respite with the surprise successful launch of “goblintown.wtf,” an NFT collection of 10,000 “ugly,” little goblins of fantasy lore, which could be used as “profile pictures,” or PFPs, on social media. While some goblins still wore astronaut gear from aborted financial trips to “the moon,” others were resigned to…

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