A year after the successful Moonbirds NFT drop, Proof co-founder and CEO Kevin Rose reflected on the NFT market’s chaotic nature, especially with everything going “up and to the right.”
The past year has been up and down for Proof since the launch of Moonbirds mint in April 2022. It saw a massive demand at launch, racking up around $280 million worth of trades. Proof raised money off the buzzy launch, but the NFT market soon tumbled, and some holders expressed disagreement with Proof’s choice to release the artwork for public use and commercialization.
Some of its plans fell through, including canceling this year’s Proof of Conference event due to a lack of demand and scrapping the planned Project Highrise “social universe” platform.
“Great businesses take many years to be built, it turns out. It can’t be done in less than a year,” Rose said, adding that building in public is really difficult. “If you show all of your dirty laundry, your community has to be willing to understand that it’s messy along the way.”
Rose said that it’s better to be right than consistent. For Proof, this means concentrating on digital art and collecting while scaling back initiatives that were not viable or didn’t align with the company’s objectives.
Today, PROOF founders @kevinrose and @justinmezzell released a Q1 update detailing the purpose and future of the brand. Don’t have an hour to watch? Don’t worry, here are the major takeaways:
— Moonbirds (🦉, 🎨) (@moonbirds) March 2, 2023
Renewed focus on curation
With Proof’s renewed focus on digital art, the company has been curating unique and exclusive events for collectors. For example, during NFT NYC, Proof held a gallery show at Venus Over Manhattan called “Evolving Pixels,” curated by Emily Xie, a generative artist, featuring various selections created by generative and AI-assisted artists.
Proof has been emphasizing “curation with a point of view,” by providing exclusive Grails mints for Proof Collective NFT holders. But the company aims to broaden its reach and invites other renowned curators to participate.
Proof hosted a private event for only 400 community members with Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann, the artist responsible for the highest NFT sale ever. During the event, Beeple live-created a piece of artwork while taking suggestions from the crowd. Only a few attendees had the opportunity to obtain the artwork as NFTs, with only ten copies minted in total.
— BΞΞBS (🥃,🦉,🔮,⌐◨-◨) (@Beebzing) April 14, 2023
Despite the subdued atmosphere of the core NFT NYC 2023 event compared to last year’s, the side events held by various projects and communities were still vibrant and showed the potential of Web3. Still, the bear market affects many creators.
“Holy shit have the last few months been tough, right? Every NFT collection has been impacted in some way,” Rose said. “But we’re finally getting to a place where I think we’re kind of bottoming out, and people are like, ‘Okay, these are the people that are going to continue to build this space, and they’re going to be for the next decade to come.'”
As a co-founder of Digg and a former Google Ventures venture capitalist, Rose has experienced both successes and failures in the tech industry. However, he admits that the NFT market has been a unique and wild ride, unlike anything he’s seen before.
“No one’s been a part of something like this that’s been this much of a roller coaster like that,” Rose said of the NFT market. “Outside of, say, the stock market in general—but even that is way more defined and more stable than what this has been.”