We were dead; now we are undead
Written by Doctorboom 💥
Authentic; truly what something is said to be
Genuine Undead (GU) is a digital art project that was released on the 13th of August 2022 as a silent free mint. A 10K masterpiece pixel art collection by an anonymous artist (the founder) who described it as a “24*24 pixel art collection you have never seen before.”
Very rarely, within the Web3 space, does a genuinely unique collection appear. The bulk of Web3 projects are in some way, shape or form, derivatives of one another, copying the art style, traits, theme and sometimes even the business model of the original. Genuine Undead is a unique collection from every perspective. It has a unique beginning, unique branding, unique art style, unique community with a unique ethos and a unique model that has never been achieved in Web3.
The art speaks for itself. While browsing the collection, one contemplates how the founder used every pixel to absolute perfection, to achieve the pinnacle of what can be created within the confines of a 24 by 24 grid. Despite the format’s constraints, the artist was able to create unsurpassed detail, depth and fidelity compared to previous attempts within the same format. I would go so far to say that, from a technical standpoint, it is the best pixel art collection to ever exist.
The traits in the Genuine Undead collection evoke a sense of mesmerisation, imagination, and spontaneous storytelling for fans and collectors alike. During a recent AMA with Stephen Fung (an international award-winning film director) he agreed that the very nomenclature for “the GU collections traits invite storytelling and imagination”. Stories of Lous and Roys (trait types within the GU collection) have circulated from the very beginning, as well as a host of other lore. The GU collection invites such imagination and has thus spawned a flood of memes, lore, fan art, and ‘banter’ amongst the community. This enriches the community and the project as a whole.
Although differing in art styles, both Cryptopunks (the first pixel art NFT project) and GU use a 24 x 24 format of pixel art. However, the difference overall between the impact and the artistic expression is like night and day. GU achieves images that look abstract upon close inspection and profoundly detailed when shrunk down and used as a personal profile picture (PFP).
Many collections such as Cryptopunks, Doodles and BAYC have seen numerous derivatives spawn in their wake. During the bear market of 2022, Web3 has become a breeding ground for unimaginative derivative projects, promising whitelists, mutants, serums, staking rewards and other ‘utilities’, in a last ditch effort to continue to create engagement from its community. However, most have failed to provide anything other than hype. A large portion of these communities and investors were ignored, rugged (used as exit liquidity), left unheard and eventually designated to hold their NFTs as their respective value dwindled and as their gated Discord servers suffered a similar slow decline.
This formula must change in order to breathe new life into the Web3 digital art space. Genuine Undead is changing this formula.
Rise and Shine
The Genuine Undead collection released without prior marketing, no project roadmaps and no community preparation or hype. When I checked the official Twitter page on day one of the release, there were only around 200 Twitter followers. This was unusual to me at first. I was accustomed to seeing thousands of followers for even the most basic of projects, comparatively, this was certainly one of the best art collections I had seen in some time. The founder was quietly reserved during the initial release and there were no persistent updates, also something we had normally become conditioned to expect. Nevertheless, if you were to see my twitter feed in those ‘early’ days, even still today, it had / has become completely consumed by GU, with people from all over the world marvelling at the intricacies and beauty of this pixel art collection.
When the founder awoke the next day, to this frenzy and saw over 300 ETH in trading volume on Opensea, his reaction was literally “I am going to die.” He was genuine and unfiltered. It became clear that the founder had not expected this sudden, almost viral uptake, at all, and he announced to the public at the time he would not be organising a Discord, there would be no roadmap and that you can use the PFP’s as you like. Later on he confessed to me that “I am an artist; not a leader.” Despite this temporary lack of guidance it did not deter the community that was forming rapidly, rallying around this stunning art which they viewed as a diamond in the rough.
As the only person with direct contact to the founder, it fell upon my shoulders to provide some foundation for the community to build upon. I set up a Discord, of my own accord, as an unofficial community server, bringing everyone together and started harnessing the energy of the community. I did this alongside my career as a senior emergency medicine doctor, in the UK. The launch coincided whilst I was on five straight nights, on 12 hour shifts, however, despite this I felt the happiest I had ever been. It felt to me as though I was involved in something far more important than my own significance. I was rewarded by the same energy reflecting back from all other community members, many ready and willing to put their time and effort into this labour of love. Certainly, from a metaphorical standpoint we were dead; now we had arisen as the undead and this was our time to shine.
Shortly after that, the founder recognised the community Discord as the official Discord, provided us with access to the Twitter account, and vowed to support us indefinitely through ideas and artistic input. He placed his trust in complete strangers scattered across the globe, to propagate the forgotten message of Satoshi and he believed in all of us. This gift, of project autonomy, was in and of itself, an expression of art in its truest form, and it inspired the GU community to uphold and honour the genuine values we hope to rekindle Web3 with, in the hopes that it will lead to good.
The founder communicated with the community by delivering three ‘Green Papers’, setting out his thoughts, vision and ethos for the project. Genuine Undead embodies decentralisation, community, genuineness, innovation and freedom. GU strives to become a symbol of resistance, or rebirth, of constantly challenging the impossible.
One of the messages sent to me by the founder reads:
“Tell the people I’m not going anywhere. I never thought GU would turn me into a millionaire. That’s why I’m willing to lower my royalties to 2.5%, that’s why I’m willing to let people i’ve never met help us run the whole community, because I believe everyone has the right to decide, and isn’t that what decentralisation is all about? In fact when I discovered that GU could be used as a way to unite people in their beliefs, all my ideas were reinforced.
Using GU as a carrier to deliver our values is more important of a task than anything else. Any change will lead to doubt and suspicion, I understand that. There is definitely a road full of thorns in front of us and I am not afraid”
The Community is the Utility
It was these inspirational words from the founder that delivered his universal Web3 message, in combination with this extraordinary art collection which inspired individuals from all over the world to rise up, band together and dedicate themselves to uplift this project. Those efforts kickstarted the formation of a strong and diverse community, a vibrant and respectful Discord, daily Twitter Spaces and a multitude of chat groups. Councils have been formed to steer the project on a true course, in accordance with the principles and ethos of the founder. Councils which help to create focussed discussion, delegate responsibilities and provide a launchpad for creators and thinkers to collaborate with each other, to realise their Web3 dreams.
In the short time we have been able to self-organise we have already amassed a voluntary, passionate team of creators, developers, artists, musicians and thinkers of 100 individuals. All of whom, under the banner of GU will be working to change Web3 into what it was meant to be. The success of GU to date is undeniable. The Twitter engagement statistics, not to mention the stable floor price, prove that this model is working. All from a free mint project with no influencer promotion, no hype and no budget for marketing. All this, in a deep bear market. This is a testament to the spectacular art and the palpable genuineness of the community.
After the art, the most significant thing that GU offers is its community. Our motto is “The community is the Utility,” and we show it every day. This community will support the project through all obstacles, through the highs and the lows. Resultantly, by having a captivated, heard and involved community who has been given purpose, the project cannot die. We cannot die because we are undead. Genuine Undead.
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