WTF are Nounlets?!

Published in
7 min readSep 14, 2022

Nounlets are a new way to own an individual Noun, together!

🔥Update (1/18/2023)🔥
After adding a few new features and ways to participate we are excited to introduce the next evolution of Nounlets!

TL:DR on what’s new:

  • Permissionless tributing for Noun owners
  • Community voting on the next Noun to be auctioned (follow @nounletswtf for auction and voting information)
  • 25 min Nounlet auctions
  • Support for more Nouns & more frequent auctions

The biggest change is that we are introducing a new mechanism called tributing. With tributing, any Noun owner can permissionlessly add their Noun to a waitlist, signaling the desire to put their Noun up for potential Nounlets auction.

How the fuck tributing works:

  • Any Noun owner can tribute a Noun
  • By tributing a Noun, owners are signing a transaction that gives the vaulting contract the permission to move the Noun to the waitlist for potential auction
  • While tributed, the Noun can be voted on and Vaulted for Nounlets auction at any time
  • Nouns owners can un-tribute their Noun from the tribute list up until it has been Vaulted for auction
  • Note: it cannot be un-tributed if it has been Vaulted
  • The community will vote for the next Nounlets auction
  • The Noun with the most votes will be auctioned
  • Follow @nounletswtf for updates on voting and Nounlets auctions

The second major change is that each individual Nounlet auction will only last 25min until all 100 have been sold–so get ’em while they’re hot!

General Nounlets Overview

Nounlets is a new application from Tessera where each Nounlet NFT represents 1% of a vaulted Noun and has a vote in delegating the Noun’s governance rights. The elected delegate then has the ability to join the official Nouns private discord channel, vote in governance, and submit governance proposals in Nouns DAO. In short, the delegate is the Nounlets’ community representative within Nouns DAO.

Each vaulted Noun will produce 100 Nounlets, all of which have their own unique IDs and metadata. This means the head will always be the same as the vaulted Noun, but the glasses, body, accessory, and background will be different.

Here is an example with Noun 0’s base Noun and a Nounlet based on Noun 0.

Noun and Nounlet

Why make Nounlets?
Currently, to participate in Nouns you can either own a full Noun and get full access to the ecosystem or join subDAOs like Lil Nouns which are much more involved and have a governance structure of their own that you need to worry about.

With subDAOs the voting overhead is even more than that of Nouns itself. This can be tiring and unsustainable. With Nounlets the goal is simple, we want to provide users a fun, accessible, and simplified experience as a subDAO in NounsDAO.

We focused on three main things: the Nounlets art, delegation, and vault wind down.

With the art we felt it was important to both show that all of these Nounlets were linked while letting users have a unique way to identify themselves. In order to achieve this, all Nounlets have the same head attribute but randomize attributes for all of the rest.

Delegation is at the heart of how Nounlets participate in Nouns governance. One Nounlet is equal to one vote in who should be the delegate for the vaulted Noun. This means that you can really choose your own adventure when it comes to how involved you are in Nounlets governance. Are you busy but have a friend you trust? Delegate to them! Are you passionate about Nouns but can’t afford one yourself? Campaign to be the highest vote-getting delegate for Nounlets and represent the community to NounsDAO!

Lastly, it can be hard to know when to wind down a DAO. With Nounlets we try to make that part easier as well. We developed a simple mechanism to allow anyone who holds a Nounlet to offer to purchase the entire Noun from the rest of the group. This way the community can decide when it is time to move on to the next governance experiment gracefully.


How are Nounlets distributed?
The 100 Nounlet NFTs are auctioned off every 25 minutes, similar to how Nouns are auctioned off every 24 hours. The main difference is that Nounlets have a supply cap of 100 and Nouns have an unlimited supply.

This means a full distribution of 100 Nounlets will take around 42 hours.

How often are Nounlet auctions?
Nounlet auctions take place following the close of the vote. Voting and auctions can take place at any time. Follow @nounletswtf or our Discord to stay-up-to-date on Nounlets voting and auction information. Stay tuned for updates on additional voting and participation mechanisms.

How can the vaulted Noun be reconstituted?
Reconstitution is only possible after all 100 Nounlets have been sold and the auction has ended. The Noun can be reconstituted (meaning one person buys the entire Noun from the Vault) using what we call an optimistic buyout.

In an optimistic buyout, someone who wants to buy the vaulted Noun makes a bid to buy the Noun out of the Vault, which the Nounlet holders implicitly accept if the rejection criteria of purchasing all the bidder’s Nounlets aren’t met.

In this mechanism, the bidder must name a price and put up at least 1 of their Nounlets as collateral. All other participants (whether they currently hold a Nounlet or not) are able to reject this bid by purchasing all of the Nounlets used as collateral at the fixed price proposed by the buyer.

Optimistic buyouts will last for 7 days before being accepted. If all Nounlets are purchased at the implied valuation before 7 days have passed, the buyout ends and is rejected.

You can learn more about Optimistic Buyouts and see how they work on on our mechanism series blog.

How can I participate with other Nounlet owners to push collective NFT ownership forward?
You can join the Tessera Discord and use the #🔒| collabland-join channel to verify ownership of your Nounlet(s).

After this, you’ll see the #⌐◨-◨ | Nounlets channel where you can communicate with other Nounlet owners and push the collective ownership of the vaulted Noun forward.

What are the fees and royalties?
There is a 5% fee on the primary sale of all 100 Nounlets. That means 95% of auction proceeds are trustlessly sent to the original Noun owner and 5% of auction proceeds are sent to Tessera. There are no royalties for Nounlets.

How do I vote to choose the Nounlets delegate in NounsDAO?
On the Nounlets page under the auction area is a delegate leaderboard.

This leaderboard shows the top three voted delegates. You can click “Cast Votes” to cast a vote for one of the top three. You can click “See Full Leaderboard’ to cast your vote for someone else.

On the Vote tab, you can see all of the votes for delegates, and you can cast a vote for any address. Your votes will show as blue dots in the Votes column once they’re cast.

What happens if I vote to delegate and then transfer the Nounlet to another wallet?
When a Nounlet is transferred the delegate will be automatically assigned to the receiver’s wallet address. If you transfer your Nounlet to a wallet that is already delegating Nounlet votes to a different wallet address, then the delegate votes will automatically point to the different wallet address.

I’m confused af, do you have any examples of optimistic buyouts?
We also use Optimistic Buyouts (OBs) on Tessera. You can see an example of how OBs work by checking out our blog, or reading a quick overview in this thread.

Here’s an example of how an OB might look on Nounlets:
Alice has 3 Nounlets and wants to buy the whole Noun for 100 ETH (wagmi).

To do this, she puts up her 3 Nounlets as collateral and deposits 97 ETH (for a total of 100 ETH in value — 97 ETH plus 3 ETH in implied Nounlet value based on 3 Nounlets at 1 ETH each.)

Bob owns 1 Nounlet and thinks that the bid of 100 ETH is too low.

He only has 2 ETH so he buys 2 of Alice’s NFTs.

There is now 99 ETH in the pool and 1 Nounlet remains.

Carlos also thinks the price is too low.

He does not have any NFTs but has been waiting for a good time to buy.

He buys Alice’s last Nounlet for 1 ETH.

At this point, the bid has been rejected, Bob got 2 more Nounlets, Carlos got 1 Nounlet and Alice gets 100 ETH (Original 97 + 3 from her Nounlets sales + bid rejection.)

Want to learn more?

Come vibe with us 💫💜💚



Disclaimer: Tesserae (rae tokens) are solely intended to increase participant access to collectable, provable ownership of digital art and their respective communities. Tessera, its directors, officers, and team members are not registered investment advisers and do not support the creation, buying, or selling of raes for investment purposes. Tessera is not responsible for how vaulters choose to market their vaulted NFTs. Similarly, Tessera does not create, control, or manage certain third-party intermediary platforms or networks through which raes can be transferred, sold, or purchased. All vaulted NFTs are custodied in non-custodial smart contracts that Tessera does not control. Publications from Tessera are solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult and work directly with tax, legal, financial, and investment professionals before making any Tesserae creation, transfer, sale, and purchase decisions.