MV #17: Planets are Dead, Long Live Planets?
The state of the United Planets as of March 2022
This is MetaVault, the best way to keep up with the Pixel Vault universe: PUNKS Comic, MetaHero, United Planets, $PUNKS, $POW, and lots of DAO.
A quick reminder that the MetaVault podcast is rolling! This past week we welcomed our first guest from Pixel Vault, Jacob Wittman, General Counsel and DAO wunderkind. We discussed DAOs broadly and the Founder's DAO and UPDAO specifically. Jacob provides his thinking on PV's relationship with the DAOs, the benefits of legal wrapped entities, and the potential for distinct personalities within the United Planets. Listen here!
I’m not one who watches floors very much (unless I’m looking to buy), but the prices on all planets are eye-opening. Currently planets are valued at an all-time low. After the Mint Pass #2 snapshot, we saw most planets crash by more than 50% from their pre-MP2 prices. Some in the community suggested that the value of a planet + MP2 will be more than the price dip. That’s not the case currently.
Let’s take The People’s Planet, Jupiter. Prior to MP2 snapshot Jupiter was selling at floor for 0.25. As of today, a Jupiter + MP2 is selling at floor for 0.205, an 18% decrease in value. Yes, this stuff fluctuates. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be even value. Maybe after a massive announcement next week, it’ll be +100%.
The fact remains, many who bought planets at mint prices are facing significant decreases in values — ranging from a 63% loss on Venus tokens to a more modest 21.86% on Saturn. In the table below I evaluated the change in value for each planet from mint price to today, March 20th. The freebies (free claims) I accounted for are: 1 Jupiter Token (.07), 2x Mint Pass 2 (0.27), 1 Elite Ape Coin (0.083).
Many in the community feel that planets and MP2 are undervalued. The idea that you can buy a playable Sidekick via MP2 for .11 is wild. Though reading the Medium article that introduced the MP2 claim experience, the realization that up to 200k could be minted changes how I value MP2:
To accomplish this, the smart contract permits a maximum of 203,282 MintPass 2 NFTs that can be minted. This amount equals the maximum number of planets in the MetaHero Universe (MHU) and creates a reserve to reward collectors for their continued participation in the ecosystem.
Sure, maybe at the end of the day there are only 20k Sidekicks through aggressive deflationary techniques. But 100k - 200k MP2s are a lot of assets. It’s hard to compare the value of a 10k pfp collection to the potential for a 100k pfp collection.
But this isn’t a post about the MP2 valuation. It’s about planets. Why have they lost value so significantly? Let’s explore.
What’s a Planet?
The original pitch for planets was utility: claim an MP2 and voting power within the UPDAO / your planet DAO. Then PV added a wrinkle: if you mint any planet, you’ll get a Jupiter for free (and thus another MP2). Jupiter was short-term utility. MP2 was mid-term. Voting power was long-term utility.
Now, some may disagree with that characterization — planets were always pitched as more than utility. Remember that they’re funding the AAA game development? Or that they’re going to be playable planets? Or that 55% of the mint price was going to “ownership” of the ecosystem? Remember the fun lore that was being built around Jupiter going offline? The People’s Planet? A full universe of stories and interactions? Remember this guy?
We never got to know this lovely entity designed in Odious’ style, because he was never mentioned again (though he did show up very prominently in the Twitter banner that a lot of the PV team are sporting). The lore around Jupiter wasn’t expanded. We know United Planets are a thing, but we don’t know anything about that thing. AAA game development turned into defi game development + AAA game development. And ownership is exciting — but what do we own? And how is that ownership realized? Meaning, do we share in revenue generated by a particular planet? Or the entire UPDAO? What even generates revenue?
Which brings me back to utility. If the short-term and mid-term utility are now complete, are we simply waiting for long-term utility? Does PV have more utility up their sleeves? Might the UPDAO be an answer?
Now that the MP2 claim is complete and we’re anxiously waiting for the full Sidekick reveal and level-up mechanics, we can focus on when planets might feel like discrete assets in the PV ecosystem. Everything I lay out below is pure speculation based on closely following the company — but speculation nonetheless.
April - May. The UPDAO is established through collaboration between PV and the community. We’re now able to process initial proposals and votes. This is a major step in establishing what the UPDAO is and isn’t. The community can begin influencing the MH Universe and game interaction. To be clear, I don’t think this will be enough to move the market. I don’t think the UPDAO will feel as interactive as individual DAOs and the influence they can exert on their planet. Listen to Episode 8 of the MetaVault podcast where Jacob talks about the ability for an individual planet to express their own personality through fundamental dynamics that are particular to that planet — meaning, if Mars wanted to be the planet that distributed all unminted Mars tokens to current holders, they could vote on it. If Pluto wanted to mint their own 10k PfP project to fund the development of a Pluto comic, they could vote on it.
June - August. Prior to launch of the defi game we see a massive land claim and sale. My speculation is that anyone owning a token can claim a parcel of land for free and a certain percentage of available land will go on sale. What’s a metaverse without land?!
Then we see individual planet DAO voting established. People now get to influence their planet’s direction. Maybe the first big vote for each planet DOA is distribution of land. I could see some planets wanting to distribute all available land to current holders. Others may make it a lottery. Others may require everyone to buy the land as a way to fund new initiatives. The possibilities are endless.
This is when markets would move. This kind of interaction is exciting and a real reason to hold. But not nearly as exciting as what’s next…
September - December. The defi game launches in the fall, enabling the community to actually play in the world for the first time. Whether that’s as a planet, MetaHero, Sidekick, or other partner NFT projects, this is what draws eyes and moves markets. We don’t know which planets will be playable, but let’s say it’s just Mercury. What’s happening on Mercury that’s exciting for players? Can we buy stuff? Can we mine stuff? Can we raid? Do we have to pick a faction? What’s the difference between a hero and a villain? And, back to the original “ownership” question, what benefits would an owner of a Mercury token receive? A $POW tax on every marketplace transaction? If the game is exciting as I expect it to be, the market will go nuts for all PV products that interact on the platform. In fact, if I was PV, I’d say only PV products can play on the platform for the first six months. Incentivize PV holders, prototype the environment through the community, then onboard the masses.
I expect by the end of 2022, we’ll have a clear sense of what a planet is and what it’s role is in the larger ecosystem.
This is a harder question for a lot of reasons. Let’s examine it from three angles:
Lore. We’re five months into holding these planets and know nothing about them. Why do they exist? Who’s running them? What do they think about each other? If you extend it out to the broader ecosystem, what’s the difference between Molten and Strobe suits? Are the MetaHeroes at war? And are they protecting their origin planets? Are those the factions? There are only questions here. We have no answers as of now.
Profitability. The dream when planets sold for 0.5 to 5 ETH seems incredibly distant in a NFT space that’s filled with ‘wen utility.’ I don't see a clear path to profitability for people who minted Mercury at 5 ETH. What mechanics might be established that returns game revenue to holders? What dynamics that occur on that planet might entice people to buy in? As of now, mostly people buy it to complete a planet set with the hope for future utility. The hope for future utility can’t always be the value. What’s intrinsic to each planet that would drive market interest?
$POW. How will $POW be incorporated into the game? Do we buy things with it? Do we earn it? Do we steal it? Do we mine resources that we can convert into $POW? Sure, we’ll have staking of MetaHeroes and Sidekicks, but that’s not exciting to the market. Could we see deflationary mechanics? Maybe every transaction sees a 10% tax where 50% of that goes to the planet you’re playing on, 25% goes to the UPDAO and 25% gets burned. I’m not a tokenomics pro — so don’t shoot me for an idea that would result in zero $POW tokens in existence within 69 days of the game launch. But clarifying $POW’s position in the game and its tie to the planets is important.
The answer to this question should be PV’s top priority. MetaHeroes are cool. Sidekicks are fun. But a large portion of the community bought into PV for the first time through planets — which came with an enormous mint price. They’ve been holding them for five months and for most of that time haven’t felt the same kind of joy the early collectors have. What will the next five months bring that will make planet holders feel warm and fuzzy?
Some Disclaimers: None of this is financial advice. DYOR. And yes, I’m obviously a PV collector and long-term hodlr. Not a whale by any measure (maybe a squid?).