This article was originally published on Weedmaps and appears here with permission.
Twisted Tree Frog Massive, PotPunks, Blazed Cats, Cannasaurs — are these whimsically named NFT projects just expensive weed-themed toys for crypto bros or a new way of life for stoners on the blockchain? Let’s investigate.
What’s an NFT?
Before we dive into the world of weed and cyber currency, what exactly is an NFT?
Think of it as original digital art collected in a crypto wallet. NFT stands for “non-fungible token” and non-fungible means something that can’t be traded for something else. For example, you can exchange one dollar for another dollar, but a numbered and signed limited-edition photography print cannot be exchanged for that exact print.
And it’s not just art that drives enthusiasts to collect. The digital collections — typically featuring stylized, color-saturated illustrations of visibly baked caricatures — come with utility, which is the value attached to the NFT. Utilities can range from memberships to exclusive communities, invitations to meet-ups in exotic canna-friendly locations (like with Cannabis Crypto Club), to monetary donations for cannabis advocacy groups such as The Last Prisoner Project and The Redemption Foundation. Film photography, multiplayer gaming, and other cult niches have also found homes in the NFT world, which offers highly engaged communities on Twitter and Discord for creators and collectors alike.
Fostering community through cannabis and NFTs
Crypto Cannabis Club, the unofficial gold standard and largest Canna-NFT community, sold out its first mint of 10,000 digital art tokens — cheekily named “NFTokers” — shortly after its highly anticipated August 2021 launch. The goal? According to CCC’s website, “to provide the NFT owners in our community with the most exclusive cannabis experiences in the Metaverse and the real world.”
True to its word, membership benefits include experience-based perks like invitations to its recent soiree at the Astor Club during NFT NYC, metaverse real estate and a play-to-earn (P2E) game, and discounts on physical products from over two dozen partnered cannabis and accessory brands, as well as CCC’s own signature line of flower.
The biggest perk, however, and perhaps the reason for the project’s rampant success, lies in the highly engaged owner community. In addition to CCC-sanctioned events like the aforementioned meetups, organically formed local chapters hold their own real-life events where members connect on a more intimate level, anywhere from Indianapolis to Los Angeles.
CEO Ryan Hunter explained that stoners are “used to a very authentic community. For years we’ve had to make sure that the people we surround ourselves with are people that we can trust … so we’re really trying to bring that into these virtual communities.”
Despite Ethereum losing as much as 75% of its value just this quarter, the robust virtual community of Crypto Cannabis Club continues to gain momentum. According to Hunter, “We’ve seen our community grow over the last month or two because while a lot of other communities in virtual spaces like on Discord and Twitter have become panic rooms or toxic, we’ve really provided a positive space.” On Discord, the year-old Crypto Cannabis Club server has amassed over 12,000 new community members in the last two months alone, bringing their current count to around 35,000.
International reggae sensation and BAYC owner, Collie Buddz, has a simpler approach to uniting his fanbase of crypto-potheads through the Twisted Tree Frog Massive, a collection of 5,555 psychedelic NFTs depicting stoned tree frogs. According to the artist, “We like to drink and smoke there in Bermuda,” hence the “twisted” in the name. These fan-centered “concert sidekicks,” an homage to the native species in his home country, offer utility via prizes, with 5% of all net sales going to a charity of the TTFM community’s choosing.
The future of art, weed, and NFTs
Leaning heavily into the creative side of the project, TTFM brought on Canadian surrealist Blair Goudie — aka Fresh Prints by Blair — to create the collection of pot-loving partying amphibians. Known for melty, dripping iterations of classic ’90s comic book and cartoon characters, Goudie coupled his unique style with classic stoner motifs of cannabis leaves, a rainbow color palette, and smoking paraphernalia to bring the heady art to life.
Collie Buddz said that regardless of the recent market volatility, “NFTs are the way of the future. Your favorite dispensary will definitely have an NFT coming out sometime in the next five years … which will include utilities for getting discounts, exclusive strains, all sorts of stuff.”
A step above traditional art-based NFT projects, play-to-earn games like the agronomy PvP WEEDGANG cultivate community and offer value via token-based gaming. A cannabis breeding experience that “pushes the boundaries of P2E game theory” using “utility-based NFTs with a tokenomics model.” This simulation combines strategy and risk with real-life pheno-hunting principles and game-specific currency. The roadmap promises future perks like access to real-life clubs, events, and apparel drops among other things.
WEEDGANG NFTs prioritize utility over appearance and primarily function as game pawns rather than art. Simulating a real-world cannabis cultivation experience, WEEDGANG players can stake plots of “land” and grow “plants” — both of which are NFTs based on authentic strains from real-life breeders that can be collected, bred, and traded within the game. The personified plants are then placed in a gladiator-style battle royale, appropriately named Strain Battles, where growers face them off and the winner takes home the others’ plants.
Despite the unstable nature of decentralized currencies, NFTs and the communities they’ve kickstarted aren’t going anywhere. And they all have one thing in common: tangible experiences and human interaction. Fueled by the need for connection in a post-quarantine world, NFT communities provide a safe space for like-minded individuals to socialize and support one another. Whether a feeling, a friendship, or an event, these are the moments that keep NFT creators and collectors coming back for more.