Ascension: The Rise of the DEGENerations Project

Hey friends 👋

Back in January, some of us more avid users of Farcaster received an airdrop of what we expected to be another flash-in-the-pan memecoin. Simply called DEGEN, after the Farcaster channel of the same name, it was not the first such token built for this community. In fact I wrote about several others in the Q&A section of January's newsletter.

Little did any of us know, however, this wouldn't be like the others. DEGEN rocketed out of control, gaining tremendous value in a short time. In fact, I sold my airdrop, originally worth around a thousand dollars, bit by bit, for a total of around $7.6k, which combined with the sale of my Farcaster OG NFT, allowed me to pay off all of my remaining debt. It was a massive moment for me and I had to share it on Farcaster. The outpouring of kindness and support I received literally brought me to tears.

from /finance on farcaster
from /finance on farcaster

In honour of the success of DEGEN, before I even sold, I created a collection of free mints called DEGENerations. The name was inspired by my generative AI art project, Generations.

It was a pretty time-consuming project and got almost no mints, so I decided that on February 1st, I would end the open mint period. I had something else in mind, so I shared a sneaky little hint on Farcaster.

from /degen on farcaster
from /degen on farcaster

And I did have something else in mind, of course...

The Grande Finale

The first week of February was a busy one. Between watching the price of DEGEN constantly, trying to decide whether or not to sell and pay my debt; interacting with my new Hypersub patrons and trying to engage with the massive amount of new followers I was gaining on Farcaster; while also working full-time and suffering from a wicked cold; I didn't have nearly as much time as I wanted.

Still, I found a little pocket to work on my secret project: The DEGENerations Finale.

from /degen on farcaster
from /degen on farcaster

The idea was simple: a set of two NFT artworks. One dark, one light. One bearish, one bullish. Inspired in part by PolyMarket, I thought it could be fun to allow collectors to signal their sentiment for where the DEGEN token was headed; the artworks feature the beloved degentleman’s top-hat as a nod to the token. But more than that, it was an experiment to see whether the "degen market" could stay emotionally invested in anything for more than a hot minute.

In the announcement thread, I stated:

This collection explores how quickly DEGENs move on to the next thing, chasing the pump and dump to maximize profits. Here, you can vote with your dollars and the low-limit capped supply means whichever outcome is more desirable should become more desirable over time.

Well boy was I right that the market was hot and explicitly bullish. After I airdropped one of each of the two tokens to my Hypersub patrons and the folks who had opted to mint all on the original DEGENerations series, I didn't expect much more to happen, yet 24h later, more than 300 of the 420 editions had minted out, including absolutely every copy of the bullishly appealing, Hat in the Clouds. — DEGENerations — DEGENerations

The Real Game Begins

When I was conceiving of the finale, I originally planned to do something much more grand than just a "this or that" vote. I have been trying for some time to conceive of something just a fraction as cool as Chris Torres’ (@PRguitarman) Nyan Balloon burn to mint game.

It's just always been so cool to me this idea of a capped supply collection of NFTs that can be burned to simultaneously reduce supply (increasing scarcity and hopefully value), and introducing new, rarer, collectibles.

It reminds me in many ways of the Choose Your Own Adventure novels I was obsessed with in elementary school. So I took some time in the wake of the initial mint to design the rest of the series.

It would need to do the following things to be worthwhile in my opinion:

  • be difficult enough to be fun, but easy enough to understand

  • be beautiful enough to be art, but still appeal to the same crowd who minted the original NFTs

  • follow a narrative that made sense, like for instance ascension to a higher plane of bullishness.

I eschewed the idea of using an actual bull, instead continuing to focus on the top hat itself and where it was situated in space. In Hat in the Clouds, the hat was already in the sky, so the next obvious place to go was space. What is beyond space though?

Clearly some astral plane in the fourth dimension or even spiritual enlightenment. So I created the endgame, or rather the (DEG)ENDGAME, and then I created the path to it: Transcendence.

One hope I had for writing this issue was to create a clear explainer for this unusual art project / game / experiment. So here’s my attempt at that.

DEGENerations Tutorial

The first 6 NFTs of the DEGENerations collection are irrelevant. They helped to inspire this but they are not otherwise related to “the game,” except in that those who minted all of them received two free tokens: Hat in the Clouds (Zora Edition) and Pipe Dream.

To be “playing the game” in any sense, you would need to hold at least one of these tokens. After all, remember, at the most basic level, holding Hat in the Clouds represents bullishness, and holding Pipe Dream represents bearishness.

In fact, each token has an attribute called sentiment.

  • Pipe Dream = Bearish

  • Hat in the Clouds (Zora) = Bullish

  • Hat in the Clouds (Manifold) = Newly Bullish

  • O.G. = Beyond Bullish

  • Transcendence = Karmic

  • (DEG)ENDGAME = Infallible

That's not really that important but it is a nice touch if I do say so myself. Anyway back to the process.

In order to mint the O.G. which stands, obviously, for Orbital Glow (our newly canonical idea of a radiating aura that comes from immense bullishness) you need to “demonstrate the absence of any bearishness.”

To achieve this you'll need to obtain and then burn 6 Hat in the Clouds. There’s just one problem…

It was my original intention that you would be able to take ANY 6 “Hat in the Clouds” NFT, meaning either the original one from Zora, or the one obtained by burning Pipe Dream on Manifold and burn them to mint the O.G. But Manifold wasn't going to let me make this easy. So, because I can't choose the option to burn one token OR another, but only one token AND another, I had to require:

3x Hat in the Clouds (Zora Edition) AND 3x Hat in the Clouds (Manifold Edition)

With all of that primer out of the way, allow me to explain exactly what to do, step by step to complete the game.

1️⃣ Buy or mint 3x Pipe Dream


2️⃣ Buy 3x Hat in the Clouds (Zora Edition)


3️⃣ Burn 3x Pipe Dream to obtain 3x Hat in the Clouds (Manifold Edition)

4️⃣ Burn 3x Hat in the Clouds (Zora Edition) and 3x Hat in the Clouds (Manifold Edition) to obtain 1x O.G.

This is where most people will stop, but should you wish to continue, you will need to…

5️⃣ Repeat those steps 4 more times to obtain 5x O.G.

6️⃣ Burn 5x O.G. to obtain 1x Transcendence

7️⃣ Repeat those steps 13 more times to obtain 14x Transcendence

8️⃣ Burn 14x Transcendence to obtain 1x (DEG)ENDGAME

Those of you who are paying attention will realize that the only way to ever reach the final stage would be to own (and burn) every NFT from the entire series. So I want to be clear: this is almost certainly not going to happen.

I expect that most people will be happy to hold 1 of the 70 O.G. NFTs which are both extremely rare (the Farcaster OG was 938 editions) and very beautiful (in my humble opinion). A select few will burn 5x O.G. to mint Transcendence which will be even more rare (Only 14 possible, which would require every O.G. to be burned).

So this is my little art project / game / experiment. What do you think? Will you play?

I've linked everything in the steps above if you want to learn more or make a go of it. The links are also available in my bento. I think what I've come up with here is pretty cool and I hope you do to, but before I leave you, I need to say something and I think it’s very important that you read it ⬇️

This is interactive art. While any art or collectible can have value to someone else, none is guaranteed to have financial value, even when dynamics of scarcity are involved. These are non-fungible assets meaning that if no one wants to buy them from you, there may be no way to sell. All purchases should thus be considered as frivolous expenses, like purchasing a video game, a concert ticket, or a painting. They are a means of entertaining oneself.

Nothing in this article or anything I've ever written is financial advice. It's merely entertainment with some educational value, perhaps. I appreciate everyone who reads and supports and I don't want anyone to get rekt so please don't gamble with money you don't have to lose, don't make assumptions about where the value will go without understanding that it may not actually go there, and always do your own research.

If you have any questions about the DEGENerations - Burn to Mint game or the original DEGENerations collection, you can reach out in the official /degenerations channel on Farcaster.

Until next time,

Thumbs Up

This article was brought to you thanks to the gracious support of my Subs Up patrons:

  • thisiszinger.eth

  • riotgoools.eth

  • 0xgetoffdeez.eth

  • taliskye.eth

  • maxorgel.eth

  • cpoetter.eth

  • yashbora.eth

  • maxsl.eth

  • nonlinear.eth

You too can become a monthly supporting patron to unlock special perks on Hypersub

And for the privacy minded patron, I accept anonymous tips with Zcash to my shielded address:

Subscribe to Thumbs Up
Receive the latest updates directly to your inbox.
Mint this entry as an NFT to add it to your collection.
This entry has been permanently stored onchain and signed by its creator.