We got together with the new owners of the AvaPepe project, Chagram and Tatak, for an AMA session. Not long after the initial sellout of the NFTs within 53 minutes, the community initiated a takeover of the project to make sure it got the recognition it deserved after the mint was completed.
How did you first get into NFTs?
I was actually really cautious around NFTs because I have to completely understand all aspects of a potential investment before buying in. However, I couldn’t resist and I actually bought my first Ethereum NFT on OpenSea. It was very cheap and a great entry point into the NFT world. But as you can imagine, the transaction gas fees were higher than the actual value of the NFT!
Do you know the original inspiration behind the Ava Pepe project?
We all know Pepes as memes that are widely used on social media platforms. I myself have actively used Pepes when chatting online to explain my state of mind. They really help to convey how you feel. I have also started to notice Pepes in the Real World, most recently in the Hong Kong protests. It was interesting to see them used on a political platform. Avalanche users started to adopt Pepes and to me, it’s become the best mascot of Avalanche. We think that it was only natural that there should be Avax NFTs for Pepes. And today, they are here under the name of AvaPepes!
What do you think differentiates you from the other Avax projects out there?
There are some really great projects on the Avalanche Blockchain right now. I have personally witnessed the rise of AvaxPunks, AvaxApes and PartyAnimals. The Avax NFT scene is definitely skyrocketing. But there are some aspects to our project that makes AvaPepes stand out. Firstly, Pepes hold the record for the highest gas fee spike, due to the overwhelming demand during our mint. Our project really captured the imagination of the community and many people came from other blockchains to mint Pepes. Secondly, the organic relationship between the Avalanche community and Pepe memes. Thirdly, the artwork that forms the Pepes is eye-catching and unique. And the final point, which is the most important and interesting part; we are probably the first NFT community that took steps to ensure that our community survived by persuading the initial development team to let us run the project for the greater good of the community.
So, with regards to the recent community takeover, could you please tell us about what and how it happened?
Yes, I never thought it would get to the point where we would take control of someone else’s project but unfortunately, the initial designers made some major mistakes during the project’s launch and after the mint was completed. I was an early adopter myself from the very beginning and witnessed the team mishandling various situations. We saw the below problems emerging and knew that we had to help in some way to save the Pepes.
The initial team was under-prepared and not able to implement the tokenomics system they had promised. They failed to open a smooth native marketplace after the mint was completed, this led to issues with distributing the promised royalties to Pepe minters. Their intention was to open an AvaxApes style marketplace but it was so late and not thought out that by the time it did open it was super slow and wasn’t user friendly. The tokenomics system didn’t work until NFTrade upgraded its system to enable the tokenomics implementation function. All initial momentum and the community hype was lost and people were disappointed.
They organised giveaways that were very popular in the space but they failed to send the reward to them. At the time I was in contact with the founder aka “GoldenBoi”, he never replied to me which was really frustrating.
Eventually, they completely stopped communicating with the community. I’m not talking about poor communication, it was absolutely zero communication for weeks after the mint.
Myself and Tatak decided via DMs that as the founders had effectively left without notice we had nothing to lose, so we became positive trolls. We realised that alone we couldn’t do much, but together we could at least bring some fun to the community. So, every day we posted rockets in discord to try and get a reaction, FOMO and Pepe stickers were our weapons. Some people did not understand us. Then one day we made a non-official announcement that looked “official”. We were trying to keep the community spirit high as there was an upcoming Kalao market listing for Pepes and the founders were absent. We posted things like Pepes to the moon! AH UH Come on Come on! Buy now or regret tomorrow! Then we just kept on making announcements, this was our way to protest. We wanted to show the founders that it’s not hard to communicate and engage with the community, that there are many reasons to be hopeful. At this point, we believe that the founders had already left the project, mentally.
One day someone asked “who is Tatak?” and I said that he is the new owner of the project, but GoldenBoi hasn’t announced it yet! Of course, people were confused but I saw then that a community takeover could work. I didn’t think that it would actually become real until the day that GoldenBoi officially abandoned the project, taking the remaining funds and giving us access to the official social media accounts.
Unfortunately, Goldenboi didn’t leave anything in the way of funds and we did not have access to the wallet that collected royalties. If we did have this access, we would have honoured the past giveaways and fairly distributed the royalties as the project promised. Currently, our strength is based on the community and the donations we are receiving right now.
????Ladies & Gentlemen????
Despite the excellent idea behind AvaPepes, we know that we could not do our best for the community.
But, the founders of AvaPepes have been changed.
From now on, we officially announce that AvaPepes continue their journey as a community-driven management! pic.twitter.com/De3i99plNs
— AVAPEPE ???? (@avapepes) November 17, 2021
How do you plan to maintain and grow your community to ensure longevity and growing value?
We have great plans and a lot of hope for the future of the project. Everyone can stand and fight to the end if they believe in something. Currently, we are out of funds but I am so eager to show everyone that this is not about money, it is the principle. We are working on ways to financially support the project, such as organising lottery-based events, Twitter promotion and communicating with the big players to collaborate in official ways that will benefit the community. I would really love to surprise the community with a utility NFT gaming aspect that I have been working on.
Everyone we speak to has reacted well to our activities on social media and that shows that we still have a strong and active community. That’s why we will fight to repair the project and build the community back better than before.
How big is the new community team?
Tatak and I are mostly doing everything ourselves, but we are starting to share our responsibilities with other community members. After our lottery event is complete we will be making an exciting new announcement to the community.
Where are you based?
Tatak lives in Istanbul, and I’m a very mobile person, now currently in the city of Samsun on the Black Sea.
Any advice for people starting their NFT project?
Oh yes, as far as I have seen from the past mistakes of this project, planning is an easy thing to accomplish, but the real challenge is the execution. Your team must consist of people you can rely on and trust. The crypto world is lucrative and is a very tempting place for unscrupulous people. Finally, protect the community, protect the project. Even if things get bad, never underestimate the power of good communication.
Do you have any thoughts on the Avalanche blockchain vs others?
I’m a big fan of Avalanche, that’s for sure. The majority of my portfolio is in this ecosystem as Avalanche is technically very strong and my prediction is it will keep growing to greater heights. It’s eco-friendly and ready to easily comply with future regulations.
We would love to know if there is any particular Ava Pepe that you love?
You know what, this is a really hard question to answer as I love all of them. I didn’t have to think this much for the other questions!.
I personally love the golden skin and toga outfit combination. I think #9931 is my favourite. This Pepe looks to be reflecting the Pepes current mood, they are the kings of Avax NFTs.
We have our own list of projects that we are interested in both currently and in the near future, could you share some that you personally like or are getting excited about in the future?
So, you now are certified as an OG Avalanche NFT project. With the recent development of exciting projects such as Party Animals, it’s quite an interesting scene out there, how do you “keep up with the Joneses”?
Oh yes, our competition in this space is strong, which is great because we are collectors ourselves and love to see people doing well. There are so many new projects launching on the Avalanche scene, but we feel good about our position, as the NFT scene is becoming increasingly noticed by the public world every day. The Kalao marketplace is also a very exciting prospect as it will make NFTs on Avalanche even more accessible!
Make sure to follow the team on Twitter for more updates!
If you liked this article, you’ll love AvaPepe 10,000 / 1 hour NFT Mint