Newsletter #160: Plush Toy Success

This week’s featured collector is RyanCarneli

RyanCarneli is an Olympic athlete and NFT collector. Check out his NFT collection at is the easiest way to create a gallery of your NFT collection. Show some love for NFTs by sharing this newsletter with your friends!


The results of last week’s poll: As AI advances, what role do you think NFTs will play in the future of artificial intelligence?

Last week’s poll results reveal a fascinating divide in opinions on the future relationship between NFTs and AI. Half of the respondents believe that these two groundbreaking technologies will largely develop independently, with minimal interaction. However, the other half sees potential for NFTs to play a role in the AI landscape, whether it’s by ensuring accountability, monetizing AI creations, or even representing distinct AI “personalities.”

For NFT collectors, these results offer a glimpse into the diverse possibilities that lie ahead. While the majority view suggests that NFT collectibles may remain largely separate from the world of AI, the minority perspectives hint at intriguing potential intersections. As both AI and NFTs continue to evolve and mature, savvy collectors should keep an eye on emerging trends.

Pudgy Penguins’ Plush Toy Success: Lessons and Considerations for NFT Collectors

Luca Netz, the CEO who acquired Pudgy Penguins a year after its launch, has released a video claiming the NFT collection has sold over one million plush toys in less than a year. Through partnerships with retailers such as Walmart, Target, Hot Topic, and specialty stores worldwide, the project has demonstrated the potential for NFT brands to extend their reach beyond the digital realm.

For NFT collectors, the success of Pudgy Penguins’ plush toy line offers a compelling case study in the potential benefits of diversification. By venturing into the realm of physical merchandise, Pudgy Penguins has tapped into a new source of revenue and expanded its reach beyond the digital collectibles market. This move demonstrates how exploring tangible products can help NFT projects connect with a wider audience and potentially mitigate the risks associated with relying solely on the volatile world of digital assets.

However, it’s essential to approach these developments with a critical eye. While Pudgy Penguins’ success is noteworthy, it’s crucial to consider the long-term sustainability of such ventures and the challenges that may arise as the NFT market evolves, or other projects try the same playbook. In any case, it is a fascinating case study in bringing NFT culture to a wider audience.

Pioneers of the NFT Revolution: Insights from the Early Days of Blockchain-Based Art

Kevin McCoy: Quantum, 2014/2021

In this fascinating interview, three pioneering digital artists—Rhea Myers, Jennifer McCoy, and Kevin McCoy—share their experiences and insights from the early days of blockchain-based art. With decades of experience working at the intersection of art and technology, these artists were among the first to explore the potential of blockchain for creating unique, scarce digital artworks. Their early experiments and innovations laid the groundwork for the NFT revolution that would follow years later, making their perspectives invaluable for understanding the history and future of the medium.

One of the key lessons that emerges from the interview is the importance of experimentation and pushing boundaries. Kevin McCoy’s Monegraph project, presented in 2014, was an early attempt to create a system for registering unique digital artworks on the Bitcoin blockchain. While the system was ultimately more complex than what emerged with Ethereum and ERC-721 tokens, it demonstrated the potential for digital scarcity and ownership in the art world. For NFT collectors, this underscores the value of supporting artists who are willing to take risks and explore new frontiers, as their work may pave the way for future innovations.

The interview also emphasizes the importance of understanding the technical underpinnings of the platforms and protocols being used. Myers and the McCoys’ early experiments with various blockchain systems reveal how the limitations and possibilities of different platforms can shape the creative process. As the technology has evolved, so too have the opportunities for digital artists. For collectors, this suggests that a deep understanding of the technical landscape is crucial for making informed decisions about which artists and projects to support.

Finally, the discussion of Bitcoin Ordinals and the return to on-chain, UTXO-based ownership models underscores the cyclical nature of innovation in the space. As Myers notes, Ordinals represent a kind of “return of the repressed,” harkening back to the early days of blockchain-based art while also pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with Bitcoin. For NFT collectors, this is a reminder that the space is constantly evolving, and that staying attuned to new developments and experimentation is key to understanding the long-term potential of the medium. By supporting artists who are at the forefront of these innovations, collectors can help shape the future of digital art and ensure that the NFT space remains a vibrant and dynamic field for years to come.

Read the full interview at

This week’s poll: What’s the lesson you take from the Pudgy Penguins’ plush toy success?

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