There is a common perception that most NFT projects being released are garbage and will not sustain their value over time. The long-promised “NFT winter” would sort this out. Only a handful of this first generation will survive in the long run, and most blue chips 10 years from now probably haven’t released yet.
However, if I challenge you to zoom in and to tell me specifically which project will survive the decade to come, I won’t receive identical answers. This is where the conundrum starts.
Macro trend is quite easy to predict, but picking winners and losers — and at the right timing — is where the challenge lies. Everybody has been introduced to NFTs through a different prism, had their first experience in a different project and community, is sensible to a different type of art, is interested in different perks, etc. Scanning through all major projects and interacting with each community is impossible, so asymmetry of information is big. In the end, everyone is biased, so you will find communities and individuals to defend every project.
At some point, I felt I had to descontruct my initial bias to rebuild it after a while spent in the NFT world. And, because of the fierce amount of competition, I better had put my money in a project with nothing but a good amount of competitive advantages. On top of that, that project had to be welcoming and aligned with my values. It had to give me confidence that it won’t disappear overnight. It had to set the foundations to build its own identity, brand, culture. It had to embrace codes of web3. And, from an investor’s perspective, it had to have a good risk-reward ratio. While still biased, I found myself much more confident backing a horse according to a more thoughtful list of criteria.
I have found only one project that ticked all the boxes. Let me share it with you all.
It is called Adam. Bomb. Squad.
ADAM — 18 Years of Legacy
(1) Doxxed Founders
Ben and Bobby Hundreds are the figures behind Adam Bomb Squad. You can Google them. You can read about the prosperous streetwear brand they have created from scratch, The Hundreds. You can find about their 20 years of business experience. You can observe that they have been staking their successful reputation on this new NFT venture, and that this marks the beginning of their new life.
I respect founders who wish to stay anonymous. But, at the same time, I feel more secure knowing that Ben and Bobby can’t easily exit rug Adam Bomb Squad the way anons could. Their roots are planted so deep, they won’t disappear overnight during a temporary slowdown, the way I suspect a lot of undoxxed players will the day things get rough. I am not sure some of them are prepared to carry their project for the next decade, so they might just exit or do a reboot as they please.
(2) Successful and Visionary Leaders
Repeat entrepreneurs are more successful. It is well known in the VC world. Turns out that 99% of NFT projects are first-time businesses. Also, contrary to popular belief, older entrepreneurs have the edge. Of course, it is not deterministic, but chances are on Ben and Bobby’s side for knowing how to operate a long-term business. In other words, it is relatively easy to launch a project. But to run it is an entirely different thing.
Also, as much as I am fond of decentralization, big projects also need aspirational leaders. Figures to refer to. It turns out Bobby Hundreds fulfills that role perfectly.
Bobby was an early blog writer. He has also written a book a couple of years ago about streetwear and how to build a real community. Today, this books sounds like a prequel to Adam Bomb Squad. Apparently, another book is in the works, this time centered around NFTs and ABS. In the meantime, Bobby has shifted from blog posting to block posting: the “blogchain” is available here and here.
Bobby and his co-founding partner carry the vision for Adam Bomb Squad. They take the time to educate their community about it, so that everybody shares a common perception and learns how to think long-term. It is not so important how the floor price fluctuates today if the project is being built for tomorrow.
To understand Bobby’s influence and visionary power, just take the test: hang out someday in The Hundreds’ Discord when Bobby shows up. Take the time to read the discussions he is having with the Community. The test consists in resisting the urge to buy another Bomb right away.
(3) Heritage from web2
The Adam Bomb character existed way before Bored Apes or even Crypto Punks were born. Adam’s roots reach back to 2003 when it has started being used as a mascot and logo for The Hundreds.
Why is this a competitive advantage compared to projects with no backing history?
- First of all, the brand and identity are not built from scratch. They is no shortcut to building a long-lasting brand that does not look like a copypasta. This achievement won’t be reached by almost all NFTs over the course of their existence.
- The Hundreds is a successful international clothing company. This is an advantage for the production of derived products, and for the quality of clothing. Now, the vision of ABS goes way beyond this in terms of the synergies that can be created there. I’ll elaborate in next sections.
- The Hundreds has been intentionally dressing as much of the NFT community for the past year (CryptoPunks, BYAC, Deadfellaz, etc.). It is now the brand everyone wants to do merch collab with. The Hundreds provides NFTs with ability to distribute high-quality clothing to the real world.
- Now that we finally seem to be approaching post-pandemic times, we will likely get used to more worldwide IRL events organized by NFT projects. Well, good news, The Hundreds is also known for throwing big parties and events. Another area with a bonus experience.
BOMB— An NFT with Art and Utility
(4) Each NFT has a Story, a Purpose, and Resonates to a Community
18 years of narrative and original art introduced in this project results in great details and history in the Bomb characters and background.
A great advantage of this is the variety of Bombs and how they appeal to a broad community, as a testimony that streetwear has always been about inclusivity. There is no target customer. In other words, there should be at least one Bomb that resonates to any of you, may you be, as Bobby described, “streetwear enthusiasts and sneakerheads, of course. But, also tech people, artists, moms, teenagers, skaters, …”
And because there is such an incredible variety of pieces, collecting them has become a very fun hobby to many, in ways that are unmatched by any other NFT project released thus far. The collection is complex in nature and can be intimitating when trying to choose your first Bomb. But it is that same complexity that will get you hooked in the long-term. I haven’t seen so far a better NFT collectible in the market.
(5) Connection with Big Names and Companies
The Hundreds — and now Adam Bomb Squad — are kings of collabs. Other NFT project do not partner with so many major companies in so little time.
To name just some companies with known partnerships or featuring:
- NFTs: BYAC / Cryptopunks / Smilesss / Deadfellaz / Brain Vomit / …
Some celebrities and influencers, albeit less of a strategic focus for ABS, have also publicly demonstrated their support for the Bombs: Reese Whitherspoon, Steve Aoki, Marshmello, Snoop Dogg, Gary Vee, Sia, etc. And these are just names that come to mind through my occidental prism, as Asian celebrities are invested too.
(6) Loyalty is Royalty
There is a debate as to which — if any — model for NFT commercial use and IP rights should prevail. The recent Larva Labs acquisition from Yuga Labs has generated renewed debate about the competitiveness of the 100% centralized IP model. Today, different models co-exist in line with the preexisting infrastructure and philosophical ambitions of each NFT.
When you buy an Adam Bomb, you do not own the associated IP rights. That means ABS team keeps control of its brand to a certain extent. The approach makes sense as the latter is not being built from scratch: it has an 18-year legacy that needs to be protected somehow. Also, the team has good reasons to keep some level of control given the infrastructure and network it already has, so that they are used to their highest potential (see section (3) above). In short: if the central team knows how to actively operate a business and has the necessary foundations to do it, IP retention still certainly is a viable model. By contrast, Larva Labs was almost not operating at all.
Also, most importantly, decentralization is still achieved to a certain extent. Holders might not have direct commercial rights, but they still get a share of the cake: they are able to collect royalties on revenues whenever a Bomb is featured in The Hundreds products.
Proof of concept has been successfully tested on “Adam Bomb” and “Love Adam” collections. So far, a 10% royalty has been distributed in the form of The Hundreds gift cards. Other distribution forms are being explored, pending legal, logistic and technologic resolutions.
Simply put: this NFT compensates you from real-world physical revenues.
To date, this is still unique in the NFT world. This also introduces a paradigm shift, where any buyer can finally be financially rewarded by being ambassador to a company. Welcome to web3. You can keep your Bomb indefinitely and passively earn from real-world revenues.
Actually, not only real-world revenues:
(7) ABS in the Metaverse
This aspect is still unexplored for the most part. But the first ABS move in the metaverse was already interesting and creative: digital wearables have been released in Decentraland on top of IRL The Hundreds collection releases. The wearables have sold out pretty fast and have been traded at a premium ever since on secondary market.
This first move was interesting in the sense that ABS does not see other NFTs as direct competitors in the Metaverse: instead, it could just dress them up. Just like The Hundreds does in web2 with the NFT community. ABS has the legitimacy to replicate this into web3.
And, just like in real life your wardrobe is full of multiple brands, it seems that ABS has no intent to play a winner-takes-it-all strategy in the Metaverse. The good news is that, over there, the limits of fashion will certainly go way beyond the wardrobe. You will certainly have other ways to expose your love brand and combine it with other ones. I certainly expect Bobby to be one of the pionneering figures of fashion in Metaverse, and to raise The Hundreds / Adam Bomb Squad as the most recognizable fashion label in the Metaverse.
Bobby has hinted exciting ideas and plans to be rolled out progressively in the Metaverse. This remains pretty undisclosed so far, so I will not further talk about it, but the future sounds promising for ABS. Patience seems to be needed though, as ideas are often limited by what is technically feasible today. It is a struggle that all NFTs project leaders must probably feel right now.
SQUAD — The Power of the Community
(8) ABS is about Inclusivity
The potential of NFTs can be exploited in many different ways and utilities, whether it be for next-generation ownership/licensing, new expression of art, gaming, fundraising, etc.
NFT projects usually use a mix of possible use cases to maximize their perceived value, but they have to choose what their primary driver is, what they seek to be perceived as first. Today, the most exploited property of “blue chips” NFTs is exclusivity. The perceived image that once you are in, you belong to a privileged social club. If the entry price gets high enough and becomes unaffordable to most, then the NFT turns out into a luxury digital good reserved to an elite.
To this date, luxury NFTs are the ones that receive the most mass media coverage and exposure. Therefore, they became the only reference point to those who spend little to moderate time learning about NFTs. And, as people feel financially left out, these receive little love from the outside.
Luxury NFTs are not meant to disappear. But, from an investor’s perspective, without the benefit of hindsight, it can be difficult to distinguish between what will sustain premium value over time and what is just temporary hype. Some of these investments are definitely riskier. I also think other types of NFTs will eventually stand out, just like not every product is a luxury good in the real world. NFTs don’t have to be either. And I think this is exactly what Bobby had in mind when creating Adam Bomb Squad.
He made it very clear that his project was about inclusivity. Of the streetwear community. Of people who believe in him. Of The Hundreds hardcore lovers as much as people who had never heard the name of the brand before. Of believers in a fair economy of ownership. Of people who already made it, and those who are still willing to.
The price for an Adam Bomb might keep on climbing — in fact, many people are already priced out. In a not-so-distant future, owning a single Bomb could be life-changing money. But this would only be a consequence, not a primary intent.
The Bomb Squad envisions being the biggest NFT community in the world. THAT is the primary intent.
This is something most other NFTs can’t accomplish with their current focus on exclusivity. Over time, people will realize that the biggest value in an NFT project is based on the size of its community and the love and commitment they give back to the project.
So, yes, price appreciation of the original 25,000 Bombs seems inevitable as a side-effect of its popularity. And also to reward early holders who, out of all the options, chose to lock their money in Adam Bomb Squad. Because of that, Bobby has had to come up with several tricks to include as many people in this adventure, and he will keep on doing so:
- First and foremost: launching a 25,000 NFT collection was like using a cheat code compared to the standard 10k project: as a result, the community is bigger, and the entry price is lower. What if you want bigger exposure? Simply buy more Bombs.
- There has been many incentives to onboard and educate newcomers, though Twitter Spaces, educating people on social media, interviewes, reaching new audiences, etc.
- Secondary and more affordable digital collections have been released in the form of wearables on Decentraland. Also, you can still buy official ABS clothing from The Hundreds online shop (a majority of the collection is open to all for purchase) and hang out in the Discord with others. You do not get to own a Bomb to be part of the family.
- Bobby has already hinted about upcoming projects to further enlarge the community. We do not know yet what this will be about exactly, so just assuming here. But I would not be surprised that, for instance by the time we reach a 5eth floor, Bobby will airdrop/mint secondary collections — similar to what happened with CloneX, BYAC and others. This should further fractionalize ownership and lower costs of entry. At the cost of diminishing the value of the genesis Bombs? Likely not — these will remain the OGs, and will grow in value from a growing community. As observed with other NFT blue chips. The Community has also been dreaming of fancier expanding, or exploding mechanisms — what more natural for bombs? Can’t wait to see what the future has in store.
- Bobby wants everybody to win in the space. He is not playing tribalism. He is building the ecosystem, cultivating win-win relationships for everybody involved. Bridges built with other projects creates inclusivity.
In short, this all comes down to values. And I am extremelly bullish and proud of Adam Bomb Squad’s values that are being transmitted to the NFT space to build an environment that is open to everyone. Not exploiting the exclusivity part, but the community part. In the end, this is what web3 is about.
(9) Shared Ownership
The Hundreds was among the first real-world companies to operate its transition towards web3 with the launch of their NFT back in August 2021. Since then, other players have joined, including big ones. You probably have heard of them: Nike, Addidas, Pepsi, etc. If you look at floor price, their entry was nothing short of a success. However, one might question their true intentions entering the NFT space, as they will not capture the essence of web3 doing so. It is more a question of capability than willingness: they cannot reshape their model and distribute ownership of the company nor the brand. They already have traditional shareholders to answer to. As a result, they have launched side projects that don’t seem to affect their core business. It sometimes sounds more like a marketing ploy than a long-term commitment.
Adam Bomb Squad, however, is not a side project. It is the new beating heart of The Hundreds. If you own a Bomb, you own part of the original brand’s legacy, and you get to share revenues with the company. In return, the community is given the opportunity to build alongside Bobby.
This might represent the future of how companies will be set up, where the entrepreneur doesn’t get to be alone to build. There certainly is a viable hybrid model in seeing both a central team and an incentivized community working towards achieving the same goals.
(10) The Culture Behind the Community
I already mentioned that, in the end, the biggest and most engaged communities are properly positioned to win the game.
At the time of writing, ABS has recently won a 64-NFT bracket on Twitter rewarding the “Top NFT Community” (not hosted by ABS, so not biased). What did we gain from it? Well, on the surface, nothing. But beyond that, it means something is brewing. Adam Bomb Squad is earning a reputation.
We are forging our own identity, in line with Bobby’s vision. ABS now means: Inclusivity. Engagement. Unconventionality.
These types of characteristics and behaviors have been more present in recent NFT projects. I believe some of it is partly ABS’ legacy. The Squad has been influencing the culture around NFTs over the last months. In the end, brands that participate in forging the NFT culture will be remembered as being part of that culture. They are meant to stay. You won’t take away BYAC’s contribution to the NFT culture. You won’t take away ABS’ either.
(11) A Flourishing Community Ecosystem
Early 2022, a group of large Bomb holders has teamed up to create the BombDAO. The initial vision was simple, two-fold, and aligned with ABS’ values: promote inclusivity, and raise the value of Adam Bombs.
The point is not what the DAO itself has already done or planned. What matters is that 40 holders have raised around 110ETH in a private seed round to come up with a satellite entity. This relatively large-scale manifestation shows that the project, albeit managed centrally, was perfectly fashioned to co-exist along with initiatives from one of the largest NFT communities.
Of course, each of these Community contributions is highly applauded and encouraged: contests, websites, giveaways, derivative art, meetups, etc. This, as a whole, constitutes the whole Adam Bomb Ecosystem.
This is just the combined power of a Community being partially delegated ownership of the brand and being distributed through a larger user base. Also proof that you do not always need to cede all commercial rights / CC0 to foster community contributions.
18 years of legacy. An NFT with organic art and real utility. A powerful Community behind the projects. All broken down into 11 elements and as many reasons to join the adventure.
But this was just to peak your curiosity.
Now, I suggest you to have a look at the collection. Just be curious. Appreciate the art. Read the stories. Find out the history. Learn about the perks — or guess what future advantages there could be. Find a Bomb that speaks to you. Share your impressions with the Community.
You will end up understanding that these Bombs, as a whole, are the 25,000 true reasons this project will succeed.
It is up to you to own X/25000th of it.
Tempted to buy (more)? Have a look at this (unofficial) guide that may help you choose:
Here is also the direct link to the marketplace where most of the Bombs are currently listed, on OpenSea.