Aavegotchi is a crypto project based on cute NFT pixel characters. It’s ecosystem comprises a DAO, the NFT characters with a range of traits (each with their own ‘rarity’ score) backed by ‘aTokens’ (AAVE interest-bearing tokens) and wearables (each item its own NFT).
Around July 2020, the core team started pushing out social media updates about the project and quite quickly a community began to form. A successful strategy the team used was a series of challenges on Discord for folks to complete. Successful completion of a challenge would result in ‘levelling-up’ on Discord. Usually the challenges were marketing-related - retweets, posting memes, content creation, etc. This helped spread the word and increase community numbers. It also got people engaged and involved. In all, there were 12 challenges and the deadline for completion of them was January 4 this year, when the project was set to launch its first ‘portal’ sale. The reward for completing all challenges was a set of exclusive ‘Aagent’ (a lot of things in Aavegotchi are spelled with double-a as a joke!) wearables. I crammed the last couple on deadline day (as I had only just noticed on Discord there was a deadline!). One horrific deadline day challenge was to promote the Aavegotchi launch on any YouTube crypto influencer’s video (I think they had to have at least 1000 subscribers?) by leaving a comment. The comment itself wasn’t that bad but of course the YouTuber had to approve the comment and that was tricky. I’d had a couple that seem to get approved but then later deleted. The ‘aadmins’ in the discord channel had to check each comment and twice my comments were approved by the YouTuber and then deleted before the aadmin had checked and approved for me to level up. Spitting chips! I also wrote a Medium post on deadline day (couldn’t P0x or Hive) about Aavegotchi. It was a great sense of relief when I became an approved Level 12 aagent!
This was a meme I created for one of the aagent challenges!
However the project did not end up launching that day. The decision was made to delay the launch because Ethereum gas prices were too high. Each interaction with an Aavegotchi is onchain so participation would have been very expensive which would have not been a good experience. The right decision was made. A quick decision was made to migrate the project to Polygon (then called ‘Matic’). This turned out to be a genius move. It was the first major project to launch on Polygon and the Aavegotchi team gamified the yield farming aspect together with Quickswap (which is a Uniswap fork on Polygon and the main DEX) to keep its community engaged until launch. They offered extra FRENS tokens for anyone who staked their GHST (the Aavegotchi governance) tokens, then provided liquidity to the QUICK-stkGHST LP and staked the LP token. Quickswap also offered generous QUICK rewards for participants. Back then QUICK was only in the $20-30 USD range and most folks knew nothing about it! FRENS is a token that only has value inside the Aavegotchi ecosystem and is used to purchase raffle tickets for wearables draws. At that stage two raffles had been conducted and since then there have been another two. This went on for about six weeks until the day finally arrived.
The exact launch date for me was March 3 at 2AM. There were to be 10,000 portals on sale priced at 100 GHST. GHST around that time was around $0.60 USD. There were 25 maximum portals that any single person could buy in an attempt to make the launch fairer and over a certain threshold (I think 10?) the price increased to discourage whales. I wasn’t sure whether or not to get up at 2AM or just try my luck later. The vibe on Discord was that the 10,000 portals would definitely sell fast. So I got up before 2AM to make sure everything was in order. I had GHST in my wallet. I had aavegotchi.com launched in my browser. I was pressing refresh every 10 seconds. I was ready. On the stroke of 2AM nothing had changed on their website. 2:01 - still nothing. I kept an eye on what folks were saying in the Discord. There were one or two clever people in there saying there’d been an announcement that launch had been delayed ... again. But it hadn’t. They were just trying to drive the competition away. Absolute scum! Anyways I didn’t take their word for it as I could see no such announcement. At around 2:03 or so the website updated and I was able to click on a link to buy me some portals. Originally I was only planning to buy one but since I’d done well farming on Polygon I decided to stretch my budget to three. Once I clicked buy, there were two or three MetaMask prompts to approve and then I just waited for the transaction to complete. While I was waiting it showed the number of portals still available. I think it was between 8,000 and 9,000. I waited and waited, all the while the number was getting lower and lower. I felt confident the transaction would go through until it got to about 2,000 and then I got this horrible feeling that it might just keep going to zero and I would miss out. Down down it went until it was too late. I was so disappointed after being so early to the project. Minutes after the portals sold out, people were listing unopened portals on the recently launched Aavegotchi ‘Baazaar’ for 8x or more than the 100 GHST price. Forget it! I’m out. Then you had tweets like this stirring things up -
Not. Helping. I was on the verge of rage-quitting. There were 10,000 Aavegotchi portals at launch. For reference there were 10,000 Cryptopunks and 3765 Origin Axies (plus 323 that have not been released yet). My options - buy on the secondary market for stupid prices. I could afford one but having been in the project from almost the beginning and invested a lot of time I didn’t think that was fair; wait for the next round of portals but then they wouldn’t have the same value as ‘genesis’ Gotchis (much like punks and Origin Axies); or - rage-quit.
I rage-quit. First I sold all my GHST tokens and went in on stablecoins and QuickSwap yield farming rewards pools. Recently Aave has also launched on Polygon so I’ve been playing around on there mining MATIC as well. Later (last week in fact!) I sold all of my Aavegotchi wearables with the exception of my Aagent set (I’ll HODL these indefinitely) for 300 GHST total(GHST is now worth about $1.30 UD). Not bad - that came from staking GHST to earn FRENS to pay for raffle tickets for wearables draws.
It’s hard to track what financial return I made from my Aavegotchi experience. I’d estimate I made between 5x and 10x what I put in. What I am truly grateful for is earning QUICK (have you seen the QUICK price lately??) and being early on Polygon. The great thing about crypto is trying new things and experimenting with them - and then sometimes you get Easter eggs like UNI or FORTH airdrops as a reward. I only play with small amounts of money I can afford to lose.
Polygon is awesome! It’s probably my favourite thing in crypto right now, except Axie Infinity. And that’s the other thing - on reflection I only have time for one crypto game in my life. Thaanks for the memories!