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What is Loot? The Product of Community Imagination

Read 5 min
Orange background with an computer showing NFTs
— Loot is a new Ethereum-based project that sees random adventure words generated as simple lists that go for sale as NFTs. People buy the lists (known as Loot bags) to create artworks inspired by the words.

— Within a few days, bags were being sold for millions of dollars and a community was being built rapidly, driven by user imagination.

— The community can dictate where the platform ultimately goes – representing a bottom-up approach to building a project. With very little guidance from the founder of the idea, the Loot community can direct how and in which way Loot lists are used.

Imagine a project that puts imagination as the focal point and you can go almost anywhere you want with it. That’s kind of what Loot is.

What is Loot?

Let’s put parameters in place to explain:

Loot lets you buy a unique list of adventure-related items that you can keep as an NFT. The items don’t have stats attached, they don’t have graphics, they don’t have rules. It’s a list of words. And from that list, people do the rest.

The Brief Origin of Loot

It might be a little confusing to wrap your head around: You’re buying the words to make art from them, right? Well, yes. But there’s a lot more cultural intrigue behind the concept.

Dom Hofmann, the guy that founded the viral video platform Vine is behind Loot, but he’s making it as decentralized as it comes. He launched Loot in a tweet (we know, it’s a wonderful sign of the times) at the end of August: 

{Embed tweet:

With Hofmann’s following, the uptake for the concept was unprecedented. In an industry where adoption and interest are already pretty quick, the rapid attention that Loot gained was nothing short of incredible. 

We had massive names in the industry jump on board too, with support from Vitalik Buterin, Stani Kulechov, and Dylan Field. When the founder of Ethereum throws in that he thinks an idea is fresh, it’s hard to argue that there’s incredible innovation at play.

In the launch, Hofmann dropped nearly 8,000 free bags for minting and his goal was that people would mint all of the bags he created. They were all taken almost on the spot. Five days later, Loot bags were being resold for millions of dollars and the market cap for the project was $180 million. Five days later. That kind of adoption represents a cultural phenomenon: An almost cult-like following driven by sheer imagination.

Loot Bags And How The Concept Works

Hofmann’s main aim was to make something that would inspire people to mint NFTs based on the bags he had created. With no artwork or instructions, he simply let an adventure item focused name generator come up with words and dropped the bags for free through Ethereum’s smart contract. 

What makes Loot so different from any other NFT project is the massive potential that each bag has behind it. The project has an “if you can think and create it, you can do it” approach and the online community is loving it. With Discord as a major driving force, the social aspect behind Loot has been fascinating as people flock to engage with those who share similar ideas and the same items.

A 180° Shift in User-Driven Community and Creative Expression

Loot has formed a community built on a foundation of pure inspired creativity. The project exploded from simple text to artwork, giving the words from the lists incredible value and expression. The creative expression isn’t just limited to images; people have started to play with the lists to create games and apps with their own set of rules based on the original words. 

One of the major reasons people are so intrigued by the potential behind Loot is that it depicts a pretty amazing bottom-up approach to community building. While other NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have a huge community and following, the vision was already set and people just jumped on board. With Loot, though, the foundation is being built by the people inspired by the words in the list. The project invites regular people to build their own empires with as much creative freedom as they want.

Image Credit: Jon Yan

Let’s put it this way: Loot is almost entirely user-driven. The platform is decentralization at its most extreme. The hype might have initially stemmed from Hofmann’s tweet-based launch but he has actively done the bare minimum; making the project’s buzz completely community-driven. Users themselves are invested and involved in creating how and where the project goes, and have every incentive to be as creative as possible. With great success comes great reward: If the project overall is successful, the NFTs themselves will be worth more and owners will be able to reap better benefits of their creativity.

With the origin of the project sitting as some random words, imagination has room to run rampant and the collective creativity has created a community building the project from the ground. It completely turns the model from a top-down approach to hand the reins entirely to creatives. And they can go in whatever direction they want.

Already, we’ve seen AI-generated art designed from parameters set by users and this is probably only the tip of the creative iceberg. 

Adventure Gold Loot Drop: Ffad or for The Future?

One of the most interesting projects to have emerged from Loot is a cryptocurrency token based on Ethereum’s platform: $AGLD. Each Loot holder is entitled to 10,000 of the total AGLD supply, which was worth a chunky $77,000 at the token’s peak to do with what they please. 

Will Papper, the guy behind AGLD, created the token “because it was fun”. The main function of the token is to offer governance for Loot-offshoot projects. Users have started to use AGLD for decisions made in text-based adventure games where the story follows a path based on vote totals.

However, whether the airdrop will see greater success or start to fizzle remains to be seen. There’s already been immense volatility in the trading price of the token and it hasn’t shown any signs of settling. 

The Possible Flaw of the Foundation

The figures and prices speak volumes about how attention towards Loot absolutely exploded. Like we said above, the prices of Loot bags sky-rocketed in less than a week. The massive interest in the project is good, but in a way, it also marks a bit of a problem:

The rise in popularity has led to a massive rise in the price. Mike de Marias nailed this concern pointing out the steep floor to take part in Loot. The lowest price to take part in the community-created platform is extremely high, creating an accessibility problem. Sure, there are free (synthetic) avenues one can take to “have” items for the purpose of creating and growing art, apps, or designs that are interoperable with Loot, but they’re not genuine Loot bags. 

And that throws elements like rarity and value out the window. So, the model as it stands suffers from a pay-to-play structure.

Crafting The Future of Community Creation

If money isn’t everything (which in creative outlets, it isn’t) there is an interesting future for this kind of model. From creativity to community, there is an undeniable element of inspired imaginative expression at play. We’ve already seen copycat projects emerge, inspired by the outrageously simple concept. 

Looking ahead, it’s a little too early to see whether this will be a quick trend (with a quick end) or whether this will inspire a long life of text-based NFT creative communities. One thing is for sure though: the massive development that came from the initial list drop has the markings of a wealth of creative prospects. Who knows, in the next few years you might be reading novels inspired by an NFT list while NFT-inspired music plays in the background. 

With such a floor of imagination potential, the possibilities really are endless.

Knowledge is Power.

Trust yourself and keep on learning! If you enjoy getting to grips with crypto and blockchain, check out our School of Block video on DAO’s.

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