What Are DeGods?

What are DeGods

TL;DR

  • The DeGods PFP collection started on Solana, moved to Ethereum, and has also inscribed Ordinals on Bitcoin.
  • Related project y00ts also switched blockchains at around the same time as DeGods, from Solana to Polygon.
  • Under the leadership of Frank DeGods, the DeGods project has taken risks and shown a commitment to testing out new ideas.

When it comes to PFPs, the DeGods collection has shown impressive resilience, calculated risk-taking, and built connections across three blockchains: Solana, Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Related to DeGods, there’s also y00ts, another highly regarded set of PFPs, but this time associated with Solana and Polygon. Both collections fall under the roof of a platform called Dust Labs, but there’s also a DAO, called DeDAO, and just to confuse matters, there’s another entity behind it all called DeLabs. However, the entire creative enterprise is primarily run by two web3 forward-thinkers.

Frank DeGods and Kevin Henrikson

The person most closely associated with DeGods is Frank DeGods, real name Rohun Vora, a co-founder of Dust Labs. Pseudonymous when DeGods launched, he doxxed himself shortly after and it was revealed that he had dropped out of UCLA, been through a fellowship at the Y Combinator startup incubator, and… was a fan of Frank Ocean (hence the alias).

Assuming a less high profile but also pivotal role in the building process, there was Kevin DeGods, the CEO of Dust Labs, who, at the same time as Frank DeGods, also revealed his own true identity: web2 (and now web3) tech entrepreneur and angel investor Kevin Henrikson.

The DeGods Collection

DeGods
Image credit: DeGods

First minted on Solana in October 2021 for 3 SOL, DeGods is a collection of 9,465 PFPs depicting–in true PFP form–surface variations on a sideways-facing character template, this time all styled around deities.

There were originally 10,000 PFPs, but 535 were burned and have subsequently come back to life on a new blockchain (actually, on the oldest blockchain, more on this below). DeGods can be staked in a non-custodial way to earn DePoints (which remain within the ecosystem) and the project’s native token, DUST (which trades on DEXes Orca, Jupiter and Raydium, and on the CoinEx platform).

DeadGods

DeGods
Image credit: DeGods

There are DeGods, and there are DeadGods, which were introduced in March 2022. The idea here is that you can “transcend your DeGod”, which means you take a DeGod, pay some DUST (currently around 1,765 DUST, which is over $3,000 at the time of writing), and your DeGod becomes a DeadGod, meaning the metadata is altered but the underlying token remains the same, so there’s no change in the DeGods total supply.

DeadGods have an altered appearance, are rarer and more valuable (although you’re paying for that rare value), and come with added benefits, including staking reward boosts, and greater sway in the DeDAO.

The Transition to Ethereum

In December 2022, it was announced that DeGods would be leaving Solana and moving to Ethereum. This risked alienating the Solana NFT community and came when Solana was dealing with reliability issues, but DeGods itself looked strong, and Frank DeGods stated that the project had “capped out on Solana”. It wasn’t until the start of April this year that DeGods finally migrated, and it’s subsequently traded impressively on Ethereum.

An Ordinals Early Mover

DeGods
Image credit: DeGods

In March, just before the Ethereum move, DeGods made a splash in the nascent Bitcoin Ordinals ecosystem. It did this by inscribing 535 DeGods onto the Bitcoin blockchain, the items in question being PFPs from the original collection that had, much earlier, been burned.

“What is dead may never die”, tweeted Frank DeGods, and those reanimated DeGods have subsequently gone on to become one of the most popular Ordinals collections, currently sitting at a floor price just under 1 BTC.

By the way, if you’re wondering why 535 DeGods were burned in the first place, it was due to an idea called, memorably, the Paper Hands Bitch Tax. This system was retired at the start of 2022, but when working it meant anyone who sold a DeGod for less than their own buy price was taxed 33.3%. The tax raised was then used by the project to buy and burn the cheapest DeGods on the market.

Blur and Blend

Leading up to the Ethereum move, DeGods also announced a partnership with NFT trading platform Blur, which was busily disrupting the NFT space with its token farming incentives, and creating division as to whether it was a force for good or for market chaos. Either way, a tie-up with DeGods was good publicity.

Following on from that, Blur this month initiated its Blend protocol, which offers NFT-collateralized loans and a buy now, pay later facility. At first Blend only included CryptoPunks, Azuki, and Milady Maker, but DeGods was soon announced as the fourth collection to be integrated.

y00ts

y00ts
Image credit: y00ts

If you’re interested in DeGods, you also need to be aware of a collection called y00ts, which was created by Frank DeGods and is part of Dust Labs and DeLabs. It minted in September 2022 through an exclusive process called y00tlisting, with DeadGods holders also given mint access.

The collection is made up of 15,000 PFPs, this time showing cartoonish monkey characters, and y00ts functions as a dynamic meeting point for web3 builders and participants, incorporating multiple members’ clubs (all listed on the y00ts website) formed around specific niches.

Focusing on decentralized approaches to IP, y00ts utilizes staking and PFP customization, and seems like an experimental venture to test out novel Web3 approaches.

The Transition to Polygon

When it was made public that DeGods would relocate to Ethereum, it was also announced that y00ts would move to Ethereum sidechain Polygon. The bridge across opened at the end of March and it looks now like a positive move for all parties.

We can say for sure that Polygon welcomed the change as, in fact, they paid for it, having given a $3 million grant to DeLabs in return for y00ts making the network transition.

Dust Labs

Dust Labs
Image credit: Dust Labs

As mentioned, both DeGods and y00ts are part of Dust Labs, which markets itself as building web3 tools and software solutions, and is especially focused on NFTs.

In September 2022, Dust Labs raised $7 million in a seed funding round that included investors such as Solana Ventures, Magic Eden, and Foundation Capital (and also FTX Ventures, but that of course was before the FTX mega-implosion).

Why Are DeGods So Valuable?

DeGods
Image credit: DeGods

NFTs are unpredictable and it’s sometimes a challenge to pinpoint exactly why a collection becomes sought after. With DeGods, there appear to be various factors at play.

  • Frank DeGods has become influential and well-respected in the NFT space. Anything he is associated with now has cachet.
  • Having made it to the top on Solana, DeGods was not content to stand still, and made a bold play, which paid off, by bridging to Ethereum.
  • The idea of strong communities is over-egged in NFTs, but DeGods actually has a loyal and engaged community.
  • When Bitcoin Ordinals started taking off, DeGods quickly got involved and made imaginative use of the PFPs removed from the original Solana collection.
  • The Blur partnership was another example of reacting quickly to market shifts, and means DeGods is now included in Blend.

All in all, DeGods, with y00ts alongside, has taken a unique path navigating multiple blockchains, and come out the other side of booms and crashes looking more dynamic than ever. Where it goes from here remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t bet against it testing out more new ideas, as in Frank DeGods’ own words, “the biggest risk is not taking one”.

What Are DeGods? - - 2023

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What Are DeGods? - - 2023
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