Why Are Pudgy Penguins NFTs Flying?

pudgy penguins

TL;DR

  • Pudgy Penguins is an OG PFP project that first launched in July 2021 and has proven resilient.
  • The project has launched a physical toy range that has had a very positive start up to now.
  • Toys link to soulbound tokens and the Pudgy World experience, onboarding newcomers into Web3.

Check the NFT space and you’ll find floor prices down while trading remains relatively low, so you might wonder why a collection called Pudgy Penguins has been popping off and behaving like we’re in a bull market.

Is this just more of that famously unpredictable NFT volatility playing out, or is there something special about this penguin-themed platform? Let’s plunge in and find out about the project’s origins, change of course under new leadership, and why it’s suddenly in the spotlight.

Pudgy Penguin Origins

Pudgy Penguins
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins

The project launched in July 2021, and so Pudgy Penguins can definitely be classed as an early mover (for reference, Bored Ape Yacht Club minted at the end of April 2021).

Selling out in under twenty minutes at a 0.3 ETH mint price, it’s an 8,888 item PFP collection and, coming from that early NFT period, it shows slightly sideways facing cartoon animals (penguins, obviously), which vary according to superficial appearance traits.

Controversy

It’s not all been smooth progress for Pudgy Penguins, as towards the end of 2021 and into 2022, various controversies blew up, largely around criticisms of the team in charge.

There were reports that the project was not delivering on promises, a lackluster airdrop (Pudgy Rods, a collection of fishing rod NFTs), and eventually there was a Twitter thread by a user called 9x9x9, who was heavily invested in the project, that contained serious allegations (the draining away of funds) and galvanized the community into removing the founders so a new chapter could be ushered in.

Takeover

At the beginning of April 2022, Pudgy Penguins was taken over by a group led by Luca Netz which paid 750 ETH (at the time around $2.5 million) to take full ownership, a move which came amid bid competition from, among others, Zach Burks, the founder of Mintable.

Pudgy Penguins
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins

Netz is an LA-based entrepreneur with a background in dropshipping, was himself a Penguins holder when he took over the project, and showed immediate commitment to turning the project around and executing long-term expansion strategies.

More recently, Pudgy Penguins this month announced it had acquired $9million in funding, raised in a seed round led by the venture capital firm 1kx.

What NFTs Can I Buy?

Pudgy Penguins
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins

The core component of the project is the main collection: those 8,888 original Pudgy Penguin PFPs, and if you want to fully buy in and become part of the community (known as The Huddle), then those are the items to get hold of.

However, there are also some related collections that can be picked up more cheaply than the main NFTs. By the way, you can buy on regular secondary markets, such as OpenSea, or you can visit the Pudgy Penguins’ own specialist marketplace.

Lil Pudgys

Pudgy Penguins
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins

There are 22,222 NFTs in the Lil Pudgy companion collection, of which 8,888 could be claimed for free by Pudgy Penguin holders. The rest were sold publicly in December 2021 through a Dutch auction process, with the sale price settling at 0.03 ETH.

Lil Pudgies are a cheaper entry into the ecosystem, but come with the same IP rights as the main collection (meaning the right to profit from commercial ventures). An interesting feature is that they can be bridged to other blockchains–Polygon, BSC, and Arbitrum–using Layer Zero technology.

Pudgy Rods

These fishing rod NFTs were free for Pudgy Penguin holders in December 2021 but were badly received and contributed to the founding team being ousted. If you see them referred to as rogs, rather than rods, that dates back to a spelling mistake on launch, and on the whole, these are not items that will draw newcomers into the ecosystem.

Forever Pudgy Penguin Traits

These NFTs, which represent transferable traits, relate to new items called Forever Pudgy Penguins, which are themselves linked to the freshly launched Pudgy Toys products, all of which is big news that we’ll turn to in the next section.

Pudgy Toys and Pudgy World

Pudgy Penguins
Pudgy Penguins on the cover of The Pop Insider magazine

Pudgy Penguins gained a lot of attention this month with the announcement and launch of Pudgy Toys and Pudgy World. Pudgy Toys are physical children’s toys made and marketed in collaboration with licensing and retail experts Retail Monster and toy specialists PMI, are now for sale at Amazon, and had an impressive start, racking up over half a million dollars in sales over two days.

A key characteristic of the toys is that they are licensed directly from the community, meaning if a Pudgy Penguin NFT is turned into a toy, then royalties from sales of that toy are due to the NFT holder.

Pudgy Toys are also intended to onboard buyers into Web3 through the Pudgy World experience. Basically, via a QR code and the Pudgy World website, Pudgy Toy buyers can redeem NFT traits and customize a new Forever Pudgy Penguin.

Pudgy Penguins
Image credit: Pudgy Penguins

The Forever Pudgy Penguins are soulbound tokens, meaning they’re locked to one wallet and won’t dilute the original supply, while the NFT traits are tradable. Forever Pudgy Penguins can be used to play games in Pudgy World and to interact with other users, and the whole process is extremely newbie-friendly. 

Unfamiliar crypto processes are hidden away as the platform can create wallets for signed-up users, take care of signatures and gas payments and, overall, provide a custodied experience where the blockchain element remains under the hood.

Where Are Pudgy Penguins Headed?

In NFT circles, Pudgy Penguins are a popular OG collection from 2021 that survived controversy. Here in 2023 though, the brand is moving beyond nostalgia and tapping on the mainstream door. 

Pudgy Penguins approaches IP in novel ways and is keeping its community of holders closely in the loop. It’s linking NFTs, digital experiences and physical products, and it crosses over between web2 (you buy toys on Amazon and enter an email address to access the digital experience) and web3 (you end up playing with NFTs on a blockchain).

It’s a well thought out attempt to onboard new users to web3 and NFTs, and due to the fact that the characters and branding seem to have wide appeal, it’s been making solid progress so far.

Could Pudgy Penguins be the first NFT project that achieves genuine reach outside of crypto? While it’s still early days, it’s certainly a possibility, and if pulled off then it would benefit the entire NFT space.

Why Are Pudgy Penguins NFTs Flying? - - 2024

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Why Are Pudgy Penguins NFTs Flying? - - 2024
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