Having been writing about NFTs for a few months now, I’ve been able to connect with quite a few local creators. One thing I noticed after a while was how active they were on social media and within the NFT scene.
So, I started wondering what it really takes to be “successful” in the NFT world, enough so that they can make a living off it.
To answer my curiosities, I reached out to five Malaysian NFT creators who often pop up on my Twitter dashboard, namely:
- PandaPunk’s co-founder, Asyraaf Amin;
- RoachPunks’ team of five artists;
- Gamer Punks’ Ilya Kravchuk;
- Rich Cats Nation’s (RCN) team of two;
- BadApe’s Moonjay, Bell, and Isz.
To begin, why do people even start making NFTs? Is it because they’re artists who want to showcase their art, or perhaps they’ve just been interested in the crypto scene?
For RCN, it’s a combination of both. The team consists of a full-stack developer who has a fascination with blockchain technology and an illustrator who is an aesthete that has captured all forms of art since young. The world of NFTs serves as a platform for them to leverage each of their passions.
Similar to RCN, the BadApe team also consists of a mix of talents. Munzir has loved drawing since he was a child, Ikbal has been a cryptocurrency guru since 2017, and Nazri has been building web applications for 15 years.
Others such as PandaPunk and RoachPunks started their journey after Pentas, a local marketplace, launched last year.
Overall though, each of these creators started making NFTs recently. But what did they want to accomplish when they first started? I had to first learn what success means in their books.
For RCN, it’s all about demand. Profitability, the volume traded, unique owners, engagements, and more, make up the general metrics that define success. According to Pentas, RCN has traded 434.64 BNB, with 324 owners. They are currently the top creator on Pentas.
RoachPunks worded it differently, though they share a similar sentiment. To them, a successful NFT project will be indicated by a healthy community following. RoachPunks, who is number five on the Pentas rankings list, has indeed grown quite a healthy community of 12.4K followers.
Beyond profit, BadApe sees success as a combination of effort, talent, persistence, and hard work. They’re currently number two on the Pentas creator leaderboard.
“To become ‘successful’ in the NFT scene, it is to be able to make connections with the community of the NFT itself,” summed up Asyraaf of PandaPunk, number six on the list. “Being able to make a profit, selling more volumes, and having more holders are part of the journey itself.”
A full-time commitment?
Considering how much time and effort they seem to put into their creations, I thought these creators must be working full-time on their NFTs. But I was wrong.
For RoachPunks’ team of five, it’s a mixed bag of answers.
“As a team, a few members have their full-time job,” they explained. “But as we work towards the same goals of venturing into the potential of Web3 and NFTs, we’re always making time for progress and marketing for RoachPunks’ branding.”
RCN said they’re working full-time as young corporate professionals, but are technically pursuing NFTs full-time as well.
“We spend most of our ‘used-to-be-free’ time working and developing our NFT collection,” they shared. “Neither of us has really slept in nine months now.”
BadApe’s team members all went into NFTs with the intention to pursue it as a part-time job, as the three of them also run physical businesses in real life.
However, after they started minting NFTs, they witnessed a hype circulating around BadApe NFTs in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Thus, they have been considering whether to pursue BadApe full time.
Then, there are some creators who haven’t entered the workforce yet, such as Asyraaf of PandaPunk, who is a final-year university student.
“Every day, I will spend about four to six hours doing NFTs, but consistently keeping up to date with NFTs takes from morning to night,” Asyraaf said.
When asked about whether people need to quit their jobs to find success in NFTs, it was quite a resounding no from most of the creators. While it’s a plausible step, it’s not necessary.
“Once consistent and you are confident with your work, then you may take it as a full-time job,” BadApe said. “But, if you are comfortable with part-time work and your work is consistent, you can
stay with it.”
Asyraaf also believes that a career in NFTs is possible with or without a full-time job, but it may be time-consuming and affect the mental and physical health of the creator. As such, he believes creators can consider quitting their day job when the NFT salary has surpassed their day job’s salary consistently.
For others like RCN, the answer isn’t quite set in stone.
“This is the question we are struggling to seek the right answer to,” RCN admitted. “There are no right or wrong answers. However, we believe pursuing NFT as a full-time job does not necessarily define success in the NFT space—determination and courage are the bigger metrics in play to define success.”
RoachPunks offered up the realistic solution of working as a team when managing an NFT project, as quitting a day job is quite risky in a new and volatile market.
In the bigger picture
It seems like a career in NFTs is possible. But is it viable in the long run?
“The opinion will vary from person to person,” Asyraaf said. “But I believe that NFT is a sustainable career. NFT is a business, a digital business. If properly done, people can absolutely make a living from it.”
BadApe agrees, sharing that it is a sustainable career to work in if you remain committed.
“For BadApe NFT, we aim for sustainability for the long haul,” they said. “We are confident that NFTs will be expanding and will keep on growing every single day, and there will be plenty of new things coming out, especially in blockchain technology.”
The emphasis on blockchain technology is shared by RCN, who said that NFTs can be sustainable career-wise, though it may come with uncertainties such as the volatility of crypto, fast-paced changing demands, and challenges from the technical side.
However, they believe that creators who wish to have a sustainable NFT career should believe in two main components: to be truly passionate in their art direction, portfolio, and project goals, as well as to embrace and understand blockchain technology as a whole.
RoachPunks has a careful approach to the question, explaining that the NFT market is oversaturated right now, with many comparable products to choose from, therefore challenging its sustainability.
“Alternatively, the design or utility of your NFT could be one of the factors that attract potential investors to your art or brand,” they shared.
As for financial sustainability, Ilya explained it’s not easy to gauge whether or not NFT makes for a sustainable career, since it depends on each individual’s lifestyle and cost.
“All I can say is, there are many people who make good money and are able to quit their day thanks to Web3 and NFTs,” he said. “And there are even more people getting scammed and losing tonnes of moolah.”
In essence, DYOR (do your own research) and know what you’re really getting into before making serious decisions.
As someone who doesn’t partake in crypto or NFTs, I can’t say that I personally understand why people would pursue it, given its risks and fast-paced nature. But I now see how passionate and full of drive these creators are. They aren’t just in the industry to make a quick buck.
On top of creating NFTs, these creators have also cultivated a culture and community. From my few months of following them on Twitter, I see how creators would often empower each other with educational Twitter Spaces, community meet-ups, and supportive encouragement.
“If you succeed in selling more volumes with massive profit, ensure that you are empowering your community,” BadApe said. “That’s what you should be doing.”
While these five creators’ experience is not universal, it does give me an insight into how they approach the NFT space. The ambition they have is certainly commendable, even if you don’t like NFTs.
- Read other articles we’ve written about NFTs here.
Featured Image Credit: Rich Cats Nation / RoachPunks / PandaPunk