The story of Pudgy Penguins has been nothing short of intriguing. Launched in the summer of 2021, Pudgy Penguins capitalized on the NFT PFP (profile picture) meta which BAYC kicked off months prior.
By and large, the appeal of the Pengus was simply their cuteness Unsurprisingly, cartoon penguins wearing an array of fancy dress costumes – with the crisp, clean colors of the artwork – struck a chord with NFT enthusiasts, bringing a bit of fun back to the crypto market following a hard few months of crashing prices.
Life was good in The Huddle – the moniker which the high energy community adopted for themselves. The collection was experiencing strong trading volume, touching 4 ETH, and expectations were lofty with many thinking they could rival BAYC in time. However, behind the scenes things were not so chipper. A backstage dispute between the founders and one of the Discord mods, Darth, had reached boiling point, providing the catalyst for a series of unfortunate events which would befall the Pengus.
And so, this is where the story really begins.
Trouble In the Huddle
Darth, was upset at his treatment from the team when attempts to come to terms on a more formalized role fell through. Darth claimed he was likened to “a low-skilled cashier” during negotiations and was offered a monthly salary far below his expectations. An enraged Darth took to Twitter Spaces to air his grievances publicly, vowing to send the project to zero. Additionally, he highlighted alleged questionable actions by the founding team such as launching a hiring campaign that was just a marketing stunt, as the team never intended to actually hire anybody.
This wasn’t a small discussion either, there were thousands of people in attendance, with even Elon Musk listening in at one stage. This all sowed an extreme amount of distrust in the founders amongst their followers, but was not enough to effect the project too harshly.
What did however, was what came next.
Pudgy holders had been airdropped an NFT of an egg soon after launch. Mystery surrounded this airdrop, with the only known fact being it would hatch on Christmas Day of 2021.
Sounds fun! Well, not so much. Eager holders refreshed their metadata on Christmas morning to reveal……a picture of a fishing rod. There was no explanation how the rods (or ‘Rogs’ as they’re now known as; a play on the term ‘rug’) operated in the PP ecosystem, nor any future plans for them. Just ‘Here’s a drawing of a fishing rod. Merry Xmas.’
All of this audacity on a holy day, it beggars belief.
The community had now seen enough and fought back hard against the founders. In an attempt to stem the anger, a second collection, ‘Lil Pudgies’ was launched where every Pudgy Penguin holder would be able to mint for free. However, never letting a good crisis go to waste, the founders ensured that 13,334 of the total supply of 22,222 would be available in a public auction – netting the team 305 ETH in the process.
founders frozen out
In the background, the founding team was trying to sell the project. During this time, it came to light that all of the project’s funds had been removed and dispersed to the personal wallets of the founders; the final nail in the coffin. Any prospective buyer did not seem keen on the idea of buying a project with no treasury. The community by this point were incandescent with rage, no longer asking for the founders to step down but now telling them to do so – in particular, Coletherum, who had by now earned himself a reputation as a dishonest actor in the space.
Meanwhile, the floor price was now below 2 ETH and confidence in the project was at an all time low. It looked to be over for the once promising project.
netz the icebreaker
A few months later in April 2022, things started to look up for The Huddle, when Luca Netz bought the project for 750 ETH. Netz at the time said: “When I saw other people bidding on Pudgy Penguins, I knew I had to step in. I’ve built multiple brands to nine figures in revenue over the last five years, and I felt like my skill set was the best to succeed at the job.”
It’s been a slow grind, but Pudgy Penguins have begun to re-establish themselves as a force in the NFT market since Schnetzler took over. How so? The team has a laser focus on delivering holder value via licensing, with a mission in 2023 to onboard people into Web3 by “expanding into new markets in the most seamless and effective way possible.” with various PP products set to launch this year. Schnetzler appears to be doing everything which every Web3 project of its kind should be doing.
🐧retail has no idea what's coming🐧 pic.twitter.com/uvvvfwkk5l
— flipdrago.eth💊🐧 (@flipdrago) December 27, 2022
Furthermore, communication and building out in the open, rather than ‘building in silence’ has taken precedence. Two projects which were rivals to Pudgy Penguins back in July 2021 were Cool Cats and World of Women. Both got the better of the Pengus, but only for a short while. Both of those projects somewhere along the way lost their identity, with many not understanding what their mission is anymore. For the time being at least, this has confused supporters and led to their respective communities to disintegrate as they go to find projects which can execute and communicate better.
Pudgy’s have shown that even a ‘dead’ project can be revived – that there is always the chance of hope – so long as you have the fundamentals of a clear purpose outlined which resonates, along with excellent communication behind it. That said, time will tell whether the team can deliver on their message, which will be the difference maker in all of this.
At time of writing, Pudgy Penguins sit at a floor of 7.4 ETH ($9250) – an all time high.
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