Cat videos received more than 26 billion views on YouTube in 2014 alone, according to a 2015 research paper published by Indiana University. Given these statistics, along with the fact that cats have been called the "unofficial mascots of the internet,” it’s no surprise the initial Gutter Cat Gang NFTs, a collection of 3,000 unique cats, sold out in 10 minutes when it launched in June. Back in 2017, the first truly viral NFT project—though cryptoland wasn’t widely using the term NFT yet—was CryptoKitties.
In July, the Gutter Cat Gang project expanded to Gutter Rats, and this past weekend, the team launched Gutter Dogs and Gutter Pigeons. The dogs now have a floor price of 1.5 ETH (about $5,000) on OpenSea, the pigeons 0.9 ETH ($3,000). Compare that to the current 5.4 ETH floor ($18,000) for the original Gutter Cats.
While this launch didn’t have nearly the same buzz as a drop like the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Mutant Apes in August, the path that the Gutter Cat Gang collection has taken is a good example of some of the creative efforts that NFT collections are taking lately to stay fresh and relevant.
In July, the project launched Gutter Rats (current floor price: 1.1 ETH) and was then pretty quiet until September, when it launched Gutter Species Passes, an NFT ticket that entitled people to one of the third and fourth species (which turned out to be dogs and pigeons).
The passes hit $16 million in trading volume in the first 24 hours—before anyone knew what the next species would be. And while Gutter Cat Gang has sunk to No. 130 in overall NFT collection rankings in the past 30 days according to DappRadar, the Gutter Species Passes rank No. 41 overall.
The initial 3,000 Gutter Cats have 123 unique properties with varying rarities in nine categories (fur, background, eyes, mouth, shirt, hat, earrings, necklace, bears), and like most collections now, there’s a narrative: In 2050, humans have abandoned the post-apocalyptic remnants of society on Earth and gone interplanetary. Since our absence, cats have taken over (naturally), and one crime-ridden, nondescript city is inhabited by a group of cats known as The Gutter Cat Gang.
Like other hot NFT projects, the founders know they need to keep building the community beyond new drops or other steps motivated by “floor is lava” price pumping. (GCG has grown its Twitter following to 37,000, and its Discord channel maintains an active community of 2,000 members.)
To do so, over the past few months Gutter Cat Gang has announced collaborations with prominent NFT artists, limited edition comic book releases, custom framed prints of NFTs, and an initial grant of $500,000 to support its utility DAO and help further strengthen community-led initiatives.
Gutter Cat Gang has also developed a notable partnership with House of Kibaa, an emerging V.R. studio. House of Kibaa is creating animated 3D avatars available for all Gutter species, with the community eligible to exclusive raffles for free upgrades, including weapons, wearables, vehicles, pets, and real estate like trap houses and mansions within the House of Kibaa metaverse.
And the collection is venturing into the physical world.
On September 17, Gutter Cat Gang held its first GutterCon, a 3-day community event in Las Vegas. Throughout the event, boundaries between the virtual and real world merged through community meet-ups. Holders of cats, rats, or species passes received further sweeteners like airdrops from revered NFT artist and illustrator JP Downer, otherwise known as Pop Wonder.
Although the cats will likely always remain the premier collection (forever be capped at 3,000 NFTs), the additional species drops, collabs, and live events are examples of what is quickly becoming the model for how NFT collections keep their momentum going.