Launched in 2017, CryptoPunks were one of the earliest examples of an NFT crypto collectible; a series of 10,000 pixel-art profile pictures (PFPs) with randomized traits.
They proved to be a runaway success, with NFT enthusiasts paying tens of millions of dollars for the 24×24 pixel images of apes, aliens and zombies. But for CryptoPunks’ creators Larva Labs, that was only the beginning.
In May 2021, Larva Labs returned with Meebits, another Ethereum-based PFP NFT project with double the supply and an additional dimension.
What are Meebits?
Like CryptoPunks, Meebits are a series of NFT characters with randomly-generated traits. There are some differences, though; unlike their two-dimensional precursors, Meebits are 3D characters rendered in voxels (so-called because they’re pixels with volume), and there are 20,000 Meebits in total.
Of the 20,000 Meebits, 18,881 are humans, 711 are pigs, 256 are elephants, 72 are robots, 57 are skeletons, 18 are visitors and 5 are dissected (think humans without skins). Visually, Meebits resemble characters from games such as Minecraft or Roblox—and therein lies the key selling point.
Meebits and the metaverse
Larva Labs is gambling that the 3D models that comprise its Meebits will play a crucial role in the burgeoning metaverse, a persistent, shared virtual world where users interact using avatars.
While some big tech firms are building centralized metaverses where they control all the virtual assets on the platform, Larva Labs and other Web3 pioneers hope to build a truly decentralized metaverse, where users own virtual assets in the form of NFTs—which can be migrated between different metaverse platforms.
As such, the ability to own a 3D model of your very own virtual avatar is a compelling prospect – at least, one compelling enough to shoot the project to total all-time sales of $515 million and a floor price of 4.4 ETH as of August 2022, according to data from CryptoSlam.
If you buy a 3D model of one of its blocky voxel characters, you will also receive the entire 3D model and high-definition render of your Meebit. You can port this directly into any metaverse project that supports it – although currently, few do.
Although the Meebits look diverse, they have one thing in common: they are, invariably, expensive. That said, some Meebits, particularly the rarer ones, are more expensive than others. Meebit #6337, an algorithmically generated 3D skeleton in a suit, sold for about half a million dollars at a Christie’s auction in September 2021.
The 3D NFTs trade as Ethereum ERC-721 tokens on a proprietary marketplace without any fees, but you can also trade them on any Ethereum-based NFT marketplace, such as OpenSea.
Meebits and Yuga Labs
In March 2022, Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project, bought from Larva Labs the intellectual property rights for CryptoPunks and Meebits. “This means that we now own the brands, copyright in the art, and other IP rights for both collections, along with 423 CryptoPunks and 1711 Meebits,” said Yuga Labs in a blog post.
Some big news to share today: Yuga has acquired the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections from @LarvaLabs, and the first thing we’re doing is giving full commercial rights to the NFT holders. Just like we did for BAYC and MAYC owners. pic.twitter.com/lAIKKvoEDj
— Yuga Labs (@yugalabs) March 11, 2022
Yuga Labs’ first step was to grant holders of Meebits the same commercial property rights as holders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. This license lets anyone who has held the NFT use the images contained therein for commercial purposes. Aside from this, Yuga Labs functions as the steward of the Meebit brand, and will encourage its development. Yuga also bought 1,711 Meebits.
In July 2022, Yuga added a 5% royalty on secondary sales of Meebits, such as those on OpenSea and LooksRare, to “help keep this Meeb party going (and going and going).”
Yuga did not disclose what else it is building for the project but said its vision “centers around embracing the currents already core to the community—play, DIY experimentation, tech minimalism, and interoperability—and dialing them way up.”
How to buy a Meebit
Nobody is saying you should buy a Meebit—but if you have a spare few thousand dollars, here’s how.
To take advantage of the gas-free exchange on the Meebits site, the first thing to do is to head to the Meebits site. You can also use a secondary marketplace, such as OpenSea, to buy your Meebits. The difference is that Meebits doesn’t charge fees for trading on its marketplace for transactions of up to 100 Meebits.
Either way, check which ones are on sale and connect a Web3 wallet, such as MetaMask, to the site. Right now, for instance, a pig sporting a fetching pair of headphones (Meebit #5979) is selling for just under $95,000 on OpenSea.
You can’t bid for the NFT against other OpenSea bidders on the Meebits marketplace—you’ll have to head to OpenSea for that—but you can trade it for ETH or another Meebit in the Meebit trading terminal.
There, you can set an expiration date for your deal and send it off to the owner, to see if they’ll bite. If they do, you’ll lose whatever you forsake in your trade and receive the Meebit in your wallet.
Once the Meebit is in your wallet, you can do whatever you like. You could, for instance, set it as your Twitter profile picture. As of August 2022, Meebits aren’t supported by any major Web3 games, but the voxel animation file is yours to play with.