Solana's Mad Lads NFT collection surpassed BAYC's sales

Despite the recent departure of popular NFT projects DeGods and y00ts, Solana's new NFT collection surged past Bored Ape Yacht Club.

backpacks hanging on the wall
Mad Lads are the first Solana collection of executable NFTs minted via the new Backpack application.

On Friday, Solana finally launched the public mint of its new NFT collection, The MadLads. It was originally scheduled for April 20 but unexpectedly encountered technical problems that took nearly a day to fix. Once the issues were addressed, the collection reached sales of $5.8 million surpassing the sales of Ethereum-based Bored Ape Yach Club, one of the top NFT collections.

The Madlads collection is a project closely associated with Armani Ferrante and Tristan Yver, creators of Backpack, the interactive crypto wallet for executable NFTs (xNFTs).

"By combining executable websites and applications that can run locally on a user's computer with a crypto wallet, xNFTs in Backpack show a promising new type of hybrid Web3 application - not quite an application, not quite a website," the official Solana website states. The project seems very promising, as it aims to solve "two of Web3's main problems today, decentralization and distribution."

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According to Austin Federa, head of strategy at the Solana Foundation, in most cases, smart contract users will have to deal with centralized websites, which presents several difficulties for Web3 projects.

"xNFT collections unlock whole new avenues for program distribution. A game developer can mint their entire game as limited-edition xNFTs. A DeFi protocol can distribute early access to a new front-end based on wallet addresses. A two-factor code can be generated as an NFT and automatically cycle through," Solana's website explains the possibilities open to users of xNFTs, adding that artists can create "beautiful immersive 3D experiences that can't be copied and run directly in the wallet. The possibilities are almost limitless."

These revolutionary features of Backpack are showcased by Mad Lads, which has become the first executable NFT collection. However, as mentioned before, the minting session experienced technical trouble. According to some resources, the insufficient scalability of the wallet stopped the initial mint, while others claim it was caused by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. The latter is also the official reason for the downtime given by the project creators who have taken special measures to preserve their xNFTs for collectors who want to become part of the community, rather than making a fast profit by minting and selling as many NFTs as possible.

Ferrante told news platform Decrypt that the development team decided to "battle the botters." To do this, the Mad Lads developers arranged a fake mint for schemers who ended up spending over $250,000 on the NFTs they did not receive. The money was returned to their owners when the mint was over.

Many members of the crypto community are particularly excited about the way Ferrante and Yver have continued to work on their projects despite the adverse market conditions following the FTX bankruptcy and the damaged reputation of the crypto space. The Coral startup, a company behind Backpack, lost over 70% of the $20 million raised in the strategic round due to the collapse of the largest crypto exchange.

"It's pretty badass that Backpack raised $20 million 8 months ago off the concept. It's amazing that they survived a $14.5 million gut punch from FTX's collapse and still built Backpack and still came out swinging. Hasn't been an easy road, but they persevered," Degen Poet, a typewriter NFT artist tweeted.

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NFT collectors are actively sharing the xNFTs they have purchased with the Twitter community and are particularly fascinated by the Galaxy effect used for the Mad Lads characters' clothing. In addition to the technical advantage that sets the collection apart from other NFTs, Mad Lads stand out for their exceptional looks and artistic creativity.

Needless to say, collectors who were unable to mint their NFTs were less than pleased with this situation. Many Twitter users reported that they failed to mint their NFTs even though they were not bots. "They tried to stop the botters and instead they just took money from a ton of normal minters," Twitter user Hammythan complained in a post, claiming that all those treated like bots by the developers were "normal people with their clocks set ahead."

Nevertheless, Ferrante said the developers received Telegram messages from an unknown person threatening the team with a DDoS attack if the malicious actor had not received a payment. Since the team had no money to pay the hacker because of the loss of funds mentioned earlier, the team tried to address the problem by tricking bots. The creators of Mad Lad decided against another popular strategy, curated allowlists, as it would have introduced inequality into the minting process.

While the sales of MadLads eventually surpassed those of Yuga Labs' BAYC, the latter enjoyed the legal victory in the case against Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, who had minted a similar primate-themed collection as a satirical response to Yuga Labs and spread the information that the well-known NFT maker used racist dog whistles and hidden Nazi imagery in its NFTs.