Goblins sow division, unapologetic and coarse

From BAYC comparisons to ruthless mockery, Goblin Town became the unlikely enfant terrible of a space that’s hardly new to disruptive stuff.

Claws penetrating through a hole in a gray wall

The Goblintown.wtf collection continues to top OpenSea charts. Over the past seven days, it has generated over 10,000 ETH in trading volume, with the floor price now at 1.39 ETH. Besides gas fees, it was free to mint, and minted it was, though it had little to no publicity.

This seems to have been these goblins’ plan all along. They’re not on Discord, they blabber on Twitter, and they have no road map, which might be a blessing, because their spelling skills are, with all due respect, rather limited.

For some, they represent the rock bottom of PFPs, but others credit them with the same disruptive potential Bored Apes once had. In fact, the likeness could run even deeper, but more on that later.

Against utility

The ill-mannered goblins admit to no utility whatsoever, which rings odd at a time when the primary purpose of NFTs, particularly PFPs, is investment.

A clue as to why they behave the way they do could be hidden in their very name. “Goblin town” is cryptospeak for bear market, and the project’s website suggests that’s what the authors meant. Though the mint is free, each user can only claim one NFT. Why? Because “don’t be … greedy. That’s how we got ourselves here.”

Then again, whoever is behind Goblintown surely feels exempt from that rule, as they have reserved a thousand goblins to themselves. Why? Because they wanted to.

Screengrab from the Goblintown website
Screengrab from the Goblintown website

Fine! Whatever!

More generally, the name derives from a location in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, looking to secure a piece of jewelry like the late Bilbo Baggins, it’s in the Misty Mountains. Tolkien’s goblins are "cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted." Frankly, they’re believed to be at least closely related to orcs.

In the digital Goblintown, however, their foul nature turned into something closer to a brutish carelessness as they revel in their own urine and engage in coarse parties. With their bearish genealogy and their holders’ bullish mood, they exhibit a defiance that’s as apocalyptic as it is unapologetic.

Unlikely royals?

Speculation arose that Goblintown might have been created by a seasoned NFT team looking to break with the business-like paradigm characteristic of blue-chip collections. Some crypto sleuths went so far as to suggest that the goblins’ original lair could be at Yuga Labs, which would mean that they’re actually related to the NFT royalty, Bored Apes.

For now, though, it’s oddly beside the point. If you want to know the true nature of these creatures, join their Twitter space convo. Is it goblins themselves? Is it their holders? Is it random passersby? Who knows. Amid the lows of the current bear market, the goblins appear to carry a redemptive power, precisely because they’re stupid, ugly, and defiantly yuck.