How could a Web3 sports car community be a flop?

GarageXYZ is an automotive club that has IRL experiences with Formula 1 races and celebrities, plus juicy NFTs, yet its membership cards are selling poorly. Among crypto bros! How could this be?

Racing track finish line and a chequered flag

As NFT collectibles feel the pain of the bear market, industry leaders seek to weather the storm by building strong communities around a common goal or passion, and packing their NFTs with utility. A new Web3 automotive club GarageXYZ does just that, and with zeal. Yet their second collection of membership NFTs hasn’t exactly broken the records, even as it’s featured on the OpenSea main page.

The collection, called GarageXYZ G1500, includes 1,500 NFTs featuring randomly assigned photographs by Ian Wood. The design is simple, with bright colors and iconic cars taking center stage. Each NFT costs 0.3 ETH to mint, excluding gas fees, but a week after the mint went live, 350 items remain unclaimed.

The GarageXYZ G1500 is a follow-up to GarageXYZ Genesis, which included 500 NFTs in the same style as the G1500. The mint went live in late April and took three days to sell out.

Collage of GarageXYZ Genesis NFTs
Collage of GarageXYZ Genesis NFTs. Source: OpenSea

With that in mind, the second collection is doing slightly better, but it’s still underwhelming. At the time of writing, the floor price of the Genesis collection was a little more than double the mint price of the G1500. Trading activity is relatively low, with under 10 NFTs changing hands per day over the past week.

Chopper flights and Scott Dixon

If community and utility were enough to make a Web3 project work, GarageXYZ would have taken off like a rocket. It wants to be a decentralized autonomous organization whose goal is “collective ownership in the highest levels of motorsport and the automotive scene.”

Each NFT doubles as a membership pass and grants access to IRL events such as a starting grid view at the Indy 500 race, meet-and-greets with Formula 1 celebrities, or a chopper flight over the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

GarageXYZ strives for visibility at big racing events and seeks to position itself as a contributor to the racing community. It also onboards big F1 names, including Jamie Chadwick, Scott Dixon, and Antonio Felix da Costa, for Ask Me Anything sessions.

Overlapping demographics

The target audience, crypto bros with a fraction of Ether to spend, is not wholly uninterested in sports cars. According to a 2021 Global F1 Fan Survey, the online conversation about Formula 1 is dominated by men (albeit not as overwhelmingly as it used to be) and the 18-24 age group. Crypto demographics are not so different. In the US, 43% of men aged 18-29 say they have traded or used some form of crypto asset in their lifetime, Pew Research Center’s study showed.

These two groups overlap nicely. In fact, some of the most successful crypto companies, including Binance, OKX, and Tezos, have taken notice, onboarding racing drivers as brand ambassadors and securing high-value advertising space on racing helmets and jackets.

On the surface, that same overlap should have given GarageXYZ a head start or, in any case, an impressive mint. The anticlimactic performance of the project shows that community and utility simply aren’t enough.

Why, then?

Community is a big word

The answer to the riddle could lie in the easy-to-miss detail about the community factor: it has to serve something. Successful Web3 communities tend to show potential members how they could participate in the profits generated by the project, or reinforce a sense of urgency by defining a common goal.

Moonbirds, for instance, are doing great, because they have a serious business model and an experienced team of entrepreneurs to execute it. Deca, a metaverse project for NFT fine arts, has also fared well as it united art enthusiasts with a bold manifesto and the promise of a new progressive art movement.

A sports car community has neither of those advantages. It’s not likely to grow in value, and the common purpose is too weak to energize casual petrolheads. In spite of the impressive facade, on the inside, GarageXYZ is simply a fanclub, and with Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, people don’t feel the need to pay for that.

GarageXYZ founders might have hoped in-person experiences would make a difference, but it’s not vital to enough people for the project to really kick off. Now, GarageXYZ is fighting to preserve its lukewarm hype. The new collection is set to be revealed Friday.