The Rise of Batzdu

And the power of Pepe


Programming note: Mint or Skip will be off Monday and Tuesday, back on Wednesday.


▪ Today – Farcana Ordinals

▪ Sunday – Remnants of a Distant Supernova by Nullish

▪ Monday – 🔥 Quantum Cats

▪ Tuesday – SMILE by Roope Rainisto

Links for the Top 25 drops are HERE.

The Rise of Batzdu

O Dearly beloved, I’ll confess this to you right from the start – I am a connoisseur of all things Pepe The Frog.

Anything from Rare Pepes to Pepedenzas to Opepen, it’s quite simply the memetic crown jewel and represents everything one should aspire to know about the internet and all its chaotic denizens. 

So I don’t fault you for thinking that the only reason I’m writing today’s spotlight story is because Pepe is stamped all over it. Surely there is some of that. 

But more importantly, it’s an inspiring story. An unknown but talented artist who catapulted himself upwards by being prolific, uniquely talented, and a clever self-promoter. 

I’m referring to Batzdu

Here we have an artist dominating at the intersection of fine art and memes, which you could argue doesn’t exist, but if it did, Batzdu would likely be the mayor, or some other analogous officiating position depending on the local governing model that you’d find at such an intersection. 

Batzdu’s talent is matched by a hyper-awareness of the markets and attention cycles around him, and he has the fast trigger fingers and artistic range needed to surf new waves on a dime. 

This is meta-art designed to be shared. 

His Pepe references are also a great example of using “public domain” IP as a personal launchpad (Pepe isn’t CC0 but might as well be). What started as simply sharing Pepe memes on Twitter quickly became Pepe-themed collections onchain, and has now evolved into a larger persona that’s no longer tied to the fate of a single frog. 

It’s a strategy that helped him go from a relatively unknown artist with less than 5,000 followers 18 months ago, to a collector-favorite who gets invited to the biggest NFT exhibits in the space (and is often the favorite cameo). 

And this year might be his biggest yet. But before we get to his upcoming drops, here’s a quick sample of works that got Batzdu to where he is today. 

Geometric Pepes – August 2022

The drop that put Batzdu on everyone’s radar. 

The title is all you need to know. These are 100 images of Pepe in colorful geometric arrangements inspired by cubism.

One of the most creative takes on the internet’s favorite mascot, and hugely popular with collectors, with individual sales still going for 5-7 ETH. 

The Nine – March 2023

A grand painterly self-portrait, sliced into nine individual 1/1s that marked Batzdu’s genesis collection on Superrare. 

Also, a rare deviation from the Pepe theme, and more abstract than previous works. 

Well-known collectors came to bid on these pieces in droves, showing that many were now appreciating Batzdu for more than just his popular meme palette. 

Opepen Set #003 – May 2023

You might notice that Geometric Pepes give off some Opepen vibes (especially this one). 

That’s not a coincidence – Jack Butcher openly admits that Opepen was directly inspired by Geometric Pepes, which is crazy to think about given that Jack Butcher and Opepen were perhaps the main characters of the entire NFT space in 2023. 

So it makes sense that, as a sort of tribute, Jack brought Batzdu in as the first Opepen collab artist for set #003

Not only was it a great real-recognize-real full circle moment, but it also turned out to be one of the most popular Opepen sets to this day. 

What’s next? 

2024 will be the first year where Batzdu plans to make digital art full-time (somehow all these previous collections were done on a “part-time” basis??). 

This means it’ll likely be his busiest year yet, which his Q1 slate is already beginning to confirm: 

Specifically, it looks like Batzdu is heading into his generative arc, with two separate collections (Keys and (ch)art) launching soon in the same week – both in our Top 25.

We shall continue to watch his career with great interest.

NOTE: These drops are lightly curated. Our only requirement is that they have recognizable founders. As usual, DYOR. To learn more go here.

After Dark: Around the Fire

The platform won’t let the ETH gen art market lull stop it from dropping new work as it gears up for After Dark: Around the Fire, a group show featuring 5 artists.

If you’re into moving jpegs more so than static ones, you’re in for a treat, as all of the collections in this release are animated.

You can check out sneak peeks from each artist here: Galo Canizares / Andrea Belloni / Ella Hoeppner / Ilithya / Julien Labat.

One for creative coding loyalists.

New Year, New

The platform that has sold out all but one of its drops since launching in August is back with more tokenized Pokémon cards for its first 2024 drop.

Revealed alongside a new and improved website (a welcome sight for 2023 users), the New Year, New drop sees the platform stick to their tried and true model from last year.

The rules remain the same. Each pack contains one random card NFT that can be traded unrevealed for the first 24 hours and is backed 1:1 by a physical vaulted card, redeemable at any time.

1337 Zeros

Born out of a community of developers, collectors, and creators from the Chain Runners discord, 1337 skulls launched as a CC0 free mint in the middle of the Nov. 2022 crypto meltdown and impressively struck a positive chord with market participants, who have since traded over 2,000 ETH of the genesis collection.

Now, 3 follow-up collections later (mostly free mints), they’re launching 1337 Zeros, a free mint on Ordinals.

This comes on the eve of the anniversary of their first Ordinals collection, the 69-supply 1337 Ordinals, which was smartly inscribed very early (~8.4k to ~10.7k inscription range) and is referenced (recursively) in this new collection.

Additional details are still scant, but if you’re into dark, skeleton-fueled pixel art PFPs, these should be up your alley.


Giancarlo Chaux@GiancarloChaux

Guillermo Martin@pikanxiety

Jon Yale @JonYale

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