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  • Letter 44: ThreadGuy, BoredElonMusk, Jack Butcher, and the Opepens

Letter 44: ThreadGuy, BoredElonMusk, Jack Butcher, and the Opepens


Aside from some random hamster race thing dominating the timeline over the last 24 hours (seriously, don’t even ask), the story of the week in NFT land seems to be all eyes on ThreadGuy and the Opepens.

A lot of people are quick to dismiss this as influencer nonsense, teenage drama, engagement farming, or something of that ilk.

I posit that the entire story is a celebration of the creator economy, art, web3, and personal branding, in a truly beautiful way.

Let’s look at a timeline of how things went down (this is important), and why this cuts so much deeper than the level 1 thinking of “oh nooo why did yet another influencer make a bunch of money just for being loud ahhh I hate it all”.

note: there are a lot of screenshots ahead, and you might find yourself skimming or tuning out. I bring it all together at the end with some important commentary on what this means beyond influencers, memes, and money. So please bear with me as we take a walk down (recent) memory lane.

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It all begins with an offer…

BoredElonMusk, one of the most popular Twitter accounts out there and largest holders of Opepens, makes a seemingly wild offer to ThreadGuy (a popular personality known for hosting Twitter spaces, stimulating interesting conversations, propagating memes, and just generally spreading the good vibes):

Opepens, for those who don’t know, are a project created by the one and only Jack Butcher with the help of superstar dev Jalil. I won’t explain the whole thing here but it began as a free mint, open edition, and has grown into what can only be described as a movement in celebration of art and internet culture. This is a good thread explaining the project a bit more.

A 001 Opepen had a floor price of about 20 ETH at the time of the offer, compared to the 7ish ETH floor of the Mutant at the time.

Why might BoredElon offer such a trade? Effectively burning 13 ETH? Remember that BoredElon is the largest holder of Opepens with 700+. I presume he was wagering that the attention generated by the trade and by having ThreadGuy use an Opepen PFP would generate enough value in the collection to more than make up for the floor price differential (spoiler alert: it worked).

This gets to the heart of another important topic: the attention economy, and this entire story is oozing with truisms about this new attention-based world we are living in. You can get upset about it and begrudge the world and “the damn kids these days”, or you can open your eyes and see what makes the world go round. As the CEO of Pudgy Penguins Luca Netz put it..

In case you haven’t heard we’re in the depths of a bear market so what’s the harm in some people having some fun throwing around silly offers on our overpriced jpegs? (s/o OPJ)

In fact Luca got in on the madness and “guaranteed” a $100k payday for TG via selling some toy fishing rods. Who knows if that would actually have worked out, though knowing Luca, I wouldn’t bet against him.

Notable Ape holder / flipoooor Franklin joined the fun as well, offering to trade his gold fur ape (floor is 650 eth, wtf?)

I know this is all getting a bit ridiculous already, but stay with me.

BoredElon then sweetens the deal, considerably. First by saying he can take multiple deals…

And then by going you know what, screw it, you can have the mutant back at the end of the year. Basically, just a free 001 Opepen if you use it as your PFP.

All this time you’re probably screaming WTF THREADGUY TAKE THE DAMN FREE MONEY YOU IDIOT, like, well, basically everyone on Twitter was telling him to (myself included).

He did not take any of the deals.

Parallel to all of this, people are making derivatives of his mutant PFP, including some in the style of Opepens. Jack Butcher himself creates an Opepen in the style of TG’s Mutant:

Holy shit. Cool. But with that, it also seemed like it might have marked the end of a fun few days.

A bunch of people made some insane offers, ThreadGuy entertained them (and then some), but ultimately declined. A bunch of people made fun derivatives, art was celebrated, and Opepens got some attention.. seemed like a fitting end.

But that is not where this story ends.

Over the course of the next few days, more and more people started changing their PFPs to the above ThreadGuy Opepen. For fun. For the memes. For the culture.

Note the time stamps in the next three tweets. In the first one, at the time, TG was still using his mutant ape PFP (despite what it shows). Everyone else started changing theirs though.

and then 16 hours later, the real magic begins:

In a series of events which can only be described as pure, ThreadGuy changes his PFP to the Opepen that Jack created for him. He was paid $0 for this. He did this.. for the memes, for the art, for the fun, for the attention, but ultimately, truly, for the culture.

43 minutes go by. 

That’s it. 43 minutes. And then this happens:

Jack Butcher creates an open-edition for anyone to mint an “Opepen Threadition” for $2, with all proceeds going to TG.


I’ve seen some bad takes out there that this was some orchestrated conspiracy to drain liquidity from unwitting souls. This is not that. This is the furthest thing from a “ben.eth” fiasco. I hesitate to even mention the two in the same sentence, that’s how different the situations are.


If we can’t focus on, and celebrate, this fact.. god help us all.

I have a very many thoughts on the creator economy and how difficult it is for genuine creators to earn money in web3 in an ethical way, and the enormous stigma there is against anyone “monetizing content”, but that’s a story for another day.

This is a story about how ThreadGuy turned up every single day and grew the culture of our space. Hosting spaces after spaces, tweeting tweet after tweet, attending event after event. Always with good vibes, always with positivity. Someone who didn’t use their followers as exit liquidity during meme coin season, someone who is loud, and proud, and has so many supporters, and, still, turned down a 6 figure payday when it would have been so easy and justifiable to take the money and carry on.

Instead he chose something so much more beautiful. A meme. A piece of art.

Hey do you know what a meme is btw? Most people don’t. Here’s the definition by Richard Dawkins (famed author of The Selfish Gene) who invented the word:

VICE: Hey Richard, could you tell us the correct definition of the word "meme" and how you came up with it?

Richard Dawkins: It is the cultural equivalent of a gene. So anything that gets passed from brain to brain, like an accent, or a basic word, or a tune. It's anything that you can say spreads through the population in a cultural way, like an epidemic. So a craze at a school, a clothes fashion, a fashion for a particular way of speaking, all these things are memes. Anything that could be the basis for an evolutionary process is a meme, simply by becoming more frequent in the population, in the meme pool, in the same way the gene becomes more frequent in the gene pool.

In other words, a meme is a unit of culture.

I digress but I think a lot of people misunderstand memes and think that memes are silly nonsense. Memes are everything you know and love, and the sooner you understand that, the sooner you see the world for what it truly is.

The crème de la crème beauty of all of this that ties it all together is the Opepen Threadition that was created for TG.

As of this time of writing, there have been 51,295 minted, resulting in $102,590 for TG.

There is no utility. There is no scarcity. This is an open edition, for provenance purposes only. To show support for a content creator, to show support for a personality in the space.

It’s god damn beautiful if you ask me.

Another slight tangent but I highly recommend reading this long-form tweet by Snowfro on the idea of inclusive-editions and experimenting with non-scarce models, because it’s very on-point with what just happened here.

What’s Next?

You can’t stop culture from doing what culture is gonna do. Beeple joined in:

For the culture.

And then again:

and again:

Many people started jumping on board. OpenSea and Rarible changed their PFPs. Everyone started Opepenifying their brands. Multiple people reached out and Opepenified my own Ape, including this wonderful one by a friend Satvik:

For The Culture

As with all things in this space, and the world, hype cycles are, well.. cyclical.

I suspect the peak was a few days ago, or at least the local peak.

People tried as they always do to swing trade this event and I am sure some people and some people lost money. And so it goes.

Overall I view this as a beautiful moment in our space. So beautiful that I desired to write about it, and document it. I hope I got all the facts right - please comment below if I missed something important or got the timeline wrong, i’m always happy to correct.

If you don’t “get it”, that’s okay. Not everyone has to get everything, and not everyone has to agree with everything.

But if you ask the majority of people in the space who actually witnessed these events unfold (and aren’t just basing their opinions on some headlines), I bet they’ll all tell you what a beautiful week it has been.

For art, for provenance, for Opepens, for BoredElon, for ThreadGuy, for Jack Butcher and Jalil, and most importantly

for the god damn culture.

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Disclaimer: The content covered in this newsletter is not to be considered as investment advice. I’m not a financial adviser. These are only my own opinions and ideas. You should always consult with a professional/licensed financial adviser before trading or investing in any cryptocurrency related product.

I own no Opepen assets at the time of publishing this. I own 2 or 3 checks by JB.

I bought 196 Opepen Threaditions. For the culture.

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