I Teamed Up with Strangers to Bid For a $2 Million 'Ghxsts' NFT

We lost. We still made history.

On Sunday night, a Ghxsts NFT titled “Sirxn 0 - Bioluminescent Sirxn,” sold for 619.5 ETH, or $2 million dollars.

The bidding page, littered with anonymous names and exorbitant offers, tells the story. “siinamota” bids 100 ETH. A certain “PxinDAO” responds with double. Then, in the final minutes, all-out war: a 100 ETH raise from “TrunkDev,” another newcomer bid of 420 ETH from “honoraryape,” PxinDAO’s last stand at 590 ETH, and finally, TrunkDev’s nail in the coffin.

In many respects, this was not a typical auction. For starters, the sale was the highest of any non-generative NFT in over 30 days. But perhaps more peculiar was the bidder named “PxinDAO,” who was neither a single wealthy individual nor a well-endowed credit card company. It was the alias for an alliance of more than 100 community members who banded together to make a unified bid for the ages.

They even got me to join. I aped in, we fought, we lost. And it was a thrill unlike any other.

PxinDAO, pronounced “Pain DAO” with Ghxsts’ iconic stylization, is not formally a DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization. While a DAO is specifically run by rules encoded in smart contracts that members vote on, PxinDAO was a collaborative, “handmade” fund. NFT collectors “7CA” and “natfacts” spearheaded the project, and within six days, brought 111 internet strangers together. Knowing that “whales,” or wealthy collectors, would be bidding on the coveted Sirxn, they decided that number of owners also meant strength in numbers.

Path,” who placed the winning bid from the TrunkDev wallet, was that whale. When PxinDAO formed, he too was contacted about pooling funds, but politely declined: “Thanks for the invite here but I'll pass on bidding with the group, very much after it for myself,” he told PxinDAO.

When I spoke with PxinDAO members, they explained to me that they were largely a group of Ghxsts’ early collectors who could no longer match the price points on the secondary market. “I can’t go out and buy a Ghxst without taking every asset I’ve ever had in my life and liquidating it instantly,” Dorian, an early Ghxsts adopter, said.

Then, without missing a beat, he added, “But I didn’t come in because of that. I wanted to be part of the group — I wanted to be part of the story.”

For Ghxsts, community is everything. As late as 4 A.M. in the morning, you can find a cadre of collectors chatting about Sirxns and “Frxxt Lxxps” cereal boxes in the Discord’s “PxinGxng Podcast” channel. When I asked them what it meant to have lost the auction, “BIGDOG215” chimed in: “I just don’t accept that phrase, because it was a total win no matter what. Path belongs in our community, and he’s the one who got it. So it still stays with us.”

“And it was a win because [GxngYxng] got his recognition,” he added.

PxinDAO was not, as I had originally fantasized, a ragtag group of ETH-slingers teaming up to take down a wealthy crypto-villain hellbent on metaverse domination. In the auction’s final hour, all of PxinDAO and Path even greeted each other in a Discord voice chat, staying cool and cracking jokes.

When the project’s artist, GxngYxng, entered the NFT space in May, he set a tone for generosity with a $3 USD sale for Ghxst 001. 8 days later, the same NFT was resold for a then-whopping 3 ETH (the buyer’s name: Path.) GxngYxng has now seen total sales eclipse 5000 ETH on the secondary market, and while he receives royalties from these sales, Sirxn 0 is a milestone moment for a project that tries to leave value in the hands of owners.

Through it all, GxngYxng remains a self-proclaimed shy guy. But in the final moments of the auction, as the Discord voice chat filled with hundreds of his supporters, he unmuted his mic for the first time ever. “I think you guys are my family at this point,” he said.

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