Tungsten is a rare metal found naturally in the earth. It is one of the densest elements on earth at around 19.35 g/cm^3, more dense than gold and mercury, but how did that lead to it becoming one of the most sought after goods in the crypto community?
As early as fall 2021, crypto moguls started to post on twitter about their experiences holding tungsten cubes and emphasized their support for buying one. Within weeks it became a trend to buy one, and soon it seemed like everyone had one. Many tungsten cube owners comment on the feeling of holding it as being a shocking experience, and, even if they are aware of the density and weight, they are still appalled as first-time holders. By the looks of it, it doesn’t seem that heavy, but a 4 inch tungsten cube weighs over 41 pounds! This is part of why it became a meme in the crypto community. It was only inevitable that someone was going to try to make a profit off of this meme. This is often how popular NFTs become big, and even some cryptocurrencies. They start out as a meme, something funny or interesting in the community, but in the age of social media information can spread exponentially, and content can be shared and accessed by the world in days. All it takes is for one major figure with a large following to tweet about it on twitter, and suddenly their followers are retweeting it and buying in on the hype. This is exactly how big NFT projects and certain cryptocurrencies gain a lot of traction, and go from memes to cash flows, and become a massive part of the web3 economy.
The project to capitalize the most on the tungsten cube fervor was an NFT project that minted on October 21, 2021. Since then, prices for these NFTs rose a ridiculous amount as the meme continued in late 2021, and began to cool down in early 2022. The NFT collection featured 500 items, which all minted for 2 sol, and randomly gave a user either a 1 inch, 2 inch, or 4 inch cube. Since it’s height in late 2021, the fervor has died down, and the prices have begun to level out. Currently, the floor on Magic Eden for the 1 inch cube is 2.54 sol, the 2 inch cube 6.9 sol, and the 4 inch cube 375 sol. The total trading volume for the collection is over 14,000 sol, or over $1.4 million at current Solana prices.
The Tungsten Cube NFT project has become extremely successful making more than $200,000 in sales. However, besides being just a meme, buyers were drawn in by the fact that all of the profits from the collection are going to crypto advocacy groups like coincenter and others. The project heads claim that this is the main reason why their project has been so successful. They say that there aren’t very many fair launches nowadays because it’s just your favorite influencer or celebrity trying to grab some money. Their pledge to give all proceeds to third party crypto funds and websites has been a massive benefactor to their success. I think it gives a lot of people peace of mind that they aren’t just participating in a pump and dump, or giving money to people that are just cashing out on a trend. It gives minters and NFT buyers a feeling of giving back to the community, and makes it easier to justify participation in the NFT project. Although there are also people that mint NFTs to make money, buying at the low price and sell at the high, those that aren’t in the business of minting NFTs were beaconed to this project because of where their money was going.
The craze about Tungsten Cubes and their NFTs became so large that the main tungsten manufacturer in the United States, Midwest Tungsten, even got into it creating their own NFT backed by real physical tungsten cubes made by them. The highest bidder gets a one time per year visit to the 2,000 pound tungsten cube at their headquarters in Illinois. It was recently bought for about $250,000, and if the owner decides to burn, or destroy the NFT, Midwest Tungsten will ship the owner the physical cube.
Ultimately, the tungsten cube NFT is example number one of how memes turn into NFTs, and shows how the NFT market can be very random and based off of trivial things like a tungsten cube movement. However, those that capitalize off the meme can get in early and some NFT projects follow in the footsteps of this one by promising money to go to third party crypto platforms like coincenter. Their decision to make the proceeds go back into the crypto community was a stroke of genius to get people who may be skeptical about NFT projects involved and interacting in the space, and hopefully some project in the future take a page out of their book. It also shows a simple meme can turn into a massive fundraising opportunity that has its effect on crypto traders and people around the world, and maybe we can keep this trend going where we can turn viral videos or jokes that people are familiar with into a positive impact.
By Dominic Severo
March 16 2022
Disclaimer: This report is for educational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice. Additionally, the author may hold any of the assets mentioned.