NFTs are like nightclubs, crypto’s a volatile religion: NFTStats, NFT Collector


Sam Gellman, aka NFT Statistics, aka punk9059, is a prominent figure in the NFT space, known for his ability to create charts and provide valuable insights into volatile markets.

In 2023 Gellman worked for Proof and hosted the “Proof Daily Countdown”, a 10-15min all you need to know show that resonated well with true believers of NFTs.

With the recent acquisition of Proof and Moonbirds, Gellman has joined the team at Memeland, reuniting with Ray Chan, someone he’s known for the last 12 years.

His journey into NFTs started in the mania of 2021 when a handful of Gellman’s tradfi friends urged him to look into CryptoPunks. After some initial resistance, Gellman fall down the rabbit hole and has hardly come up for air since.

“During Covid, they started really aggressively recommending CryptoPunks. I thought the first three or four of them were idiots and then when the fifth person said it, I started to get FOMO,” says Gellman.

“That was kind of when I started to get involved in the game and ended up trying to research CryptoPunks and found that there just wasn’t a lot of data out there on it. I started building out my own data sets around CryptoPunks and that was basically the genesis of this account.” 

Prior to becoming “NFT Statistics”, Gellman worked for Goldman Sachs for eight years and Uber for seven — he was one of the first 50 employees and responsible for its early expansion into markets outside of the US and Canada, particularly in Asia.

“I launched London, launched Amsterdam, launched China, launched Singapore. I ended up running the team that launched Asian markets because I’d been living in Hong Kong and then I managed North Asia for a while which is like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, all the countries up there.”

CryptoPunk #1163 – owned by NFTStats

The most volatile religion in the world 

Prior to discovering NFTs, Gellman had actually worked for a crypto company for a few months but quit because he couldn’t buy into the crypto philosophy. He says the anti-establishment ethos of many parts of crypto culture never really resonated with him.

“I wasn’t that anti-establishment. I kind of enjoyed both the companies [Goldman Sachs and Uber] so there was a little bit of disconnect with the industry I felt for a while.”

Gellman doesn’t necessarily think ‘we’re early’ and believes crypto is a little bit like a religion.

“We’re actually not early at all. Bitcoin is 15 years old, to some 15 years is early, blockchain is older than Airbnb, it’s older than Uber, it’s not a new technology anymore. It’s had billions and billions of dollars thrown in it so I don’t think we’re early necessarily, but I think that it’s been around long enough that you have to respect it,” says Gellman.

“Sometimes I say that crypto is the most volatile religion in the world. It’s people who are in the religion are not just in it but they are missionaries. They’re out there telling everyone about it and this is changing everything and then there are people who think that the people in this space are completely crazy and full of shit. I sit between those two and I think that kind of gives me credibility with both.” 

Chromie Squiggle #1849 by Snowfro - owned by NFT Stats
Chromie Squiggle #1849 by Snowfro – owned by NFT Stats

NFTs are like nightclubs and the fickle nature of the attention economy

The shifting nature of what’s hot and what’s not in NFTs is something Gellman has paid particularly close attention to. Whether it’s BAYC, Doodles, CloneX, Moonbirds, DeGods, Cool Cats or a whole raft of other projects that have been up and down, Gellman has a theory about fashionability in the space.

“One of the things I say is that NFTs are like nightclubs. It’s very hard to stay cool for a long time and there will be a time where there are like three nightclubs and this was very much the case in Hong Kong. In 2008, there were three nightclubs where the line would be around the block and you have to know someone who knew someone to get in and then three years later, no one ever goes to them and they shut down.”

CryptoPunk #9059 - owned by NFTStats
CryptoPunk #9059 – owned by NFTStats

The fickle nature of the attention economy is something the Colorado based American believes anyone in NFTs and crypto needs to be very aware of, including the current meme coin meta. 

“I think people love to talk about all the reasons that something pumped and all the reasons that it’s better, when at its core, it’s just the object of FOMO right now. FOMO is a very transitory characteristic that can go towards anything. It can go towards a lot of different types of objects.” 

“Sometimes it goes towards coins, sometimes it goes towards JPEGs, sometimes it goes towards point systems. It goes all over the place and I think the vast, vast majority of these meme coins are going to be worth zero in three months and we’ll find new stuff to bet on.” 

“I’m very hesitant to say because meme coins have been hot on SOL everything else is dead going forward. I think that just tells us where the attention has been over the past few months and doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the future.”

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New role with Memeland

At Memeland Gellman has been brought on as Chief Chart Officer but will be across a number of key areas and is reunited with his buddy and CEO, Ray Chan. The pair used to hang out at Asian tech conferences in the early 2010s.

Part of the remit will also be increasing the global appeal of Memeland which currently has a strong foothold in Asian markets but less so in the US.

“It’s a company where pretty much every single employee is based in Asia or from Asia. There’s someone in Dubai, someone’s in Canada, but they’re all really kind of local Hong Kong and Asian native. They wanted someone based in the US who makes the company have a bit more of a global appeal so that was something that I think is not hard for me to do,” Gellman says.

“I think the big thing for them is they have a massive treasury, they have a coin that’s done very well. They also have an extremely big audience, they have a Web2 distribution platform, a Web3 distribution platform. I think they kind of wanted a bit of a COO type person to come in and create a little bit more organization on all the incredible things they’re doing and all the assets that they have.”

Could we see a relaunch of a similar style Daily NFT Countdown show in his new role? Sam’s not ruling it out and is grateful the old Proof show did what he had hoped for when it started. 

“Sometimes I felt like that show did more for me than it did for Proof. I thought it was good but probably could have leveraged it more and I thought it was a really good media channel. When you have someone paying your salary and stuff like that, I want to make sure that if I do it, it is very beneficial to Memeland,” Sam says. 

“I’m happy that it kind of did what I wanted it to because I wanted people to have a way to learn about what happened in this space without needing to hear, two different people make jokes with each other about their inside jokes, which is what happens when you get onto X Spaces.” 

“I just want 10-15 minutes where you listen to it, whether in the subway or on the way to work or whatever. Then you know what happened over the past day in NFTs. That was the goal and I think it did achieve that.”

NFTStats on Proof Daily Countdown
NFTStats on Proof Daily Countdown

Favorite Founders

Gellman has respect for founders with genuine authenticity, are dialed into the game and possess a high level of creativity, paying particular tribute to Ray from Memeland, Frank DeGods, Gordon Goner and Matt and John from Larva Labs.

“Obviously Ray as that’s one reason I’ve moved there but I think he just understands NFT communication very well. He understands the game,” Gellman says.

“I personally really like Frank, he is a divisive person. I don’t get why,” he says, noting that when DeGods was doing poorly Frank wanted to give people their money back.

“He had no interest in taking people’s money. You have people in the space who are kind of in it for the money and I just think he wasn’t really that person. I think he was someone who was deeply uncomfortable with the idea of the project not doing well and he didn’t want that on his shoulders. If you just listen to the things he says though, I think he really understands the core of what his community wants.”

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Bored Ape Yacht Club sentiment and floor price has dipped recently, but Gellman is quick to point out how innovative BAYC was, particularly founder Gordon Goner.

“I really like Gordon Gonor. He is just extremely creative and one of the sad things to me right now is how much apes are getting dunked on. At some level, it was like when the ape community was doing all the dunking two years ago and they were dunking on CryptoPunks, and other projects.” 

“I’ve owned a bunch of apes, but I’ve never been deep in the ape community, but they were so creative. Mutants were so innovative, Kennel Club was so innovative, so much of the road map stuff should be attributed to apes. One of my favorite Gordon Gonor lines was ‘If your price is going down, stop thinking about how to make it go up and go to the forest and do some mushrooms, and come up with cool ideas.’” 

“That inspired a lot of what they did with Bored Ape Yacht Club. I had a couple of Mutants. I thought, oh, he was doing mushrooms and he came up with this idea of goop coming out with the same traits. At the time that was super cool.” 

“And I can’t forget Matt and John at Larva Labs, I have a ton of respect for those guys and what they’ve done.” 

Rapid fire Q&A

Favorite NFTs in your wallet? 

Midnight Breeze #5015 by Dutchtide Studios I own three of those and I will never sell this one in particular.

The Harvest #388 by Per Kristian Stoveland — I love the Harvest. I love color and I live in the mountains so it has a very majestic view.”

Favorite generative art collection?  

“I guess I have a bit of loyalty to Chromie Squiggles. I own one of them and I think they’re kind of the first commercialized long form generative art project out there. The Chromie Squiggle I have I love, I have no intention to sell.

I love Fidenzas. It’s hard not to love Fidenzas but I almost like them more as a collection than I want to own one of them. I love Fidenzas in the way that there are so many and they’re so diverse yet still very clearly part of the same collection. I think they’re extremely cool.” 

How are you viewing ordinals at the moment? And have you been active in buying ordinals? 

“I haven’t been, but that’s because my strategy personally, as you know, one of the things that Spencer once tweeted is that you have to completely change your mindset when you go from a bear market to a bull market. And I think my mindset is just stuck in the bear market. I lost too much money on NFTs as you can see from the wall behind me. 

“But it feels a lot like ETH did two years ago where there’s this sense that there are a few brands that have been crowned kind of like the bearers of the torch. Because they’re early the provenance will go to the early ones. I think they’re still duking it out about which ones those will be.

“I think with NodeMonkes, Quantum Cats and Bitcoin Puppets it’s clear right now that the community has formed consensus around these collections and they seem to be doing very well.”

Who are your top 3 favorite follows on Twitter for NFTs?

TylerDidIt, Cirrus the GOAT and BCheque.

Advice on how to survive NFTs and crypto for the long run?

“I think that when you buy, you need to know when you’re going to sell. I think there are three options for that. 

1 — One is you’re never going to sell. You think it’s something that has long term collectibility.

2 — Two is you have a price point or an outcome that you are looking for and if that happens, you will sell.

3 — Three is you’re willing to see it go to zero.

Every time you buy something it needs to fit into one of those three buckets. If it doesn’t, what’s going to happen is it’s going to go up a little bit. You’re like, fuck, it’s going to go up more and then over time everything ends up going to zero and you lose all your money. I think that the attention economy is so fickle and it is so easy to make an NFT and to make a project that the result is there’s so much supply of it. 

You have this shifting demand and ever growing supply so net net, it’s not a great asset class. I’d say if you think about long term investment stuff, you have to have something that has a very good story, a known exit point or something that you’re literally buying for something other than investment. You can call it consumption. You’re excited to be part of the community and you’re willing to pay money for that consumption, and the value could go down. 

I think where people get screwed is where they kind of just float and hold things, and they have all these zombie positions.” 

Greg Oakford

Greg Oakford

Greg Oakford is the Head of Growth & Partnerships for Upside DAO, a leading Australian crypto & web3 co-working hub and investment fund. He is an avid NFT collector and the co-founder of NFT Fest Australia. Prior to crypto, Greg was a marketing and sponsorship specialist in the sports industry working on professional events.

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