Minting NFTs is a simple process. According to a host of online guides, all it takes to be successful is an idea, an ETH wallet, and a little bit of crypto for the minting fees. Selling NFTs once they have been minted, however, is not so simple. Visit any NFT marketplace and you will discover hundreds of NFTs collecting digital dust on digital shelves while awaiting a purchaser.
Alvin Juano, founder of The Square Comics, did not need to wait long for his NFT project – The Squarmies – to attract buyers. In fact, all 3,535 Squarmie NFTs that dropped at the end of January 2022 have sold. And they sold in less than one minute. You read that correctly; all 3,535 sold in less than 60 seconds.
What is the secret to Alvin’s success? His Squarmies project brought together a winning blend of artistry, tech knowledge, and appreciation for community that appealed to thousands of fans in the NFT market.
Another dorm room success story
Anyone who has studied business has probably heard more than one success story that started in a dorm room. That’s where Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook and Michael Dell started Dell Computers and Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little started WordPress. It is also where Alvin started The Square Comics.
Alvin discovered the world of comics as a child while enduring a separation from his family. Strips like “Cyanide & Happiness,” “Safely Endangered,” and “War and Peas” became his companions and awoke in him an interest in storytelling. In 2014, Alvin began drawing The Square Comics in his dorm room at National University of Singapore where he was studying industrial design.
“I was doing so badly at school that I was almost kicked out of the course. It was one of the lowest periods of my life and I needed something to get out of the funk,” Alvin shares. “Creating funny drawings was it.”
The Square Comics combine simplicity, sarcasm, and a perspective that Alvin admits is a little on the dark side.
“I’m told that my take on subjects can sometimes be depressing,” he says. “It is definitely not something that my mom would approve of.”
While Alvin’s mom may not approve, many others do. The Square Comics has a following of more than 600,000 on Instagram. It is not unusual for posts to get more than 10,000 likes and dozens of comments. It is also not unusual to find Square Comics translated into other languages.
Moving from IG to NFT
In addition to drawing The Square Comics, Alvin also has a background in the tech industry. He has worked as a product researcher, strategic insights researcher, and driver of growth and optimization. With that as a foundation, extending his brand into the NFT market was a natural next step.
But extending the brand was not the only goal; Alvin also wanted to leverage NFTs as a way to support artists like himself. So he built a utility into the project that is known as the Community Chest.
The Squarmies website gives this explanation of the Chest: “We launched Squarmies with a single vision — to grow the brand along with the community and support artists. That’s where Squarmies Community Chest comes in. We’re dedicating the fund for initiatives to grow the brand and to support artists with their NFT projects.”
The Squarmies project added a total of 30 ETH to the Chest during the course of the project, with future funding coming from 10 percent royalties deposited when NFTs are sold on the secondary market. The goal is to use the funding for new projects that increase NFT adoption worldwide through great storytelling. Those who purchase a Squarmie NFT get access to a unique illustration, which Alvin describes as a “square-headed creature,” as well as the right to play a role in directing how the Chest is used.
When projects are proposed, they are voted on by Squarmies holders. Projects that receive enough community interest will be fine-tuned by the Squarmies team to ensure that they grow the Chest or improve the experience of token holders, then voted on again. Overall, the system looks to give anyone who has invested in a Squarmie the opportunity to have a voice in growing the company.
In the coming months, Alvin and The Square Comics will be launching a new line of NFTs known as Squarepets and giving token holders the option of staking. They will also be releasing a full-length Square Comics comic book and a series of Square Comics videos on YouTube.
Bringing more artists to the blockchain
By focusing on the reliability of the movement of registered NFT assets on the blockchain, Alvin hopes that Squarmies project will inspire other artists to share their creativity and content with the NFT community, grow their brand, and take advantage of the rapidly developing blockchain technology. He also hopes that the Community Chest concept will attract non-NFT artists into the community and open doors for them to benefit from the experience he has gained from the Squarmies project.