Why We’re Invested in PleasrDAO✨

Authors: Eva Wu, Andrew Kang

June 22, 2021

What is PleasrDAO?

PleasrDAO is an exclusive collective of DeFi leaders, early NFT collectors and digital artists who have built a formidable yet benevolent reputation for acquiring culturally significant pieces with a charitable twist. 

Since the DAO purchased its genesis piece, the Uniswap V3 NFT, the DAO has evolved and elevated its mission to collect digital art that represents and funds important ideas, movements and causes that have been memorialized on-chain as NFTs. PleasrDAO has since set a precedent for bidding on unique pieces, many of which have powerful messages that transcend crypto, including:

  • Stay Free: the NFT released by Edward Snowden, one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers. The purchase will directly support his non-profit foundation Freedom of the Press to fund and protect free speech across the world. 
  • Dreaming at Dusk: a historical and artistic representation of The Tor Project’s first onion service. The purchased artwork will support the non-profit’s efforts to protect online privacy and anonymity for all.
  • Doge: the 1 of 1 original NFT representing an iconic slice of internet history and one of the most beloved memes of the decade.

What We’re Excited About

While the portfolio PleasrDAO has amassed is impressive, one of the most exciting aspects of PleasrDAO is the sheer collective mindshare that is produced by putting together some of the most influential individuals across crypto in one DAO. From crypto anons to DeFi and NFT OGs, this group spans the gamut of crypto leaders; its members are some of the best builders, investors and artists the crypto ecosystem has to offer. Many of the same members have been responsible for driving value in DeFi, and PleasrDAO is just another avenue for them to do the same within the landscape of history, art and culture. 

Dubbed as a decentralized art investment empire, the DAO is experimenting with novel concepts in digital and community art ownership. Its members are exploring ideas such as fractionalizing iconic pieces to be distributed to, and owned by, the community at large. However, beyond just shared ownership of these pieces, the collective plans to apply creative innovations within DeFi to add and disseminate value. In a way, the DAO is a platform for collective experimentation at the nexus of community ownership, DeFi, and digital art. 

In essence, the DAO’s modus operandi is to buy and fund culturally significant pieces and then create something fundamentally additive to the soul of the piece before sharing it back with the community. 

Our Investment Thesis

When it comes to valuing art and NFTs, we don’t see the same established frameworks that are used in  valuing traditional equities. However, NFTs share many of the same aspects as the rest of crypto in the sense that the valuation models for cryptoassets are still nascent and values typically coalesce  around narratives and community sentiment. When we think about NFTs, we think about valuing and investing in art, culture and history. 

Much like all value in the world, the value of NFTs is assigned through social consensus. If a big enough or influential group of people assign value to something, whether a coin, physical item or idea, it will have value simply as a result. So far, NFTs have been embraced by crypto natives, but they have only begun to generate serious interest among traditional art collectors. As social acceptance for NFTs grows, so will the value of the NFTs held by PleasrDAO.

One of the most important innovations that NFTs enable is allowing society to capture an event, movement, or phenomena into a transferable asset. These NFTs will not only be able to serve as a new form of valuable memorabilia, but more importantly can serve to fund non-profits or otherwise difficult to monetize efforts. PleasrDAO’s previous purchases of Stay Free and Dreaming at Dusk have helped to fund Freedom of the Press and The Tor Project. 

In many ways, investing in PleasrDAO is like investing in an art fund run by professional curators (which have outperformed the S&P over the last 25 years). We also think of it like investing in a creator house where you invest in the earning potential of the creators but also in their power to influence markets. Whilst the DAO has already proven a sharp eye for undervalued and important artwork, it’s the brainpower, experimental and creative capacities that the DAO brings to bear on their pieces that makes this investment so compelling. 

As PleasrDAO further establishes itself as the curator of pieces with cultural significance, its brand and track record reflexively elevates the value of the pieces they purchase. In more ways than one, each NFT that PleasrDAO interacts with increases the value of the NFT. Beyond the performative aspect of each auction and the attention it garners, PleasrDAO’s brand further compounds the social value of all its pieces. The on-chain record of ownership showing PleasrDAO custodying a piece can, in the future, be likened to a famous art gallery or collector custodying a painting. This is also commonly seen in the art world when a known collector purchases the work of an up and coming artist, and the value of the artist’s previous work becomes elevated.  Furthermore, should these NFTs be fractionalized, they stand to benefit from a liquidity premium. Lastly, the DAO’s intention to use the skills and ideas of its members to additively build to the soul of each NFT before releasing it back to the community will inherently increase the value of each artwork in new and exciting ways. 

As a collective, PleasrDAO, can accomplish significantly more than that of a single collector. The extensive varied experience & network across art, traditional finance and tech create more avenues for the DAO to acquire important pieces and add value to its collection. For example, we could expect PleasrDAO NFTs to make more appearances across popular media and prominent art galleries. The bidding power of a collective also benefits the DAO not only by being able to win more auctions, but also by allowing it to do so on a lower cost basis. Individual collectors will find it difficult to compete and many of them may feel compelled to join a DAO themselves. 

From its humble beginnings, PleasrDAO has emerged as one of the most prominent and powerful organizations within crypto. It has already changed NFT collecting as we know it, and we expect the group’s impact across art and culture to continue to expand well beyond the confines of the crypto universe. As art and culture continue to evolve rapidly with technology, organizations like PleasrDAO are primed to be at the vanguard of this new era.

Thanks to our colleagues, Marc Weinstein, Ben Simon, and Daryl Lau, for their feedback and input.

Nothing in the above piece is investment advice.