NFC-enabled toy line inspired by MAYC (powered by Causality)
Ecosystem Fund Allocation
Author Elad Yakobowicz / StrawberrySith, Founder of Clever Guerrilla Inc., best known as creators of Causality. Holds MAYCs, Meetbits, Otherside Deeds, assorted Yuga assets and ApeCoin. Longtime interest in the interface between physical and digital: to that effect created Dark Junction in June 2021 for experiential cross-world popups. Orchestrated first physical/digital event for Wicked Craniums in October 2021 whereby avatars and humans could interact with one another via cross-world camera. Former Subject Matter Expert on Phygitals/Metaverse for Boson Protocol. Worked with and trusted by many well known names in this space including but not limited to DappRadar, NFTfi, GoodDollar, Upland, Blockparty and others. In the more distant past: MENA Region Director for a German multinational corporation. Founder / Executive Editor of PCsynapse.com (a tech news portal in the early 2000s known for being Slashdotted multiple times, for those of you old enough to know what that means) and Senior News Editor of pocketnow.com (youngest in the organization’s history). Educational background in computer science, mathematics, international relations and government affairs.
Team Clever Guerrilla Inc (CG) was founded in early 2022 to shatter paradigms in market niches where value waits to be unlocked. Its flagship product, Causality, democratizes the creation and discovery of phygital experiences and makes producing them, both technologically and logistically, accessible to anyone. The CG team includes professionals and developers with wide ranging skillsets who are responsible for facilitating the following recent uses of Causality you might be familiar with:
RSTLSS by Charli Cohen: buy an officially licensed Diablo IV themed outfit at Selfridges, use it to directly claim an exclusive role in Discord. Read full details.
“Artist in a Post-Truth World” collection by Carlos Marcial: find artist Carlos Marcial at your next conferences, have him physically sign your digital NFT art without wallet log-in or account creation. Read full details.
NFT Fest Lugano: conference transformed into a phygital RPG. Read full details.
Advisor: Hazel Brown, formerly VP for NBC|Universal specializing in IP licensing and retail development. Led international consumer products growth for Minions and Jurassic World, multiplying department value 5x in several years.
Advisor: Collin Woodward, President and General Counsel for StealthTest.
One or more roles may be added to the team for the express purpose of managing this project. See budget for more details.
This proposal funds the production of an NFC-enabled, physical-digital toy line for the mainstream market, with MAYC-inspired design (an IP from within the ApeCoin ecosystem). The toys are compatible with a platform called Causality enabling creation of digital utility and experiences for them by both ‘official’ parties as well community members and third parties (think crowdsourcing game mods - but for physical items/toys), thereby engaging communities both inside and outside of the ApeCoin ecosystem in unique and novel ways.
The proposal is designed to create a circular loop of benefit connecting the ApeCoin ecosystem with the mainstream market, starting with its originating through the DAO. Opportunities to be involved in and influence its success will be available to ApeCoin community members, which primarily includes anyone who has enough $APE required for voting through Discourse and can be expanded to anyone who also has an ApeCoin Ecosystem NFT (any IP or utility NFT considered part of ApeCoin).
Market data demonstrates that toys are having one of their biggest years yet and this seems to show no signs of slowing down going into 2024. If you take an IP such as Mutant Ape Yacht Club for instance, there’s an entire untapped niche for ‘weird’ and ‘gross’ styled toys amongst adolescents and kidults, which can be wildly successful as a toy in and of itself before any bells and whistles. If we add to that a novel, mainstream-oriented digital component the chances of success increase significantly. By utilizing ApeCoin as a launchpad we can create a popular toy line derived of MAYC IP for mainstream consumption with a magnificent twist that would also benefit the ApeCoin ecosystem in return.
The 1980s produced a new market niche in the industry that endures to this day, it’s called “gross-out” toys. They include some of the most iconic lines that, if you’re around my age, you certainly will remember: e.g. Garbage Pail Kids, Creepy Crawlers, Grossery Gang, Queasy Bake, Uglys Pet Shop, Funko Twisted Treats and many more. The common denominator for these toys were that they were unusual, strange and at times deformed or “grotesque” - but in the most awesome way! Adults do not lack an interest or enjoyment of this kind of art or appearance, as can be seen with the success of designers such as Alex Pardee.
Image borrowed from Haunted Outhouse, all rights reserved by them
If you take a good luck at Mutant Ape Yacht Club, or many like it - strictly as an IP - they are perfect characters to translate to a fun toy line and carve out space in the market for kids, adolescents, tweens, adults, collectors and consumers, particularly the “kidult” segment.
Bringing back vintage 'gross-out' with a modern twist
Over a decade ago, the gaming industry saw its most profitable niche ever with the advent of “Toys-to-Life”: Nintendo Amiibo, Activision Skylanders and Disney Infinity. In a few short years, that niche alone brought in almost $8 Billion USD.
The visceral experience of physical toys that can be used digitally (not just scanned once and forgotten) was something consumers found sensational.
Our company has the technology to make that possible in a manner befitting of this and future decades: scannable/usable by any device, compatible with many experiences (not just single issue use cases), crowdsources digital demand and potential integration across multiple platforms.
An MAYC-inspired, NFC-enabled toy line: what it is and how it works
Character mockup of “DUNCE!”, produced by @Victortacher. For illustration purposes only. Final product may look different.
Causality enables endless digital utility/experience for a single toy.
The toys will be embedded with NFC chips, whereby through using Causality, anyone in the ApeCoin community and beyond may build digital experiences, provide digital utility, and enhanced enjoyment for the toy line.
The physical toys can be used in the classic sense in digital games, but think far beyond that. Owners of these toys can use them to unlock discounts in a shopping cart, gain “physical-gated” access to online content and special experiences, cross-promote and collaborate with other digital environments and ecosystems. And the best part of all? Any one of you reading this proposal would be able to make your own digital experiences that could be unlocked by the entire toyline. Digital UGC for physicals - a killer combination.
As an ApeCoin ecosystem member with the capabilities to produce such experiences - why should you bother doing so?. Continue below
Benefit to ApeCoin Ecosystem
Mainstream Exposure: Every toy from this line that’s played with or talked about is another opportunity for new mainstreamers to wonder “What does ‘Powered by ApeCoin’ mean”? “What exactly is ApeCoin”? How is it involved?”. This toyline will make headlines and we will make it a point that ‘ApeCoin’ becomes an inextricable part of this toy’s narrative. Please note that this is different from “onboarding to Web3”, which is not our goal. Rather, the goal is to bring attention to ApeCoin and its DAO as a platform for creativity and possibility and as a brand (with its use of blockchain being a secondary point of interest that individuals can investigate and explore). When we say “Powered by ApeCoin”, we will be referring to the IP, the product line, the initiative. Not the technology. It’s a far more mainstream take on what ApeCoin can offer people. That leads into…
Bringing in new community members - with toys: Once here, this is where you can hook them with $APE as well as everything else. Did you know that with Causality, physical items (including these toys) can be used to claim Discord roles and potentially even vote in certain DAO structures? These Causality-powered physicals can bring mainstreamers into our Discord servers and reward them for their participation without them needing to use a digital wallet / buy NFTs they can’t afford but ALSO without having to dilute a project’s overall value by issuing additional collections. From there, the step between “I’m in the Discord” and “Buying my first $APE so I can vote” is a small one.
For more about this, read:
The Evolving Role of Physical Goods in the Expansion of NFT-Originated Media Franchises (NOMFs)
Influence: “Salvation cometh by many good counsel.” We will source insight, ideas, feedback and influence specifically regarding this toy line from the ApeCoin DAO forum. Feedback from polls we conduct here will be given particular weight in business decisions and the general public will be informed that they can participate too by becoming part of the ApeCoin community. What “being a part of the community” means, we’ll leave to you to explain once they’re here (#NFA). In doing so, DAO members have the ability to influence the mainstream market exposure of the ApeCoin ecosystem.
Prioritization: Individuals, projects, organizations/companies from the ApeCoin ecosystem who wish to participate in the digital utility/experience aspect of the toy line (i.e. producing said utility/experiences such as integration into games, websites, apps, etc) will be given first mover advantage with special benefits and/or discounts for using the Causality platform.
Financial Opportunity: We will seek ways to financially involve members of the ApeCoin ecosystem. A classic example of what that might look like may include licensing rights to produce someone’s NFT IP as a toy. But there are additional creative ways to go about financialization of this new market we would be essentially opening up through this toy line and we will help both encourage and assist ApeCoin members in enjoying that.
Cooperation with Partners on Go-to-Market
Our preferred supplier, should this proposal pass, is a high profile toy company that is currently enjoying mass market success with several hot toy brands. In addition to creative development and manufacturing, they could also facilitate retail distribution of the toys. They are a strong partner and a company you are very familiar with (we are talking about a toy industry leader, not one born from within Web3).
We maintain a good relationship with said company prior to this proposal and they are aware of our plans to approach them should we succeed.
“Near Field Communication”. Short range RFID technology that has existed longer than Bluetooth. The “chips” refer to the technology itself and the “tags” to their containers (sticker, micro, hard, machine washable, etc). Came to particular prominence in entertainment with Toys-to-Life. Today almost 90% of all mobile smartphones have NFC reader capabilities and the chips themselves are cheaper and more ubiquitous than ever.
Read more here: NFC Tags 101: what they are, who uses them and how to read their data.
UGC (User Generated Content)
Refers to content created for a product or platform by third parties i.e. not the same creators who made the product or platform. For instance, Roblox is a UGC-driven platform. The game platform itself is made by Roblox Corporation but the vast majority of the game servers/experiences within it are created by its users.
Platforms and Technologies
The main platform in use will be our proprietary tech, Causality. Its current public feature set includes its middleware tool offered as an API-as-a-Service. The middleware functions using a proprietary methodology known as POPphy. Further features and aspects of the platform that are in development will be released in 2024. The Causality middleware can be integrated into almost any digital environment.
A waitlist will be generated specifically for members of the ApeCoin ecosystem expressing interest in using Causality to power experiences for these toys in their own projects / games / websites. Upon vetting and approval they’ll be prioritized to receive a Causality API account pending separate Terms of Service. Said account will be provided completely free of charge for the full calendar year of 2024, with unlimited use/access (within reason). If possible, we will supply financial support for this (TBD) as a part of the content production budget.
Example environments in which Causality can be integrated (only a partial list):
- Otherside (TBD, dependant on ODK)
- Unreal Engine
Steps to Implement & Timeline
Phase 1: Immediate - 51,000 $APE
Hiring one Producer to work full time solely on this toy line. This includes all research and project management duties involved in branding, packaging, manufacturing, etc with our service providers. The Producer also acts as our direct point of contact between external parties (e.g. manufacturers) and our internal departments (e.g. legal and licensing). A portion of the budget, at this stage, is applied to legal fees involved in finalizing and securing use of all necessary IPs for production (i.e. contracts, agreements).
Phase 2: Start of 2024 - 231,000 $APE
Initial production run including various logistics, operations and overhead. Development of creative style guide, including needed character designs and turnarounds needed for tooling, packaging etc.
Phase 3: End of previous phase - 555,000 $APE
$108,000 - Full time Executive Producer / Project Manager for 2024 (extension of Phase 1 hire if possible)
$90,000 - Work for hire (graphic design, character design, packaging, etc)
$402,000 - Marketing, hackathons, content (e.g. animated shorts, comics and assorted other transmedia)
(a) We will work hand-in-hand with ApeCoin DAO during the initial phase, not just on quickly progressing through legal setup but also on ideating RE business.
(b) Sums are estimates. To be clear, we erred on the side of caution so that in in a worst case scenario, we have a little more than we need (which would be reapplied into the product line) rather than a little less.
(c) Two thirds of the budget for Phase 3 is allotted to marketing and content efforts. This also constitutes a significant portion of the total project budget as a whole. With this sum and our connections we can spin wonders, thanks in no small part to one of our advisors, a former VP from NBC|Universal with 20 years of experience specifically in this sector.
(d) Certain actions and processes here may be done in collaboration with the toy manufacturer we choose to work with due to their pre-established infrastructure and success. For example, taking care of distribution and/or retail placement.
Brings us from ideation to execution in less than a year. We’ll make significant headway throughout 2024 culminating in the Winter 2024 holiday season. Toy of the Year ranking, we’re coming for you.