Anyone who has been around the NFT space long enough would know the Pudgy Penguins NFT collection as one of the earliest blue chips. During the launch in mid-2021, the collection rapidly stormed sales charts, making waves in the nonfungible token (NFT) space as the new favorite animal cartoon-themed PFP NFT project.
NFT influencers supported the penguin avatars, many celebrities wanted them, and even The New York Times featured them. Notably, all the attention meant that some of the nonfungible tokens sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The pudgy Penguins seem to have made one of the greatest comebacks.
In 2022, nonetheless, the Pudgy Penguin NFT project took a massive turn for the worst amid rug-pull accusations against its founder. It was also followed by a new leadership taking over the project in a $2.5 million deal.
Admittedly, while some wrote off the project as a rug pull, others were quick to question its future. Yet, in what might be “the greatest comeback story”, Pudgy Penguins’ new leadership managed to turn its future around. Despite the bear market, the project’s sales shot up in August 2022. One NFT even sold for 400 ETH (worth around $600,000 at the time).
How did things go wrong with the Pudgy Penguins NFT project? More crucially, how did the project make a phenomenal comeback?
The Pudgy Penguins NFT Overview
Unveiled in July 2021, Pudgy Penguins is described as a collection of 8,888 penguin avatar NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. The collection reportedly sold out in only 19 minutes, making the penguin avatars an instant hit.
At that time, some of the rare nonfungible tokens in the collection fetched up to $463,500. Furthermore, celebrities like Canadian rapper, Tory Lanez and NBA All-Star, Steph Curry are among its collectors.
Today, the project has already raked in more than 64,000 ETH or around $81 million in sales (at the time of publication). Its floor price is 2.34 ETH.
Who Developed The Pudgy Penguins NFT?
The original developers of the Pudgy Penguins NFT project include Mickyj, Jonah, Clayton Patterson (aka “mrtubby”), and Cole Villemain (aka ColeTherium) – most of them being college students. One of the major reasons for the project’s first success was the many promises that the founding team made.
From a native token to a children’s book and a metaverse game, the roadmap was highly tempting. Sadly, the founders failed to deliver on most of their promises but supposedly attempted to withdraw the project funds to keep for themselves.
Rug Pull Accusations Against Pudgy Penguins Founders
Pudgy Penguins NFT project’s downfall began in December 2021, when its community moderator, Darth publicly abandoned the project, calling out the founders for their ‘unprofessional’ behavior. It is claimed that he was promoted to the role of community manager without the two agreeing on job terms and details.
Cole even supposedly offered Darth 1 ETH to keep quiet about that incident. For clarity, Cole has previously been involved in many projects that rug pulled.
Later the next month, NFT influencer, 9x9x9 claimed that the Pudgy Penguin founders tried to sell the project after taking all the money from its coffers. Moreover, they alleged that they rejected an offer to acquire the project for 888 ETH. Disappointed, most of the Pudgy Penguin holders canceled the project’s founders.
New Leadership Try To Salvage The Project
The new leadership made lots of improvements. Despite the many controversies, some of the community members came forward to rescue the project. In April 2022, a group that was led by Pudgy Penguins holder and Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, Luca Schnetzler acquired the project for an incredible 750 ETH (around $2.5 million).
That in itself resulted in an increase in NFT sales from the collection. Notably, its floor price surged to 2.5 ETH after plunging as low as 0.7 ETH several weeks earlier. After the deal, Schnetzler told reporters:
“Everything is aligned to make this one of the most prevalent projects of all time.”
He also said that he plans to turn this project into:
“A brand that’s known both in and outside of the NFT world.”
For a large part, Schnetzler’s vision for Pudgy Penguins NFT appears to be bearing fruit. Months after the acquisition, things seem to be looking up in the penguin world – or “The Huddle”, as they popularly call it. For instance, in July, the project dropped its first soulbound token for plush physical collectibles. Since then, it has released a range of other soulbound tokens.
In the meantime, in August, the project’s sales increased considerably after the team published the Pudgy Toys lineup. After that announcement, the sales increased by 370% compared to the previous day. Furthermore, in the same month, the rarest NFT in the collection sold for nearly $600,000.
What Next For Pudgy Penguins NFT Collection?
In September 2022, Pudgy Penguins confirmed its partnership with leading children’s toy maker, PMI Toys to release physical versions of Lil Pudgys. The sub-collection of 22,222 NFTs launched in December 2021. Barely weeks before, the project had announced its physical toy collection, Pudgy Plushies. Interestingly, all the physical toys are officially licensed by the project’s community.
At the time, Pudgy Penguins tweeted:
“These collectibles, alongside our Pudgy Plushies, are only a sneak peek of the diverse line of toys included in our collection. As we continue to bring the Pudgy Penguins to life, we are ecstatic to be at the forefront of IP utilization in Web3.”
Additionally, the project’s recent activations include the Pudgy Penguins Meme Maker – an easy way for somebody to give a Pudgy Penguin twist to popular memes. These Pudgy Penguins will be present at the forthcoming Art Basel Miami on December 1. Recently, the project introduced the Pengu Princess soulbound token to honor its sub-communities focusing on Web3 female empowerment.
With a major focus on innovation, initiatives to connect the Web2 and Web3 worlds, and community-building, Pudgy Penguins NFT has certainly surged from the ashes. After tough several months, the future seems bright for these adorable cartoon avatars. With all things taken into consideration, Pudgy Penguins provide a hopeful lesson for NFT projects that are now struggling to succeed in the nascent space.