Steph Curry NFT on FTX Failed to Launch, Pushed Back to Noon Today

Stephen Curry is known for launching bombs on the basketball court that invariably find their way into the net. That skill has led him to become the all-time 3-point scorer in NBA history. However, the launch of his 2974 Collection NFT project bounced off the rim last night as it was twice aborted and then rescheduled for today at noon. The details played out on the website, the FTX website, and Twitter.

Launch Challenges are Common

It’s not like NFT launch issues are unprecedented. Pepsi’s Mic Drop earlier this month had all of its white list spots claimed prior to the official launch time by bots hitting an API that was opened up early. Adidas Originals had to pause its pre-mint for several hours to add Mutant Ape holders to its white list. VeeFriends’ launch way back in May was supposed to begin on the 5th but eventually was pushed back to the 11th. So, the 2974 crew is in good company. Granted, I’m sure they wished the project had gone off as planned.

The original schedule was an 8:00 pm EST start time. However, the countdown time reached 0:00 and the mint button never appeared. A few minutes later, the countdown clock reappeared counting down from 30 minutes. The same thing happened again with no mint button appearing after the countdown was completed. A notification on Twitter said, “Apologies. Developers say 9p ET. Demand is incredible and we are making sure it is fair for everyone.” That was not to be.

Shortly after 9:30 pm EST, the FTX US Twitter account announced the mint would be moved to noon today, December 21st. The Tweet indicated there were capacity issues due to “overwhelming demand.” Chalk another one up for the bots.

Scalability is Critical

Steph Curry is one of the most popular basketball players of all time. This is his first NFT drop, the collection is limited to fewer than 3,000 items, and the price is a reasonable $499. It is not surprising there would be a lot of fans looking to grab the NFT as well as a lot of speculators using their bots to hit the website at high volume. It turns out, highly anticipated NFT drops behave very similar to denial of service (DOS) attacks by overwhelming servers with inbound connection requests.

The bots make this particularly difficult because they line up in advance and can cripple the site infrastructure. You might offer a hat tip to Adidas for not going down despite a flood of inbound traffic for its recent public NFT drop that sold nearly 10,000 items in less than one minute and some people say it might have been one second.

About the Drop

  • 2974 commemorates Steph Curry’s 3-point NBA shooting record set on December 14th.
  • The project was clearly some time in development and was anticipating him breaking the market this year.
  • All profits from the project will go to “underserved youth via Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation.”
  • There are 2,974 NFTs in the collection based on sketches created by artist and aspiring pilot Andrea McDonald. The project also promises “bonus drop” NFTs based on the work of Floyd Norman, “Disney’s first African-American animator and artist.”
  • The NFTs cost $499 and can be purchase on the website during the mint. They will be hosted on the FTX NFT marketplace and buyers must go through KYC2 process and deposit funds into an FTX account in order to mint. Funds can be deposited in fiat or cryptocurrency.
  • At the time of mint, a “mint button” will appear on the website which will take users to another “mint page” on the FTX website where the transaction will be completed. This two-step process is unusual and likely offers even more advantage to the bots. However, the issue last night appears to have been on the 2974 website as the initial mint button never appeared.
  • The mint is rescheduled to 12 noon on December 21st.

What it Means

  • You may want to watch for the two-step mint process and the transaction on FTX. It will be interesting to see how FTX handles the load and what the secondary market looks like in terms of liquidity for collectors looking to trade the NFTs.
  • NFT projects that have a high profile celebrity or brand must anticipate high levels of demand along with bots run by speculators. Everyone wants a fair launch and smooth operation but that can only take place with a really solid and scalable infrastructure.
  • This snafu by 2974 will not matter much in the long-term and likely won’t be remembered beyond this week assuming everything is successful today. Very few people even know that VeeFriends was delayed nearly a week. This project will be judged more on the impact it makes through Steph Curry’s foundation and the value of the collectibles going forward.

What’s Next – UPDATE December 22, 2021

  • The mint went off successfully. And, it wasn’t totally a win for bots. A real life human confirmed to me that he minted about four minutes after the noon launch time.
  • The NFTs are trading in the aftermarket upwards of $2,000 on the FTX NFT marketplace.
  • Token holders have the option of keeping the NFT on FTX or converting it to a Solana blockchain NFT.
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