Solana NFT Startup Dust Labs Raises $7M as y00ts Tops NFT Charts
Solana NFT project y00ts is off to a hot start since launching last night, topping secondary markets as the NFTs sell for a significant premium over the mint price. And amid the hype over the rollout, the Web3 tech company tied to the project has raised a seed round from some notable investors.
Dust Labs, a tech startup linked to both y00ts and the popular DeGods NFT project, has raised $7 million in funding from an array of venture capital firms. Participants in the round include FTX Ventures and Solana Ventures, as well as top Solana NFT marketplace Magic Eden, Solana NFT protocol maker Metaplex, and firms Foundation Capital and Jump.
The startup spawned out of the success of DeGods, currently the most valuable NFT profile picture (PFP) project on the Solana blockchain. It was founded by the creator of DeGods, who goes simply by Frank, but has its own CEO (who goes by Kevin) and is focused on “building software that helps NFT communities bring more value to their holders,” per the website.
Frank told Decrypt in a Twitter DM today that Dust Labs is a “tech company spun off” from the DeGods project, rather than a parent company in the vein of Yuga Labs and the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Dust Labs is credited as having built the y00ts minting website, for example.
Dust Labs’ DUST utility token initially launched as a reward for DeGods holders, and is the only token that buyers can use to mint a y00ts NFT in the primary sale. The token will also be accepted by Magic Eden as it integrates Solana-based tokens from various NFT projects.
An NFT is a blockchain token that can represent ownership in an item, including digital goods like PFPs, artwork, collectibles, and video game items. Solana is the second-largest NFT ecosystem behind Ethereum.
y00ts debuted late Sunday with 15,000 total Solana-based collectibles. The NFTs were available to purchase by DeGods holders, as well as those accepted to an exclusive whitelist in recent weeks—including celebrities like soccer legend Wayne Rooney and comedian Howie Mandel.
Each NFT from the mint is called a “t00b,” and it can be burned (or permanently destroyed) in exchange for the actual y00ts NFT, which is a profile picture. That process is slated to begin on September 9, although it’s unclear whether delays to the initial NFT mint will impact that timing.
Minting a t00b NFT costs 375 DUST, which was worth about $875 at the start of the mint last night, but now is worth about $915 as of this writing. Anyone on the y00tlist can mint until 5 p.m. ET today—for 19 hours in total—although the creators said they may extend the window due to technical issues last night. DeGods owners can mint a y00ts NFT at any time, although the mint price is slated to gradually increase over time.
According to data from NFT marketplace aggregator Hyperspace—also a Dust Labs investor—y00ts has already generated more than $6 million worth of secondary sales. The floor price, or cost of the cheapest-available NFT listed on a marketplace, is currently 139 SOL or about $4,400. Some 96% of secondary sales have taken place on Magic Eden.
Last night, y00ts supplanted Ethereum Name Service as the top-selling NFT project across secondary markets, per data from OpenSea, the leading marketplace across all blockchain networks. y00ts is not only the top-selling NFT project of the last 24 hours now, but also over the last week, according to OpenSea’s rankings.
Originally, the y00ts launch was planned to take place on September 2, but was delayed following recent hitches—temporary bans of the y00ts and DeGods accounts on Twitter last week, plus a late “blocker bug” on Sunday prior to the planned deployment. Issues that emerged during the mint were apparently tied to the project’s own tech, not the Solana network—which, prior to recent upgrades, had crashed during high-profile NFT launches.