NBA players, famous TV actors, Wall Street venture capitalists along with Hamish & Andy (podcast episodes 135-138) have all “invested” in this latest crypto-craze. And now I have “ponied up my dough” too.
Some mates and I somehow managed to purchase a non-fungible token (NFT) digital racehorse with the crypto currency Ethereum. Never did I ever imagine I would write that sentence. A month ago I would not have even understood that sentence!
Since diving into the computerised world of Zed Run, we have all become completely hooked. It is rad, and it’s Australian. There have certainly been some big lessons learned, but more on that a little later.
For now, here is the gist:
- We had five of us in total, chomping at the bit
- We all jumped into a WhatsApp group chat
- We setup a crypto wallet using MetaMask
- We searched the NFT Zed Racehorse market on OpenSea
- We spent two weeks sharing links, YouTube videos and ideas
- We joined Zed Run’s Discord, read blog posts and listened to podcasts
I like talking about money on Downunder Dad so here is the financial overview.
- We each put in $100
- We found the cheapest horses were ETH0.08
- We bought a horse for ETH0.145 (at the time was approximately AU$400)
Yes, we bought an imaginary digital racehorse that isn’t real for AU$400! — But look how pretty she is…
Crazy enough, when the breeding functionality re-opened recently (after a little break for maintenance), bad horses were astonishingly cheap, appearing for around 0.008 or AU$25. We saw it happen, but we were not ready to pull the trigger. Good times.
Zed Run was founded in 2018 by Chris Laurent, Rob Salha, Geoff Wellman and Chris Ebeling. They felt that horse racing was fertile ground for innovation. “It’s one of the world’s oldest sports, and it has remained unchanged since the dawn of time,” Mr. Laurent said.– New York Times, 12th May, 2021
Before reading on please be advised that I am fully aware how ridiculous the next paragraph seems.
We wanted a female because they can breed once per month and the mother keeps the foal, we hoped this would be a great way to expand our stable. Although we need to pay the stud fee to the owner of the stallion, we are creating NFTs for a much lower cost. If our foals are male we will sell them as unraced colts and if they are female we will keep the filly until she is 30 days old and able to mate and breed also. Repeat. We are not even sure that we will race any of them.
Hahaha! Onto the lessons learned…
Crypto is erratic
I have never had any interest in cryptocurrency whatsoever, until I could build a horse racing empire with it. Although you cannot bet on the horse races it is like we are gambling on top of gambling. You see we “bought” the crypto currency Ethereum in order to “buy” our horse, plus future race entries and breeding fees. So not only are we attempting to grow the value of our stable, but the overall price of Ethereum also dictates our fortunes. And the price is a roller coaster (see below). If it increases while we have our funds inside the Zed Run game, then great. If it dives, then it doesn’t really matter how well our stable looks, it will be worthless.
It is gambling, not investing
I said to Mrs DD that my two exit prices are AU$10m and $0. In other words we said goodbye to our $100 as soon as we transferred it to MetaMask. If it all booms and produces crazy lifetime changing returns then that’s awesome, I guess. But more likely it will fizzle out and die, leaving me with nothing but fond memories of the times when I dearly loved our Black Chocolate coloured horsey.
Scammers are circling
There’s money here, lying around in the Metaverse. It’s being flung around from wallets and websites, from marketplaces to horse owners, from AUD to ETH to WETH and back again. It is chaos, and I’m sure plenty of newbies have found themselves as prey. Three times I was approached by different scam artists, their stories were different but the con was the same. Pretending to own a horse that they didn’t own and implying that the crypto should be transferred directly. Yucky stuff.
The community is epic
How’s this? One of the creators Chris Ebeling connected with me via LinkedIn and then invited me to play Call of Duty with him, after our respective kids were asleep. Plus, after work, driving home one night I listened to a podcast interview by ZedGuru chatting to ChateauxZed only to discover that each of them had liked my Instagram post about buying our first horse. Crazy! Discord is super active full of helpful people wanting to share the Zed love, once you filter out the aforementioned scammers.
Some purchases SHOULD be all about fun
As a mortgagee, business owner, father and husband it can be all too easy to forget about enjoying your money. I can confidently proclaim that I have already gotten my money’s worth from this purchase. The world of Zed Run has been a blast to explore, along with the thrill of potential growth and expansion into the Polygon blockchain, whatever that is. It is simulation gaming, meets gambling and investing, sort of.
Addiction is looming
I am a smart and frugal grown up who values his money and loves numbers so I always feel somewhat immune going into a new venture like this. However, it should NOT be underestimated how addictive this game is. It needs to be highlighted. I genuinely believe it was built as a business idea, not an evil and poisonous villain, but I cannot look around inside the Zed Run world and not worry about the dollars that some others will invariably lose. Similar to in-game purchases, mobile ads aimed at kids, and KFC after midnight, these little horses could well be told to shut up and just take people’s money.
The real winners are the developers
What an extraordinary business?! It is mind-blowing. As if NFTs and crypto currencies alone weren’t incomprehensible enough for an bloke in his 40s, now a world has been built for us to buy, sell, breed and race horses. Zed Run explains that they will only ever release 38,000 Genesis (Z1-10) horses, hence these are very sought after with reported sales topping US$400,000. Ponder that for a moment, computer-generated graphics selling for mega-bucks. Whoa!
Since we started our syndicate we have had five extra investors keen to get involved, we let them in. The growth of our stable has been almost immediate and a second horse purchase is pending.
The plan is to gather around a laptop at the pub in a few weeks’ time to watch our Filly become a Mare as our first foal is “minted”. And then after it is “born” and we’ve all had a few pints, we will attempt to have the ten of us agree on a name! What could go wrong?
No doubt that night, after others figure out what we are doing, the line to be an investor will extend out the door of the pub, and onto the street. Maybe I will need another syndicate.
Downunder Dad: Independent, Aussie and Personal