Publication > editorial > Getting NEAR with NEARNauts: Because All Apes Want to Go to The Moon
Getting NEAR with NEARNauts: Because All Apes Want to Go to The Moon
22 June 2022
Been partnering with Paras from the very beginning of each other’s journey, NEARNauts hasn’t stopped to grow bigger and stronger and until this second, still holds its title as one of the Top Projects on Paras. The colorful astronaut monkeys have reached more than 130K NEAR in total volume. But, like H.E. Luccock once said, “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it,” so we can fairly say that there’s a great team working behind the success of NEARNauts, and Donny Chakra is one of them. Donny, the Co-Founder, will be our interviewee for the second Getting NEAR. Let’s hear what he has to say about the experience of creating the project.
NEARNauts: Ground Zero
Donny and Ted are good friends in real life. They always share their thoughts, until one time, Ted came up with the idea of starting an NFT project and wanted Donny to be a part of it. “I told him I would be honored, and I’d cover the marketing situation,” Donny recalls. Not long after, in September 2021 to be precise, Donny was brought on board the core NEARNauts team.
Donny explains that the idea behind the name ”NEARNauts” itself came to fruition sort of organically on its own. NEARNauts, NEAR and astronauts. It is as simple as the fact that they are operating on NEAR Blockchain. As someone that hangs out in crypto space a lot, the term “Ape” is regularly thrown around, and that is how the monkeys became the prime subject. But, why astronauts? “Because all apes want to go to the moon,” says Donny.
Donny and Ted’s great friend, Marcus, a NEAR employee now, turned them on to NEAR Protocol. Marcus, Ted, and Donny have all been into crypto for some time, and they all maintained almost constant communication with each other during their experience.
After hearing about NEAR and researching —carbon neutrality, TPS, sharding and scaling solutions, transaction fees, and amazing grants program— they decided to try their luck at launching an NFT collection. “Marcus and the NEAR team have been of tremendous support throughout the entirety of our existence,” says Donny. “And we owe a portion of our success to them.” After receiving a grant from the NEAR Foundation, they were able to hire an artist and a developer, and their dream became a reality.
The project has seen tremendous success and has flourished in the NEAR ecosystem. NEARNauts has grown their discord community to 6k and their Twitter followers to 18k, as well as begun to release other products in the NEAR ecosystem. Their collection of 7,777 NEARNauts is live on NEAR Protocol, with over 2000 unique holders.
Diving into The Environment of Crypto Art
Getting into crypto art (NFT) was a natural progression for Donny, as he has been regularly trading fungible tokens. For him, the fundamentals are all the same, it’s just in a different style. Entering this space wasn’t as much of a decision as it was a fluid evolution, as they all have a background in trading, whether it be tokens, forex, or stocks.
The experience has been amazing for NEARNauts, and it has a lot to do with their decision to launch on NEAR Protocol. The NEAR Foundation, Paras team, and the entire NEAR community have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of the NEARNauts since Day 1.
It’s been a gigantic learning experience for Donny and the team. From experimenting with marketing tactics – finding out what does and doesn’t work, to unreliable developers – setting them back with faulty code, to bad actors within the community, to the constant pressure of trying to “1 up” the next guy, it hasn’t been easy. But they are constantly reminded to “tune out the noise” and persevere. “Just keep doing what you set out to do, and nothing else matters”, Donny says.
Having had an interest in design for many years, after stumbling across the cryptocurrency and the blockchain before NFT was really picked up, Donny didn’t see where he could combine his hobbies in any way. When NFTs really took off and gained popularity, it occurred to him that there was finally a way he could transition his skills from design into the crypto world.
The design process of NEARNauts itself took him a couple of months. Each trait was hand-drawn individually, and there are over 140 traits. After the traits have all been designed, it’s important to ensure each image is the same size and position each set of traits properly on the canvas, so when they’re laid on top of each other, they correctly display the desired image.
NEARNauts gave most of the design power to their artist, Goose, after seeing his capabilities. He’s been nothing but amazing to work with and has provided them with the iconic art they’ve all grown to know and love.
The Growth of NEARNauts
“I’d say we’ve grown to act in a much more professional manner and learned to treat our project like a business,” explains Donny. In the beginning, it was all fun and games for NEARNauts, and they never knew how well they would do. But, after seeing the success of the mint, and the sales on the secondary marketplace, it turned from “fun and games” to “we are running a business now.”
Since minting, they have developed a Generative NFT Launchpad (AstroGen), and a Secondary NFT Marketplace (AstroMarket), as well as airdropped a free spinoff collection (AstroPups) to all holders on a 1:1 basis. Their free AstroPup airdrop has traded over US$100,000 in volume and has over 1900 unique holders at the time of writing that will be used as an APY booster for when their staking platform is released.
NEARNauts’ main goal is to get AstroMarket (NFT marketplace) up and running. They are amending some code now, but it is expected to go live this quarter. Meanwhile, their second main goal is to airdrop Serums to the holders, which are NFTs that will act as a WL token so our holders can attend the mutated NEARNauts mint. They will airdrop them 1 per every 2 NEARNauts in a wallet.
They are still developing the art for the mutations, but what they have so far is already stunning.
AstroPups: A Gift for The Community
Donny claims that his favorite project (so far) is the AstroPups. It was a free airdrop they sent out to all holders back in February this year, and they represent a little companion to keep the NEARNauts company in the wallet. They were developed in a similar fashion as the NEARNauts.
They were sent out to all holders on a 1:1 basis with the NEARNauts they held as a fun way of saying “thank you” to the amazing community. They will now be utilized as an APY booster for NEARNaut staking, which is due for release this quarter.
NEARNauts and Paras
NEARNauts has been partnered with Paras since the very beginning; since the early days of their projects. It all started with the initial minting process and 2 NFT drops for charity, “And it was a ‘no brainer’ decision”, says Donny. He explains that they chose to be partnered with Paras because Paras is the main catalyst for NFT trading and growth on NEAR Protocol, and NEARNauts has continued to trade over US$1million in volume on the platform.
What The World Needs To Know About NFT
Donny understands that we generally still don’t know all the utility that NFTs can provide, now and in the future. Blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs are still in their infancy, and it is very important to understand that just because you may not fully understand the mechanics behind something, it does not mean that it is unsustainable or a “scam” as lots of “normies” would like to say.
Favorite Part of The Community?
“The memes. 100% memes, all day, every day.”
“We at NEARNauts want to thank the Paras team, the NEAR Foundation, and our fantastic community for their endless support throughout our time on NEAR Protocol. We truly wouldn’t be here without you.
If you are working on a project of your own, keep at it! It’s easy to get discouraged but remember nothing in life comes easy! Feel free to reach out to us if you ever have any questions!”
What an insightful and eye-opening story that we just heard from Donny! It makes us more and more excited for going in a further journey with NEARNauts, doesn't it?
Well, that's all for now and stay tuned for the next Getting NEAR, Parasians!