Since the dawn of NFTs, rarity has reigned supreme as the primary metric of value within a collection. Despite collectible avatars containing a gorgeous composition of traits, if those traits are not rare, they’re relegated to the amorphous pool of “floor” NFTs. On the flip side, NFT owners may hold high-priced pieces with an unsightly mix of traits that they’d rather not look at for too long. Well, we suppose this makes for an easy sell when it’s time to cash out. Liquidity at the sacrifice of our tastes.
Pure rarity metrics are logical and statistical, yet cold. The metric is largely out of our hands as a community and is agnostic to our aesthetic tastes. We see this as an invaluable opportunity to revitalise the current, incomplete model of NFT valuation.
And in response to someone questioning the value of using purely rarity-driven valuation:
This isn’t to say that valuation by rarity is bad — it’s simply incomplete. Rarity will always be an essential metric in an NFT’s valuation. If rarity is the Apollonian side of an NFT’s value, then aesthetics are the Dionysian. PopRank aims to provide that which has been missing up until now: an objective measure of NFT aesthetics built on the subjective sensibilities of its community members.
The Road So Far
When The Wicked Craniums collection dropped, the Discord server was abuzz with many NFT first-timers asking how to determine which NFT to buy. Answers were repeated, ultimately boiling down to two guiding factors: rarity and aesthetics. How unfortunate then is it for aesthetic-chasing buyers to have to list pieces at floor price when they need liquidity? And instead, how wonderful would it be to have community-generated rankings of NFT aesthetics that buyers and sellers alike could refer to?
Over time, our idea evolved and matured, and one day in July, a community hackathon was announced by the fantastic team behind The Wicked Craniums. It was the perfect opportunity to launch our idea and gauge community interest. The hackathon resulted in our prototype for WickedRank, the beta version of PopRank tailored to the The Wicked Craniums community.
It was clear there was serious demand for the app within the community and the wider NFT space. Since the hackathon, we spent a month toiling away on back-end infrastructure refactoring, roadmap planning, mobile compatibility, polished UX, and much more, and we’re beyond excited to officially release the beta version of PopRank: WickedRank.
WickedRank will give us valuable early feedback to guide the further development and release of PopRank. Here’s what you’ll see on WickedRank:
Two NFTs in a collection pop up, and you pick the one you think has the best aesthetic. It’s simple, it’s fun, and each round you play will update the NFT contestants’ ratings and — as a result — affect their overall rankings within the collection, which leads us to our second main feature page.
Here, you can explore the NFTs, from highest to lowest aesthetic ranking, as well as search for an individual NFT’s rank and rating. We plan to introduce robust filter and sort controls in upcoming releases as well. Clicking or tapping on a ranking will pull up a modal with more info.
The small 🔥 emoji is indicative of the NFT’s Elo rating, explained in more detail below.
Our Rating System
WickedRank launches with the Elo rating system. Popularised by chess and featured in The Social Network’s Facemash, it’s one of the most popular rating systems for head-to-head, zero-sum games. The result of each round updates the ratings of the NFT contestants based on the probability of one winning against the other. Expected victories produce a small change, but unlikely upsets cause a tidal shift in the updated ratings.
That being said, one of our goals ahead of the PopRank release is to explore alternative rating systems. We’re saving every WickedRank round played, which will give us the ability to replay all the rounds with different rating systems. Along with the PopRank release, we plan to publish a whitepaper that details the integrity of our chosen rating system and head-to-head ranking model.
The Journey Ahead
PopRank provides the missing aesthetic metric in NFT appraisals and insight into our tastes in NFT artwork, the focal point that unifies all our NFT communities.
Here’s a peek into our roadmap, which you can view in full at https://poprank.io.
On a Final Note
We’re incredibly excited to see what the future holds for PopRank and the NFT space as a whole. The nascent NFT community is rapidly growing, and with each passing day, innovative collections, tools, investors, artists, and leaders emerge, elevating this space to new heights.
We’re building a first-of-its-kind tool, but it’s the community whose tastes will build this novel metric, and change the way we view and value NFTs forever. It takes a village, and we welcome you all to start using our PopRank beta, WickedRank. If you have any questions, concerns, feedback, or good vibes, feel free to reach out to us at @_poprank, or individually at @shandysulen and @rosen_ilan.
Shandy & Ilan