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AEP Life Form (ALF) - Unique 1-of-1 art
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The Story of ALF (AEP Life Form)

AEP Life Form (ALF) - Unique 1-of-1 art

On Wednesday, December 13th, 2023, we launched our first NFT collection to the public, using Vtopia‘s launchpad, which itself was being powered by Fluent from our friends at Simpl3r. In the weeks prior, we utilized GIB Tools to launch presales for handpicked communities in, but primarily outside, the Star Atlas ecosystem.

In total, 2222 NFTs found a home. At present, there are 11 listed (0.5%) on exchanges, and the floor price [8.13 SOL atm] has nearly tripled (with respect to WL pricing).

ALF’s treasury grew by 50% during the first full month of operations. February 1st saw the first monthly Holder Rewards distribution, rewarding ALF holders with 0.144667 SOL per ALF staked (for a total of 309 SOL distributed, valued at $30k). We rely on the wonderful team at Xin Labs for providing us with their non-custodial staking platform.

This is [arguably, a small part of] the story of AEP Life Form, better known to most as simply ALF.

Screenshot 2023 12 15 at 15.18.54
Vtopia LaunchPad – AEP Life Form [after selling out]

The Making of ALF

For ALF to become a reality, several things had to come together. Before jumping into the abridged history, let’s first paint the background picture. In other words, let’s put the whole thing in the right context.

Fertile Soil

When Aephia Industries opened its doors in July 2021, the vast majority of the Star Atlas community consisted of crypto traders, degens, and investors. This meant that Aephia’s early inflow of members brought exactly those people into our midst. It’s no surprise then, that the first channels added to our Discord server (beyond the initial setup) were intended to discuss token trades and other blockchain opportunities.

In the Bear of 22/23, but especially during the “Star Atlas Drought” of 2022, when the team did not release any gameplay, except for the first UE5 Showroom after 9 months, we saw many DACs (Star Atlas guilds) wither and move to life support. The DACs that survived mostly shifted their focus to other games (be it Web2 and/or Web3) in an attempt to weather the storm.

In our case, game-wise, our focus mostly stayed on Star Atlas, but our token and NFT channels became the most active by far for many months on end!

312
ALF #312 – Rocking a familiar-looking jacket [we did change some badges]

Showcase: Myria

Diversifying your investment portfolio is smart! Though our early members were enthusiastic about Star Atlas, they kept looking around for other investment avenues. A major opportunity for all Aephians to get into a promising project early on came to us through community member Tykken in Q2 of 2022: The private sale of Myria nodes. [Note: Myria is an EVM L2 blockchain, focused on Web3 games]

As a collective of individuals, we invested $800k in ETH [value at the time] to purchase Myria nodes during their private launch window.

Two years later, despite Myria still not having properly launched its first game, at the current price of the Myria tokens, the nodes have already earned themselves back and then some (> $7k per node)! Meanwhile, they will continue to generate additional tokens over the next few years.

1of1s
AEP Life Form – The 10 completely unique (1-of-1) ALFs that are part of the collection.

History – a TLDR

In December 2021, the notion of launching an NFT collection took hold when Sensei Yamura shared some of the designs he had been working on before joining Aephia’s management. A new working group was born overnight (TomQH being among the first we invited), and our brainstorming started in earnest!

Originally, the project was meant to reward our members with something small. However, when we brought in some of our most influential NFT traders, the scope increased, and the project pivoted to target the whole of Solana’s ecosystem instead.

Despite good intentions and great progress during the first few months of 2022, the Bear weighed heavy on many, and things started to slow down quickly. It was not until Dez joined the project in mid-2022 -and shortly thereafter assumed the role of project manager- that things, slowly and with great effort on his part, got back on track, culminating in a productive 2023.

The Art

Though Sensei’s great 2.5D artwork kickstarted this, we realized early on that we wanted to go with art that felt closer to home: Aephia’s mascot since day 1, Tugi! For those familiar with Star Atlas, Tugi is an obvious play on Tigu, the most popular pet in Star Atlas (though one might well argue Puri meanwhile claimed that spot). The name is different because our mascot is based on one of the discarded concept art pieces that the community ultimately did not pick [note: the community was asked to choose their favorite].

Early Tigu Concepts
Early Tigu Concepts – M1 became the official Tigu / N4 became Tugi (Aephia’s mascot)

We also decided we wanted to go with generative art to ensure each NFT would be unique, which meant that we really had to start looking for a new artist. We looked inside and outside of Aephia, but in the end, our own Brutus proved to be our best choice to draw all of the artwork. This made perfect sense in hindsight, as he had already won several internal design competitions. I think you will agree that he did a stellar job!

Potential

The question we asked our NFT traders in early 2022 was straightforward: What would this project need to offer for you to buy in, assuming someone else created it? If we wanted to reach outside Star Atlas’ ecosystem, we needed to ensure owning an ALF would appeal to anyone.

Their answers shaped the utility of the project: Owning an ALF is akin to joining an investment club. If there is one thing some of our members excelled at, it’s making good calls and a very decent profit through trades and savvy investments. We realized the best possible utility we could offer our holders, which would appeal especially to those less well-equipped for this sort of thing, is to have our experts working for them.

Many crypto enthusiasts lack the time, skill, or desire to spend hours a day finding the best ways to invest their money. Through staking an ALF, they join the team on their investment journey, culminating (if all goes well) in the form of passive income.

Another way of seeing ALF is like being part of an indexed fund. Investments made by the team are split over myriad different opportunities. Some are low-risk and low-yield, while others have a slightly higher risk and a higher yield.

Revenue Distribution

The AEP Life Form Whitepaper does an excellent job of explaining how everything works on a financial & numerical level. Revenue distribution is one aspect we want to focus on here, which neatly follows the previous section.

At the top, we mentioned that 309 SOL ($30k) was distributed to ALF stakers on February 1st. This, however, only represents 30% of the realized profit and loss for the previous month. What happened with the rest? Well, 10% was paid to the investment team as a thank-you for their services and to ensure their goals align with those of the ALF holders. Another 10% has been reserved for operation expenses (hosting, 3rd party services, etc).

The biggest chunk -the remaining 50%- is re-invested monthly, benefiting all holders proportionally.

WP chart revenue allocation
ALF – Revenue Distribution

This will also happen for the next few months, meaning the total invested sum should grow steadily (if all goes well). If, for whatever reason, no revenue was realized during a month, there will be no distribution.

Tying it back to Star Atlas

In June 2022, when we announced our (then still unnamed) NFT project during the first Star Atlas COPA event, we highlighted it as one of our recruitment initiatives to attract people from outside the Star Atlas ecosystem. Now that ALF is out in the wild, we wanted to look at exactly how this project is doing that.

COPA 22 Recruit
Aephia Industries – COPA ’22 – Recruitment Slide

IP License

Star Atlas launched its IP program at the end of April 2023, and in December of that same year, Aephia launched its first project under that program: AEP Life Form. It’s not just Tugi that is based on Star Atlas IP; numerous other references are hidden in the artwork created by Brutus! Stare Atlas ships, clothes, badges, faction logos, and more are all spread throughout the collection.

Pre-Mint

Besides embedding Star Atlas-inspired/derived art into our collection, we also decided not to spin the ALF project out to its own Discord server but onboard everyone interested to the same server hosting our DAC.

These two decisions combined mean that there is no way around Star Atlas. Anyone interested in ALF will learn about the project. Of course, it was easy to get people to look into ALF during the pre-mint hype, when we gave out whitelists to hand-picked communities, hosted AMAs, joined Spaces, and saw many new faces hop onto our Discord.

So, let’s talk about how we keep drawing people’s attention post-mint!

2102
ALF #2102 – Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In Her Lane. Focused. Flourishing.

Post-Mint

There are a few straightforward ways for us to keep promoting ALF, including:

  • Partnerships with other Web3 games
  • Being part of X.com Spaces
  • DeFi Integrations

Let’s look at some examples!

Web3 Games

Shortly after our mint, ALF partnered with Elementerra to cross-promote each other’s projects. Elementerra is a Web3 game (on Solana) that (among other things) allows people to earn their token, ELE, by either staking their own NFTs or those from their partners. This means that ALF-holders can stake their ALF and accumulate the game’s ELE token. Of course, it also brings attention from Elementerra’s ecosystem to ALF.

Screenshot 2024 02 25 at 16.19.26
Elementerra – Staking UI [We’re in good company!]

Twitter/X Spaces

Hopping on Spaces to discuss ALF is a great way to reach out to the wider ecosystem. The most recent Space where ALF was a guest speaker was Sharkbite by Sharky.fi on February 20th. TomQH represented ALF and answered all their questions about what makes ALF such an interesting project. The recording is available on X.com.

DeFi Integrations

Clearly, ALF can be found on MagicEden and Tensor. However, the project is also present on other DeFi platforms, notably Sharky.fi, the biggest NFT lending platform on Solana, and Banx, the number two in lending. We’re looking forward to adding more names here in the future!

Final Words

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride these past 3 years, and we could not be more proud of what we created with the AEP Life Form project. Though we’ve only distributed the first month of revenue to holders, the future looks bright! March 1st will mark our second revenue drop!

In this article, we’ve purposely glossed over additional perks, opportunities for our holders, access to private-sale allocations, and more. Though interesting topics in their own right, this article is not really meant to sell/hype ALFs but to give a short summary of the trip, the result, and making good on our COPA ’22 promise.

One last thing we feel good mentioning is that ALF was spun out of Aephia Industries before its mint, in that it is operated by its own team and has full custody of its own (multi-sig) treasury. In addition, Aephia has not received any of the funds that were raised with the (pre-)sale of ALFs. The entire sum raised has been invested, minus operation costs (minting, pre-sale, etc). The team that worked on ALF, Aephia (the guild) included, has been gifted ALFs as a thank-you. This ensures their goals are 100% aligned with the ALF holders’ goals!

For me, one of the best things about ALF is that it has helped to keep a solid part of the Aephia community together, especially during the bear market in 2022. Furthermore, it helps to educate members (NFTs, token trading, airdrop farming, defi). Hopefully we will all make some decent gains in this upcoming bull run!

TomQH

If you’d like to learn more, check out the following resources:

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