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Bad Idea

We were entranced recently by a report of a young snake that tried to eat an old centipede. It seems the snake managed to swallow the centipede live, but then the centipede fought back, attempting to escape by eating its way out of the snake’s body. Really. Read the full story at NBC News—and read the paper, too, which was published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina. It’s only a page long and worth every sentence.

This got us thinking about other predators that have tried to bite off more than they could chew. We found a number of examples in the scientific literature:

Snakes eating snakes

This coral snake (Micrurus ibiboboca) asphyxiated while trying to eat a cat-eyed night snake (Leptodeira annulata), which also asphyxiated because it was, you know, stuck inside the coral snake’s body.

Failed Ophiophagy

While it seems too meta for a snake to eat another snake, apparently some snake species actively prey on others of their suborder. Lab studies show that when done successfully, the prey snake gets scrunched up in waves inside the predator snake’s body. Among other things, it’s possible the coral snake here failed to bend the cat-eyed night snake’s body into waves, the snakes’ discoverers wrote in the journal Herpetology Notes.

Too big

Here’s a photo and an X-ray of an Oxyrhopus petolarius snake that tried to eat a house gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia). Researchers in Brazil actually received the snake alive one day in July 2012. They put the snake in a terrarium, where it tried, unsuccessfully, to regurgitate its too-large meal. Researchers found it dead the next morning.

Skin Damage On, and X-Ray of, a Snake that Ate a Too-Large House Gecko

Apparently, among snake researchers, it’s well known that snakes sometimes die trying to eat things that are too big for them. It happens most often to juvenile snakes. Scientists think the youngsters over-estimate their own abilities, or are forced to try larger prey when they can’t find anything small, perhaps because their elders have already gobbled up the good stuff. Poor young snakes.

A spiny fish

And here is the body of a grass snake (Natrix natrix), pierced by the spines of a brown bullhead fish it ate (Ameiurus nebulosus). Biologists discovered the snake, along with some of its unfortunate comrades, in a marsh in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The snakes are native to the region, but not the fish.


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Nft Licenses: How Can Creators Legally Protect Their Ip When They Make Nfts?

Valued at over $99.7 billion by 2023’s end, the global entertainment industry has started to dip its toes into NFTs — today’s newest revenue stream.

While the art world is primarily responsible for some of the most expensive NFTs ever sold, the NFT space is still nascent enough that there is plenty of room for household entertainment conglomerates like Warner Bros., Disney, Marvel, DC, and the like to find their place in what many have started to reference as the future of entertainment, or Entertainment 3.0.

By leveraging billions of dollars worth of intellectual property, production companies and entertainment studios have started to welcome conversations about how to strategically inject NFTs into their IP ecosystem. Perhaps even more crucial though are the conversations happening around that intellectual property and its licensing. 

Enter the NFT License.

The “6 Bundle of Rights” 

What exactly is a prospective buyer acquiring when they mint an NFT? Does the buyer retain full ownership of their NFT? Meaning, can they do whatever they want with it — whether it’s for personal or commercial gain? Or is there some limitation or restriction to its commercial use?

U.S. Copyright Law grants copyright owners (or in this case, NFT creators/issuers) six exclusive rights over how their work is used and distributed: 

Right to reproduce the work;

Right to create derivative works based on that work;

Right to distribute copies of the work;

Right to perform the work;

Right to publicly display the work; and

With sound recordings, the right to perform the work publicly via digital audio transmission.

Of these six exclusive rights, the NFT community has already stumbled across four of those rights as they affect copyright and trademark protection:

the right ‘to reproduce the work,’ as seen with the Nike/StockX lawsuit;

the right ‘to create derivative works,’ as seen with SpiceDAO;

the right to ‘distribute copies of the work,’ as seen with the ongoing Miramax and Quentin Tarantino lawsuit; and 

the right to ‘publicly display the work,’ as seen in the ongoing lawsuit between Hermès and Mason Rothschild.

Let’s briefly explore how each of these rights has come about in the space, forcing the legal landscape to address the relationship between NFTs and IP law. 

Lawsuits and other legal issues with NFTs SpiceDAO

Back in January 2023, a collective known as Spice DAO made headlines for one of the silliest mistakes to occur in the NFT space. The collective spent a hefty $3 million on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s copy of an unpublished manuscript of the film Dune, mistakenly believing that the ownership granted them the film’s copyrights as well. 

Upon the purchase, the DAO took to social media informing users of its then-intent to produce an “original animated series” inspired by the original book, to then hopefully be sold to a streaming service for which it would require copyrights. 

Miramax v. Quentin Tarantino

Miramax, the film’s distributor filed a federal lawsuit in California against Tarantino, arguing a myriad of issues, but as it relates to NFTs — copyright and trademark infringement. They alleged that Tarantino doesn’t have the legal rights to create and sell the NFTs without misappropriating Miramax’s goodwill, as well as creating a “likelihood of consumer confusion,” where consumers could believe that Miramax either created or endorsed the sale of those NFTs. 

The case is currently in litigation. 

Hermès v. Mason Rothschild/MetaBirkins 

Back in January, French luxury fashion house Hermès filed a complaint against California artist Mason Rothschild. In December 2023, Rothschild announced his “MetaBirkins” NFT project — virtual art that depicted Hermès’ Birkin bags and trademark. The fashion house argues Rothschild’s misappropriation of Hermès’ Birkin trademark, while also profiting off of Hermès’ goodwill on over 100 digital collectibles.

The case is currently in litigation.

Nike v. StockX 

In February, Nike filed a lawsuit against online sneaker resale giant StockX for selling its “Vault” NFTs without permission. 

The complaint alleges that StockX intentionally and knowingly used Nike’s trademarks without authorization to market and subsequently mint the NFTs, arguing that this project is “likely to cause consumer confusion,” as Nike never authorized nor participated in the project. 

The case is currently in litigation. 

The NFT license

In most cases, NFT creators have specifically restricted all commercial use of NFT artwork, prohibiting buyers from commercializing their NFT. 

However, we have seen a few instances in which NFT projects — such as CryptoKitties, CryptoPunks, and Meebits — have adopted the “NFT License.” The license provides buyers with a “limited license” to use, copy, or display their NFT art “for the purpose of commercializing their own merchandise.” The “catch,” however, with the NFT License in most cases, is some annual gross revenue cap, such as CryptoKitties’ $100,000/year gross revenue cap.

Let’s take a look at some of the ofter NFT projects that give users a license to their NFTs.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)

Yuga Labs, the creators behind the BAYC collection, allows for its holders to fully commercialize their individual Bored Ape, “owning the underlying Bored Ape, the Art, completely,” according to its terms and conditions. Additionally, Bored Ape purchasers obtain “an unlimited, worldwide license to create derivative works based upon the underlying art” with no cap on the revenue.

However, it’s worth noting that the copyright doesn’t immediately vest to the new owner of the BAYC NFT. Rather, a written assignment is required to perfect the copyright transfer, as there is no assignment provision in the underlying smart contract. 

Based on feedback from the community, monetizing a Bored Ape’s commercial use rights is extremely difficult, as the buyer is ultimately competing with BAYC itself which maintains the sole, legal rights to use their logos and other non-token specific IP.

World of Women (WoW)

Taking BAYC’s approach a step further, the World of Women (WoW) NFT project assigns all of the rights, title, and interest to the intellectual property underlying the art to the buyers of the NFTs. 

However, it’s limited to non-commercial use. In its terms and conditions, the project speaks directly to trademark concerns, informing buyers that they are allowed to use the terms “World of Women,” “WOW,” or “WoW” when using the underlying art for non-commercial purposes.

What are ‘Royalty-Free’ NFTs?

Similar to ‘royalties’ that are often made to a business or an individual for the ongoing use of their assets, the NFT space also requires a conversation about how royalties are assessed and distributed.

NFT royalties give a creator a percentage of the sale price each time the owner/creator’s NFT work is sold on a marketplace. In most cases, these payments are perpetual and executed through a “smart contract” or code that controls the distribution automatically. 

However, NFT royalties differ from traditional royalty payments in that these are automatic payouts made to the NFT owner/creator on secondary sales, without the need for intermediaries. While not every NFT yields royalties, they need to be written into the terms of the smart contract; otherwise, the owner/creator has no claim.

ZINU’s ‘Royalty-Free’ license

Something new to the industry is the notion of ‘decentralized IP.’ As a case study, let’s turn to ZINU, which recently introduced its 3D, fully-animated “original zombie” NFT. 

ZINU claims to be one of the industry’s first true cases of decentralized intellectual property in the form of a ‘royalty-free ’ NFT license. ZINU grants every NFT holder a royalty-free license to their specific ZINU character —whereby they can then use their individually minted Zinu for both personal and commercial purposes, without any royalty fees owed. 

The company has repeatedly stated to its community that members of its Zombie Mob Secret Society (ZMSS) NFT collection will be able to leverage their own personal ownership of their piece of the Zinu brand, as it creates toys, collectibles, merchandise, and countless other opportunities across many different verticals. 

Bottom line

The entertainment industry has a long way to go as it begins to dive into the NFT space, but it needs brilliant minds to help navigate its nascent waters to help rebuild an archaic infrastructure that is both welcoming and fair for all creators and their communities to enjoy. 

Andrew Rossow is an attorney and journalist who focuses on fintech and intellectual property law.

More Than Just Skin Deep

More Than Just Skin Deep MED center transforms skin cells into stem cells

Medical researchers Gustavo Mostoslavsky (from left), Darrell Kotton, and George Murphy are codirectors of BU’s Center for Regenerative Medicine. Last fall, the team created 100 new lung disease–specific cell lines that could lead to new treatments for diseases such as emphysema and cystic fibrosis. Photos by Vernon Doucette

Darrell Kotton, Gustavo Mostoslavsky, and George Murphy roll up their sleeves and proudly display small oval marks on their forearms. Biopsies from which the medical researchers harvested their own skin cells to create—well, actually the sky may be the limit.

“Pretty much all the biology books are wrong now,” says Murphy, a School of Medicine assistant professor of medicine, who specializes in hematology. “Because they all say that your skin cells, your skin fibroblasts are always going to be fibroblasts. Turns out now they can become cells like an embryonic stem cell, which can then differentiate into any kind of cell it wants.”

Last fall, the three CReM codirectors announced the creation of a bank of more than 100 lung disease–specific stem cell lines from patients with inherited diseases, including cystic fibrosis, alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency emphysema, and sickle cell anemia. The lines mark the first time lung disease–specific iPSC have been created in a lab. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and an ARC award from BU’s Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Research.

Led by pulmonary specialist Kotton, a MED associate professor of medicine, the team took tissue samples from patients with the diseases. Using a tool that Mostoslavsky, a MED assistant professor of medicine specializing in gastroenterology, engineered in 2008, called the stem cell cassette (STEMCCA), the team was able to reprogram adult skin cells into clinical-grade pluripotent stem cells. Mostoslavsky’s design, which BU has since patented, is now used by hundreds of labs around the world and is considered the industry standard.

“Our dream was to make a better tool, a viral vector to pop these genes into cells and do the equivalent of the University of Kyoto experiment that was better, safer, more efficient, and allowed translation to human beings in a way that was very simple and elegant,” Kotton says.

Many scientists believe that stem cells will play a crucial part in the fight against Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and a range of genetic diseases, but in the United States, because of the use of human embryos, government injunctions against their use have been issued and lifted and issued again. Even with the high-quality iPSC lines CReM has developed, embryonic stem cells are still necessary to serve as a positive control: “a roadmap for developmental biology,” as Kotton puts it.

“Using induced pluripotent stem cells removes the necessity of using a human embryo and thus avoids all of the ethical problems of egg donation, embryo creation, and embryo destruction for research purposes,” says George Annas, William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and chair of the School of Public Health health law, bioethics, and human rights department. “The primary scientific research issue is determining whether or not iPSCs are as pluripotent as human embryonic stem cells, and whether they are as predictable and abnormality-free from a genetic and epigenetic standpoint.”

From lab to bedside

Murphy often uses a “flight recorder” analogy when he explains his work.

“When there’s a plane crash, investigators look for the flight recorder so they can determine each event that led up to the catastrophic event,” he says. “In much the same way, we can take skin cells from sick patients and differentiate those cells into the affected tissue type and go through all the molecular events that led up to the disease and that catastrophic event. It creates the ability to intervene early.”

Human induced pluripotent cells also allow drug developers and scientists more precision, offering a quality even embryonic cells don’t offer. The use of a person’s own skin or blood to create embryonic-like stem cells means the patient’s body won’t reject them, thereby eliminating the need for immunosuppressive drugs.

“You’re looking at cells and the disease in the context of the exact genetic background of that patient,” Murphy says. “So it becomes possible to test therapeutic drugs in the test tube before using them on patients. It’s patient-specific medicine.”

A seminal CReM project, which got under way in 2009, involves an infant in New York City with inherited long QT syndrome, which causes a serious heart arrhythmia. Kotton and his team took skin cells from the baby, as well as from the parents, and generated iPSC, which in turn were programmed to differentiate into heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes. CReM researchers are coordinating with laboratories in New York and Toronto to test available pharmaceuticals on those cardiomyocytes, which in essence act as the disease in miniature, to determine how best to treat the sick child.

The team has also collaborated with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital to engineer a bioartificial rat lung that allowed a living rat to breathe for six hours. Further, they’ve developed a gene therapy that offers lifetime protection against an inherited form of emphysema in mice.

Fast friends

The three researchers have a tight bond and play well off each other. They first met as postdocs in the lab of prominent stem cell biologist Richard Mulligan at Harvard Medical School. They became fast friends and fit together like puzzle pieces.

“Darrell’s the mature statesman, Gustavo’s the passionate Argentinian, and I’m the crazy adolescent,” says the 37-year-old Murphy, who sports a ponytail and an earring in each ear.

Kotton first arrived on campus as a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine in 1998, and after his subsequent postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard, he returned to MED in 2004, starting his own lab focusing on lung stem cell work. In 2008, Mostoslavsky was recruited, followed soon after by Murphy.

“Like many centers, ours is formed on scientific passion, but it’s also formed on a deep friendship that came before the center,” Kotton says. “Our main interest is love of science. We’re in love with the cells and what controls their cell fate decisions and their biology, and a wonderful side effect of all these projects is they may end up helping people, which is a great thing.”

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at [email protected].

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When Can Renters Insurance Come In Handy?

If you’re renting a home or apartment, relying solely on your landlord’s insurance for your own safety and that of the belongings in your space is unwise. Yes, the property itself is insured and protected from damages; however, it doesn’t reimburse you for your possessions, damages to appliances, and injuries sustained in the rented area, just to name a few.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance provides:

Coverage of your belongings in the event of theft, fire or water damage, vandalism, a windstorm, hail, and other listed perils according to your policy. This includes furniture, appliances, electronic devices, and clothing.

Loss-of-use coverage. If you are forced to leave the rented premises owing to damage caused by a covered loss, your insurance provider will reimburse you for living expenses while you stay elsewhere.

Personal liability. It protects you if another individual sustains injuries or damage that you are liable for (i.e., a guest trips and breaks their arm in your house). This will cover the injured person’s medical bills.

Renters’ insurance does not go beyond your policy limits and provides compensation without your deductible.

How Renters Insurance Can Help You Even When You’re Not at Home

As much as we don’t like to think about them, unfortunate scenarios happen all the time. Theft of electronic devices is one of them, and it’s a relatively common occurrence.

Your Computer or Phone Gets Stolen

Personal electronics theft is prevalent in airports, trains, public transport, and crowded places. Getting a similar replacement laptop can be very expensive, depending on how sophisticated and new your previous one was. Luckily theft is an included peril in renters insurance, no matter if it takes place inside or outside the property, so you will be reimbursed for your computer.

There are two ways in which personal property compensation can occur: payment based on actual cash value or replacement cost.

Actual cash value corresponds to the initial sum you purchased your laptop for minus depreciation over time. Meaning you will not be reimbursed for the full price of your possession.

If you are reimbursed based on replacement cost, you’re paid for the price of a PC with comparable quality and functionality to your stolen one.

The same can be said about stolen phones, scooters, bikes, and other property at risk of being stolen when you are traveling, commuting, running errands, etc.

Also read:

Top 6 Tips to Stay Focused on Your Financial Goals

Property Stored in Vehicle Gets Stolen

Even if renters insurance does not provide coverage for your vehicle directly, it may take care of property compensation if it was taken out of your car. Be aware of your policy limits and the listed perils to know for certain that you are covered for this scenario.

Fire Damage

Fires don’t have to be huge in order to be damaging – a minor kitchen fire that’s quickly put out can leave the surrounding furniture charred and affected appliances unusable. Considerable losses can be caused by something as simple as setting the temperature too high for cooking with oil.

Leaky Pipes

If you have defective plumbing in your home, or your neighbors upstairs left their water running, and it flooded your space, you’re at risk of significant water damage. Tenants’ insurance will reimburse you for your belongings if they are damaged as a consequence of this peril.

Covering Medical Bills

If another person sustains damages or injuries in your home, you are liable for it. Renters insurance helps to protect yourself from potentially pricey medical bills.

What Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Renters’ insurance often does not cover regular wear and tear, as well as damage or losses that happened prior to the purchase of the insurance or that were caused by factors not listed on the policy (excluded perils). Items broken accidentally will not be reimbursed.

Tenants’ insurance does not kick in for certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

If you have valuable items in your home (jewelry, collectibles, expensive gadgets), renters insurance will not suffice to protect them, and more coverage is required.


In short, renters insurance can protect you from serious losses and expensive replacements, repairs, and medical bills. It’s a very useful policy that can save you from trouble in common life situations. Get a quote and consider purchasing this policy to be confident in the safety of your belongings.

They Created A More Hygienic Toilet Seat. Here’s The Poop

BU Alums Create a More Hygienic Toilet Seat

Kevin Tang (Questrom’22) (from left), Andy Chang (Questrom’21, CAS’21), and Max Pounanov (ENG’23) with their Cleana commercial toilet seat. Photo by Justin Nardella (Questrom’22)


They Created a More Hygienic Toilet Seat. Here’s the Poop Alums launch Cleana, a new company that seeks to make dirty toilet seats a thing of the past

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but we might add a third: dirty public bathrooms. But now, thanks to the ingenuity of three BU alums, that no longer needs to be the case. After years of hard work, they’ve created a new kind of mechanical toilet seat designed to help prevent common everyday messes caused during urination. Their company, Cleana, is set to begin shipping its first seats in the coming months. 

“We wanted to make things that were practical, simple, affordable, and accessible enough to the point where they actually became a standard,” says Kevin Tang (Questrom’22), cofounder and CEO of Cleana. “We want to make sure that this is something everyone can have.”

Tang has been working on the project since 2023. The team also includes Max Pounanov (ENG’23), the company’s COO, and Andy Chang (Questrom’21, CAS’21), its CFO. The three met through start-up events hosted by BU’s BUild Lab IDG Capital Student Innovation Center and MIT’s Entrepreneurship Center. (Their chief technology officer just graduated from MIT). What drew them together was a desire to solve problems that affect lots of people, which led them to the bathroom. 

Cleana isn’t the first company to make and market automatic toilet seats, but unlike competitors, Cleana’s seats are engineered simply and are relatively inexpensive ($95 versus the $1,000+ that competitors charge). There are no complicated controls or settings. You simply attach the seat to a toilet bowl like any other and you’re ready to go: the seat raises or lowers (after a customizable time delay) without batteries or electrical input, using an ingeniously designed pneumatic system. The seats are also treated with a microbial coating, providing additional sanitation. 

“Our mission statement is: we just want to make dirty toilet seats a relic of the past,” Chang says.

Cleana took home first place in the Tech Track of Innovate@BU’s New Venture Competition back in 2023, netting $18,000 in non-dilutive funding. The founders partnered with organizations like Gillette Stadium, Stanford University, Pennsylvania State University, and Detroit Metro Airport to develop testing sites. The company has also attracted the attention of investors like Robert Vail, the head of innovation at Boston Beer Co. and a member of the School of Hospitality Administration Dean’s Advisory Board, and John Barrett, executive director of the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association.

Andy Chang (Questrom’21, CAS’21) working on a Cleana toilet seat prototype. Photo by Justin Nardella (Questrom’22)

Cleana offers two models: a commercial seat and a residential seat. The commercial seat, made for public bathrooms, automatically raises after every use, eliminating unwanted splashes during urination. A user can lower the seat by hand or foot, and once a person has done their business and stands up, a timer kicks in and the seat goes up after 30 seconds. Tang says that as part of their research, they conducted a self-report survey of several hundred people and found that 75 percent of men responded that they never raised the toilet seat before urinating in a public bathroom. In testing the commercial seat at Lucky Strike Fenway, the popular local entertainment venue, Tang says the auto-lift feature kept the seat about 88 percent cleaner.

The design for the residential seat came after hearing stories about people falling into toilets and getting injured and dropping their phones and other valuables in the bowl and pets drinking from the bowl when the toilet seat and lid were left up after use. Cleana’s residential seat automatically lowers both seat and lid after each use. 

“The real challenge is, can you deliver [a product] in a way that it doesn’t become contrived and complicated,” Tang says.

The company plans to begin shipping the first of its commercial seats this fall. Among the customers already signed up: local grocery chain Roche Bros. Preorders for the residential seat are available here.

“It’s one of those things that touches everyone’s life—from behind, if you will,” Tang says with a laugh.

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A Guide To Meebits: More Than Just 3D Cryptopunks

Although perhaps best known for kicking off the PFP NFT craze with the CryptoPunks collection in 2023, Larva Labs didn’t rest on its heels following that massive “W.” Since then, it’s launched Autoglyphs, an on-chain generative NFT art collection, and of course, Meebits. A 20,000-piece collection of PFP NFTs hosted on the Ethereum blockchain may very well represent the future of this type of NFT.

Launched in May 2023, Meebits can be viewed as the spiritual successor to the still-iconic CryptoPunks collection. And, if CryptoPunks functions as the ideal 2D avatar for Web2 social media accounts, Meebits aims to be the Web3 equivalent — by giving the iconic CryptoPunks aesthetic a 3D facelift.

So what are Meebits?

As Larva Labs’ third big project, Meebits aimed to meaningfully implement what it learned from the two preceding projects — namely, its experience writing the 2D art generator that birthed the initial CryptoPunks collection. Thus, a lot of work went into ensuring the 3D algorithm that generated each of the 20,000 Meebits was up to scratch. Of course, with so many Meebits included in the initial drop, much of this work was focused on ensuring that each Meebit looked good and was a certifiably distinct piece in the collection.

Meebit #6863 — one of only five Dissected Meebits. Source: Meebits

As such, Meebits NFTs can be broadly categorized into seven types. In ascending order of rarity, this includes Humans, Pigs, Elephants, Robots, Skeletons, Visitors, and the truly exclusive Dissected type, of which only five have been minted — with none currently up for sale. As of recent valuations, the average sale price for these rare NFTs is roughly 700 ETH — north of $900 thousand.

Sounds cool. But how do I buy Meebits?

Part of how Meebits broke ground in the NFT space when it launched lies in how much Larva Labs encouraged the Meebits community to share and trade with each other. Crucial to this was the focus on giving its official marketplace a painless user experience.

On Meebits’ official NFT marketplace, users can enjoy a zero-fee system that “allows simple buy, bid and ask transactions,” together with deeper, more complex transactions such as “‘like-kind’ trades involving up to 100 Meebits,” according to its official site. This is thanks to how the Meebits marketplace is partly run off-chain to minimize gas fees and network usage. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never run into fees when using the marketplace. Some instances of this still arise; for example, users are asked to cough up the usual Ethereum gas fee when canceling trades in progress.

A breakdown of the UI on Meebits’ integrated marketplace. Source: Meebits

This convenience is also built into the Meebits marketplace’s UI, which conveys a wealth of information to interested shoppers at a glance. With all these conveniences to shoppers browsing Meebits’ own integrated marketplace, it’s hard to imagine looking elsewhere. Of course, the option remains for those browsing through a larger NFT marketplace — Meebits lives there, too. Like other extensive collections, Meebits NFTs are widely available on some of the top NFT marketplaces, namely OpenSea and the chúng tôi NFT marketplace.

A metaverse-ready collection

For comparison, Meebits can be understood as a full-body 3D update to the iconic CryptoPunks style. The twist? 3D here means a voxel art style reminiscent of the OG Punks, other Larva Labs characters, and the virtual denizens of Minecraft.

A Meebits group shot. Source: Meebits

All this is in service of Meebits’ most ambitious goal: to replicate the success, CryptoPunks found on traditional social media in the metaverse. That means ensuring users can access high-quality 3D avatars usable in virtual reality, augmented reality, and everything in between.

To bring this goal into reality, Meebits provided a crucial tool for users hoping to use their Meebits in 3D spaces to their fullest potential: a T-pose OBJ file. No, this isn’t let users assert dominance online — it’s to help users import their prized Meebits into most 3D modeling and animation software, so they can tinker away to their heart’s content.

Why Meebits matters

Despite how Yuga Labs acquired the rights to CryptoPunks and Meebits in March 2023, these brands were built by Larva Labs, and we shouldn’t forget it. This sentiment is echoed by day-one supporter and MeebitsDAO Co-Founder Sergio Silva.

“While Yuga Labs’ own’ Meebits now, the reality is that they’re a Larva Labs creation first and foremost,” Silva said in an interview with nft now. “Judging from the couple of years that passed before the market [gave high valuations to] Larva’s first two collections (Punks and Autoglyphs), I think it might be another year or two before Meebits jump into the spotlight. Larva Labs has always been ahead of the times.”

Indeed, Larva Labs’ Meebits NFT collection seems designed with the future in mind. For example, the launch of Meebits preceded the launch of Meta’s Horizon Worlds metaverse game by several months, in addition to Facebook’s highly-publicized rebrand to Meta that brought the concept of the metaverse into the mainstream conversation.

With the promise of interoperability in Web3, as the metaverse continues to build momentum and attract users, Meebits is uniquely positioned to benefit from the forward-looking hype. Today, several open metaverse experiences exist throughout Web3, inside which a Meebit could represent your virtual self.

“I think the Meebits are as close to perfect when it comes to a product,” Silva said. “They’re the first ever fully-rigged 3D characters for use in any Metaverse, and they have their own no-fee marketplace coded at the smart contract level.” Of course, that comes with a catch — “personally, I think they just need time,” he added. But that additional time might point beyond building Meebits’ community infrastructure.

What does the future hold for Meebits?

In the fall of 2023, we first saw what this slow-building process might yield for Meebits. Beginning on August 15, all Meebit NFTs were given commercial rights, further establishing what the community may and may not create with their Meebits IP in the metaverse and real life. This event also came with the announcement that interoperability had been established with The Sandbox Game, allowing owners to play as their Meebits in the game.

Then, in October, the company launched a new Meebits activation to provide insight into the project’s future and to give holders the option to claim free 1/1 prints of their owned NFTs. With the announcement, Yuga dictated that Meebits innovation will happen in phases, with these prints being part of the “MB1” phase.

A few examples of Meebits 1/1 prints. Source: Meebits

Keeping in mind Yuga’s promise of innovation to come, perhaps the best thing to do at this point in the Meebits timeline is to wait to see how Web3 unfolds in the coming months and years. As integrated accessibility and readiness for the metaverse becomes a more desirable feature for other NFT projects, things will undoubtedly continue evolving for PFP collections and beyond.

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