In the early days, SolPunks--Solana’s maiden NFT collection--were first traded on a Telegram channel owned by a leading Satoshi Street Bets(SSB) investor Nicholas Sakalauskas(“Tractor”)before Solanart was launched. Today, the Solanart’s pixelated punks are more than a parody of Larva Lab’s 10,000 Cryptopunks--they are one of the most traded crypto-collectibles that have continued to shine a spotlight on the Solana blockchain!
On the 29th of May, 2021, in the middle of the trademark war that had begun to tear the Satoshi Street Bets(SSB) apart, Nicholas Sakalaukas’ ambition to make the SSB “the front door’’ for crypto finally came to an end. Two months earlier, he had joined the SSB as an aspiring crypto investor and had remarkably risen through the ranks to become a frontliner. But little did he know that the once-bustling trading group would soon leave him and his masterplan in the lurch once it had descended into chaos.
The ‘May crisis’, as Nicholas dubbed it, defied logic and rendered him incapable of reuniting what had already become a tumultuous group. Soon, the chaos weighed heavily on him, and it was at this point that he no longer saw the SSB as the springboard for his ambition in the crypto world.
However, on the 29th day of Nicholas’ weariest month at the SSB, the event that culminated in his failed ambition turned out to be a blessing in disguise. This was the day that marked his entry into the NFT world and the beginning of his first Telegram Channel, The SolPunks Trading Post. But the catalyst for this was not Nicholas himself but a mystery man with a pixelated profile picture who, on this remarkable day, joined the chaotic SSB Telegram channel.
“It Was Like Seeing Mc’ Donalds For The First Time…..”
While the first generation of SolPunks hodlers continue to honor Nicholas Sakalausas - who is indubitably the central figure behind the early success and adoption of SolPunks - the story of how he came to lead a revolution that made some hodlers millionaires is yet to catch the attention of mainstream media.
According to the documented story, amid the SSB split in May, Nicholas Sakalauskas saw “a neat little 8-bit profile picture” that he had never seen before and asked the owner what it was.
“I don't remember who it was, but I asked what it was, he said: "oh, it's a SolPunk, it's this NFT you can Mint on Solana". I asked for a link, and the page I saw…It was like seeing McDonald's for the first time”, Nicholas recently told POSTR.
“I immediately knew this was going to be huge. So I bought a few, and told everyone to get one, and I mean I told everyone. I figured we needed a way to trade these NFTs, with no marketplace or known method of trading NFTs on Solana, I set up a telegram page called SolPunk trading post”, Nicholas added.
By early June, the month following the SSB disarray, Nicholas had galvanized nearly 100 collectors into trading SolPunks on his Telegram channel and succeeded in creating a vibrant group of proud SolPunks hodlers, all of whom to this day take pride in using pixelated punks as their dps.
Although it helped to build the SolPunks community from scratch, the minting system on Telegram was unconventional. Most times, it required Nicholas to walk traders through it using AdBlock browser and sollet wallet entirely on his mobile device.
In the early days, SolPunks--Solana’s maiden NFT collection--were first traded on a Telegram channel owned by a leading Satoshi Street Bets (SSB) investor Nicholas Sakalauskas(“Tractor”)before Solanart was launched. Today, the Solanart’s pixelated punks are more than a parody of Larva Lab’s 10,000 Cryptopunks--they are one of the most traded crypto-collectibles that have continued to shine a spotlight on Solana!
Once SolPunks Trading Post had gathered momentum, the SolPunks developer reached out to Nicholas requesting an AMA session and a marketing collaboration. Nonetheless, it was amid the steady rise of SolPunks in the NFT space, that Solana’s first NFT market, Solanart, was launched on the Solana blockchain.
“My Telegram grew SolPunks until we got Solanart. About this time people were really talking FUD about SolPunks, and there was worry Larva would sue the developers”, Nicholas said in an interview with POSTR. “So I trademarked it so they would have to sue me instead, it was a risk, but I needed SolPunks to be safe, if I'm trying to promote these as valuable in the real world, they have to be secure”.