Forgotten Ethereal Worlds, otherwise known as FEW.
An NFT project represented by two collections; the eponymous FEW Genesis collection, and Paradigm. Centered around the two collections were plans to develop a Web3 exploration game, a natural expansion of the art within FEW’s first collection.
Leading the project and the FEW team was Takoa - a prominent name in the NFT space gaining traction since late 2021, gaining his fame from alpha calling from within his closed community: The Fishing Pier, and his constant presence among popular figures & collections within the space.
At the time, the combination of a collection expansion of a successful project and a well-known founder marketing to the space made for an attractive entrant to bull market speculators. FEW’s presence in the space quickly rose to a highly anticipated project and sought after NFT collection towards the end of 2021 and early 2022, with FEW genesis boasting a 10Ξ floor price at its peak.
However, on the 1st of December, 2022, the FEW Twitter account posted an announcement thread following an internal community gathering:
"Thank you to all who showed up to the FEW Townhall yesterday.We've shared our plans about FEW and we are open to all questions. Disappointingly, despite our best efforts, the inevitable has happened…"
Following this, the announcement detailed a series of events:
FEW’s second collection; Paradigm, did not mint out
Post mint, 70% of the revenue has been used to pay operational costs and expenses
The remaining funds were spent developing the game
With the reasons listed, the FEW team has decided that they will be concluding FEW’s operation and transferring holders unto another project; The Fishing Pier. However, this effectively meant to FEW collection holders that FEW’s proposal of a game was unable to be shipped and that they were shutting down.
The community responded in uproar - outraged at poor use of funds and the frustrating lack of clear team communications:
"When it was going to launch [mint], Takoa announced [that] 'the game is ready... We are ready to launch  weeks after minting out because we want to rest.' Mint failed.After that it was like this week we come with good news... and they [announced that] we got new devs. Our old dev who was working on it is gone.After 4 months, he comes out with an AMA. He is saying we are running out of funds, we will pivot, no game no FEW anymore."
The FEW team posits that the backend code of the game is playable but failed to meet the standards and polish they desired. However, the decision of withholding the game from release altogether became a source of further frustration to holders. Additionally, the proposition of transferring holders who held ownership of FEWs collections to a subscription service in Fishing Pier felt like salt in the wound to many holders who had continued to place their faith in Takoa and his team.
Allegations are being levied against Takoa as a 'rugger' - a term assigned to malicious actors within the space whose primary motive is to extract value from the space under false pretenses:
"He says paradigm holders get 3 weeks of [subscriptions] for Fishing Pier.Like wtf is this, we waited 4 months for a subscription of 3 weeks? If this isn’t called rugging people, I don't know what is."
Other members within the community however, felt that the FEW project was more of a genuine failure - citing poor decision making and communication rather than malicious intent:
"The entire team was personable and accessible. I even met a few of them in NFT NYC. I did mint and hold the project solely upon my respect (at the time) for Takoa and the reputation he built.I chose to focus on what they're doing going forward, versus focusing on a failed project. Failure happens and that's ok.But to hold an AMA after months of silence only to say wait another 24 hours for our new direction is unacceptable. On top of that, the new direction only gives access to those who minted genesis and paradigm for a period of time. Like, what? I felt he should've came to the AMA ready to release all pertinent information regarding the pivot."
Regardless of label, FEW’s case offers further credence to the idea that much like traditional businesses and startups, the majority of NFT projects - one way or another - do not 'make it'.
For 2022, crypto and NFT communities had endured a year-long downturn since its peak in November of last year. From LUNA to FTX and the various failed & rugged NFT projects the market had to endure: it is no surprise that netizens of the cryptosphere are critical & cynical towards the response Takoa and his team had to offer in their various communications pertaining to FEW’s movements as a project. With confusion among its community & the wider market over the failure to deliver the repeatedly promised product, one must ask: how did we get here?
Let’s take a step back. KOI TRIBE believes in painting not just a full picture, but an accurate picture of the events that have transpired. We have sought the full story – reaching out to not only the FEW team, but also those within the community who were caught in the fallout.
Our investigation revealed 3 key things:
The timeline is consistent
When cross-checked and analyzed, all accounts lined up with the timeline we were able to piece together. There is a chronological order to the events that transpired, and it is consistent across all accounts we have received on this matter.
The stories are consistent.
Specific key moments in the timeline consistently appear throughout multiple accounts – and from varying perspectives. Persons who should be on opposing sides of this event present points that can corroborate the opposing side's views.
The same event, told from different angles (FEW team members vs community members/holders), reveals that context, perspective, and most importantly exposure to the project impact how someone perceives/experiences an event.
Let’s jump right into it. Lest we leave this chapter contemptuous without gaining its lessons; we may yet be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Revisiting FEW: Genesis
It was early December 2021. Before FEW had even conceptualized its Exploration Game, the Genesis collection began as an idea of many firsts within the NFT ecosystem at the time: a 3D landscape art collection which would grow and evolve over time on the blockchain. The initial stroke of inspiration came from Takoa, his mind in tune with market sentiments of the time due to his alpha calling:
"... He was still running the Fishing Pier simultaneously, and the view of the project became clear to me.It became very obvious that the original intention of FEW was not to build a project to rival other players like Nanopass, but instead an art based community project. Takoa would even say so himself."
With NFT market volume and his reputation on the rise, Takoa’s general success as an alpha caller and constant presence among household NFT names such as Nanopass, Kaiju Kingz, and Pudgy Penguins would contribute to the market gradually taking interest in FEW. Alongside fame would come its detractions, and Takoa would be no stranger to allegations of him being a serial “pump & dumper”:
"A lot of people have accused Takoa of being a serial pump and dumper from when he used to do alpha calls. Having known him, and having knowledge of most of if not all his wallets I will say that this is not completely true.The issue is whatever he would call he would buy first and then it would spike in price, but most of the time he would sell just enough to make a profit. Whether that is pumping and dumping is up to you, but he did end up stopping his calls around [Genesis] mint as he felt that he benefited little while the FEW was harmed."
Still, the early project’s humble scale as an art project with a rising founder & close-knit community made for an attractive marketing prospect for surrounding NFT projects. Furthermore, Takoa was at these times often present with his community alongside would be FEW core team members Caliban, Exceed, and Suikon. With all this, Takoa’s rise to fame endeared him with many opportunities for marketing collaborations, which he gave back to his communities.
Before long, The Fishing Pier & FEW’s discord servers would house larger, blossoming communities. Fun memories paired with financial gain made for extremely effective social grease with a generous offering of raffles & games being played to win desirable whitelist allocations. Though unintentional & much to his eventual chagrin, Takoa’s reputation within the NFT bull scene had escalated to the point that any purchase he made within the market, any word that he wrote in his channels; would move markets.
It’s the 30th of January, 2022.
The stars aligned, Forgotten Ethereal World’s Genesis collection would open its whitelist only mint of 350 supply without incident and promptly shoot up close to a sustained 8Ξ floor price from its 0.125Ξ mint price: an eye watering 6300% increase in price in under a day.
By the 31st, the FEW team would close the genesis mint to their communities’ continued fanfare.
It was lightning in a bottle - the sort that changed lives. But for some, it would be the first in a long chain of events leading to the end:
"Things really started to change for the worse at and after the mint. Once mint came along, everything went relatively smoothly and FEW sat at a floor price of around 8Ξ. Much higher than had been expected…I think this is where Takoa's view of the project changed. Very quickly he started to brainstorm for [Paradigm], and while before the project was about art, community, and alpha it now became more about making a profitable venture."
Takoa, however, wasn’t alone in his cerebrally charged rush. To the early FEW team: this was a golden opportunity to build a sustained Web3 career within the success they had found. Before long, the core leadership of FEW would eventually form with Takoa as the CEO, Project Lead & Head of Marketing, Co-founders Exceed as COO, and Suikon as Creative Lead & Head Artist, and Caliban as Head Developer. The FEW team settled together on a concept that expands on the Genesis collection - for if they found lightning creating the foreign lands, what else would they find when exploring within them?
Thus, the idea for an exploration game involving ethereal plots of land generated on the blockchain was born: Paradigm.
PART II: THE SHIFT IN PARADIGM
Rise and Grind, Explorers.
It’s March 2022, NFTs are still flying - you’re in the FEW discord server, you’ve been here every day for months now. You’re not here alone though, the server: despite being private at the time - was crowded, active and intense. You’ve been to more FEW events & games than ever: puzzles, karaoke & talent shows, to Tetris, and Smash Karts, and you’ve never seen such a large crowd.
Things have changed in the FEW server since the Genesis mint.
Most community members were now 'grinding' for the coveted whitelist allocation for Paradigm, signified by the 'Ascension' role. Grinding can be broadly categorized as continued participation within a project ecosystem solely to obtain a whitelist from any given NFT project. To reconcile the project’s explosive growth and demand: the FEW team would implement a raffle ticket system to reward consistent participants - called ‘wishes’.
Enter, the NFT grind culture:
"I didn't mind the comments about the server being grindy. At that time, a lot of servers were a grind just in a different way. The idea of wishes and wheel spin I felt was a great idea. When I joined, a week later, the amount of wishes needed to enter the wheel spin increased by 5. That was an indicator of how easy the wishes were to obtain.But for a lot of my friends, they hated it. I simply told them if you're active in VC [Voice Chat] you can easily get 2 wishes a day. Unfortunately that wasn't the case for all. It seemed as the server opened up, it took people longer to get wishes. But like any server, everyone's experience is going to be different."
"I've grinded for FEW: Paradigm for 4 months, it was very hard… [I participated in] VC every day and [to be honest] I was enjoying it. I had some good friends there.After a while, it [became] even harder… I can tell many people gave up, even some of my friends, because it was almost impossible. One got lucky [and won his] first raffle when he got 20 [wish] tickets.hahaha… I still remember that day, he was feeling lucky. He didn’t expect this coming."
Grinding is an attractive option during the Bull for those without substantial capital to trade higher value NFTs for longer time frames within secondary markets. During peak euphoria, projected profits were often high enough that hired grinders were in demand in the Web3 minor gig economy. Consequently, in these times, grinding had become temporarily commonplace across NFT projects and especially FEW.
FEW’s ‘wish’ system, however, had chinks in its machinery, of which several internal moderators flagged:
"I personally had told [Takoa] that the wish system would not work with more people in the Discord. At the time we only had around 1000 [members] and it was very manageable.I told him, along with another mod, that if he wanted to open the server in any dosage that we either had to change, or just start with a slower rate of entry."
In this time, FEW’s marketing for Paradigm favored hype-based tactics which had served neighboring projects well. Despite the core team hearing about the ‘wish’ system’s vulnerability, this new approach would be implemented brazenly: to celebrate Takoa reaching 100 ‘000 followers on Twitter - the FEW discord server was spontaneously opened to the public for 5 minutes.
Instantly, the FEW server was flooded with new members, ushered in by a flustered team. This would begin a recurring habit of rapid fire serial hires in response to the growth of FEW’s social channels:
"Mind you this was at 1 AM for about half the team.Not having enough time to prepare, Exceed decided to on board 7 new temporary staff members (we called them temp navs). All of which managed to handle the night, but had, at the time, little knowledge of how to enter the wishes into our bot or how many to give.This resulted in what I had warned [the FEW leaders] of, wish inflation. The navs had given out so many wishes to new people that it destroyed any old member's chance of getting a WL almost instantly."
This 'wish' supply, now inflated and distributed erratically, had inadvertently created a perpetually rising difficulty curve for newer and older community members alike. Alongside increasing traffic, the inflation of wishes forced the FEW team to raise the bar of entry for the ‘wish’ raffles, which in turn generated more demand for events & games in order for hopefuls to secure their Ascension role within reasonable timeframes. At this point; the typical user would need an average of 20-40 tickets to enter the raffle among tens of others, with each event typically providing 1-2 wishes at a time.
This set into motion an exponentially growing community participation in a constantly escalating grind within the Discord server, creating a vicious cycle of work crunch & reactive hiring sprees for the FEW team:
"Despite the best efforts of the mods, FEW had become a grind server.A server in which mods were expected to work 4-8 hours a day or risk being stripped from the team. On top of that due to the sheer amount of people and the fact that mods were expected to be in [voice chat] at all times around 4 new mods were added to the team. This is around the time when [whitelists] stopped being allotted to the team.… On average a mod would spend around 4.5 hours in [voice chat] a day, write about 500-1000 messages and if they were higher level mods (sentinels) they were made to do unique tasks such as setting up partner streams."
Despite attempted communications and feedback from concerned FEW team members & community members who had seen & experienced the escalation first hand, the FEW core team carried the format forward - only restructuring this much later:
"[To me], the lack of a pivot hurt the project. Oftentimes, projects push people too much without recognizing they're damaging their own project. FEW mods heard people's frustration. If this wasn't immediately communicated to Takoa, it should've been.By the time they implemented the recommendations and other ways to get [whitelists], it was too late. A lot of influential people (not influencers) were really upset. These people are respected because they're [on] the servers every day with us normal people. You gotta listen and pivot accordingly."
However, until the time came for it to boil over, the cyclic growth of hype and value being consistently pumped into FEW’s surrounding ecosystem would blind newcomer traffic to the project’s structural issues. There was little time to deliberate because if you didn’t want to grind, someone else would - and time is running out. Steadily inching towards the Paradigm mint, FEW would nevertheless march on - the mounting pressure of needing to stay on top of their community weighing on them throughout.
A Core Shaken
FEW at its peak had been recorded to have housed up to 60 team members - paid and unpaid. Serving up to 30 '000 individuals from their various social media channels and communications. Internal operations also included art production, project and game development, marketing, collaborations, community management, events and games for 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Takoa was also putting in double time, advising multiple other projects and heading a myriad of meetings not necessarily focused on FEW. Though it was done with the intent to bridge value from other projects unto FEW - Takoa had spread himself thin. Despite delivering a high number of profitable whitelists and collaboration deals from other projects, the FEW CEO was distracted from his vital role as a Project Lead:
"At this point [Takoa] almost completely disappeared from the server itself. He was busy putting together the art team, and getting developers. He had put collab managers in charge of his giveaways (mainly old FEW mods). He would allocate some of the [whitelists] he got to Twitter and the rest to FEW itself. Offering a Twitter post instead of FEW [whitelists] for a giveaway allowed him to preserve spots for the server.He nearly completely detached from the community instead focusing on 'big picture stuff'. Only stopping in for AMAs. At a certain point he was scheduled to spend more time talking in the [genesis] holders chat as I had seen that a large portion of our holders [were] complaining that they never saw him and that the server was basically just giveaways and no alpha."
Without Takoa to oversee the state of operations and project optics, FEW’s lines of leadership had blurred across the core team. Aside from the dissenting opinions in approaching its community grind, the FEW core team have repeatedly been reported to have grown fundamentally different views in terms of how the project should have been structured, and Takoa’s distance from certain team divisions due to lack of availability led to dissenting opinions surrounding the project overall. Post FEW Genesis mint, there were reported disagreements among the core team from market shares, to marketing approach, to business development strategies, and many more.
With the immense pressure of retaining one of the more successful NFT projects of its time: the FEW leadership could not afford lagging on their team and losing their momentum over an absentee. Additionally, the high-profile pool of funds from FEW’s genesis sales had brought upon many unintended effects and pressure from the market; higher expectations would mount against the FEW team and more would clamor for their time and consideration. For example, any contractor aware of FEW's reputation would grossly overprice their work.
Collectively, these factors had prompted some within the core team to act within their own interests in the absence of Takoa’s leadership. With time bleeding and little alternatives: the FEW team would ultimately proceed forward with the imbalanced payment terms.
Throughout our accounts within team members there have been talks of at least three separate counts of blackmail and ultimatums thrown between the core team as early as post-genesis mint, with whole key divisions within FEW threatening to leave unless their demands were met. Though a compromise was ultimately reached; these interactions had set a sour tone for all interactions among FEW team divisions which had become hostile and transactional since December. This bad faith had also seeped in their business development efforts, as the core team also disagreed on business development strategies such as whether they should pursue Venture Capital funding, souring early outreach efforts from other core members.
The result of this dissonance in leadership would incite infighting, clique-forming, self-sabotage, and conflicting executive communications at the expense of team members and the FEW community:
"We were about two months from launch. There had been no previews shown of the actual art, and the community itself had become a culture of grinding and befriending mods to get into private voice chats where you were able to get more wishes."
A Team Divided
One serious case of executive miscommunication within the FEW team was payment terms surrounding the Moderators of FEW. With a lack of a formal payment structure and miscommunicating leaders - the Moderator team in FEW have been promised inflated salaries and reparations with little to show for it in the end:
"Let me start by saying that I was paid well. I made around 10k from WL giveaways at the start, and made more off finding out from a collab manager through my position about a few notable projects such as Catblox.Everyone else on the team was completely fucked over. The most paid person was the one who did a little amount of work at the start and the most at the end. The most [appalling] case was a mod who got $900 dollars after putting 1500 hours into [voice chat] and being on for 8-12 hours a day…They were promised around 1-2Ξ. I realize that's not realistic for a team of 25, but you can't make promises like that. It was the fault of the wish system and that constant need for new members."
Behind the curtains, the truth was rooted once again, in miscommunication: and perhaps a fair bit more damning. As the reality was that before the panicked hiring spree, all Moderator positions were intended to have been voluntary and unpaid, with whitelist allocations distributed instead:
"To tell you about that right, only 40% of people [were] notified that it was a voluntary position.It was not stated clearly because apparently everyone is having fun."
The then core team of FEW had been on several accounts alleged to have met and discussed proper payment terms for moderators in response to the mass hiring and grave miscommunication. The truth behind the fact remains in the air, however - there was one allegation of ‘sabotage’ where Moderators were apparently misled on purpose as a result of the infighting.
One way or another, the FEW core team was unable to communicate payment structures to their reactive team hires. Regardless of the guilty party, the fact remains that Moderators expectant on the false promises suffered from this. The incident would further rupture the FEW team’s credibilities and good faith among their communities:
"Practically everyone on the team was burnt out, and new team members were being added bi weekly, and we added a system of nominations of community members that we thought stuck out.At this point WL giveaways were reinstated for the mods and promises of pay were tentatively given."
Many other aspects of FEW’s project development suffered from a lack of organization & accountability due to this burn out. FEW Team’s current COO, Bishopp, expressed that when he had first taken up the job on the week leading up to Paradigm’s mint, he was shocked at the state of FEWs internal organization:
"When I came onto FEW, the simplest systems such as a collab system or organization system, a calendar [for] event planning. This is all not set, it's all scattered… even for the whitelist collections, collaborations… I had to find [this information] and create such systems myself.So that took me almost like 2 very long weeks. Creating the system is easy, but getting the information is hard. So yeah, that part [was] fucked up…"
With the Paradigm launch looming one month ahead: much of the project’s internal woes have taken an extended toll not only on team members, but core members as well. The then COO, Exceed, had gone from FEW at this point, with private & personal reasons yet undisclosed.
For better or worse, the remainder of the FEW team fully intended to press on, despite all that was said and done: the development of the promised Web3 Exploration game continued forward.
And then came mint day.
The Bull is Dead, Long Live the Bull
On the 30th of June, the FEW team announced a blind bid auction for FEW: Paradigm - for individuals wishing to place their bid for a slot within the project without having to grind. Three days later, on the 3rd of July, the bid would close. With results on hand: the FEW team finalized the final bid price to 0.5Ξ - granting 100 bid winners the ‘Master Explorer’ role.
"I was in FEW since maybe February, I never fully grinded, maybe accumulated 15 wishes in their system and entered a raffle.In the end I just bought a Master Explorer (0.5Ξ) in the blind auction.We got a special role but really nothing else specifically."
It would only be three days later, on 6th July, that FEW would release the mint details: the whitelist and public prices being 0.25Ξ and 0.35Ξ respectively.
"They really messed up because they charged master explorers 0.5Ξ while public pricing was [0.35Ξ]...Master explorers were promised a token and a bunch of other advantages, which never happened."
8th of July, 2022, The first day of the FEW: Paradigm mint, beginning with FEW’s Genesis holders. Against unknowing community members’ expectations; the Genesis mints slowed to a crawl, and then stopped. The Bull has died since Genesis’ meteoric rise, the markets had since downsized and handled more losses than profits. The Bear is here - and the median price of 0.3Ξ had become far too high:
"No one wanted to mint at that absurd price. Which caused it to flop.Further contributing to this was the people dumping [FEW Genesis] due to it not providing anything more than the Fishing Pier did, all it was was a giveaway server NFT."
According to multiple sources;
Genesis holders and other figures within the wider market were privately messaged by former FEW team & community members to avoid the mint, meanwhile exposing their side of FEW’s internal conflict. With confidence publically broken among those who were once the foremost core community of FEW: the sentiment within the markets turned sour quickly.
In response, The FEW team would announce price cuts for the Ascension and Public sale phases to 0.12Ξ and 0.15Ξ respectively, and upon reaching the Ascension phase, an additional price cut to 0.1Ξ. This compromised the goodwill between the FEW team and their ‘Master Explorers’, the blind bid winners, who at this point, paid nearly five times of the final NFT sale price.
The FEW team followed up the price cut announcements by stating they would refund public mint participants who had not sold their Paradigm NFT, and reconcile the Master Explorers’ higher buy-in price with two additional units of Paradigm. Unfortunately for Master Explorers, the additional airdrops were delayed, only arriving to blind bid wallets when the floor price had fallen far below:
"On mint day, there was also no price refund for us, when others got a price cut up to 0.15Ξ or 0.25Ξ I forget.We were also promised airdrops to compensate us when FP [Floor Price] was 0.2Ξ, but the airdrops only got released a couple months later when the FP was .03Ξ.I personally expressed my view every step of the way, but was met with denial / rosy statements."
"The team should have refunded Master Explorers right away when mint failed or gave that option.That’s what a respectable team does."
Finally, on 11th July: the Paradigm mint would come to a quiet close. Despite the heavily frayed relationship between the team and community, FEW pressed on.
In light of recent announcements, however, the game would not be released.
A Somber Drive
Post Paradigm mint, Takoa and the remaining FEW team would come face to face with the results of their internal strife: combing through each miscommunication & misunderstanding in order to pay out past hires. For one, Bishopp who was at this time still a relatively fresh hire, had the unenviable job of disappointing the Moderator team by interviewing them individually in order to readjust wages:
"I had a one-on-one call [with each moderator], and [with] almost 95% of 38 people: We parted ways very nicely.They were very sympathetic… They thanked us for the times and everything but it's very sad to hear."
Following this process, the FEW team would gradually restructure into a leaner form - with a combination of contracted hires supporting whatever was left of the Art and Game Development divisions. On the 20th of July, the FEW team reassured that they are continuing their development roadmap towards the primary concept: the promised Exploration game, of which delivery would be three weeks out. The announcement timeline had come from the projections of the Art and Game Development divisions of the FEW team who remained intact post mint.
However, as time passed,
communications over the game’s development progress would be vague and unclear - not just to the community & holders but among team members themselves. Following the Paradigm mint - FEW’s game development and art divisions had repeatedly set misleading expectations and called for multiple delays. The game development and art teams at points cited serious personal and health issues, but also were reported to have taken extended breaks from their projected time.
The lack of clear accountable communication caused these announcements to appear as false news regarding the game’s completion, resurfacing doubts over the efforts of the project. This righteously enraged holders, weighing the team down further with clear reasons to believe why FEW is publicly viewed as a rug.
For instance, game concepts and art were communicated to have been completed before launch and assets were integrated into the game. This was only a half truth told by responsible divisions, when it was later discovered only the game item assets were completed but game environment and character models were not. A contracted team would eventually be employed to complete the job.
At this point, FEW’s pool of funds had nearly bled out: limiting options for FEW to carry forward with development given the underwhelming results. Besides this, the clear burnout experienced by the team following a negative launch and months of internal turmoil - all spelled out the worst for FEW:
"I interviewed each of the mods and they complained saying that there was no communication.So they felt tired. They just didn't want to do it anymore."
Like dominos, each piece had contributed to the next in a vicious downward spiral:
Beginning with the leading core team - their divided leadership (and lack thereof) culminated into the loss of control over team operations, internal strife, blackmail, sabotage, and the ‘wish’ ticket raffle system which spiraled out of control. Failing to regain control over their commitments, the FEW team had lost trust in each other and the community by the time the Paradigm mint dawned on them - leaving it incomplete. With a now shrunken pool of funds raised spent on developing a much larger concept, disheartened team members would eventually fall off: grinding the project to an eventual, final stop.
In the months following, announcements by the team would become increasingly scarce, concluding with the Twitter thread announcing FEW’s pivot back into Fishing Pier on December 1st, 2022. With little information beyond why FEW is doing so and the Fishing Pier’s proposed subscription model - there was palpable community outrage:
"I legitimately wanted to give them another shot and they failed miserably… [Takoa] has lost everyone's trust and belief. He should've had the information ready to go with confidence. He spoke from a place of sympathy not with confidence as a leader should.Not sure who thought [The Fishing Pier] was a great idea, but it's not.Part of the success for a subscription model is the exclusivity, access, and reputation of the team. This only works with a reputable team and FEW team for all intents and purposes is not reputable.Sure everyone deserves a second chance, but it's going to take months to undo the damage. At the very least, genesis should have free access in perpetuity.[I don’t know]... The entire thing was like little droplets of gasoline on a big fire. People are emotional and him and his team should've known people were ready to pounce. Unfortunately, they didn't come prepared at all."
And here we are today. Comparing the team roster from FEWs peak to now: there are currently 9 people working within FEW from its 60 man peak. All but 5 members of the original major team in FEW remain - including Takoa.
PART III: WHAT GOES DOWN…
At this point, Forgotten Ethereal Worlds as a project has about 1 ‘118 USD in remaining funds after its November payout and an incomplete game underneath their belt. The multiple unfulfilled promises and conversation surrounding the FEW project and Paradigm had worn out not just the FEW team, but market participants as a whole. With so many negative connotations already assigned to the FEW name and close to an entire year passing since its genesis launch, there is little sense for the FEW team to continue forward:
"The Idea of shutting down FEW [was] never planned, Takoa and the team always thought of it as one of those projects that will be in the space longer than any other projects out there.But we have to face reality and know that if nothing were to change, or keep on our current path to launch a non-satisfactory game, or even continue to develop it down the line… it’s not sustainable."
With all the dust settled: where are we now, and where can we go from here?
Failure, or Rug?
Despite the stresses and serious issues that plagued FEW’s development, the financial brunt of FEW’s project failure was borne by its holders and minters - who had little control over the situation. This prompted many to speak out publicly in response:
"For me, it's just to educate the public on what poor business planning, decision-making, leadership, [Takoa] and his team (whatever is left of it as most had left due to the aforementioned reasons) [can cause]... and that he carries this stigma for the rest of his web 3 career.To have this being swept under the rug, so that he can create another rug is not what I want to see in the space."
Takoa, having been the front of the FEW project and an established alpha caller - had been especially bludgeoned with scrutiny. Many of his detractors assert that his actions within the space are unforgivable; labeling him a ‘pump & dumper’ and ‘serial rugger’. But Takoa was never the first person to take up this set of labels in the NFT space and he wouldn’t be the last. In contrast, Takoa had at his rise, been the reason for many people’s profits, and stood out in the early scene as a personable and well meaning individual, even though his intentions may have not always presented itself that way:
"Takoa is not a purposefully malicious person. He likes to see others succeed, but at the end of the day acted selfishly for the sake of starting a profitable venture. Paradigm was started from the idea that if [Genesis] did well he could build something big to make a lot of money. That was it.It's obvious from talking to him that that's the case, and it's obvious from talking to those close to him.He used gimmicky marketing with a disregard towards his community in the hopes of making something big and he failed. It's that simple."
What would constitute a rug or a failure? To this writer; the difference is ultimately in intention. The unfortunate takeaway here is that when being at the losing end of an investment, the semantics mean little to nothing for those affected, especially after the fact. The intentions here are intrinsically unverifiable, despite all that was stated, defended, argued and corroborated.
But what we could verify is that Takoa was willing to come forward to KOI TRIBE with his account of the events that had transpired. Though he could have easily run away from public scrutiny, he was instead forthcoming with information, verifying accounts that did not side him. Throughout our correspondence, he expresses a deep desire to make things right by his team and those who stuck with him - though this writer feels this was not a privilege he yet had in lieu of the current situation.
The answer to this more than likely lies somewhere in the middle. FEW may very well have been a genuine but failed project in some eyes, but with its confusing communications and consistently broken promises - understandably looked & smelled like a rug to others.
The Greed that Dresses as Potential
When looking back, it is this writer’s view that greed had ultimately killed the FEW project; and that greed was an adept deceiver of the mind.
The crypto bull run of 2021 and the following NFT bull run in early 2022 had changed countless lives; for better or for worse. It is hard to believe that in a few short years, we were part of one of the largest transfers of wealth the 21st century has ever seen - harder still to understand that this was an isolated moment which could repeat itself, but never quite the same way. With these extreme shifts in wealth occurring over the span of a year - many still see Web3 as the next disruptive space for the years to come despite its falling price action.
With that said, an established Web3 career in this context and its deifying effects on individuals during bull runs can be intoxicating & blinding even to well-meaning individuals. Takoa and the rest of the original FEW team likely began with the pure intentions when expanding on FEW into a larger scale venture. After all, who wouldn’t want to build their brand early in a space they believed would be all-encompassing in the next few years, especially when their early efforts may bear life-changing wealth?
But this is the very greed I am referring to: a positively charged greed for success - the capitalist’s ‘hunger’. Whereby after catching lightning in a bottle, the team did not stop long enough to properly consider if they were feasibly able to expand into the larger concept that they had proposed. Video games, as ubiquitous as they are in our world today: are infamously known to contain some of the harshest production demands among the digital media industry today.
The greed we all may also recognize is the sort that looks like self-preservation: for the entire FEW team, why wouldn’t the opportunity of life-changing money incite extreme action & reaction towards one another at the risk of it all going away?
Today, Takoa & Bishopp, along with the remnants of the FEW team, treads forward into frontiers unknown - with lessons in hand and wounds still fresh. Though many in the space would dismiss Takoa today on the grounds of his recent failures and soured reputation, this writer knows that change takes time, time reveals truth, and that market volume is amoral. Ultimately, one can’t help themselves but ask what sort of potential and opportunity would lie ahead for someone who had managed to launch one of the most hyped projects of yesteryear?
In response to the heavy backlash against the Fishing Pier proposition, Takoa has come on record with us to state in advance that he will not be hellbent on releasing Fishing Pier - and will be taking time to consider his positions & holders. He once again assures us that he is committed to including every single one of his remaining followers who would still hold FEW, and will include all who are and will be included in a snapshot that he would take at a later date. However - the truth of this matter will only come after the facts have been made.
Ultimately, each individual within the FEW team had a role to play in its successes & failures; though its leaders should rightfully bear the brunt.
However, this culture of half-hearted speculation, expectations of quick, never-ending expansion, and herd mentality is commonplace among the crowd and can also be viewed as a product of that same greed. The Bull culture is unsustainable, but habits die hard even in the bear market. Communities today are still as brazenly defensive as ever over their supported projects and figures in order to retain a positive presence within the space; when there are fewer people in the markets, every individual now truly matters.
Ironically, this resulted in a more pessimistic look for the space overall.