Bills began stacking up for Thorne Melcher after she lost her job as a software developer in February. A few expenses could be covered by Mandy Musselwhite’s art sales, but the couple quickly fell behind on their mortgage payments as a result. Melanie and Musselwhite have a farm outside Atlanta. The $300,000 property contains a farmhouse where they’ve reared six ducks, two geese, and other animals, and they had to invest most of their funds to get it. According to Musselwhite, “I knew we had to think of something,” 25-year-old CNBC Make It reports. “We truly hoped we wouldn’t have to give up this house.” This is a fantastic place to work. It’s a great place for the animals.” Anxiously awaiting a bank takeover, the pair produced Dastardly Ducks, a 10,000-token collection of nonfungible cartoon duck tokens (NFTs) generated by code and containing over 100 distinct features. In less than six hours after launching it, the couple made slightly under $120,000.
“Sad Duck” from Thorne Melcher and Mandy Musselwhite’s Dastardly Ducks NFT collection.
“We were able to raise enough money to keep our farm going by selling cartoon ducks. He described the experience as “like a fever dream.” “It seemed like they were going so fast at first. After they were all gone, I couldn’t go to sleep at night.” Even though they weren’t already well-known in the NFT community, a small number of supporters helped to raise attention for the project. The time was great as well. The couple owing their lawyer $35,587 in mortgage back-payments and had until Thursday to pay up or appear in court on Friday. Instead, Musselwhite was able to deliver a cheque for $40,000, bringing them one payment ahead of schedule.
“Our livs changed overnight,” Melcher says.
They had a few overdrawn bank accounts prior to the sale of NFTs. Melcher states that “one shared account” cost “less than $1”. On her Cash App, Musselwhite says, there was just 89 cents left. She claims to have a balance of negative $4.11. They were also having a hard time making ends meet because they couldn’t afford to eat. They also couldn’t afford the charge to install the collection’s smart contract at first, because they didn’t have the money for that. NFTs are powered by smart contracts, which are collections of code that execute a set of instructions on the blockchain. In order to cover the cost of the computing energy required to perform each Ethereum transaction, users must pay a fee. Using smart contracts, such as NFTs, requires a lot of energy and costs more money.
Fortunately, a friend offered to cover the cost of the Dastardly Ducks ticket.
- Melcher explains, “We were terribly broke.” Then, “and then hours later, we had more money at one time than we’d ever had before.”
How it was done
In the beginning of January, the duo started working on Dastardly Ducks.
- From conception to release of our first product “felt like we formed a start-up and delivered our first product in less than two weeks,” Melcher explains. “How quickly that all came together was kind of intense.”
- With the support of a few mentors in the Ethereum blockchain community, Melcher was able to master Solidity, a programming language for creating smart contracts, very rapidly. Each Dastardly Duck was created by graphic artist Musselwhite.
Melcher describes the result as “the perfect combination” of his and his colleagues’ abilities.
- There was some internet backlash against the couple’s NFT collection before it was even released because of the high computer power required to create it.
- To ensure that their approach was sustainable, Melcher and Musselwhite developed the smart contract so that it could be used for batch minting. Buyers could buy a 12-pack of Dastardly Ducks and mint them at a fraction of the cost of minting them individually.
- An NFT is minted when an asset is converted into a digital token that may be stored on the blockchain. Owners of NFTs can use it to demonstrate their ownership of an asset and to resell it if they so desire.
‘Trans Duck,’ a design by Thorne Melcher and Mandy Musselwhite for the Dastardly Ducks NFT series.
In the Dastardly Ducks NFT collection, “Trans Duck” was co-created by Thorne Melcher and Mandy Musselwhite.
Mandy Musselwhite and Thorne Melcher Melcher says she enlisted the help of Azuki, a popular NFT collection, to write the smart contract. In order to write the code for Dastardly Ducks, Melcher was able to iterate on their whitepaper. According to her, “in order to overcome environmental concerns, we cannot assume that new technical advancements would disappear.” In other words, “we must learn how to use them in a responsible manner.”
- Interest in the collection was bolstered by the fact that it was reasonably priced. At the time of its introduction, a 12-pack of Dastardly Ducks cost approximately $120.