The Rarity Phenomenon

April 25, 2023

On the eve of our upcoming Rarity Dawg mint, we wanted to share more about our journey of honoring the greatest projects on Cardano through exploring:

  • The meaning of rarity in the traditional and NFT art landscape
  • How rarity is truly measured 
  • Copying vs taking inspiration 
  • Community and utility

With that said, let’s jump right in.

What is Rarity? 

Traditional Art

The timeless works of the greatest artists that the world has ever seen have a few things in common when it comes to what is deemed a rare or sought-after piece:

  1. The reputation of the artist

Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt. Given the historical reputation of these well-known artists, owning a piece by any one of them means that there is inherent value in the piece, and therefore commands a price tag that represents that value. 

  1. Limited quantity

The greatest art of our time has typically been 1:1 pieces and simple economics dictates that scarcity of a sought-after work increases the demand and value thereof. 

It’s also worth mentioning that these artists will never create another piece again, further driving up the value of the work that outlives them.

  1. Quality 

Each of these physical artworks was handmade and signed by the artist in their respective style. These works required many years of painstaking apprenticeship as well as countless hours to create. They, therefore, achieve a certain quality that cannot be easily reproduced. 


When it comes to how NFT rarity is gauged,  there are definitely parallels that can be drawn between traditional art and NFT art. These include the reputation of an NFT artist, limited quantity of artworks, and the quality of the pieces therein. 

With regards to NFTs, though, there are a few more factors that need to be considered when exploring what rarity means:

  1. Limited Number of NFTs in a Collection

Most collections only have 10,000 items and so if the project proves to be popular, the demand for those NFTs will usurp the supply which consequently increases the value and pushes up the price. 

  1. Limited Number of NFTs with Rare Traits in a Collection

Digital artists randomly generate collections that include a limited number of NFTs with rare traits. This is the next layer of rarity because an NFT with a rare trait, like angel wings or laser eyes, will be even more sought after than so-called floor NFTs which have no rare traits and are more numerous in number. 

Some traders will immediately flip an NFT at or below the mint price when realizing the said NFT is not rare. 

  1. Utility 

Due to the digital nature of NFTs, projects can provide utility to buyers that isn’t available irl. Although utility does not directly increase the rarity of an NFT, an NFT with utility would make it more sought-after. This would then in turn reduce the supply simultaneously increasing the rarity.

Clay Nation NFT holders, for example, earn $Clay tokens everyday. These tokens have ADA value which means each NFT is a bit like a goose that produces golden eggs. It’s not hard to see that with this utility, the collection becomes more sought-after ergo more rare.  

NFTs and The Subjectivity of Rarity 

With NFTs, rarity is usually predetermined based on what the creators see as a rare trait. It is the mere whim of the creator and doesn’t involve any more effort in terms of design than a common trait. And yet, if a trader is lucky enough to mint a rare NFT of a popular collection, they can make life-changing money.   

With Rarity Dawg, we are showcasing the arbitrary nature of rarity by pushing the phenomenon to its logical end. We achieve this by developing a collection that is only compiled of rare traits. We know they’re rare because they’re all traits deemed rare by other blue chip projects. All the NFTs are therefore ‘rare’ and the ones with our whimsical determination of what should be rare, are then rarer than rare.

Some of the traits we have adopted are inspired by the CNFT pioneers like Spacebudz, Clay Nation, DEADPXLZ and plenty of others that have influenced and shaped not only us, but some of the most successful projects out there.

So, in tackling the phenomenon known as rarity, we have done the following:

  • spun a compelling story that features a character who is obsessed with rarity, someone we hope NFT collectors in the ecosystem can relate to
  • created an NFT collection with an original base image that is furnished with only rare traits, traits that draw inspiration from what rarity means to other creators and combined it with our own interpretation
  • exposed the idea that ‘rarity trumps everything’ as a funny, rather silly notion because of how arbitrarily it is assigned

Copying vs Taking Inspiration 

Artist Andy Warhol became famous but was often denigrated for his recreation and repetitive use of everyday items like Campbell’s Soup. Referring to his artwork, he once said,  “I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for 20 years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.”

Many refer to him as a fraud because he just copied something that already existed, but we believe that the man added his own artistic flair to something that was meaningful to him, something that inspired him. 

In the same vein, the fArt Banker’s poochy pal, simply called Dawg, wanted to create an NFT collection that included only rare traits that were meaningful to him, traits that paid homage to all the great projects on Cardano. 

The using and reusing of the same traits is nothing new in the NFT world. CryptoPunks, created in 2017 on Ethereum, is the original and archetype NFT collection and has since been copied countless times by pretty much every NFT collection in existence. Traits like ‘hoodie’, ‘alien’ and ‘cigarette’ are pretty much staples in every collection. 

It’s not just the traits that get reused or improvised on, however, there are a whole bevy of derivative collections out there that hope to cash in on the original’s success. CryptoPunks has spawned CryptoPhunks (identical but for the fact that they’re facing the other way), SolPunks, RastaPunks, AdaPunks to name a few. Some would say that Solana and Cardano creators are paying homage to these popular collections on Ethereum, others would argue that they’re downright frauds because they’re shamelessly copying them without adding anything new. You be the judge.

Community & Utility 

Whilst rarity in a collection plays its part in what the collectors may or may not deem to be valuable, no project can be successful without market confidence built around a solid community and actual utility. 

Using our NFT recycling depot and Rarity Dawg we’re looking to incentivize collectors to pick up the rarest NFTs and recycle other NFTs they don’t want to hold onto by rewarding them with tokens they can use to to bid for bluechip NFTs that mistakenly (or otherwise) find their way into our recycling depot.

We want to build a sustainable project with actual utility that every kind of collector and creator can participate in and celebrate the rarest of the rare on Cardano while having a lot of fun doing it.

Where To From Here? 

We don’t have all the answers and having more questions than anything is kind of how this project started. It’s been an exploratory journey thus far and we’re excited to continue building out our ecosystem and providing value to our supporters. 

For more info, check out:

Our NFT Recycling Depot

Rarity Dawg