Valhalla and its team may have bitten off more than they can chew. The NFT project’s ambitious goals include creating a platform that can rival Twitch. However, despite the enormity of this task, the project has already shown promise.
It had a successful mint that quickly sold out, and the project has had more than 23,000 ETH in total sales volume. If that doesn’t sound promising enough, the project was created by Stacked Studios, an LA-based startup with a stated goal of building web3 products to become one of the largest crypto companies in the world. So far, the company has secured $15 million in funding.
Obviously, this is far more than a mere PFP project, but can the team succeed in its grand vision? We delve into the project’s history, team, accomplishments, and plans for challenging Twitch’s dominance to find out.
What are Valhalla NFTs?
Valhalla is an anime collection that aims to bring gamers from around the world together to build a community. In a Twitter thread, the founder described the Valhalla NFT project as “a crypto native brand for gamers.”
The collection consists of five core character types, each with its own unique personality.
- Human: 8510 NFTs. “The primary type that populates Valhalla. They’re chill to play with, team players, and always down to play fill.”
- Toxic: 645 NFTs. “Toxic players are in charge of keeping you in ELO hell. They’re the ones who instalock Jett. They’re the ones who’ll feed first blood, endlessly run it down mid, and spam FF15.”
- Mech: 647 NFTs. “Aim bot on by default. Trained with advanced neural networks to calculate the most efficient path to domination. Probably drew themselves using Stable Diffusion.”
- God/Eternal: 99 NFTs. “Can trade profitably at a crypto desk while playing League of Legends at a Challenger level.”
- Demon: 99 NFTs. “Born in a PC bang. Only games between the hours of 10 PM – 5 AM. Plays like they’re on PEDs, but their performance is 100% grass-fed organic. Their blueish skin derives from the minimal light they receive from their computer screen.”
The art for the project was created by Hicham Habchi, a concept artist who has worked with some of the biggest brands in gaming and comics — including Marvel, DC Comics, and Blizzard.
Valhalla made a splash in the summer of 2022 with a 3D billboard in Times Square, which went live months before the official mint. The project quickly gained attention for its innovative minting process, in which prospective holders could only gain entry to the community by obtaining referral codes from existing members. This approach sparked a wave of interest and resulted in tens of thousands of applications for membership.
The presale sold out in 1 minute. And over the next four days, the team was 33x oversubscribed and had received more than 16,300 paid deposits.
Who is the Valhalla leadership team?
As mentioned, Valhalla is a product of Stacked Studios, which is led by CEO Alex Lin.
Prior to Valhalla, Lin was a consumer tech entrepreneur who was part of two Y Combinator-backed startups and was featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. The fully-doxxed team comprises members with experience in a host of well-known companies. Most notably, Ding Zhang is the Lead Software Engineer at Stacked. Prior to joining the team, he was a Founding Engineer on Uber’s membership team.
The funding round was led by Pantera Capital, and the company also participated in the mint. However, it’s unclear exactly how many NFTs they claimed.
Valhalla’s progress so far
Stacked Studios’ ultimate goal is to create a streaming platform owned and operated by content creators, much like Twitch for Web3.
The idea is to “empower creators to build powerful communities through NFTs” like Valhalla, according to Lin. The platform would use governance tokens to turn video streaming creators into shareholders of the platform. In Lin’s vision, users wouldn’t need to be crypto-savvy to use the service.
It’s hard to tell how far they are from this vision. But in the meantime, Valhalla’s team has done a lot for their holders.
In Q4 2022, Valhalla hosted a successful tournament for Fall Guys, a popular Massive multiplayer battle royale game. The event was so well-received that several other web3 projects contributed to hosting another one in the future. Valhalla also offers their holders NFT skins to celebrate special occasions, like Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. The team also organized a re-roll event, where holders could burn a special token to “re-roll” for new traits on their NFTs.
In accordance with their dedication to the gaming community, Valhalla has established partnerships with several esports teams, including 3x League of Legends world champions T1 and Sentinels, a team that specializes in Halo and Valorant. Moreover, Stacked Studios released a trailer in November for an unreleased, unspecified game.
Lin and the Stacked Studios team believe NFT projects should own their distribution, similar to fashion retailers like Nike. As such, Valhalla launched its own marketplace in February 2023, which was perfectly on schedule and aligned with what the team promised when they initially announced the marketplace.
They’ve also planned multiple community events, including a Fortnite invitational tournament with over $10,000 in prizes, a community holders event in a Hollywood Hills mansion in March, and a holder event at NFT NYC in April.
That said, the project was hit with controversy early on. There was speculation that CEO Alex Lin was the same person as Hoshiboy, the founder of the much-maligned NFT collection Azuki, which has a similar anime art style as Valhalla. However, many in the Valhalla community came to the project’s defense, saying the accusations were unfounded. The Twitter user that made the claims quickly debunked its own investigation and noted that the two are, instead, close business partners.
What’s in the future for Valhalla and Stacked Studios?
Looking ahead, the success of Valhalla and Stacked Studios will depend mainly on their ability to create and establish the streaming platform they envision (and have promised).
With no concrete signs of the game they’ve created a trailer for, and no significant public announcements on the streaming platform’s progress, the project has a lot to prove. So in short, while their activities and events have generated excitement in their community, it remains to be seen whether they can deliver on their grand vision of becoming the Twitch for web3.
Creating a platform that can compete with Twitch, which garners over 55 million hours of watch time every day, is a massive undertaking. So even if they do deliver their promised product, it will be exceptionally difficult for them to secure those kinds of numbers.
Is the Valhalla collection a necessary means to reach Stacked Studios’ vision or a distraction from the ultimate goal? For now, we must wait and see. But either way, they’ve captured the attention of the Web3 gaming community, and they have the funding and community to establish themselves as a major player in the space.