Saga of the 1–1–1: solving the mystery of 2019’s most expensive NFT

A milestone in motorsport

Produced thanks to our partnership with Formula 1®, the 1–1–1 was the opening salvo in the barrage of developments that culminated in the launch of the REVV Token, the Animoca Brands crypto token for branded blockchain motorsports.

The First. The One. The Only.

Setting the scene (on fire)

The 1–1–1 was our first high-profile branded NFT. We had abundant experience with brands and games, and we had some experience with blockchain — primarily from our work on The Sandbox, the user-generated content metaverse developed by one of our subsidiaries — but we were entering uncharted waters with the first-ever F1-licensed NFT. We didn’t know what to expect, particularly because the F1® Delta Time game was still in an early stage of development.

When auction titans clash

The auction was conducted in Wrapped Ether (WETH), which has the same value as Ether (ETH), so for convenience I’ll simply refer to the latter. After a warm-up period during which various users made relatively modest bids for the 1–1–1, the heavyweights began to make their presence felt. In particular, the bidders ‘robertwhite’ and ‘DWM’ engaged in a fierce battle for ownership of the 1–1–1, which ended with ‘Robertwhite’ vanquishing ‘DWM’ by taking the price up to 180 ETH.

Promotional material for the 1–1–1 auction

Decoding the secret meaning behind 415.9

As I was working on the announcement for the auction result, the specificity of the winning bid nagged at me. 415.9 ETH: what a strangely precise amount. Was there some significance behind it?

Controversy

At that point, the investigation stalled. The auction result generated considerable discussion in the blockchain community — and outside of it as well. A few suggested that the high sale price of the car was a PR stunt or marketing ploy.

A lead?

Shortly after the auction, a user in our Discord channel with the handle of Pranked claimed to be the buyer of the 1–1–1 and delivered this bombshell: “I saw robertwhite, DWM, and steve bidding and I thought they were all honest individual people so I fomoed in but now I’m getting worried”.

Pranked (a.k.a. Pranksy) pranking us in the F1® Delta Time Discord channel

The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older

The months passed, and we turned our focus away from the 1–1–1 and to other matters, such as the creation and expansion of the REVV Token ecosystem, the development of various F1® Delta Time game features, and the myriad initiatives, acquisitions, and partnerships that are routine at Animoca Brands.

Promotional material for the 1–1–1 auction

Interlude: healthy scepticism

Even a year after the sale of the 1–1–1, after our numerous successful NFT sales, crate sales, and token sales and launches, and after positive reception and reviews of our efforts, some members of the blockchain community occasionally express doubts about the sale of the 1–1–1. After all, we came out of nowhere and sold a single NFT for one of the highest prices ever.

Cyberpunk nomenclature heralds ownership of the 1–1–1

In October 2020, about one year and five months after the 1–1–1 auction, a popular podcast once again aired doubts about the auction of the 1–1–1 and other premium NFTs. This particular podcast happened to feature Pranksy, one of the early F1® Delta Time users.

The 1–1–1 showcased on the Metapurse website

Coda

We were indescribably overjoyed at having found the 1–1–1’s owner (which we verified when Metakovan registered the 1–1–1 wallet in F1® Delta Time). After toasting to the doubters’ health, to Metakovan and Twobadour’s prosperity, and to TokenAngels’ enduring good fortune, we set about organizing a reveal of this news. The eleventh of November (11.11) was coming up and Jon Jordan, editor-at-large of BlockchainGamer.biz, who had analyzed the 1–1–1’s auction back in the day (see here and here), kindly agreed to host a special podcast to reveal the news.

A wild ride

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Ibrahim El-Mouelhy

Ibrahim El-Mouelhy

31 Followers

Literature and science aficionado. Science fiction expert. Founding member, Outblaze. Chief communications officer and producer-at-large, Animoca Brands.