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Spotlight: Meet Perchy, the Where’s Waldo of Web3

An Interview With the Creator of Chippi, the Highly Collectible Bankless Location NFTs, and a Head Writer at The Rug

gm Perchy!

I remember the first time I laid eyes on one of Perchy’s Bankless Locations. I immediately jumped into my MetaMask wallet to buy — it was the first time I had looked at art in the cryptoverse and thought, “I must have this. This is me.”

Here’s why: The piece evoked my childhood memories of poring over Where’s Waldo illustrations, where there were so many figures you could spend hours and not appreciate them all. Perchy’s work felt like something out of Highlights magazine; like many great brands, it tapped into the root of my imagination and somehow reflected a mirror back at me, as though I’d opened an old trunk in the attic and found a treasure I’d thought lost, or forgotten I had.

You could spend hours looking over any of Perchy’s Bankless Locations. They are imbued with an admiration for detail that is honestly lost in much of the blockchain-based art and NFTs we see taking over the cryptoverse.

Perchy initially created Bankless Locations based on his involvement with BanklessDAO. He created a chippi for himself, and eventually others, and ultimately these characters came to be the PFP-of-choice for many BanklessDAO members — each not only wanting a chippi customized for themselves but also enjoying the promise that every chippi would find its way into one of the eight Bankless Locations.

These eight Bankless Locations, of which seven have been created so far, are a cornucopia of color and creativity. They sing the song of our times, the “meme of an age”, sitting at the center of the Venn diagram of art, money, and individuality. I can candidly say the first time I pored over The Citadel — which is the second of eight Bankless Locations — and viewed the Whole Coiners Lounge, I knew I would eventually own one bitcoin.

The Chippiverse

There are only 500 chippi in the chippiverse, and they’ve all been minted. You’ll see them all over X, or in the BanklessDAO server, and one day, maybe in the metaversal halls of Sotheby’s. With their deceptively simple, incredibly expressive style, each chippi commands its own universe. Many were handcrafted by Perchy to fit the persona or preferences of the requester.

Profile Pictures (PFPs) are a form of identity in web3. On any given Friday you can see a dozen of Perchy’s PFPs in the BanklessDAO Community Call. No single chippi is alike, and yet they are all similar. It is this type of attribute that has given them the stickiness to become a flag-bearer asset for the NFT-loving community behind BanklessDAO.

Perchy: The Interview

I had the pleasure of meeting Perchy in person at Permissionless in 2022. We rolled around and chatted jokes, art, and ERC-20s. He and I collaborate on another project, The Rug, which is a satirical crypto news rag that cranks out jokes on X several days a week. I asked Perchy if we could ping a few questions his way and do the first Bankless Publishing Spotlight on his immutable work. He said yes.

What inspired you to start drawing Bankless Locations, and had you worked with that style of drawing before? Could you share something from that earlier phase in your life that influenced these quintessential web3 cartoons?

When I was a kid, two things really fascinated me: maps and cartoons. I would spend hours drawing detailed treasure maps, full of forests and deserts, traps and hidden pathways. There was always a story that went with the maps, which I would then tell my parents all about for as long as they could stand listening to it. And as for comics, I’ve been reading and collecting them for as long as I can remember. One of my favorites growing up was The Far Side by Gary Larson. I was always so impressed at the amount of story he could tell in his single panel comics.

Early chippi comic before crypto and NFTs

I began the Bankless Locations series after I created The Bankless Nation, which is the OG predecessor to the Locations. It is not nearly as detailed and is much more of a map vibe than the locations. I had begun imagining crypto as a physical place after hearing analogies and metaphors like “digital nations” and the “bitcoin citadel,” so I wanted to see what that place would actually look like.

The Bankless Nation

Once I had finished drawing The Bankless Nation, I knew I wasn’t done. There was a lot more in this fantasy crypto world that needed to be explored, so I began the Bankless Locations series to do that.

Which is your favorite chippi and why?

While I love all my chippi equally, I really like the goblin chippi archetype. They first appeared in Castle Ethereum, and then took over the show in Goblin Town. They’re like a more mischievous chippi. And if I had to pick one of those, I really like Postgoblin. He’s a goblin but doesn’t get up to the usual goblin mischief. He just likes delivering mail.

Postgoblin by Perchy

Where do you find the inspiration for each chippi comic?

Most of it comes from my own life and my (sometimes unhealthy) relationship to crypto. I think comics hit the best when the readers can see themselves in it. I also listen to crypto podcasts constantly, and whenever an idea strikes, I write it down for later.

Compulsive Price Checking by Perchy

Where do you see blockchain-based art in 5–10 years?

I have no idea where it will be, but I know where I’d like it to be, so I’ll talk about that. I would like to see huge waves of new and old creators using NFTs to monetize their work. I’d like to own some of my favorite webcomics, like XKCD, as collectibles. I’d like to see a massive backlash against sites like OpenSea for removing creator royalties, and the collectors actively choosing to support creator royalties, because it’s the right thing to do, and is actually in the best interest of everyone in the space.

I’d like to see more small, independent creators like myself join the space and see what NFTs can do for them and their career.

Your work on The Citadel caused me to want to own a bitcoin. Do you own a bitcoin and think others should aspire to own one too?

The Whole Coiner by Perchy

Bitcoin Maxis are actually one of the chippi archetypes as well; in the chippiverse we call it The Cult of Satoshi. You can see them all over The Citadel — they wear orange robes, and they believe that bitcoin is the One True Crypto. While I do enjoy poking fun at them sometimes, are you really going to bet against a growing group of people who fanatically believe that bitcoin is the truest form of money the world has ever seen? The number of bitcoins will never exceed 21 million, but the bitcoin true believers continue to grow. Do what you will with that information. #NFA

Can you tell us about the chippiverse? How has the community grown and how are you fostering that growth?

We have 500 chippi PFPs, which are the central core of the chippi community. I think there are nearly 300 unique owners among them. The popularity of the chippi PFPs grew within BanklessDAO, and then spread outside of it as well. My sister joined to help me manage the Discord and the growth of the community. I credit the chippi owners themselves for all of that growth. They are the best ambassadors for chippi. As a general rule, chippi holders tend to be pretty deep down the crypto rabbit hole, and just pretty wonderful people in general. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to meet quite a few of them in person through crypto events.

There are also chippi comics, which are 1/1 comics that I release every Friday, and the Bankless Locations, which are the large illustrations.

Once the Bankless Locations are complete, and you’ve done all eight, is there anything in it for someone who owns the whole collection? Asking for a fren…

Yes! There will be a ninth location that will be airdropped to wallets that hold all eight locations (or seven plus a copy of The Bankless Nation, the OG piece). It scales with each copy, so if you own two of each, you’d get two editions in the airdrop. This final location will NOT be for public sale, so you’ll only be able to get it from the airdrop, or buy it from someone who got that airdrop. Because of these mechanics, it is also guaranteed to be the most rare location.

Can you tell me a little bit about how and why you are interested in comedy, and what you look for in humor related to crypto?

Ever since I wrote a story in 7th grade that made some of my classmates laugh, I became really interested in comedy writing. As a teenager, the first place in the mall I would go was the humor section in Barnes and Noble and check out the new books. John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise was a beautiful example of absurdist humor. And of course, The Onion always had me in stitches. I became a humor columnist for my high school newspaper, and later joined a sketch comedy troupe in college, where I wrote, and sometimes acted, out sketches. After college, I had a blog where I wrote fake movie reviews.

Humor is everywhere in crypto, although satirizing crypto can be challenging. How do you satirize Dogecoin? Or even sillier, HarryPotterObamaSonic10Inu? But that’s also what I really love about crypto — the people in it don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s a bizarre intersection of the silliest memes you’ve ever seen with powerful technology that I believe will reshape our society.

The Bankless Worlds That Chippi Inhabit

While much focus and due credit has been given to Perchy’s chippi, the worlds of Perchy’s imagination also deserve high praise. The Citadel is an epic castle, an ode to Satoshi, a flying dragon of hodl. Its world is weary and magnificent, like something out of a J.R. Tolkien novel. In contrast, Hodlr Beach is light and breezy, evoking a Where’s Waldo illustration; it’s fun and full of chippi celebrating together.

Looking at the BanklessDAO Genesis NFT, notice how it resonates as a cartoon web3 version of The School of Athens, by early 16th century artist Raphael. According to Wikipedia, that painting depicts “a congressional of scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers from Ancient Greece”. Plato is centered beneath the arch, discussing heavenly things with Aristotle, both surrounded by a coterie of like-minded individuals (an echo of discourse in Discords).

The School of Athens, by Raphael (1509–1511)
BanklessDAO Genesis, Perchy (2021–2023)

Are there not some degen-native similarities in the frontiers of the blockchain west — joining DAOs, instantiating ideas via memes, and discussing the nascent applications of a possible world-changing technology? Might we be a resonant future of smart money, sovereignty, and freedom? A harmonic in a different millennia? Only time will tell…

Perchy Draws Upon Our Collective Imagination

Art is a mirror held up to society that shows us something about ourselves, the world we inhabit, and the people we share it with. Perchy’s brilliant imagination, bringing Discord servers and memes to life in colorful and creative complex renderings, is a beacon for the type of NFT creator this web3 world would like to see more of.

Perchy’s influence in the web3 community continues to expand, and he’s one of the kindest and funniest individuals around. If you’re interested to be a part of it you can join the chippi Discord, see the entire onchain chippi collection, or download high res versions of all the Bankless Locations.

Author Bio

Frank America is author, musician, and comedian. He is Editor-in-Chief of The Rug News, and a Content Manager/Staff Writer at Bankless Publishing.

Editor Bios

trewkat is a writer, editor, and designer at BanklessDAO. She’s interested in learning about crypto and NFTs, with a particular focus on how best to communicate this knowledge to others.

WinVerse is a writer and editor in BanklessDAO. He is interested in the web3 ecosystem and spreads the word through marketing and partnerships.

Designer Bio

Perchy kindly provided the artwork for this post.

BanklessDAO is an education and media engine dedicated to helping individuals achieve financial independence.

This post does not contain financial advice, only educational information. By reading this article, you agree and affirm the above, as well as that you are not being solicited to make a financial decision, and that you in no way are receiving any fiduciary projection, promise, or tacit inference of your ability to achieve financial gains.

Bankless Publishing is always accepting submissions for publication. We’d love to read your work, so please submit your article here!

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