I messed up. A month ago, I wrote a piece speaking to an ENS OG about his portfolio and ethos in the market.
No, that’s not the mistake.
In that article, I mentioned that Bored Ape Yacht Club has purchased BAYC.eth and conjectured if they offer subdomains for their holders (to create 001.BAYC.eth for example), regular three-digit and four-digit ENS domains would become worthless. Now, that was a mistake.
My comment was stupid as it assumed that other NFT collections held no power in the market. It was also utterly ignorant of a thriving community called the 10k Club. And, god damn, did I receive some heat on Twitter for not recognizing them.
So, join me on a journey to discover who the 10k Club are, how they started, and why they care so much about some random numbers.
What is the ENS 10k Club?
It really is that simple — just a bunch of people collecting and trading the first 10,000 numbers on the Ethereum Naming Service. We've since even started to see 999 and 10k Clubs in different languages start to emerge.
History of the ENS 10k Club
ENS was created in 2017 and it took five years (until March 2022) for the 999 Club to be at full capacity.
"As soon as they minted out, people were like — okay fuck it we're going to mint it out all the way to 10k [0000.eth to 9999.eth]. I was like, 'you guys are insane, that's never going to happen'. It took years for the [first] 999 to sell out!" Daniel told me. "[But,] the 10k sold out in about a day and a half. I couldn't believe it."
Daniel was one of the first influencers to advocate for the 10k Club — as much as he hates the term ‘influencer’. His posts about the project played a role in the birth of both clubs by being one of the most notable and vocal voices for the 10k Club movement.
That being said, he wants to make it clear that he isn’t the founder, he's just a trusted member of the community. In fact, there is no founder and that is the unique thing about this project. It is just a group of people with a common goal — to own a three or four-digit ENS domain.
Once the 10k sold out, Daniel and a bunch of others in the club got added to a Twitter group chat with someone saying they made a 10k Discord for everyone to join. People started to join the server but after a few hours someone asked the Discord owner, "wait, what are your digits?" Turns out, he didn't own any and this was all an elaborate attempt to scam the 10k Club. Discord really is a cesspit for scammers.
"After that, I was like — okay, I'm just going to make a Discord and Twitter. I didn't have any intention of doing anything with them but just wanted to make a Discord that people were going to that wasn't being run by the scammer." Daniel said, "since then, I've passed off the Discord to other community members."
The current floor for the 10k Club is now at 1.85 ETH (~$2,101) and 30 ETH (~$34,081) for the 999 Club.
Why Are People So Attached to a Number?
But why are these people so attached to their numbers? Reducing your identity to a few numbers — doesn't it feel a little prison-like? Well, there are a few reasons people like their numbers so much.
Everyone has a favorite or lucky number — why not rock it as your online identity? That is what many of the 10k Club do. Sure, some people buy any number they can get their hands on for a quick flip but many carefully select their numbers.
"There are so many different reasons that people like numbers. It could be their daughter's birthday. It could be their mom's birthday, their anniversary, their house number from when they were a kid — it could be anything." Daniel told me, "I learned that coming in too. I thought 'who cares?' But when you see someone say 'I got a 10k and it's my house number when I was a kid, I'll never sell it!' It's like, oh shit! You know?"
Chinese Lucky Numbers
Okay, I had no clue this existed before I spoke to Daniel. But in Chinese culture, there are some very lucky (and unlucky) numbers.
Namely, 3, 6, and 8 are lucky while 4 is considered unlucky. Therefore, many buyers gravitate towards the lucky figures and stay far, far away from the 4s.
China is so obsessed over the number 8 that when they hosted the Olympics, they made sure the event started at 8 PM on the 8th day of the 8th month in 2008. What a mouthful to say but you can see why people are flocking to these numbers.
One of the people who weren’t happy about my previous article was 1551.eth. He commented and I quote, "like I'd give up my identity just so someone could use it to name their ape".
The complexities of being an anon Twitter account are beyond the scope of this piece but the use of the word "identity" is interesting here. 1551.eth doesn't just see this as an online pseudonym but their actual identity.
They have likely worked hard for years to build an online reputation, a following, and friends under this name. At that point, it is no different from the idea of someone taking away my real-life name.
Although I can probably be persuaded to sell my IRL name (DMs are open for offers over $1 million), you can start to understand why people are so attached to these numbers.
As is the theme with all NFTs, the community is a central reason why people enter the space — the 10k Club is no different.
Daniel suggests that the ENS community is different from others. Many crypto and NFT communities are united by the idea of fun (see our piece on a meme coin for more on that) but the 10k community is glued together by practical functionality of investment, ENS, and life advice — sort of like an exclusive domain investor forum.
It's also a very international community with the previously mentioned international communities beginning to catch some steam. These groups aren't staying isolated within their own languages. People are bridging across to speak with each other for advice. Some investors, for example, want to get in on the Arabic hype so they might reach out for language tips from fellow Arabs. Or speak with Chinese natives about their favorite numbers and why.
The 10k Club has even had in-person meet-ups. Seán Murray (or 3531.eth) organized a New York City rooftop party where an individual's 10k Club status was checked on the door. Daniel predicts this is just the first of many.
"I think people will just organically do it. I think there'll be like chapters within it like we all live in Singapore, or we all live in Miami [let's meet up]. There's going to be people who are going to form real-life friendships based on these online things." He told me, "I did a little impromptu meet-up at V Con, there were maybe like 50 people [at the convention] and we had a little meetup just out of the blue."
There are 10,000 BAYC, 10,000 Crypto Punks, and 10,000 domains in the 10k Club. But the 10k Club is just one sub-community in the massive ENS space.
There are currently over 400,000 unique ENS domain owners, which is a mind-blowing amount. At any point, these people could decide they want to join the 10k Club, be it in English, Arabic, Chinese, or Hindi. And when they do decide to join, Daniel will be there, smiling, with open arms ready to welcome them to the group. Possibly even crack a beer in a rooftop bar with them.