Mar 31, 2024

1. Mr. SHHAN, please introduce yourself.

My name is Seung Hun Han, and I am an artist under the name SHHAN. I express various topics in various forms such as sculpture, painting, and media through cats, and present a new form of crypto art.

I am working in various art fields such as digital art, media art, and physical art, combining crypto with digital art, and started to be known in Asia with the Crowned collection in 2021. In 2022, I also received a lot of attention globally with the Mimic Shhans collection.

In 2022 and 2023, he successfully held large-scale solo exhibitions in China and Seoul, and permanently donated his sculpture "還生 Reincarnation" (Stainless steel paint, 210×70×300cm) to the OCT Boxes Art Museum (Foshan, China).

2. Can you give us a brief introduction to the Mimic Shhans project?

The Mimic Shhans project is one of my flagship crypto projects, a collection of NFTs issued on the Ethereum chain in April 2022 with a volume of 10K. 

The Mimic Shhans are anthropomorphic cats and the premise is that they travel to the dimensions of famous IPs like Dragon Ball and Super Mario and collect loot from those worlds. So you can see familiar items in the actual artwork, and that's actually one of the things that helped MimicShhans become so popular. In fact, in the Twitter AMA at the beginning of the project, some people said that they minted MimicShhans because they liked seeing items from anime that they watched as a kid, and a lot of people said that it reminded them of their own cats or cats that had passed away.

The MimicShhans project was once the largest Web3.0 decentralized community in China, and many of the founders of Web3.0 projects in Greater China are still MimicShhans holders.

The most expensive Mimic Shhans NFT fragment sold was Mimic #1001, which sold for 20 ETH in a secondary sale, and the crowned fragment in the series, #10001 through #10012, are Legendary tier and command high prices.

Mimic Shhans were issued in three collections: Mimic Shhans - Official (429ETH volume), Mimic Shhans - Classic (2,014ETH volume), and Rudolph Squad (8ETH volume), the latter of which was 100% airdropped to Mimic Shhans holders.

3. How did you start the Mimic Shhans project and what was your inspiration?

In 2020-2021, crypto art and NFT art were in vogue, and I think I first became interested in it then, and I published my Crowned series (2020-2021, digital art, 50 pieces) as NFTs, and they were all sold out. At first, I was curious, but then I continued to publish several series as NFTs, and I think I started to think about a large-scale project when I saw that they were all sold out.

 At that time, many PFP projects, including CryptoPunk, BAYC, AZUKI, etc. were receiving good responses in the market, but it was also a time when Klaytn-based projects were popular in Korea. I researched and analyzed many PFP projects at home and abroad, and even prepared team building for the project, but I failed to find a developer or operator. So in January 2022, I decided to do it alone and started preparing for the project.

Initially, I planned to call it Klay Shhans, a combination of Klaytn, which is popular in Korea, and "Shhan," which is my pen name and the name of my cats. (My name is SHHAN, my cats are called Shhan, and my cats are called Shhans.)

However, I wanted a global project and eventually decided to issue them on the Ethereum chain and launched them under the current name Mimic Shhans, which means mimic black cat.

For reference, Mimic Shhans is a series of 10,000 Generative artworks based on the "Crowned #20" artwork, which is part of the Crowned series. 

*Crowned #20 :

All of my artwork is inspired by my pet cat, NikI, so of course, MimicShans is basically inspired by NikI, but I also draw a lot of inspiration from Japanese manga and movies like Marvel, which influenced me a lot during my childhood. 

4. Why did you choose the pre-mint method? What do you think are the pros and cons of this method?

Back in 2022, pre-minting wasn't as popular as it is now, and I remember Korean 10K projects based on Klaytn were charging over $400,000 for minting. I had no experience in running a crypto project, and 10K is not a small amount, so I pre-minted with the idea of distributing a lot first. 

The way I did it was a little bit ignorant, but I sold 10K pieces on OpenSea by manually minting them one by one and then selling them for 0ETH. It wasn't actually a pre-mint, it was a free sale. If I had a developer, I could have made a mint site and automated it so that I could do a pre-mint with my own contract, but I didn't have a developer at the time, and there were no tools to mint like there are now, so I had to do it manually for over 30 days, a little bit every day.

I'm probably the only person who has ever sold 10K this way. It was a really ignorant way of doing things, but it allowed people to buy Mint Shans based on the designs they actually liked rather than just randomly picking them, and in retrospect, that was one of the things that people were excited about early on.

The free sale method I did, or the free mint, you only have to pay transection fee, so you can get a lot of participants early on compared to paid mint. Recently, there are some projects that acquire users through airdrops where even transection fee is paid by the project, so I think early user acquisition is very important for crypto projects. 

And I think giving away tokens for free can be a bit more liberating than selling them for a fee. Mimicshans started as a project without a roadmap, and many free projects can be a bit more liberal about their roadmap or market price. 

However, the disadvantage of free sale or pre-mint is that the project has to give up the initial sales revenue of the tokens because they are literally distributed for free. In the past, there was a creator royalty on N-order trading, but now most exchanges do not allow royalties, so it is difficult to expect the revenue that can be expected from the trading of tokens. Therefore, it is important for projects to utilize these pros and cons and choose the right method.

5. What's the secret to your high engagement rate with Chinese users?

My Instagram has always had more followers from the United States, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand than Korea, and I personally think that the style of my artwork is more responsive in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand.

In 2021, my artwork was featured on the Taiwanese Black Cat Facebook community, which reached about 100,000 people. They featured me and my artwork on their website, and I collaborated with them for a solo exhibition in Taiwan. 

In the same year, a Taiwanese man who was a fan of mine through Artstation (a social media specialized for 3D designers and illustrators) wanted to publish an interview article in Taiwan's leading gaming magazine, where he is the editor-in-chief. I was interviewed about my work and future plans, and I mentioned MimicShans in the interview.

We launched Mimicshans about two months later, and on June 25, 2022, two months after the launch, 10,000 Mimicshans were sold out in 24 hours.

At that time, China was a Web3.0 craze, and many people in Hong Kong and China, beyond Taiwan, read my interview, and they paid attention to the fact that MimicShhans had launched, which was the future plan that I had mentioned in the interview, and they started to introduce MimicShhans to many Web3.0 communities in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and so on, and MimicShhans became the hottest NFT project in China.

And most of the holders of MimicShhans are Chinese and Americans, and they expressed their willingness to participate because the founder of the project is Korean and an artist whose personal information is publicly available.

6. What was the biggest challenge you faced during the project and how did you overcome it?

Since this was my first crypto project and I was doing almost everything by myself, there were actually a lot of challenges. There are two main aspects of building a crypto project: building the project content and building the community. 

I wanted to build a decentralized community from the beginning, and that's actually become a reality. The MimicShhans community is very decentralized now. Many communities and offshoots have sprung up on Discord and WeChat, and now, two years after the project's launch, you can find MimicShans holders in many Web3.0 projects.

At one point, MimicShhans had 100 project builders and 5 large WeChat communities in addition to my own Discord community. The community builders were doing a lot of their own work every day, and there was a lot going on that I wasn't involved in. By early 2022-2023, almost every Web3.0 event in every country with Chinese people around the world had MimicShhans listed as a sponsor. 

Meanwhile, I was running the MimicShhans project alongside my personal art practice, and at that time, I couldn't sleep more than 3 hours a day, and I think it was taking a toll on my mental health as well as my physical health. By the end of 2022, MimicShhans became more popular and more people joined the community, and there were quite a few disputes at that time. But I was relying on interpreters to communicate with the community, and I think there were a lot of misunderstandings and a lot of difficulties in this area. Looking back, I think there are many regrettable moments, but I tried my best and I am still directly or indirectly involved in many Web3.0 projects, not just MimicShhans.

7. Can you tell us more about your meme token issuance on BRC20 and Avitrum?

I released MMSS, BRC-20 Inscriptions, in November 2023. The MMSS project was deployed for MimicShhans holders and after deployment, I separated the community from MimicShhans and it is now being built by one unofficial community and many decentralized communities. 

The MMSS project also exploded when it was first announced via the Mimicshans Twitter account, making the BRC-20 keyword trending once again after its popularity waned after May 2023. MMSS was the #3 overall transaction in BRC-20 at the time the mint was completed.

I declared MMSS a decentralized community by releasing the commercial use rights of the design and characters to everyone and handing over leadership of the Telegram community I created to two of the most trusted MMSS holders. Therefore, there is no such thing as an official community for MMSS, only an unofficial community. Currently, the unofficial community has 9400 members and numerous WeChat communities are active.

In February 2024, MMSS further launched KuroKoin, an Avitrum-based meme coin, which was developed in collaboration with the Mint Club (Hunttown) team, a domestic crypto development team. KuroKoin was airdropped 100% exclusively to MimicShhans and MMSS holders, and unlike MMSS, it is a token issued for 100% fun.

8. What do you hope to accomplish by issuing meme tokens?

Due to my highly publicized personal information and reputation as an artist, I have to be very conservative about issuing coins. Therefore, I hope that the tokens I issue will be utilized for fun and not for any investment purposes. 

MMSS and KuroCoin are meme tokens that were issued purely for the community ecosystem, and I distributed the entire supply to the community members, not my own reserves. As such, I have no obligation or plan to operate them, but like MMSS, they are growing as another community-driven project, and I personally support and endorse this type of behavior.

In other words, the purpose of issuing memtokens is to bring people together in the various ecosystems that I've created, so that they can actually get various business opportunities or collaborate in other ways to revitalize Web 3.0.

9. What can you tell us about the roadmap or vision for the Mimic Shhans project in the future?

Mimic Shhans is a project that doesn't have a roadmap in the first place. However, I am doing quite a few things for the holders. Besides the token issuance I mentioned earlier, I've also provided some utilities, not all of which were successful. But in the future, I'd like to continue doing various things related to my art, both in terms of developing the Mimic Shhans IP and building the project.

10. What do you think is your unique difference or strength in the NFT art scene?

I think my strength is that I can create new forms of art that combine not only art but also various technologies such as crypto utilities and AI, and I think I am one of the most internationally recognized crypto artists in Korea. Based on these points, I would like to share my experiences of various experiments and new forms of art with people around the world. 

11. What would you like to say to budding artists who are interested in NFT art?

I would say that if there are artists who are interested in the field of NFT art, they should first study the token ecosystem and why people buy NFT art, and I think it can be helpful to think about how to combine the narrative of the art they want to do with technology and present it to the public. 

12. Any final message you'd like to share with our readers?

I am trying to do various activities in Korea as well. Thank you for reading my story and I hope you'll be happy to see me on Instagram or Twitter. 

What was the main focus of the Mimic Shhans project?

A lot of projects are run as a team, so it's hard for art to take center stage in the project, but Mimic Shhans was a solo project with art as the main focus, and I think because I was running it alone, I was free from team splits and various cost issues.

In terms of art, early on in the project, we were able to produce content such as secondary creations, cosplay competitions, etc. and that was actually something that a lot of people liked. In fact, the secondary creations were selling very well at the time and we had a lot of participation from Korean and Japanese artists.

And the artwork was designed in a way that would appeal to the masses in the real world, so it's not lightweight, it's classy. I am continuously striving to develop and evolve the MimicShhans IP, and the designs have been well received by the global public on Instagram and Artstation, and we have also proven the productivity of the IP through collaborations with brands such as Xiao Hong Shu, Shanghai Offline Bakery, and Lenovo.

Compared to other NFT projects, what are the unique features or strengths of Mimic Shhans?

Projects have to be dropped if they don't make money, but mine is a personal project, so it won't be dropped if it doesn't make money. I am time-bound and Mimic Shhans will continue to develop the IP, and in the process, quite a few utilities may emerge in the future. The whole process is related to my creative activities, so it won't stop unless I stop doing art. 

Currently, there are 3000 real holders of Mimicshans, 5400 of MMSS, and 800 of KuroCoin. I have over 50,000 personal followers on social media and over 40,000 followers on Mimicshans. The projects' decentralized communities have over 50,000 members. 

What has been the most rewarding moment of working on your project?

Probably when my creations were chosen by the public because I'm an artist, and I always prefer to make creations that can be interacted with rather than just painting or making videos. 

For the Beijing MimicShhans Exhibition in 2022, I had my artworks and MimicShhans-related artworks displayed or installed as sculptures throughout the hotel, and I was able to collaborate with many MimicShhans holders to make it a success. 

In addition, the Life After Life exhibition at OCT Boxes Art Museum in Foshan in 2023 was also organized with the help of MimicShhans holders, and professors from Foshan University participated in the exhibition, which was quite an enjoyable experience. 

What do you think about the changes and trends in the NFT market and what do you think the future holds?

I think the NFT art market, which grew in the past with the hype of NFT technology, is no longer a sustainable model. People won't buy meaningless NFTs anymore, and people who try to arbitrage the market price of NFTs will gradually disappear. 

Most of the NFTs that have been sold for big money lately have been by people who were already famous in the art world, and this phenomenon is also becoming less common. 

I think we'll continue to see art in forms that allow buyers to interact with the content, such as new forms of blockchain technology or games of some sort, and I think NFTs will become more common as a technology, and we'll see less of a push for NFTs, just like we don't usually distinguish between digital and film photography.

If you look at the crypto market as a whole, there will be huge opportunities in the future, such as AI and tokens that combine NFTs with various utilities, and we will always have to think and be quick to adopt new things.

© 2024 NDD INC. All rights reserved.

© 2024 NDD INC. All rights reserved.

© 2024 NDD INC. All rights reserved.

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