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A man who turned 10,000 cartoon dogs into an $85.4 million NFT collection explains how he did it

January 26, 2022, 8:16 PM UTC

Kyle Van Dyn Hoven is not an artist. And he’s not a designer. But he did create a wildly popular NFT collection worth millions.

The Doge Pound is a group of 10,000 NFTs featuring cartoon dogs. It launched less than seven months ago on July 7, 2021. Now, the total value of sales for the collection, including primary and secondary sales, is 26,495 Ethereum (ETH), the equivalent of $85.4 million, according to the NFT marketplace OpenSea

Kyle Van Dyn Hoven said he receives anywhere from a 5 to 6% royalty fee on all of the secondary sales, which are sales between collectors who trade NFTs amongst one another.

Here’s how Van Dyn Hoven launched his NFT collection. 

How it all started 

Van Dyn Hoven is the founder of a media development agency, Creation Burst Studios, and longtime sports fan. In fact, it’s his love of basketball that first got him NFTs in the first place. 

He was introduced to NBA Top Shop in 2021, a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy, trade, and sell NBA video highlights. And that made him want to experiment in the NFT space. 

As a way to get started in the digital collectibles space, Van Dyn Hoven made an initial collection of NFTs in March of 2021, in collaboration with the popular NFT artist Crypto Babe. That collection, inspired by his love of sports, was called Blockchain Ballers.

“It was just a bunch of like stylized artwork of famous basketball stars. So we made that kind of as a first test into NFTs to figure out how minting worked, how OpenSea worked,” he told Fortune.

After that initial venture, Crypto Babe and Van Dyn Hoven collaborated again, and The Doge Pound NFT collection was born in July 2021. 

CryptoBabe designed the NFTs themselves, and Van Dyn Hoven focused on figuring out the business details like creating a website and completing relevant branding. 

What is The Doge Pound?

The Doge Pound is a collection of 10,000 NFTs featuring cartoon dogs. The name playfully alludes to the popular cryptocurrency DogeCoin, while also referencing, of course, dogs. 

Colorful pets are depicted with happy, serene or serious expressions make up the collection. They are whimsically accessorized and wear neckties, afro wigs, sunglasses, and bike helmets. Some dogs, like the subjects of DOGGY #959 and DOGGY #9993 are even pictured smoking joints.  

Doge Pound is reminiscent of other major NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club, which also feature cartoon animals. NFTs from Bored Ape have sold for as much as $462,000, and celebrity owners include Paris Hilton, and Jimmy Fallon

Van Dyn Hoven said he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and their dog, Smith. He chose to do an NFT collection with 10,000 pieces, because he said that reflected the industry standard. 

DogePound NFT Creator-Kyle
DogePound NFT creator took home $4 million in less than 7 months.
Courtesy of DogePound

How to create and sell an NFT 

The first thing you must do to create an NFT is get a crypto wallet. You can create a MetaMask account, for example, and create a crypto wallet, which can then be used to buy and sell on the Ethereum blockchain. All that really means is that you have a digital wallet that allows you to send and receive transactions publicly. 

Most NFT marketplaces run on the Ethereum blockchain, so you will likely need ether in your wallet to pay the one-time fee for “minting” or creating your NFT. 

Then you “mint” or publish your digital art work on the Ethereum blockchain, which allows for your work to be publicly bought, sold, and traded.  

Then, you must decide where to sell the NFT. Some NFT marketplaces include OpenSea and Foundation. You then connect your crypto wallet to the marketplace.  

Van Dyn Hoven considered NiftyGateway and Rarible to sell his Doge Pound collection, but ultimately chose OpenSea because of its popularity. 

“Most people just focus on OpenSea really just because that’s where the bulk of the volume is right now for buyers,” Van Dyn Hoven told Fortune. “Actually, when you publish your collection to Ethereum, technically people can buy the DogePound on other platforms as well. But really the main one that people use is Open Sea. And that’s the one we linked to our profiles on Twitter and other social media.” 

Price your NFTs

Van Dyn Hoven initially priced each DogePound NFT at .069 ETH. He says he arrived at that number after considering the prices of other NFTs collections on the OpenSea platform, which he says at the time ranged from .05 to .1 ETH. 

“At the time, we just went off of what other collections were going for and tried to price it based on what was fair in the current market. That’s really what we based our prices on,” Van Dyn Hoven  said. 

Set your creator fees

Van Dyn Hoven is not the designer of The DogePound NFT collection, but he is the creator, and so he is able to take a cut of every DogePound sale. 

Creator fees are royalties that you collect every time one of your digital artworks are resold. For example, if you set a creator fee of 5%, two to four weeks after the re-sale of one of your original NFTs, you will receive 5% of what the NFT sold for. 

NFTs can be programmed so every transaction includes a creator fee. On OpenSea, for example, creator fees can be set to up to 10%. 

Sell your collection

It took a week for The DogePound collection to sell out, and as scarcity increased, so did demand. Once only 1,500 of the 10,000 piece collection was left, Van Dyn Hoven said a frenzy began.

“Towards the end, actually, when the website broke is when it got a little bit crazy, I would say,” Van Dyn Hoven told Fortune.

Be sure to promote your NFTs

As a newcomer to the space, Van Dyn Hoven attributes gaining traction and sales to interacting with big social media influencers. The largest influencer that Van Dyn Hoven cited as a supportive fan was Alex Becker, the game maker of Neo Tokyo City, who tweeted about The Doge Pound collection repeatedly to his following of over 740,000 people. 

“Probably the biggest catalyst, the biggest influencer that really loved what we were doing was probably Alex Becker. He was very outspoken about The Doge Pound and just loved what we were making. He was pretty vocal about that on Twitter,” said Van Dyn Hoven.

For his next NFT collection coming out in March, Van Dyn Hoven is working with musician Steve Aoki to create a unique 3D collection that will feature music from Aoki’s record label. . 

“I never knew that The Doge Pound would become this big,” Van Dyn Hoven told Fortune. “My belief  for the most part is that you create your own luck. You keep trying over and over again until you have success. I’ve had so many failures, there’s been so many like stupid products and so many things we’ve made over the years that you think should work and maybe that made more sense than something like The Doge Pound but it doesn’t. For entrepreneurs you just have to keep going and trying and creating until you get lucky.”

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