Pixelmon NFT Reveal Disappoints With Hilariously Ugly Art

The project raised an eye-popping $70 million to create a Pokémon-like metaverse game. It’s off to a rough start.

AccessTimeIconFeb 28, 2022 at 8:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:37 p.m. UTC

The Pixelmon non-fungible token (NFT) project became the laughingstock of crypto Twitter after the highly anticipated artwork series was panned as shoddily crafted and just plain ugly.

One Pixelmon holder tweeted that his Pixelmon hatched half-submerged in a patch of grass and looked “dead,” while another complained that he had received what appeared to be an empty patch of grass with no Pixelmon in sight.

Even the Pixelmon founders acknowledged the NFTs were, indeed, “poor quality.”

Pixelmon raised a whopping $70 million upon mint on Feb. 7, marking one of the biggest launch sales completed for a project in the NFT market. Buyers spent up to 3 ETH per mint (about $9,200 based on historical ether prices), with the project completely selling out in less than a day.

According to the project’s road map or "lite paper," it promised the “the largest and highest quality game the NFT space has ever seen.”

That included building out a Pixelmon metaverse with play-to-earn features, as well as perks for holders of the “Generation 1” Pixelmon, which included land airdrops, access to the Pixelmon token presale and staking rewards.

The backlash on social media prompted a swift apology from the Pixelmon team, which immediately switched into damage control mode.

“I would like to apologize on behalf of myself and Pixelmon for everyone that has been affected by this,” project lead Syber said Sunday in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) forum held on the Pixelmon Discord channel. “When we began this project, we were not thinking it would get as big as this.”

Syber attributed the botched artwork to poor execution and a “really small team,” and promised to make amends to holders of the Pixelmon NFTs.

In another Discord announcement, the pseudonymous Syber said he was a 21-year-old male named Martin. He also said “the lives of my team and family have been threatened.”

“The plan was always to use the funding raised from mint to create proper and better models –- our NFTs are updatable and what they look like now is poor quality – we own up to that – they will be made better,” he wrote in a Discord announcement. “We felt pressured to push reveal and the reality is we weren’t ready to push the art work.”

According to Syber, Pixelmon is taking steps to remedy the situation. On Saturday, the project announced it has formed a partnership with video game development studio Magic Media to build out the game.

In a Discord post today, Syber wrote, “The team has taken a step back to assess the situation so we can move forward even stronger. We are currently in talks with multiple advisors, reputable project managers and PR firms.”

As of Monday afternoon, the Pixelmon NFTs were trading at a floor price of about 0.4 ETH, or $1,100, on marketplace OpenSea.

The whole ordeal, however, seems to have spiked the value of some of the Pixelmon NFTs.

The viral "Kevin" character, which some have described as ugly zombie Squirtle, is selling for over 3 ETH on OpenSea.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Tracy Wang

Tracy was the deputy managing editor at CoinDesk. She owns BTC, ETH, MINA, ENS and some NFTs.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about