Smurf Happens: Beloved Blue Characters Enter Web3

The small, blue beings that originated as a comic and became internationally known as cartoon and movie stars are entering the NFT arena.

AccessTimeIconApr 17, 2023 at 10:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 18, 2023 at 8:22 p.m. UTC
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Popular animated franchise The Smurfs, known from comics, cartoons and movies, are taking on a new adventure with the release of a new collection of non-fungible tokens (NFT) from the Smurf Society that will expand the reach of the three-apple-tall characters to Web3.

Why the Smurfs? One of the draws of the intellectual property (IP) was its broad Web2 reach with “94% recognition globally.” Smurfs are known not only in Belgium where the comics began, but also broadly across Europe, the U.S. and China, where the Smurfs are welcomed for their spirit of community and collaboration, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Arthur Salkin told CoinDesk.

That spirit was a key factor that appealed to Frédéric Montagnon, another Smurfs Society co-founder who focuses on strategy for the brand. Montagnon said the Smurfs are the ideal partner in onboarding Web2 fans to Web3 through an inclusive, welcoming community. The Smurfs' pedigree as a friendly, accessible brand that focuses on caring for others was a huge draw.

“We see NFTs as creating a community that doesn’t have borders,” Montagnon told CoinDesk. “Web3 provides less hassle and all the freedom to connect with others and provide digital sovereignty, which is very important.”

Starting April 18, the Smurf Society will open a bucket auction for 3,000 NFTs based on the Smurfs characters. While there are Smurfs avatars based on famous legacy characters including Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf and Smurfette, the Smurfs’ Society Legendary Collection brings Web3 characters to the village like VR Smurf and Crypto Smurf.

“You can identify yourself with Smurfs,” Salkin noted, teasing that future drops would be even more inclusive in character design. Salkin lauded the work done by Daft Punk creative director Cedric Hervet in enlisting notable 3D artists to bring the Smurf profile pictures (PFP) to life.

All told, the collection will consist of 12,500 3D-rendered Smurf PFPs. There will be 250 different Smurf characters with 50 unique variants of each one with over 350 different traits, according to the projects’ website.

The Smurfs Society has been building over the past year with a smaller, closed community who have been testing the gamified Smurfy world, built on Polygon. Those early adopters have been rewarded with Crystals which can be traded on secondary markets like OpenSea and will provide access to a discounted allow-list sale following the public bucket auction.

Part of the gaming experience highlighted education as part of the quests. “Every day you had the opportunity to mint some ingredients and if you picked the right ingredients you could mint a potion and create a crystal,” Montagnon explained. “So there could be a quest that helped you understand what you needed to mint and how it worked with blockchain technology.”

The Smurfs joins other beloved children's TV shows that have recently made their way into Web3. In January, Jim Henson's "Fraggle Rock" released an NFT collection, and in March, "Sesame Street" launched NFTs with VeVe.


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Toby Bochan

Toby Leah Bochan was the Managing Editor of Web3 and Learn at CoinDesk. Toby holds BTC.

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