Pokémon is one of the largest and most recognizable franchises in the world. Spanning fandom across video games, TV shows, manga series, and now ENS clubs. For years, fans of the franchise are trying to catch them all and in the form of ENS domains, they’ve succeeded.
As of summer 2022, every Pokémon domain (Gen 1 – 8) had been caught by its rightful trainer. That is a total of 1,008 Pokémon domains, registered to 319 owners.
Are you a fan of Pokémon? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, there’s an entire community of like-minded individuals who share your passion for this popular franchise. And where do they gather to discuss all things Pokémon? On Discord, of course.
So why has the first ENS club that gathered around a common interest rather than ambiguous categories such as digits, nouns, and emojis focused on Pokémon?
It’s simple: the franchise has a massive following and a rich history. From the classic Game Boy games to the more recent mobile app Pokémon Go, there’s no shortage of things to talk about when it comes to Pokémon.
How Did This All Begin?
The Pokémon club is as old as ENS itself. The first ENS domain (rilxxlir.eth) was registered on May 9th, 2017, one day later Houndoom.eth was registered.
We couldn’t track down the registrar of Houndoom.eth but it’s possible they weren’t even a Pokémon fan. Only a small subset of names was available to register as ENS domains in the beginning and nobody knew what they were — not even the developers! This meant that most of the first names were brute-forced. So is it just a coincidence that the ENS machine gave birth to a Pokémon as the 38th domain name ever registered?
133 more Pokémon addresses were registered in 2017 — including Charmander.eth, Charizard.eth, and Dragonite.eth. Then there was a two-year break until 44 Pokémon were found in 2019, nine in 2020, and 142 more in 2021.
But it wasn’t until 2022 that the Pokémon ENS wave really kickstarted — community members like Shrimp.eth and Primeape.eth jumped on the registration train and by May 4th, 2022 every Pokémon in the Pokédex had been registered.
Only a few days prior to the Pokémon ENS domains selling out, a member of the Pokémon community – Shrimp.eth created a Twitter, Discord, and a website to promote the collection.
Calling all Pokemon Trainers:https://t.co/6Q8UsyItDf
Collectors of Pokemon ENS domains can verify and join channels. Gotta catch em all!
— Pokemon Trainer DAO (@TrainerDAO) May 2, 2022
“It went pretty full mad from there,” Shrimp.eth told Web3Domains.com. Shrimp.eth added, “[we got] it up on ENS.vision [then started seeing] high sales, sweeps, and floor price actions.”
The largest sale of any Pokémon ENS so far is Articuno.eth, at 5 ETH, to Fry.eth.
“I wanted a cool Pokémon, specifically from Gen 1,” Fry.eth told Web3Domains.com. “Articuno was the only Gen 1 legendary/starter listed at a price I could possibly afford (8 ETH). I spent a lot of time trying to contact the buyer and generate liquidity to make a respectable offer. I eventually got in touch with them and we found a number that worked for both of us.”
The Gen Nine Leak
Up until November 2022, there had only been eight generations of Pokémon. But the beauty of this franchise is that it is still active and evolving. With the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, generation nine was released.
The Pokémon ENS club members didn’t simply wait for the game to be released, download the game, then register their favorite character — oh no, that wouldn’t be degen enough. Instead, people were analyzing trailer footage, finding leaks, and predicting which Pokémon will be added with gen nine.
How bullish am I? Bullish enough to mint a Gen 9 prediction 🚀🚀🚀 #ens #pokemon #pokens #pokemonens #enspokemon #eth #domains #ensdomains #ethdomains #genzaidon #miraidon #Koraidon #PokemonGO #ScarletViolet #dallemini pic.twitter.com/zyvX7Jrd9F
— thicccharizard.eth (@_nftseeker) June 17, 2022
“We had people who were scouring 4chan and all the leak live streams, trying to see what the new Pokémon names were going to be,” Primeape.eth told Web3Domains.com. “Literally the second that they were leaked, they were minted. I personally missed out on minting about 10 of them by literal seconds.”
The competition over these potential Pokémon ENS names was so fierce that even those on the front lines couldn’t mint them fast enough. Regular crypto investors had turned into Pokémon trainers obsessed over the idea of owning their favorite video game characters.
Gotta Catch ’em All
The Pokémon ENS club is the first group of Web3 domainers brought together by one common interest — trying to catch them all.
Head over to their Discord where the topic of conversation don’t veer too far from the Pokémon games, TV shows, manga, and even competitive Pokémon.
“I think it’s genuinely fun to be hanging out with fellow Pokémon nerds.” Primeape.eth said, “We are able to discuss so many different subsets of the fandom and it’s not a constant shilling of ‘we need to get a floor price up to such and such’. We’re just enjoying hanging out.”
A group has been brought together by a common interest that brainwashed them as a child before they earned their badges to maneuver this weird world of Web3. There’s something beautiful about this blend of nostalgic wonder and futuristic technology.
Trainer Goals & Community
There are some members of the community trying to build on top of the ENS club.
There have been talks of a DAO being formed, a possible Pokémon token being airdropped to holders, and even games being developed. At the moment these are just ideas floating about but the community seems keen to get building.
There is one major tragedy with the rise of the Pokémon ENS club and each trainers goals, however.
Each individual part of the group has had one goal since they were a child: to catch ’em all. They’ve battled on their Gameboys, their DS’, and their mobiles trying to become the ultimate trainer by completing the Pokédex.
But in the world of NFTs and ENS, this is nearly impossible. Only one person can own each Pokémon. Will we one day see a trainer who catches ’em all? Who knows…