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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) became the hottest market, taking off in February. During that time, the NFT hype even displaced the previous focus on decentralized finance and offered its own bounty of outsized returns. NFTs have been around for years, but like everything in crypto, the boom came suddenly and lifted assets to outlandish valuations. Some images or short movies changed hands for millions paid in ETH tokens.
Some of the first NFTs were gamified crypto-collectibles, with the most notorious one being CryptoKitties. The game set the stage for algorithmically created images, which enjoyed mild interest over the years.
The other factor was a growing group of crypto artists showcasing their works within the crypto community. The initial attempts to sell coins and tokens linked to artwork yielded smaller valuations, until the 2021 boom. One of the most prominent works in crypto art was supplied by French artist Pascal Boyart, famous for his large-scale street murals in Paris.
There are several types of NFTs with different types of images. Some of the major branches include gamified collectibles with breeding functionality (as in CryptoKitties); pure collectibles; sports-based imagery and collectibles, as well as art-based collectibles. The images that go along with the Ethereum-based NFTs include algorithmic variations, and their price depends on rarity and special features. We selected some of the hottest trends on the NFT market, showing that innovation happens fast to create value.
The OpenSea storefront of Pascal Boyart has sold artworks worth more than 400 ETH, with new offerings commanding prices above 75ETH. Boyart is an accomplished artist, having sold some of his works in a tokenized form in the past. The new mural pictures are wrapped in newly minted NFTs and are sold at an auction.
Boyart has shown that the crypto space can essentially build an art market within the span of a few short months, and gather patrons to purchase items of interest. The murals of Boyart are also featured in the digital Museum of Crypto Art.
Lil Moon Rockets is an up-and-coming NFT project, who is distributing one-of-a-kind artworks via smart contract. The project follows the latest trends, combining vector art with algorithmic genealogy. After the initial sale of artwork, each user will receive their unique Moon Rocket images. To stop project owners and early entrants from buying up the most valuable artwork first, Lil Moon Rockets is using a unique “blind sale” model, whereby all artworks will be revealed at the time of the smart contract ending.
Unlike other NFT projects built on the Ethereum blockchain, Lil Moon Rockets uses Binance Chain to issue its NFTs and the subsequent “name your rocket” tokens. While NFTs have been beneficial for revenues on the Ethereum blockchain, Binance Chain offers easier purchases with lower fees.
The packages of images will be sold in stages with a rising price. In March, Lil Moon Rockets are offered at 0.5 BNB, and the next stage is 1 BNB per image. The last stage will sell a final token for 111 BNB. Afterward, named images can be further curated and sold on the secondary market.
After the tokens are sold in full, users will see their pictures revealed, and will be able to name and market for uniqueness and rarity. A total of 13,337 images can be viewed in a gallery for comparison, but only owning the NFT and the naming token give full rights to resell the image and prove ownership.
Cryptopunks are some of the most simplified art forms when it comes to NFTs. Their popularity is a case study in the appeal of NFTs. Despite the simplified art, Cryptopunks took off, becoming one of the leading collections.
After some promotion from prominent crypto personalities on social media, Cryptopunks became a staple for risky investments and collections.
The 10,000 Punks characters are also enjoying a healthy resale market, due to the mix of scarcity and growing popularity. With prices reaching $57,000, those NFTs started humbly enough, with a free airdrop to anyone with an Ethereum wallet that wanted to claim one. There is no ceiling to the price, no matter how the initial tokens were distributed, as the network effects of popularity created the highly active marketplace.
An artist known as Beeple, who had been active on Instagram for years, achieved peak performance on the NFT marketplace.
Beeple’s top curio was a 10-second animation, with a “mutation” feature hinging on the outcome of the 2020 Presidential elections in the USA. The item resold for $6.6M, becoming one of the high-profile NFTs that continued to drive the hype.
Beeple’s art has multiple NFT auctions with rare numbers, with ask prices close to 300 ETH. The new token issues continue, as buyers can make bets on appreciating prices through future auctions. The setback is that Beeple often sells the same artwork, and resellers try to make gains on the serial number itself.
Beeple’s art is highly competitive and ranks among the likes of Pascal Boyart. But the marketplace also appreciates the more algorithmic approach, where art and technology combine.
Hashmasks is one of the most recognizable projects in the NFT space. The collectibles feature a postmodern aesthetic, combining alien or robotic figures with backgrounds. More than 16,000 images were cobbled together through the work of artists, as well as algorithmic combinations.
Hashmasks are turning into an identity mark in crypto-related social media. There is no telling where the artworks will end up. So far, they have been used as visual identities and in social media games. The most expensive hashmask has already reached a price of 420 ETH, with others retailing around 2-4 ETH, just weeks after the initial release.
After acquiring their Hashmasks, users can add to their uniqueness by naming them. Mozart, for instance, will demand 250 ETH to change hands. The name of the hashmask is, however, arbitrary, and users still need to verify its number.
Instead of competition, the NFT market adds new projects and actually hones in on the interest of the community, bringing more financing to all NFTs. The combination of art and collectible features seems to be one of the most successful in attracting new investors.
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