Key points to remember
- CryptoPunks inspired NFT avatar projects saturated the market in 2021.
- While some collections have spawned vibrant communities, others have failed.
- Interest in many once desired collections has declined due to slow development times and a lack of creativity.
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The NFT avatar scene has seen many projects take off and then fade over the past year.
The NFT avatar space
When NFT technology became mainstream in 2021, monkeys, lizards, skeletons, and other tokenized characters became featured properties on blockchains like Ethereum and Solana. The growing demand for NFT avatars was fueled in part by the intrigue surrounding Ethereum’s first major avatar collection, CryptoPunks, and then kicked into high gear after the launch of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, now the most world’s largest collection of avatars. People quickly realized they would need to “port” their own NFT to Twitter if they wanted to fit into Web3 circles, and suddenly everyone was talking about “community” as new projects doing much the same as their predecessors surfaced. After hitting the equivalent of around $200 in April 2021, Bored Ape Yacht Club’s floor price topped $430,000 a year later.
Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs has scored a series of home runs with lucrative airdrops that have enriched holders, major brand partnerships, celebrity endorsements, exclusive parties and an ambitious Metaverse gaming project, but his success was an outlier in what has become a saturated space. During the peak of NFT mania in August 2021, the demand for NFT avatars borrowed from the CryptoPunks model skyrocketed, which contributed to the price rally. But the hype was short-lived and many all but disappeared once the market pulled back. This feature lists the five biggest disappointments in the NFT avatar scene to date.
On paper, Meebits seemed like a no-brainer for the hungriest speculators in the NFT market. The second avatar project from CryptoPunks creator Larva Labs, Meebits promised a collection of 20,000 unique 3D voxel characters that could be adopted as a digital identity to explore the metaverse. As the successor to the largest Ethereum NFT collection at the time, the whole crypto space was talking about the launch when it was announced in May 2021. However, the excitement quickly turned to mockery. While Larva Labs was applauded for dropping the new Meebits to CryptoPunks holders, it quickly became clear that the quality of the collection’s artwork paled in comparison to that of its older sibling. Ugly designs aside, Meebits went live in a Dutch auction with bidding starting at 2.5 ETH (over $8,000 at the time). It sold out within hours, earning Larva Labs around $80 million. Secondary trading soared as rarer coins sold at crazy valuations, but the hype quickly died down. Even when the floor price broke above 9 ETH during the NFT summer, it was clear that Larva Labs had no plans for the collection besides reaping some eye-watering profits. The design studio was convicted for a series of blunders months later and later sold the rights to Meebits to Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Yuga Labs. Holders immediately secured intellectual property rights to their characters, but as secondary trade shows, interest has waned since the peak. While CryptoPunks still holds prestige in the NFT space, perhaps it’s fitting that Meebits is no longer relevant now; Larva Labs obviously didn’t care about the crypto space, and the crypto space doesn’t care about Meebits.
Although Doodles was a relatively late entrant to the NFT avatar scene, he looked like an offbeat winner, combining an iconic The Simpsons-like aesthetics with world-class marketing in its mint perspective. It quickly became a go-to Twitter profile picture among Ethereum NFT whales even as the broader market trended lower, dragging the market cycles of other collections by a few months. At its peak, the price of admission to Doodletown topped $68,000, but it quickly collapsed like most others before it. While the Doodles still aren’t cheap, with a current floor price of around $12,000, they’ve slowly hemorrhaged as the reality of the project’s poor communications strategy and roadmap barely there. settles down. In June 2022, the team announced that it had appointed Pharrell Williams as Chief Brand Officer and closed a fundraising round for an undisclosed amount, challenging Web3’s transparent values. He also promised a new collection called Doodles 2, revealing that it won’t launch on Ethereum and teasing a smooth animated video. Doodles is currently organize a vote for a “Triwizzy Tournament” celebrating creative talents in Web3, but the project is ignored on social networks, last tweet end of July. Loyal fans will have to hope that Pharrell and Doodles 2 can help the project return to its former glories.
Arguably the biggest disappointment in the NFT avatar space to date, MekaVerse experienced a dramatic rally leading up to its launch in October 2021. As the crypto hype approached its peak, Forbes ran a piece of puff pastry interviewing the founders of “The NFT Project With 100k Discord Members In 48 Hours”. The 8,888 Mekas went live with an initial mint followed by an art reveal, and the price floor quickly rose above $28,000 in the secondary market. However, the collection took a hit when it revealed its artwork, dropping a series of lazy Transformer-inspired designs that barely offered distinct features to identify with one another. Memes abound as crypto enthusiasts joked that the collection was among the least inspiring in the space. Things got worse for the project as the team was accused of rigging its drop to help insiders nab the rarest tokens, which the creators vehemently denied. MekaVerse has since staged a new airdrop and promised some sort of Metaverse-style experience (MekaVerse in the Metaverse, get it?), but it’s fair to say the collection has become moot. As for the requested bid on one of the cookie-cutter Mekas? You can pick one up for around $420 today, down 98.5% from the peak.
Shedding light on the fall of Cool Cats probably won’t win us any friends, but that’s crypto; if you really believe this space is all about community, you might be as naive as the biggest bag holders in Cool Cats. There’s no better way to understand how crypto trading (and yes, NFT trading) is a zero-sum game than to see one of your bags once celebrated almost to zero, and it wouldn’t be It’s probably not unfair to say that the Cool Cats, the most ardent believers in the community, have had something of a reality check over the past few months. Ethereum cute cats were priced over $40,000 under adverse conditions in January – now the floor price is down over 90% in dollar terms. It gets even worse when you look at the array of collections MILK token, whose 99% decline could rival Terra’s LUNA (you know, the one that death reduced to zero) for its dark appearance. Community members are to blame the team’s slow development times for its Cooltopia world, and while it’s been promised that the current experience is “just the tip of the iceberg”, interest for the project in the wider space has practically diminished. The cool cats of the NFT space are still hitting JPEGs and tweeting each other to get through the enduring bear market, but they’re just not that excited about Cool Cats anymore.
Famous Fox Federation
The Famous Fox Federation boldly claims that this is “Solana’s most famous NFT collection”, so it’s hard to take it too seriously considering other collections like SolanaMonkeyBusiness and Degenerate Ape Academy have it. surpassed on almost every measure. The Famous Fox Federation has a relatively large 53,000 Twitter followers and is approaching 200,000 SOL in lifetime trading volume on OpenSea, but there’s a lot to question once you get past the raw data. Famous Fox Federation isn’t a failure because of a price drop or lack of market appeal – it’s just another example of a boring project that offers nothing original. Like all the worst NFT avatar collections, the foxes themselves seem as unique from each other as Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, and the team copied the Yuga playbook by releasing a derivative airdrop and token called FOXY (don’t ask us what it does or why anyone needs it). SOL enthusiasts can currently enter the Foxosphere for a relatively modest $1,300, and guess what? For those who still have money, the team is selling a series of cheap merchandise in exchange for USDC (because if you’ve fallen in love with the “community” vibe at this point, why not go all out?) generative art, photography, and digital art niches . Then again, if you’re one of those people, you probably wouldn’t have considered looking at avatars like Famous Fox Federation in the first place.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this article owned Otherside NFTs, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies.