Everywhere we look, another company is launching a new NFT collection. In order for us to navigate all the projects and filter out the noise, it’s important to learn about some important projects that have largely shaped the space this year.
Below are just a few examples of NFT projects that have taken 2021 by storm.
NBA Top Shots
NBA Top Shots is a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace where fans can buy, sell and trade NBA (National Basketball Association) moments, which are packaged highlight clips that operate like trading cards. Top Shot is an official licensed product from the NBA.
How it works: The NBA provides the highlights and Dapper Labs (the company behind NBA Top Shots) decides how many of each highlight they are going to sell and numbers each of them. They place each highlight into digital packs, just like regular trading cards, and sell the packs on the official NBA Top Shot website for prices ranging from $9 to $500 (or more).
Some highlights are more rare than others, and this is typically determined by the price of the packs. You can of course purchase individual highlights on the secondary market as well, where the platform provides the marketplace to buy and sell these collectibles.
We can’t really talk about the NFT success in 2021 without talking about arguably the most iconic moment of 2021, or at least the kickstart to the NFT hype train.
On March 11, 2021, Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple, a digital artist sold a piece of his artwork titled “The First 5000 Days” as an NFT at Christie’s Auction House for $69 million. The record smashing sale put NFTs on the map, and the rest is history.
Just hours before the Beeple NFT sale above, a pair of 24 x 24 pixel portraits of blue aliens wearing little hats sold separately for around $7.5 million each.
The pixelated alien portraits belonged to an NFT platform called CryptoPunks. In the world of NFTs, the platform is as close to ancient history as it gets. There are 10,000 unique punks, all of which were randomly generated and claimed for free when the project initially launched in 2017.
Since then, the demand for CryptoPunks exploded, dragging into the fray Silicon Valley CEOs, pro athletes, prominent venture capitalists, famous YouTubers, poker stars and even legendary hip hop icons.
Today, the cheapest CryptoPunk you can buy will run you about $400,000 in cryptocurrency, while the rarest may be worth tens of millions of dollars.
CryptoPunks of course is famous for being one of the first Ethereum based NFT projects, making it an early crypto collectible.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
Bored Ape Yacht Club (or BAYC for short) is one of the most successful projects in the NFT space. BAYC launched in April 2021, and consists of 10,000 unique apes. The cheapest one on the market right now is around $250,000 in cryptocurrency.
The team behind the collection just signed a deal to collaborate with Adidas. Famous token holders include Jimmy Fallon, Post Malone, Future, and Steph Curry.
What makes BAYC or any other NFT collection valuable is highly subjective. Broadly, it’s a mix of three things. Influencer/celebrity involvement, community strength and utilities for members.
The first is obvious. When famous people own an NFT, it makes others want one too. To be in the same social circle as a celebrity is valuable to many of us. Community events and exclusive access is another thing that BAYC has done very well, with literal yacht parties for token holders. Lastly, utility for BAYC owners include opportunities for new NFTs, including Bored Ape Kennel Club and Mutant Apes, both also very coveted NFTs in the marketplace.
World of Women
World of Women (or WoW) is a women led NFT project with 10,000 unique 1:1 artwork of cool and diverse women, randomly generated on the Ethereum blockchain. The project has been popular among celebrities, including Logan Paul and Reese Witherspoon. A portion of sales goes directly to support cryptoart.
Serial entrepreneur and media personality Gary Vaynerchuk launched his VeeFriends NFT Project in May 2021, a series of 10,255 unique 1:1 NFT collectible art hand drawn by Gary himself.
Each collectible is an access token for a conference Gary is organizing called VeeCon for three years straight, 2022 to 2024. Some of the more expensive tokens give different levels of access and rewards, such as hanging courtside with Gary at a New York Knicks game, playing table tennis with him, or random gifts from him throughout the year.