- NFT avatar projects inspired by CryptoPunks saturated the market in 2021.
- While some collections have built vibrant communities, others have failed.
- Interest in many once coveted collections has waned due to slow development times and lack of creativity.
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The NFT avatar scene has seen many projects soar and then fade into irrelevance over the past year.
The NFT Avatar Space
When NFT technology became mainstream in 2021, monkeys, lizards, skeletons and other characters became hot property 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 picked up speed after the launch of Bored Ape Yacht Club, now the most important avatar collection in the world. People quickly realized that they would have to “wear” their NFT on Twitter if they wanted to join Web3 circles, and suddenly everyone was talking about “community” as new projects appeared that did much the same as their predecessors. After cutting for around $200 in April 2021, the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s bottom price topped $430,000 a year later.
Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs has hit a string of home runs with lucrative airdrops that have enriched owners, major brand partnerships, celebrity endorsements, exclusive parties and an ambitious Metaverse gaming project, but his success has become something of a satire. . space. During the peak NFT craze in August 2021, demand for NFT avatars borrowed from the CryptoPunks standard skyrocketed, helping prices rise. But the hype was short-lived, and many disappeared as the market recovered. This feature lists the five biggest disappointments of 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 most important Ethereum NFT collection at the time, the entire crypto space was talking about the launch when it was announced in May 2021. However, the excitement quickly turned into mockery. While Larva Labs was applauded for introducing the new Meebits to CryptoPunks owners, it quickly became clear that the quality of the collection’s artwork paled in comparison to that of its bigger sibling. Bad plans aside, Meebits was launched in a Dutch auction with bidding starting at a whopping 2.5 ETH (over $8,000 at the time). It sold out within hours, bankrolling Larva Labs around $80 million. Secondary trading soared as rarer pieces sold at wild valuations, but the hype soon died down. Even when the price floored above 9 ETH in the summer of NFT, it was clear that Larva Labs had no plans for the collection other than impressive profits. The design studio was convicted of a series of blunders months later and went on to sell the rights to Meebits to Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Yuga Labs. Owners immediately received intellectual property rights to their characters, but as secondary trading shows, interest has waned since the peak. While CryptoPunks still hold sway in the NFT space, it’s perhaps fitting that Meebits is now irrelevant. Larva Labs apparently didn’t care about the crypto space, and the crypto space doesn’t care about Meebits.
Although Doodles was a relative latecomer to the NFT avatar scene, it looked like a winner from the offset, combining an iconic The Simpsons-like the aesthetics with world-class marketing on the way to its mint. It quickly became a Twitter profile picture of choice among Ethereum NFT whales, even as the broader market trended down, following the market cycles of other collections by a few months. At its peak, the entry price for Doodletown topped $68,000, but it soon collapsed like most others before it. While the Doodles still aren’t cheap, with a current floor price of around $12,000, they’ve been slowly bleeding out as reality about the project’s poor communication strategy and non-existent roadmap. In June 2022, the team announced that it had appointed Pharrell Williams as “chief brand officer” and closed a capital increase for an undisclosed amount, defying Web3’s transparent values. He also promised a new collection called Doodles 2, revealing that it wouldn’t be released on Ethereum and teasing a neat cartoon video. Doodles is currently running a vote for a “Triwizzy Tournament” celebrating creative talent on the Web3, but the project has stalled on social media, last tweeting at the end of July. Loyal supporters will have to hope that Pharrell and Doodles 2 can help the project return to its former glory.
Arguably the biggest upset of the avatar NFT space to date, MekaVerse had a spectacular rally leading up to its launch in October 2021. As the crypto hype neared its peak, Forbes posted a puff piece interviewing the founders of “The NFT Project With 100k Discord Members In 48 Hours”. The 8,888 Meka was released with an initial mintage followed by an art reveal, and the floor price quickly topped $28,000 on the secondary market. However, the collection took a hit when it revealed its artwork, dropping a series of lazy Transformers-inspired designs that barely offered distinguishing features to tell one from the other. Memes abounded as crypto enthusiasts joked that the collection was among the least inspired in the space. Things took a turn for the worse for the project as the team was accused of tampering to help insiders track down the rarest tokens, something the creators flatly denied. MekaVerse has since held a new airdrop and promised some Metaverse-style experience (MekaVerse in the Metaverse, get it?), but it’s fair to say that the collection has become irrelevant. As for the asking bid on one of the cookie cutter meccas? You can pick one up for around $420 today, a 98.5% drop from the top.
Shedding light on the Cool Cats’ fall from grace probably won’t win us any friends, but that’s cryptography. if you really think this space is only about the community, you might be as naive as the Cool Cats’ biggest bags. 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 one-time bags close to zero, and it probably wouldn’t be unfair to say that Cool Cats The community’s most ardent believers had made something of a reality in recent months. Cute Ethereum cats were taking over $40,000 in headwinds in January – now, the floor is over 90% down in dollar terms. It gets even worse when you check the chart for the pool’s MILK token, whose 99% drop could rival Terra’s LUNA (you know, the one where death went to zero) for how bleak it looks. Community members have the slow development times of the team responsible for the world of Cooltopia, and while it’s been promised that the current experience is “just the tip of the iceberg,” interest in the project across the board has pretty much faded . The cool cats of the NFT space are still slicing JPEGs and tweeting each other to get through the perpetual bear market, but they’re just not excited about the Cool Cats anymore.
Famous Fox Federation
The Famous Fox Federation claims to be “the most famous NFT collection in Solana”, so it’s hard to take it too seriously given that other collections like SolanaMonkeyBusiness and Degenerate Ape Academy have surpassed it in almost every metric. 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 is a lot to question when you get past the raw data. Famous Fox Federation isn’t a failure due to any price drop or lack of market appeal – it’s just another example of a boring project that offers nothing in the way of originality. Like all the worst NFT avatar collections, the foxes themselves look as unique from each other as Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, and the team has copied the Yuga playbook by launching an airdrop derivative and token called FOXY (not you ask us what it does or why someone needs it). SOL fans can currently enter the Foxosphere for a relatively modest $1,300 and guess what? For those who still have cash to spare, the team sells a range of cheap-looking merchandise in exchange for USDC (because if you’re into ‘community’ vibes at this point, why not go the whole hog?) Alternatively, those interested in discovering truly creative NFTs could check out all the amazing things happening in genetic art, photography, and digital art niches. Then again, if you’re one of those people, you probably wouldn’t think of looking at avatars like the Famous Fox Federation in the first place.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned some Otherside NFTs, ETH and many other cryptocurrencies.