NFT avatar boom led by CryptoPunks

As one of the earliest NFT projects, CryptoPunks is undoubtedly the most coveted NFT Avatar today. One of the rare alien avatars was sold at Sotheby’s for an amazing price of 11.75 million US dollars. The success of CryptoPunks has also spawned many similar projects. While many projects have learned from the basic elements of CryptoPunks, they have also been continuously developed and expanded, bringing more fresh gameplay and concepts.

NFT avatar boom led by CryptoPunks

Originator of NFT Avatar

In 2017, software developer Larva Labs created 10,000 cyberpunk-themed characters. Each character is unique and generated by algorithms on the Ethereum chain. As long as the gas fee is paid, anyone can get it for free.

Although CryptoPunks may seem unremarkable on the surface, each character has multiple attributes, such as the rarity of clothing and accessories that appear in the series. For example, almost a quarter of Punks have earrings, but only 1% of Punks wear top hats, which makes Punks with this accessory more popular.

Punk collectors attach great importance to multiple attributes, even the lack of a certain attribute. A seven-attribute Punk, generally considered the rarest, was listed for sale by its owner for US$171 million. On the other hand, one of the eight Punks with no attributes was sold for more than $1 million in February. However, technological rarity is not the only factor that affects value. One of the best-selling works at the moment is Punk, the alien who smokes a pipe. Although rare, it is undeniable that this Punk is also very cool.

NFT avatar boom led by CryptoPunks

The upper limit of 10,000 Punks, their generative nature, and the distribution of rare attributes make CryptoPunks so popular that they even appear in mainstream art galleries, and celebrities like Jay-Z and Gary Vaynerchuk are their fans. This successful formula laid the foundation for many follow-up projects that are popular in the NFT field.

NFT Avatar Promoter

Since CryptoPunks, dozens of similar projects have appeared, hoping to replicate their success. Although many projects have gradually become obscured, others have grasped the concept that made CryptoPunks popular and have gone a step further, bringing something new to the NFT scene.

One of the projects is Hashmasks. Released in early 2021, Hashmasks is a series of 16,384 unique masked portraits with different characteristics, such as eye color and possessions. In addition to the provable scarcity and the rare attributes that make Hashmasks collectable, the project also introduces another layer of scarcity through the namability of portraits.

NFT avatar boom led by CryptoPunks

Each Hashmask produces 10 Name Change Tokens (NCT) per day, and owners can save these tokens to rename their verifiable Hashmask on the Ethereum chain. Each renaming requires 1,830 NCTs, which is equivalent to a single Hashmask’s output for about half a year. Collectors can also purchase NCT from other owners; and, after 10 years, Hashmasks NCT will stop producing, which means that the name can only be changed a limited number of times.

Another project that copied the CryptoPunks concept and achieved great success is Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). Bored Apes was released in May 2021. Similar to CryptoPunks, it is generated programmatically and has more than 170 possible features of different rarities. BAYC has further expanded its community development by granting exclusive privileges to Bored Ape owners. Bored Ape holders can access the collaborative doodle board on the official website, and the project also plans to provide holders with more rights in the future. In addition, BAYC recently launched a derivative series called Bored Ape Kennel Club, which allows Bored Ape holders to get a free dog NFT. The royalties from the second sale of Bored Ape Kennel Club will be donated to dog charity.

NFT avatar boom led by CryptoPunks

Recently, a popular theme in the NFT avatar project is anthropomorphic animals. In addition to boring apes, ducks, cats, frogs, bulls and penguins have all shined in the past month or so, and animal-based projects often become the most traded NFT on OpenSea. Among the many derivative animal projects, the most notable is the Stoner Cats of Mila Kunis. Compared with similar projects, Stoner Cats has a higher casting cost of 0.35 ETH, which is approximately US$820 at the time of launch. However, the additional cost is due to the NFT granting access to the Stoner Cats web animation series, which is fully supported by the funds generated by NFT sales. Stoner Cats NFT are all characters in the play, with various rare features and accessories. Vitalik Buterin is one of the voice actors of a “spiritual leader” cat named Lord Catsington.

Although projects such as Hashmasks, BAYC, and Stoner Cats use a completely different art style from CryptoPunks, some projects choose to replicate the pixel art style and cyberpunk aesthetics. The most famous project is Animetas, a collection of 10,101 unique avatars released at the end of July. Based on the success of CryptoPunks, Animetas has increased the number of pixels to provide more expression and details in the avatar. Despite the short release time, the rare Animetas have begun to sell for more than $100,000. Like BAYC and Stoner Cats, the Animetas team also developed a future roadmap for the project, including airdrops and derivatives, and the ultimate goal is to produce Animetas TV series.

The future of NFT avatars

Most NFT avatar projects exist on Ethereum, but this technology is not unique to a blockchain. There are also multiple avatar projects on Solana, including SolPunks and ApeShit Social Club. These two derivative projects are very similar to Ethereum’s CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Solana is also the location of Degen Ape Academy, the “academy” brings together 10,000 “degenerate ape” characters, these characters have various attributes that indicate their scarcity. Although Degen Ape Academy encountered some problems during its release, it was still sold out within 8 minutes, highlighting the crypto community’s interest and demand for NFT avatars outside of Ethereum. As other public chains such as Polkadot and Cardano promise to provide NFT functions, it is likely that various NFT avatars will appear in other ecosystems in the future.

With the release of more NFT avatars, it becomes more and more difficult for new projects to stand out in the vast ocean of NFTs, and existing projects are increasingly regarded as high-quality stores of value, which makes it more difficult for new projects to gain a place. Nevertheless, there are more NFT avatar projects under development than ever before.

With the development of the encryption industry, the demand for NFT avatars is also growing. Many people are online for more and more time, and people are desperately eager to express themselves in the digital realm in more and more unique ways. NFT avatars are not just unique and outstanding profile pictures on social media, they have also proved to be an impressive investment and have become the focal point of the entire community.

Although subsequent NFT avatar projects may hardly exceed CryptoPunks in terms of price and prestige, there is still huge room for growth in the NFT market. The innovative project with the concept of NFT avatar is worthy of attention and may become the next Big Thing.


Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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