Published: April 20th, 2022
While other markets may have been quiet over the Easter bank holiday, the NFT space was buzzing with activity as the much-heralded Moonbirds project from PROOF Collective launched on Saturday, 16th April. By Monday, the Ethereum NFT collection from VC and tech entrepreneur Kevin Rose had already racked up USD 280 million in sales.
Based on sales data from blockchain analytics firm CryptoSlam, the sales to date include the collection’s original mint or ‘primary sale’, and secondary trading of the collection’s images across marketplaces. Its in the second category where sales have really exploded.
Moonbirds is a collection of profile pictures built on the Ethereum blockchain. It includes 10,000 images in total, each with its own set of randomly-generated features to ensure uniqueness. In that sense it follows in the footsteps of previous successful NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks.
PROOF Collective released 7,870 of its Moonbirds into the NFT wilds using an allowlist built-up through an online raffle. The Moonbirds NFTs released using that process were being sold for 2.5 ETH (about USD 7,500) at the height of Saturday's selling frenzy.
Another 2,000 of Moonbirds were given away to holders of a PROOF Collective NFT membership pass as free mints. The pass itself cost a whopping 96 ETH, or about USD 280,000 on secondary markets. Only 1,000 of the passes were offered to the public, allowing each holder to mint two Moonbirds.
Sales of the pixelated bird images surged on secondary markets over the weekend. According to data from Dune Analytics , top-3 NFT marketplace OpenSea scored its biggest one-day trading volume figure ever on Saturday, reaching USD 175 million in Ethereum trading.
At time of writing the least expensive Moonbirds NFTs were being listed at 19.7 ETH, or nearly USD 58,000. One highly-sought-after NFT, item #7963, sold for 134 ETH (more than USD 400,000) on Sunday, while two other NFTs sold in a pair fetched 130 ETH.
Since the Saturday mint, CryptoSlam’s figures show Moonbirds dominating the NFT market over the last seven days at roughly eight times the trading volume of any other collection. Mutant Ape Yacht Club comes in second place with about USD 34.5 million in trading. The collection pulled in USD 280 million in just two days.
PROOF Collective is ‘members only’ NFT club created by Rose, a venture capitalist and established tech entrepreneur known for co-founding Revision3 and Digg. He’s an NFT true believer whose PROOF podcast became the basis for the brand and the NFT club. PROOF Collective minted its 1,000 membership pass NFTs in December.
An NFT is a blockchain-based electronic proof of ownership for an object or asset, including digital goods like artworks, profile pictures, and other collectibles. In 2021 the NFT market generated USD 25 billion in trading volume. Data from DappRadar shows that this year it's already passed USD 12 billion.
Alongside the current buying frenzy around Moonbirds, the collection’s pixelated bird avatars also have utility inside the PROOF ecosystem. NFT holders can access channels in a dedicated server for a soon-to-launch metaverse project that promises a nesting feature, apparently a form of staking, which will give owners added perks as a reward for holding their NFTs over the long-term.
Secondary sale royalties and funds from the original Moonbirds mint will go into the PROOF Collective treasury to fund future projects, including exclusive experiences, content, and a conference pegged for mid-2023.
The Moonbirds hype has likely benefitted from the reputation of NFT artists Justin Muzzell, a co-founder at PROOF.
An earlier Solana NFT collection he created called Grim Syndicate has recently seen a spike in value, leaping from a floor price of around two SOL (USD 200), to a current floor price of 13 SOL, or about USD 1,200 at time of writing.
In other NFT news, America’s National basketball Association (NBA) is ramping up its NFT and Web3 efforts.
On Monday, the league launched a new dedicated Twitter feed called NBAxNFT, designed to showcase ‘the places where basketball intersects with Web3, including NFTs, metaverse, and gaming.’
As part of that campaign, the league has created a Discord server that already boasts more than 30,000 members. The NBA also announced plans to drop Ethereum NFTs linked to the 2022 season playoffs, which begin on Thursday.
NBA Top Shot by Dapper Labs is one of the most high-profile NFT projects to date, carving out a place for digital sports collectibles and helping push NFTs into the mainstream. On the back of that success the league is now looking to extend its presence in other Web3 spaces, including the Ethereum NFT market.
‘We’re developing another NFT project to celebrate the NBA Playoffs,’ said the league in a press release. ‘Watch this space for more details.’
An FAQ accompanying the release says that the first 10,000 people to sign up for server access will be able to add their Ethereum wallet address to an allowlist. Those who get their names in first are promised access to mint an NFT from the project. The mint will be free, though the Ethereum network’s normal gas fees will apply.
Because the new project is built on Ethereum, it’s probably safe to assume that NBA Top Shot are Dapper Labs aren’t directly connected to the new project. NBA Top Shot is built on Dapper’s blockchain platform Flow, and designed to handle high-volume NFT projects and avoid the problems experienced by an earlier NFT project, CryptoKitties.
An NFT operates as a sort-of blockchain-backed receipt. For the NFT holder it proves ownership for an item. So far, they’ve been a popular way to indicate ownership of digital assets like sports collectibles, and video game items. The broader NFT market generated USD 25 billion in trading volume last year.
The NBA recently submitted a trademark application in the US for a brand called ‘The Association,’ which could be the umbrella for a number of NFT initiatives including merchandise, game tickets and other collectibles.