The Five Most Popular NFT Projects
Articles Investing Magazine

The Five Most Popular NFT Projects

Articles Investing Magazine

2021 was the year of the Non-fungible token (NFT).

Not only did NFTs break price records at auctions and cross over into mainstream markets – we also saw the market mature and become more stable.

A number of projects and websites emerged which look set to be the market leaders for a few years to come, bringing some much-needed certainty to a highly volatile market.

The concept of NFTs originated in 2015 and the first projects were launched in 2017. Non-fungible token projects are being used to sell exclusive items, such as collectibles, online.

As each token is unique and cannot be replicated, using NFTs creates scarcity that makes them valuable to collectors as well as artists and other sellers.

They are bought and sold in auctions, with payment made in cryptocurrencies such as ether (ETH) and bitcoin (BTC).

But though the idea of NFTs is still quite new, the market follows some age-old rules. New projects burst onto the scene, are hyped, and then most disappear again as quickly as they appeared.

Some, rarely, appear to have some staying power. And it’s those projects that we’ll look at in this article.

Though it’s always difficult to predict the future of such a fast-moving industry, there are some clear trends emerging in the NFT sector. 

One of the most important is that “mainstream” artists – that is, artists who initially made a name for themselves outside the world of NFTs – are looking to NFTs as a way of monetizing their work.

These offerings of NFTs tend to attract higher prices, and lower-risk returns, than the NFTs of unproven artists.

A series of NFT auctions of digital artworks and music from high-profile artists such as Grimes, for instance, culminated in a work by the artist Beeple being sold for $69m at Christie’s on March 11 2021.

This doesn’t mean that investing in NFTs is easy, though. In fact, this market can be very difficult to predict for investors not familiar with it, and they should proceed very carefully.

But, as of January 2022, here are the most popular NFT projects:

1. Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is one of a new breed of games played via the metaverse, and in which players can earn real-world money.

The game follows a mixed model, however, in which this real-world monetary component is balanced by an NFT element.

In the game, players collect, trade, and battle with creatures known as Axies. There are many of these creatures, and each is made unique via the NFT process.

This means that they can be bought and sold just as any other NFT artwork can. Players of the game have enthusiastically embraced this element of it, and there is now more than $3.5 billion invested in these creatures.

2. CryptoPunks

By the standards of the NFT market, crypto punks are old news. This is a collection of 10,000 software-generated punk-style characters, created way back in 2017 by developers at Larva Labs.

The launch of the collection contributed to the development of the ERC-721 standard for NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, forming the basis for the NFT market today.

Each “punk” is an image with an NFT attached, and they have become highly collectible in the years since their release.

This means that some of these NFTs have been sold for huge amounts of money – the record is $532 million – and there is intense interest whenever they come up for sale.

3. Art Blocks

Art Blocks is a series of artworks, just like CryptoPunks. However, ArtBlocks pioneered a new technique in NFT art – by changing variables in the ERC-721 file that is the basis of an NFT, the ArtBlocks algorithm can generate art directly from this file. Some of these images are 2D; others are 3D, interactive pieces.

The collection was launched in 2020, and since then has seen a steady rise in both popularity and price.

In August 2021, an ArtBlock was sold for more than $1 million for the first time, and as of today the record stands at $6.9 million. We should expect further price rises, though.

4. Bored Ape Yacht Club

Launched in April 2021, Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 ape characters. Each ape has different characteristics such as fur colors, facial expressions and accessories.

The developers have added new features to keep the NFT owners engaged, creating the Bored Ape Kennel Club for ape holders to adopt a dog NFT, and creating “mutant serum” that owners can use to mint a Mutant Ape NFT.

The Kennel Club and Mutant Ape NFTs can also be traded on NFT marketplaces.

5. NBA Top Shot NFTs

NBA Top Shot is a new idea in NFTs, albeit one that has quickly gained a market.

The US National Baseball Association teamed up with Dapper Labs, who have experience creating many popular series of NFTs, to launch a collection of collectible NFTs. 

These NFTs are built around clips of key moments from NBA games, and can be bought and traded just as any other NFT can.

Though prices for them haven’t hit the highs of other types of NFTs, trading volumes have been very high over the last year, with more than 10.6 million transactions according to Dapp Radar data.

The Future of NFT’s

New NFT projects are, of course, being launched all the time, and new price records are continually being broken. That doesn’t mean, however, that investing in NFTs is the right path for everyone.

The value of NFTs, like cryptocurrencies, is highly volatile. While there is a possibility of making high returns from trading NFTs, they could lose their value if interest in the market – or a specific collection – wanes.

Whether NFTs are a suitable investment for you depends on your risk tolerance and expertise in this market, the spread of your portfolio and how comfortable you feel about losing money.

Be sure to do your own research and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

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