The surge in popularity of NFTs

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are all the rage in the crypto world these days. These tokens have surged in popularity in 2021, with a bundle of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs recently selling for an incredible $26 million at a Sotheby’s auction


Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are all the rage in the crypto world these days. These tokens have surged in popularity in 2021, with a bundle of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs recently selling for an incredible $26 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

NFTs are unique digital assets that can be used in multiple ways, such as to prove the ownership of a real-world asset, to be collected and used as part of an online game, or simply collected for the unique artwork often attached to them. The key here is that each NFT is a unique asset that cannot be counterfeited as it sits on a blockchain and tampering is not possible. The vast majority of NFTs use the Ethereum blockchain, which can store a large quantity of information allowing  a wide variety of tokens and NFTs to use it effectively.

There’s an increasing number of NFTs available, with new ones being created, or “minted”, every week. These digital products have caught the attention of many celebrities who have minted their own NFTs, including Grimes, Tony Hawk and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who sold an NFT of the first ever Tweet for over $2.9M.

World-renowned artist Damien Hirst has also entered the NFT space, with his “The Currency” collection of 10,000 NFTs, each with its own unique artwork. The novelty here is that each NFT also comes with a real-world original piece of art, with the buyer having to choose between keeping one and having the other burned.

This sudden popularity isn’t limited to celebrities; the owners of classic memes are also keen to get in on the action. One example is Zoe Roth, pictured in the “Disaster Girl” meme side-eyeing the camera while a house burns in the background. Roth sold this classic image for $500,000 worth of Ethereum.

While the value of NFTs can vary wildly from project to project, some have sold for astronomical sums. The most expensive NFT so far is Everydays: The First 5000 Days by digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winklemann. This NFT is an amalgamation of his first 5,000 digital art pieces, and sold for an incredible $69.3 million at auction on March 11, 2021.

There are many different platforms for buying and selling NFTs, with some of the most popular being OpenSea, NiftyGateway, Rarible and Foundation. On OpenSea, for example, you can buy and sell NFTs as well as create your own.

Online following

The size of the community for each NFT is a strong indicator of their popularity and the staying power of any media hype or buzz surrounding them. Without a large fanbase to generate discussion and keep them relevant, NFTs could struggle to keep from falling into obscurity.

Twitter is an active platform for NFT enthusiasts, with most NFTs running their own dedicated Twitter accounts to engage and interact with their followers.

The 140 Collection by Twitter - Twitter Followers: 59,600,000

The NFT with the largest Twitter following is The 140 Collection by Twitter. This might seem like something of a cheat, but seeing as how this is the Twitter account they use to promote the NFT, it just about qualifies. This huge following of almost 60 million Twitter users means they can promote their NFT to a vast audience, creating hype and increasing value.

Bored Ape Kennel Club & Bored Ape Yacht Club - Twitter Followers: 162,900

These NFTs share a Twitter account, with 162,900 followers between them, and feature a range of ape characters with various features and styles. Owning a Bored Ape grants access to a private “club” and various attached areas such as “the bathroom”, which is a collaborative graffiti board.

The most popular NFTs

Possibly the best way to judge the popularity of an NFT is to see how many people have bought into it. Trading activity for an NFT shows that people are not just interested in an NFT but are convinced that it holds value and is worth handing over their money for (or their Ethereum in this case).

If one person has multiple tokens of the same NFT, they are still only counted once. This gives a good impression of the overall spread of interest in each NFT.

ZED RUN Unique Owners: 29,900

The digital horse racing NFT ZED RUN has the largest number of unique owners by quite a margin, with 29,900 unique individuals owning the NFT.

The Sandbox Unique Owners: 20,300

The Sandbox, the virtual world-building platform, has the second-highest number of unique owners at 20,300.

Art Blocks Factory Unique Owners: 14,900

Art Blocks is an NFT that allows users to create their own generative artwork. The Art Blocks Factory NFT enables these users to create their work without waiting for approval from the curation board. This NFT has the third-highest number of owners at 14,900.

The most lucrative NFTs for investors

A look at the financials of a selected range of NFTs reveals which have been most profitable for investors. This takes into consideration NFTs for which the mint price was available, and which weren’t given away freely at launch.

Bored Ape Yacht Club - Return on Investment: 58,118%

The NFT that has increased in value the most is Bored Ape Yacht Club, which has seen a rise in value of $109,627 from its original minting price, representing an ROI of 58,118%.

Cool Cats NFT - Return on Investment: 19,301%

The Cool Cats NFT has seen the second-highest increase in value since it was first minted, with its current floor price of 9.4ETH translating to $26,475, up from 0.06ETH at mint, which at the time equalled $136. This brings the ROI for the NFT to 19,301%.

Pudgy Penguins - Return on Investment: 13,313%

Pudgy Penguins has the third highest ROI of 13,313%, reflecting a rise in value of $7,967 from a minting value of $60.

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