NFT Roundtable | Is the NFT Market Back?!?
Welcome to the Weekly NFT Roundtable, where members of the Lucky Trader team weigh in on some of the most pressing questions, news, and events in the Web3 space. This week, we're talking about Moonbirds, Memeland, the return of the NFT bull market, and more.
The commentary below is purely opinion —not financial advice!
The Return of the NFT Bull Market
Question 1: It’s been a pretty remarkable start to 2023 for the NFT space, with high volume and significant gains across a variety of projects. 1. Are we back? 2. What has been the biggest surprise pump you’ve seen?
Logie: It pains me to say it, but we are… not back. Surging prices on pixelated feet pictures provide a nice head fake, but the same market participants appear to just be swapping wads of cash as they have been for the last year.
As for surprise pumps, I’ve been really caught off guard by the gains in these Yuga-adjacent projects, like Mutant Hounds. I’ll save some of my thoughts for the following question, but I did not envision a world where these collars are 1.86 ETH pre-reveal, with multiple 70+ ETH sales on the most rare items. Bonkers.
Ghost: After an absolutely brutal year in NFTs, it has been a really fun start to 2023.
But, as Tyler and others pointed out earlier this week, I am concerned that the recent upticks are coming from excess leverage in the market, not new participants. So I hesitate to say we are back, and we’ve seen big releases/announcements from Yuga mark a local top before — so I’m in wait-and-see mode to watch how their upcoming mint shakes out.
Tyler: We are BACK! How could we not be back?!? NFTs are fun again, people are feeling real FOMO for the first time in months, and numbers are going up. Will we keep going up forever? Probably not, but can we just enjoy the ride?
As for the biggest surprise, it has to be ApeCoin holding up through the first month of staking. Every influencer on NFT Twitter called for it to tank and in fact, it’s up in price since staking started. Second biggest surprise - Friendship Bracelets going somewhat mainstream and leading the volume charts ahead of PFPs. Now, we just need generative art to go mainstream.
Jason: We’re (not) back! I don’t know. We’re probably not fully back. The general macroeconomic environment is starting to look better, the stock market saw nice gains, and cryptocurrencies are even pumping a little bit, but I’m skeptical. I don’t like to try to time bottoms, so like Ghost, I’m in wait-and-see mode. Give me a few confirmations that we are back and I’ll remove the “(not)”. The biggest surprise (not) pump to me, and the reason I’m not willing to say we’re back, is CryptoPunks. Punks can’t be steady during a true, sustained NFT pump.
Layer 2 NFTs
Question 2: The Mutant Hounds ecosystem has been on a tear, with several eye-popping sales of Mega Collars and some serious hype heading into the burn event. What are your thoughts on the concept of “Layer 2” NFT projects? Do they have long-term staying potential?
Logie: I think “layer 2” NFT projects, or whatever we wish to call them, DO have staying power. But likely not with strong financial benefits for holders. I’ve long been a proponent of growing ecosystems to allow cheaper entry points and community growth, but the market is so focused on price, scarcity, rarity, etc. that it is almost always met with a groan. I don’t think it should be.
Ghost: I’ll agree with Logie above on the Hounds being the pleasant surprise in 2023 so far. I had admittedly little faith in community-led “Layer 2” projects, but the Mutant Hounds have certainly struck a chord and the amount of insane Mega sales has been staggering to watch. I am not bullish on many other Layer 2 NFT projects, but I do think the Hounds have staying power and could find themselves as the prime success story of building community lore around a top project.
Tyler: Layer 2 projects are the ultimate test of a the “Layer 1” project’s community. If they are strong enough to financially support a spin-off, like the Yuga community has done with Hounds, it shows how much they’re willing to look after their own as well as how others may want to find their own entry point. I do think these have staying potential in general, but only for the strongest communities (Yuga, Azukis, maybe Pengus).
Jason: Layer 2 NFT projects, or community-led ecosystem initiatives to be more technical, allow their parent projects or companies to flourish. It is, IMHO, the biggest advantage of NFT technology (in the specific case of company or organization building).
Imagine if Apple or Microsoft had non-employees working on technological or design advancements for their companies that they could use at zero cost. Why would anyone do that? They wouldn’t. Unless… they owned a jpeg that rose in value every time Apple or Microsoft earned additional revenue or gained in popularity.
I’m being intentionally frivolous, but the point is important: having stake in the success of a project, organization, community, etc. opens up a range of “Layer 2” possibilities. We haven’t even seen the start of community-led ecosystem initiatives. The most creative NFT communities will win long term.
Is Memeland a Blue Chip?
Question 3: Memeland’s Captainz rolled out this weekend, and have seen 6,500 ETH in volume and are holding steady at above a 5 ETH floor price. Is the Memeland ecosystem a blue-chip in the making, or a flash-in-the-pan?
Logie: I couldn’t figure out why Bored Apes were such a big deal in 2021. CryptoPunks were obviously superior, right? Why would this stupid Ape collection become a big thing? But yet, people kept talking about it, and I stuck to my guns and just watched it blow up. While I don’t wish to compare Memeland’s rise to that of BAYC, it has the same type of arch, at least to me as a bystander (I own no Memeland assets..unfortunately). People love the ecosystem and there is tremendous support anytime the floor price dips to a “hmm, I could buy that” level. I think this is a blue chip in the making.
Ghost: So many projects focus on selling product first, and then building a community. Memeland has been crafting a dedicated following for the entire bear market, and I think that will prove to be a successful path. The team has proven to have serious chops, and 9gagceo has been active for the entire year within the NFT space and the Memeland community. I think they just seem to ‘get it’, and have built a unique enough project that it can differentiate from other areas of the market.
Tyler: I agree with Ghost’s point about how smart it was for 9gag and Memeland to focus on community first. And Captainz had a near flawless rollout. With that said, I’m not ready to put them in the blue chip tier, mostly on the weak volume in week 1. I just checked yesterday’s top movers - they were not in the top 20 and behind projects like feetpix and 8liens. That’s not a great sign for the first week of trading.
Moonbirds Goes Hollywood
Question 4: Moonbirds announced on Friday that the project signed with United Talent Agency, to help grow into a global brand. Are you bullish or bearish on this announcement, and on projects teaming up with mainstream hollywood-talent agencies in general?
Logie: I’m neutral. I know many have laughed at web3’s attempts to “get in bed with web2” for growth, but come on people - web2 grew because the web2 peeps are great at their jobs too. Moonbirds may not be the brand that makes a big splash with the help of an agency, but it will happen and likely become a regular occurrence. I wouldn’t fade teaming up with talent agencies, just to fade teaming up with talent agencies.
Ghost: I think generally people are cautious about seeing web2 companies join forces with web3 native brands, but I see this as a positive. Do Bored Apes ever reach the heights they’ve seen without Guy Oseary — my guess is no. The right strategic partnerships can make or break the future of a project, and United Talent Agency already has several other NFT projects (CryptoPunks, DeadFellaz) under their belt. With tons of other Web2/Hollywood connections, the potential to leverage partnerships makes this a no-brainer win in my opinion.
Tyler: Bullish. I think we all are often so short-sighted in the NFT space and focused on weekly price action. Building a global brand takes time, and these are positive steps in that direction. The reason BAYC had its first major surge was when the celebrity adoption started, specifically Jimmy Fallon’s ape. UTA can help with moves like that. Now, will that exact playbook work again in this market? I’m not sure, but more exposure always seems like a good thing to me, especially in this attention economy.
Jason: Bullish in theory, neutral in practice. Partnering with United Talent Agency is clearly a win for Moonbirds, but will it make an immediate impact? It seems unlikely considering UTA hasn’t made an immediate impact with any of the other projects they currently work with. It takes time to build, as Tyler alluded to, and this adds optionality for Moonbirds long term, but it doesn’t solve any near-term problems for Kevin Rose and company.
Meet the Roundtable:
Ghost: Ghost is an NFT analyst at Lucky Trader. He has been in crypto since 2017, and entered the NFT space via NBA Top Shot in January of 2021 before minting Bored Apes and degenning into the broader market.
Tyler: Tyler is a high-volume NFT trader, having reached the top 100 in NFT sales revenue using NFTBank’s rankings, a Pengu maxi (in Luca we trust), and a writer for Lucky Trader. Tyler’s writing spans market analysis, news breakdowns, project ecosystem overviews, and web3 opinion pieces.
Logie: Logan is a content lead at Lucky Trader and is best known for selling every good NFT far too early. He also maintains an irrational exuberance for clay-based NFTs.
Jason: Jason is an NFT lead at Lucky Trader. He has been involved in the NFT space since CryptoKitties in late 2017, and, like most, he lost a lot of money on Top Shot in early 2021. But nevertheless, he persists (with his Series 1 Legendary From The Top LeBron James Block).