The start to last week was a fun one for NFTs, with some hot new projects dropping and Wednesday realizing the highest trading volume ($22M on OpenSea) in two months. Then the bottom fell out, new projects tanked, volume dried up, and sentiment swiftly shifted back to max bearish in one of the quickest downturns in recent memory.
The numbers look bad. On the 7-day view, only two of the top 30 projects are in the green, with most down 10-20 percent. Don't even look at the 30-day numbers right now unless you want a gut punch - most are down 30-50 percent.
It feels like a few things are happening. First, ETH is up ten percent on the week, briefly reaching $2,000 on Saturday before falling back to $1900. At $1900 it is up ~40+ percent on the month and about 100 percent up from the local bottom, and it seems the gains that NFTs received when ETH was cheap are being erased. It feels like the market (or at least a portion) is pricing these assets in USD terms now, which makes some sense given ETH volatility of late.
The main narrative seems to be traders/collectors choosing to hold ETH into the merge event, now just one month away. There is much speculation around ETH price both ahead of that event (a run up to $3K?) as well as after when sell pressure will likely be reduced by ~90 percent on the switch to Proof of Stake. ETH has become THE trade in the crypto markets, and with several pundits/influencers encouraging simply holding ETH into that event, NFT buy pressure is evaporating.
The other cause is just a general lack of news/excitement, especially in the mid-tier PFP space. Punks and Apes have proven themselves now, along with elite generative art (Fidenzas, Ringers, Squiggles), but everything else is suffering. RTFKT and the CloneX ecosystem have been focused on digital wearables, which the market doesn't seem to appreciate right now. Doodles have been mostly silent since NFT NYC, their roadmap rollout, and Genesis Boxes (now 0.18 ETH, down 65%). And while the Azuki team is still present, they haven't had any notable updates since NFT NYC as well. With no news, there is no attention, and the prices have dwindled to their lowest levels in months now in the 7 ETH range.
So times are tough. Before we talk about what could turn things around, let's take a deeper look at the week.
NFT Weekly Market Analysis
Volume was up for most of the top movers on the week, which is typically a good sign but this week has mostly been buyers catching falling knives.
One of the main headlines from the early part of the week was the success of new projects. 8liens tops the board here with 4,600 ETH traded on OpenSea (with 6,600 ETH on X2Y2 as well), in a roller-coaster week that saw their floor move from the 0.1-0.2 ETH range to start the week to as high as 0.8 ETH pre-reveal, reach a steady state in the 0.4-0.6 ETH range ahead of Friday's reveal event and then just a slow bleed out over the weekend back down to 0.1 ETH.
Rare Apepes briefly became the market's darling, reaching 1 ETH at peak on a huge volume week, before retracing back to 0.6 ETH. And surprise new joiner DigiDaigaku's run from a free mint to a 2 ETH floor before falling back to the 1-1.4 ETH range post-reveal.
There were some real opportunities for gains in each of those 3 projects this past week for traders with the right entry and exit points, but those windows to sell profitably are becoming shorter and shorter and this low cap market especially feels as PvP (person vs person) as ever.
The Yuga ecosystem as always dominates the board, but also facing a red week. Punks were steady on the week at 75 ETH floor, but everything else was down. BAYC topped with 79 ETH floor (-5%), MAYC fell the hardest at 13.7 ETH (-17%) and Otherdeeds are in slow decline at 1.8 ETH floor (-16%). BAKC also fell 17% on the week at 7.33 ETH floor, though very notable that its floor is higher now than Doodles, CloneX, and Azuki, a very hard stat to stomach for holders of those collections.
Rounding out the board we had Pudgy Penguins, up 12 percent to 2.3 ETH though down from their local highs above 3 ETH on Friday. And recent favorite The Potatoz were down 20 percent on the week, as their staking plans were delayed.
Lastly, we had Moonbirds, down 18 percent on the week to 12.9 ETH floor and down over 50% on the month. Some point to the CC0 decision and its fallout, some to fanny packs and others to just the general market downturn, but regardless of reasons (and it's probably a combo of all three), it's hard to deny that this has been a swift fall from grace for the set that was widely anointed to be the #3 projects behind Punks and BAYC.
So what's going to turn this around in the near term - anything? Well, KRO and the Moonbirds team will be the first ones up here, to test if any good roadmap news can turn around this market action, in what will be a very important week for that ecosystem.
8/15 Weekly Preview
Here are the new drops and events in the spotlight this week:
- Proof Grails 2 and Future Proof Preview
- Art Blocks Factory - 80s Pop Variety Pack
- Huxley: Humans
- Free Mints of the Week
Let's dive into each one.
Proof Grails 2 and Future Proof Preview
August 2022 will be a defining month for the Proof and Moonbirds ecosystem, either positively or negatively. Their surprising switch to CC0 just 10 days ago caused quite the uproar and sent the market price down as some holders decided to exit the project. That exit combined with the bear market tailwinds for mid-tier PFPs has driven the Moonbirds floor to its lowest levels since the mint day in April.
But this week has two events that could start to turn the tide. First, Grails 2 will start its mint window on August 16 (open until the 23), with the reveal coming on August 25. Each mint pass holder will be able to choose which piece to mint, though the artist will be unknown until revealed and some outputs are hidden.
There is much game theory at play here, as the amount minted will drive supply and we know scarcity is an important metric for value in the art space. Do you go for the hidden ones and play the lotto? Or go for the guaranteed value in ones that appear to be from big-name artists (Grail 2 almost certainly is from star artist Grant Yun)? These decisions will play out over the next week, but the set has clear demand as the mint pass has held 3.3 ETH floor over the last week.
Then, arguably the more important event from the week is the Future Proof preview event happening on Wednesday, in a private discord chat for holders of PROOF or Moonbirds, at 1:00 p.m. ET. The main hope for the remaining holders is tied to the future plans of Kevin Rose and the Proof team, as details around Project High-rise, Ravens, and more are expected.
If those plans fall flat or are underwhelming, Moonbirds could certainly be relegated to the mid-tier PFP range (~7 ETH) and it would be hard to see a catalyst for their come back. But if the plans are exciting and well received, the market could very well stabilize and start to bounce back. Wednesday will be the first preview of that news, with the main event coming at the end of August in the IRL Future Proof event.
Art Blocks Factory - 80s Pop Variety Pack
Daniel Catt returns to Art Blocks this week with his latest Factory drop "80s Pop Variety Pack - for experts only". His prior projects, the 70s Pop Series, have a cult following and have performed well on the secondary market, with Pop Series One holding at 0.45 ETH floor and Pop Series Two holding a 0.4 ETH floor (higher than some Curated sets).
The artist is putting the 70s behind him and moving into the 80s in this set, as he "enters a new decade of extravagance with cutting-edge vector graphics, stylish modern patterns, cable TV and mainframe access." The specific focus of the project is the year 1988, which he describes as "a whole year of games, tech, and art crammed into one variety pack. The only way we could fit more in would be to put it on laserdisc."
The project will be 366 supply at a fixed price of 0.128 ETH, which makes it fairly attractive given the low entry and upside of his prior projects. With that said, the Art Blocks market and its demand is in steep decline since its success a month ago. Recent Curated mints are down 50-70 percent from mint price and liquidity has dried up substantially. So tread carefully here, from a trading perspective.
The mint will take place at 1:00 p.m. ET on August 17.
Huxley's ecosystem is growing this week with the release of Humans. This collection of 3,000 avatars NFTs will be conducted in stages this week from August 17-19th, entirely allowlist for holders of the Genesis Tokens (Stage 1-2), and Robot NFTs (Stage 3). This will essentially be an airdrop for these holders, as the Genesis tokens will be exchanged and each robot holder is eligible for 1 mint.
For those unfamiliar, the Huxley universe from Ben Mauro has three sets of NFTs, with HUXLEY Robots, Genesis , and Comics. The Robots currently hold a 3.55 ETH floor (though just 1K supply) and the Genesis tokens are at 0.70 ETH (2K supply), thus there is some real demand for these NFTs.
Ben Mauro is clearly one of the biggest names in NFT sets, having been the art director for Halo and Call of Duty and involved in huge films such as Elysium, Chappie, and The Hobbit. The Humans are the second step in the expansion of the overall Huxley avatar ecosystem, with a third class of mystery PFPs set to come in the future. The Phase One roadmap includes digital + physical collectibles, metaverse fashion, and airdrops, and phase 2 is still unknown.
This will be the highest supply set for the Huxley NFTs and will likely settle below the Genesis token floor, but with a 3-day mint window, holders and traders will gain some insight into market demand for the Humans before the window closes. Without much else going on this week in PFPs, this will certainly be one to watch.
⚠️Citizens of FURY-7⚠️⁰⁰The MINTING DATE for HUMANS has officially been revealed🚀⁰⁰Read the thread below to prepare for their arrival 🧵👇 pic.twitter.com/ofxHo9ADJ8— HUXLEY™ (@huxleysaga) August 10, 2022
Free Mints of the Week
Last week saw some massive success for free mints, as 8liens reached as high as 0.8 ETH and DigiDaigaku reached 2 ETH+, along with a few other successes on the lower end. Because of that success, the alpha groups and batters will be hungry for more this week, and this sector of the project continues to be the single best risk/reward play in the space.
Here is the list of current free mints set to drop this week:
- Moonfish; noon ET Monday, 5,555 supply (70K on Twitter)
- Zombie Hunters; 10:00 a.m. ET Tuesday, 10,000 supply (85K on Twitter)
- Leveling Up Heroes; 12:34 p.m. ET Tuesday, 12,345 supply (23K on Twitter)
- Luminal; 4:00 p.m. ET Tuesday, 1,444 supply (15K on Twitter)
- Adoonga; 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, 6,000 supply (20K on Twitter)
- Dream3 Genesis; 2:00 p.m. ET Wednesday, 2,222 supply (108K on Twitter)
- Bae Cafe; 8:00 p.m. ET Wednesday, 10k supply (25K on Twitter)
- Pixel Puppers; 8:00 p.m. ET Friday, 5,555 supply (23K on Twitter)
Of those, Dream3, Zombies, and Moonfish have the biggest followings, but as always that is not the only indicator of potential success. These are great spots if you have the chance to mint, but be careful following on secondary, as the profitable trading windows seem to be shorter and shorter (especially on the derivatives). For secondary buying, look for projects with the best websites, that seem to be from real teams or those with a history of success, and/or ones with sharp wallets buying and holding.
As bad of a week as it was for most of the top-end projects, there will still several great trading opportunities for those who were ready and executed. The low cap sector is very much still alive for those interested in trading, and it will likely remain the primary focus for this week.
The X factor this week is all with Kevin Rose and the Proof team, ahead of their Future Proof preview and Grails 2 mint. If Potatoz staking comes this week, it could certainly move the market as well though that is not a lock to happen.
Otherwise, expect the focus on ETH > NFTs to continue in the near future and position yourself accordingly based on your risk appetite.
Happy minting to those still here, be safe out there, and as always make sure to stay up to date with the most relevant breaking news from the Lucky Trader newsfeed.