In April of 2022, a new PFP project swooped into the upper echelon of the NFT space.
A set of 10,000 pixelated owls captured the full attention of art enthusiasts, traders, and lucky raffle winners, going on a historic parabolic run that immediately vaulted the collection into one of the top-grossing collections in history.
Topping out at a floor price seen by only a few projects just weeks after mint, Moonbirds instantly solidified itself as a major player in the space.
And while it hasn't been a smooth road in the year since mint, the project and team continue to build out an extensive roadmap with a renewed focus on art and community.
Here is everything you need to know about the Moonbirds ecosystem:
What Is Moonbirds? 🦉
Moonbirds is a collection of 10,000 unique, generative avatar NFTs launched on April 16, 2022. The project was created by entrepreneur Kevin Rose, as part of the PROOF Collective. The distinctive pixel-art style of Moonbirds was created by Justin Mezzell, the co-founder and CPO of PROOF.
Moonbirds minted at a 2.5 ETH price, with the 1,000 holders of the PROOF Collective pass receiving two guaranteed mints and the remaining supply distributed via raffle.
Despite the hefty mint price (especially at the time with ETH above $3,000), the floor of the project quickly soared to highs of 38.5 ETH just weeks after launch.
Who Is Kevin Rose, and What Is PROOF? ❓
Kevin Rose is an entrepreneur and investor, best known for co-founding Digg — an early social media platform created in 2004. Even prior to launching Moonbirds, Rose was no stranger to NFTs — as the founder was an early adopter of the tech and owns an extensive collection. Rose also frequently talked about Web3 on his PROOF and Modern Finance podcasts — both well-respected in the tech space.
The artist for Moonbirds, Justin Mezzell, was previously a designer for Modern Finance before joining forces with Rose to launch the PROOF Collective.
The PROOF Collective Passes debuted on Dec. 11, 2021 — with 1,000 passes sold via a Dutch auction starting at 5 ETH with a 1 ETH resting price. The sale generated roughly $7.5 million in sales, with the membership NFT giving holders exclusive access to all things PROOF — including a Discord, early access to content from the PROOF podcast, and IRL events.
PROOF passes saw floor highs of 130 ETH in April 2022 during the launch of Moonbirds.
Moonbirds Nesting & Holder Benefits
Moonbirds holders have been granted several utility-driven benefits over the lifetime of the project.
From day one, the PROOF team incentivized community members with a soft-staking feature — allowing users to 'nest' their NFTs for future rewards. Nesting streaks unlock various upgrades, with a series of levels offering increasing rewards for each milestone hit:
In addition to nesting, Moonbird holders have been rewarded with other benefits ranging from in-person events to airdrops:
- Avatar Customization: Moonbirds holders can personalize their avatars based on their wallet's holdings or achievements within the PROOF ecosystem, showcasing their unique accomplishments. In addition to customized backgrounds designed by Justin Mezzell, the project has also collaborated with several notable artists on customizable backgrounds for Moonbirds — including XCOPY and Des Lucréce.
Exclusive Community Access: Holders gain access to the Moonbirds community on Discord, Twitter, and as a collector on the PROOF art platform, allowing them to connect with like-minded individuals and share their passion for digital art.
Digital and In-person Events: Moonbirds holders can participate in various events, including live meetups and online gatherings, where they can connect with fellow collectors and artists. Previous events included a magic-themed NFT NYC party that featured a performance by David Blaine.
Lunar Society Membership (formerly the Moonbird DAO): By joining the Lunar Society, Moonbirds and Mythics holders can actively participate in creative entrepreneurship, contributing to the growth of the community and further enhancing the overall experience.
Exclusive Art and Collectible Drops 🪂
Moonbirds holders have been eligible for several different airdrops, featuring both PROOF sub-collections and collaborations with high-profile artists.
Rewards in the Moonbirds ecosystem have often been distributed based on specific traits within the collection:
Trait rewards aside, each Moonbird was rewarded with an airdrop of Oddities in July 2022 — 10,000 'pellets' from artist Gremplin. Oddities will feature a future burn mechanic related to the upcoming Moonbirds Mythics collection (more info below).
CC0 Controversy and PROOF Raise 🆓
In August 2022, Kevin Rose announced that both Moonbirds and Oddities were moving to CC0 public license — meaning anyone can use the work without risk of legal restrictions. The move was a polarizing one within the community, largely in regard to the lack of involvement given to holders on if they wanted their assets to become CC0.
Later that month, PROOF also made public a $50M Series A round led by a16z during the Future PROOF community live stream.
"We believe that the next generation of massive mainstream media franchises will be community-owned and governed, and PROOF is one of those companies demonstrating just that,” Sriram Krishnan, General Partner at a16z crypto, said.
The live stream also revealed more information on Moonbirds Mythics (detailed below), the PROOF token, and the launch of a Moonbirds DAO.
In-Chain Birds ⛓️
In November, Moonbirds moved the project art 'in-chain' onto Ethereum, ensuring the longevity and accessibility of the collection.
Each component of the 10,000 Moonbirds became securely stored on the Ethereum blockchain, with a smart contract combining these components for every bird and directly displaying the images in wallets, galleries, and marketplaces.
This transition allowed for the introduction of a special background for PROOF Collective holders, which could be applied to any nested birds held in the same wallet as the holder's pass.
While the term "on-chain" is often used to describe various aspects of blockchain storage, Moonbirds used the term "in-chain" to distinguish its fully decentralized and permissionless nature. This ensures that the artwork remains accessible and can be easily used by other contracts or software to create derivatives, furthering their CC0 initiative.
Moonbirds x UTA 🤝
In January, Kevin Rose announced that PROOF had signed with United Talent Agency — with a focus on expanding Moonbirds into a global brand. UTA is no stranger to the NFT world, having previously signed deals with Deadfellaz and Larva Labs.
Moonbirds' Mission: A Return to Art 🎨
Following a market downturn and broader negative sentiment within the project, the PROOF team provided a comprehensive ecosystem update in March — with a renewed focus on art as the north star of the project.
The founders said on-stream that "art is proof of our collective humanity," and that the purpose of PROOF is "to create unique experiences for collectors to connect with artists to own and champion their art."
One notable topic was the scrapping of 'Project Highrise', a metaverse platform that had previously been hyped as a foundational piece of the project.
"Highrise in its current form was pretty, but it was at the cost of and a distraction to the art that we wanted to be the cornerstone of the experience," the project tweeted.
Other updates included details on the PROOF pass expiration plans — with the NFTs converting into 'Moonbird Elders' on Jan. 1, 2025. Elders will have "boosters" which increase chances at exclusive drops and events in the future.
As the newly-branded 'Art Collector's PFP', the Moonbirds' mission was also transparently laid out to focus on:
- Art: curations, drops, collections, etc
- Information: sharing the story of the art, artists, and collectors
- Community: connecting collectors and artists via live and virtual events
The PROOF team also teased the 'Diamond Exhibition' — an art drop featuring top digital artists in the space. The drop will occur 24 hours after the first birds reach the Diamond Nest level, rewarding the earliest nesters in the community.
What Is Moonbirds Mythics? 🔮
Mythics are a 20,000 PFP collection, and the first 'official' expansion of the Moonbirds ecosystem. Mythics will feature a unique distribution mechanism — with nested birds randomly selected each day to receive a Mythic egg (only 25 will hatch each day). There is no cap to how many Mythics each bird can hatch.
As mentioned above, Oddities will also factor into the Mythics — with users able to burn an Oddity to hatch an egg revealing a Mythic 24 hours after the burn. Similar to the mechanics for birds, only 25 Oddities can be sacrificed to the Odd God each day.
The eggs will also feature a re-roll component — with some holders able to respawn their Mythic depending on the type of egg they receive:
Important Links 🔗