“I generally think that people feel a strong connection to their first NFT or the community they became a part of,” @punk9059 shares. His foray into NFTs began with CryptoPunks. The Punk in his Twitter avatar started his hobby of collecting various NFTs to keep in his “pink-haired vault”. This was his second Punk purchase after his wife who isn’t into NFTs said the pink-haired ones were “kinda cool”. His handle came from the first Punk he bought — Punk #9059 — a male punk with big shades and a headband. Together, @punk9059 has crafted his online identity around his CryptoPunks.
When @punk9059 first heard about NFTs from some of the best traders and most respected investors in finance, he was skeptical. “They were buying CryptoPunks. At first, I thought the ideas of NFTs were kinda ridiculous. But once enough people started talking to me about them… it hit me. This was something I had to own.” The floor price rose and FOMO hit. “At the time, there was a lot of attention on Punks. Largely because they were rising so fast.” As one of the first players in the space, CryptoPunks have a first-mover advantage. “There’s this idea that with more attention and energy coming into the NFT space, the biggest benefits accrue to the first player or the one with the most provenance.” Who has the most provenance evolves every time it passes hands, as you will see with collections that flip other collections each week. But, at the time, the Punks were at the core of NFT energy.
CryptoPunks began as an experiment to turn lines of code into digital ownership. It opened the floodgates to NFT innovation. In June 2017, two software developers released a set of 10,000 24 x 24 unique and algorithmically-generated pixel art. The two person team was behind the studio Larva Labs. Now, CryptoPunks are part of the Yuga Labs ecosystem, which they acquired along with Meebits early this year.
A Punk is a status symbol — either you were early or you’ve got the ETH for it. The 2021 crypto bull run accelerated the trajectory of NFTs. Two of the highest sales were made on March 11, 2021 for $7.58M and $7.57M for two Alien Punks (out of a total of 9 Aliens). Holders that are part of this important NFT history and culture, proudly use their CryptoPunk as their Twitter avatar. @punk9059 is one such holder who has tied his Punk to his digital persona, providing valuable insights and data into the NFT market. The URL under his Twitter bio leads the curious to a google sheet for people to build charts on floor prices, tokens and airdrops, and to track their NFT portfolios.
“My favorite compliment when I put out a chart is: ‘I’ve always thought that was true and it’s great to see a chart that proves it!’”. Drawing from his extensive career and experience, first in investment banking as a researcher, then scaling a start-up and professional photography, and now crypto and NFTs, and more recently, as Director of Research at PROOF, he adds value in a gap he sees between analytics and on-the-ground narratives. He names a ton of data platforms — Nansen, NFTNerds, Curio which only make up a handful of good NFT data out there. He gets ping-ed of new platforms coming up almost daily. He’s also in alpha groups with traders who have their fingers on the latest NFT pulse.
“What I’ve tried to do with my account, and I think what has made it successful is marrying the two together: knowing the interesting NFT narratives and being savvy enough with data. And, building a big enough database of data, and I can measure if these things are true.”
A big thank you to @punk9059 for sharing these insights and thoughts:
For Collectors: NFTs are momentum-oriented assets
This is a strong consistency in how NFTs are traded. When floor prices are going up, they can go up many days in a row. The contrast is also true. “Maybe even more true — when floor prices are going down, they take a long time to reverse.”
“In this space, I find statistically, you’re generally rewarded for buying things that are rising in bull markets. In bear markets, there’s a case to get out early because they can last a long time.”
For creators: The best NFT creators are good at long-term brand-building
What does it take to build a brand? People feel an affinity to brands that are able to sustain a long-term connection. Perhaps, when the brand resonates with a person’s identity. “If you’re going to do a set of 10,000, how do you make each of them unique so that people can get attached to them?” That’s a lot of buyers to keep interested.
People come into the NFT space for different reasons and from various places. “But the best builders are the most creative and the best storytellers. Who can think of a long-term story that keeps people engaged and maintains that tension?” The long-term factor is very important. When there’s new projects launching every other minute, mindshare is not to be underestimated.
🪄2023: Predictions for NFTs
More uniquely talented people
“We’re going to see more big brands and true creatives, the types of people who write TV shows and form pop culture.” People with these skills will see NFTs as a great way to raise money and to connect with their strongest advocates. We’ll see NFTs become a greater part of culture.
More marketplace competition
“I think the OpenSea monopoly has been really strong but we’re going to see a bit of competition next year.” Magic Eden’s expansion to ETH has people hopeful. Having a huge following on Solana means that we’ll bring a new audience to ETH. “I think that Magic Eden is going to be a key player in the ETH ecosystem. The ME team is extremely competent, has a big user base, a great tech team and clearly learned how to win in competitive environments.”
Move back to art and work that people feel connected to
At the beginning of 2022, utility and airdrops were all the rage. “The irony of that is there is no utility where people feel connected to a brand. Airdrops are worthless if people are getting airdropped things they don’t feel connected to.” There’s going to be a greater focus on art and how technology can enhance art (for example, art created by artificial intelligence). “We’re seeing this with mint passes, like the GODA Mint Pass, which gives people access to new contemporary artists who mint their first NFTs. This has done really well!”
Thanks for reading & see you next week,