Apes, aliens, humanoid species, cool cats, and whatever you can imagine – nothing can surprise you when looking at NFT avatars. The avatar concept is nearly as old as the internet, but NFT space heavily relies on them. You’ve probably stumbled upon many NFT avatar projects and noticed they are sold for astronomical sums.
Of course, the increasing popularity results in NFT projects pop-up like mushrooms. Deciding which is the best to invest in can be overwhelming, not only because of popular NFT avatar collections. New projects are released almost daily, so you can’t predict which one will succeed. In this guide, you’ll learn what NFT avatars are and why they are so popular.
Maybe you don’t know what NFT is? This article is a segment of a more extensive piece about NFT basics.
What is an NFT Avatar?
NFT avatar is an algorithmically generated image of a cartoon or pixelated character. It’s usually in a profile picture format, showing the character from the shoulder up. They also stand out from each other, so every image looks unique. The artistic possibilities are endless, and you might see otherworldly characters or familiar faces with caricatural designs.
The NFT demand is rising, and it doesn’t seem to slow down just yet. Some of them are sold for thousands of dollars. For example, Penguin NFT Club sold an NFT for the crypto equivalent of $469 000.
What Stands Behind Their Popularity?
The rising value is obviously one of the reasons behind the popularity of sellable digital art. However, value is the effect of demand, and demand for digital assets comes from several reasons described below.
As we stated before, each NFT avatar project is unique. While you can copy-paste any image and upload it anywhere, it doesn’t make you the owner of that image. The actual ownership belongs to the author of the image.
These images are not infinite; since they’re constantly being bought, they are scarce, which obviously raises their value. And if the NFT is old and comes from a limited edition, NFT collectors will fight for it. Most buyers make this assumption and are trying their best to get in possession of rare and valuable NFTs. This, of course, fuels the NFT market and skyrockets the prices.
It’s no surprise that every significant NFT project has a community built around it. And they’re not your typical Discord or Telegram groups. Communities built around certain projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club consist of famous celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and more. This can be the sole reason why someone wants to enter this digital world.
Another benefit is the access to special merch or a “Bathroom” where you can write digital graffiti. It’s just one example, and the added benefits will differ between NFT projects.
Long and Short-term Investment
Like with many collectibles, NFT avatars provide a great source of investment opportunities. Those who entered the business early could buy limited NFTs for a fraction of their actual value. Now they can be sold for triple their initial price and even more. So if the idea of making profits off digital images with pixelated characters sounds fun to you, then you’ve found your next investment.
What Are NFT Avatars Used For?
Apart from investing opportunities, NFT avatar headshots can boast other use cases. However, it solely depends on your personal preferences. Here are the most popular uses of NFT avatars.
Some people treat NFT collections like collectibles. If you can call yourself a collector, then your own NFT collection can be a nice addition to your hobby. On websites like OpenSea, you can find a ton of avatars that are dirt cheap but catch the eye of NFT enthusiasts. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and your collection will gain value so you can sell some avatars later.
The core of non-fungible tokens is the NFT community, which is the foundation for Metaverse – a digital, immersive virtual world that can be accessed with VR goggles. In this regard, NFT avatars have a lot of use cases to improve the gaming experience. One of them is MEtaverse Fashion Week, where the most renowned brands show their clothing collections than can be bought in-game. Ever wanted to have clothes from Gucci or Louis Vitton? Now you can, even if it’s only virtual.
The potential in virtual worlds is immense, and people from The Sandbox project are well aware of that. The project aims to allow collectors to use their avatars in the metaverse. The Sandbox currently collaborates with the most popular NFT collections, including Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gutter Cats, Hashmasks, and more. The point is to turn 2D collectible images into animated, 3D playable avatars that players can use within The Sandbox. Online games are a literal gold mine when it comes to NFT.
There’s a high chance you’ve seen someone using an NFT avatar for their profile picture. And I don’t mean simply saving a JPG image and setting it that way. For example, you can connect Twitter with a digital wallet of your choice and set the profile picture this way.
When your account and wallet successfully connect, the NFT you set will display in a special hexagonal shape. It’s used to showcase that you’re the owner of the NFT. You can also set NFT as an avatar in most crypto wallets, showcasing the most valuable digital asset in your possession.
Popular NFT Avatar Collections
Many projects have tried to assert dominance on OpenSea, but only a dozen are extremely popular. It’s worth noting that all of them are individually unique, so their popularity among the crypto community isn’t just pure luck.
Of course, the appealing aspect of each collection is highly subjective, but some managed to stand out and become ever-popular among everyone.
- Highest sale: 8000 ETH
- Floor price: 21.9 ETH
- Website: https://www.larvalabs.com/cryptopunks
- Discord: https://discord.com/invite/tQp4pSE
- Edition size: 10k
- Total value traded: Over one billion ETH
The OG NFT project, those who started it all. Every successful project released after them can owe CryptoPunks its success. They were first introduced back in 2017 by a group called Larva Labs as one of the first-ever projects on the Ethereum blockchain. The entire batch consisted of 10 000 generated 24×24 pixelated avatars free to claim by everyone with an Ethereum wallet.
Now, they’re the most iconic NFTs to date, a major part of the mainstream art world and famous art auctions like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The most common Punks are worth thousands, while the rare ones, like zombies, apes, and aliens – millions of dollars.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
- Highest sale: 1024 ETH
- Floor price: 6.4 ETH
- Website: https://boredapeyachtclub.com/#/
- Discord: https://discord.com/invite/3P5K3dzgdB
- Edition size: 10k
- Total volume traded: ~700 000 ETH
The famous bored apes emerged in May 2021 with a flat 0.08 ETH mint price per ape. It was around $270 per ape back then, which is quite high for a starting project. However, the BAYC team did an excellent job building a wider NFT community around the project before its launch. The project’s team has an extremely active Discord channel and special benefits for token holders, which we described in the community section above.
Bored Ape Kennel Club
- Highest sale: 75 ETH
- Floor price: 1.3 ETH
- Website: https://boredapeyachtclub.com/#/kennel-club
- Discord: https://discord.com/invite/3P5K3dzgdB
- Edition size: 9.6K
- Total volume traded: ~113 250 ETH
BAYC launched a secondary project called Bored Ape Kennel Club, where you can buy a four-legged companion for your ape. At launch, every Ape holder could adopt one completely free. It’s worth noting that the 2,5% of royalty they get for resales on OpenSea is donated to charity.
BAYC showed that animal-based NFT projects are quite successful when combined with attractive community perks. Thanks to their exclusive entry pass model, NFT holders can now participate in a community DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) and influence future functionality mechanisms. Anyway, animal NFTs are very popular on OpenSea, and the rarest ones see staggering sale prices.
- Highest sale: 420 ETH
- Floor price: 1 ETH
- Website: https://www.azuki.com/
- Discord: https://www.azuki.co/discord/join
- Edition size: 10k
- Total volume traded: ~269 000 ETH
Azuki NFT avatars are among the most appealing projects on OpenSea. First off, the unique designs are truly crypto art. The creators opted for more human-looking characters instead of science fiction cartoon monsters like the others. Secondly, it’s the most important NFT in the anime niche, setting standards for future similar projects. It’s a collection of 10 000 NFT, which was minted on January 12, 2022, at the price of 1 ETH. All collectibles were sold out in just four minutes and generated around $29 million in revenue.
The token holders also gain access to several community perks in a closed area called Garden. Members gain access to a unique streetwear shop, NFT drops, live events, and more. Azuki promises that their avatars sooner or later will be available to use in Metaverse. Being able to use them across apps and games will skyrocket Azuki’s popularity even further.
- Highest sale: 40 WETH
- Floor price: 0.09 ETH
- Website: https://avastars.io/
- Discord: https://discord.com/invite/avastars
- Edition size: 25.1K
- Total volume traded: 4360 ETH
While CryptoPunks was a huge revelation to the NFT space, all went quiet for a while. However, everything changed in April 2020, when Avastars saw the light of day, bringing some unique elements to the table. Apart from other avatar projects, you could actually view an avatar before purchasing it.
The rarities of its traits determine the price for a generated Avastar. Across the five generations, over 25k Avastars have been released. They’re all minted, of course, so you’re only left with “Replicant Avastars” that can be created by combining the traits of existing ones.
- Highest sale: 7.9 ETH
- Floor price: 0.08 ETH
- Website: https://weirdwhalesnft.com/
- Discord: https://discord.com/invite/gpSU5AVjju
- Edition size: 3.5k
- Total volume traded: 1889 ETH
Weird Whales isn’t the largest project here, but it’s worth mentioning because a 12-year-old coder created it. He revealed his creations on his Twitter account, describing an entire journey of creating an avatar project inspired by CryptoPunks. The post went viral, and his 3350 Weird Whales collection sold out the same day.
His inspirational story was featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Telegraph, and many more. They’re not as expensive as other avatars on this list, but paying from 2.5 to 7.9 ETH for a single whale is still quite impressive, given that a 12-year-old boy created them.
The Bottom Line
NFT Avatars weren’t new, given their debut back in 2017, but it’s an original way to represent yourself online. By owning or creating an NFT avatar, you have a unique identity that you can use across social media or crypto-related sites to represent ownership.
They’re also a great investment as many of them are prone to potential value increases. Their secondary market value tends to explode on sites like OpenSea, so investing even a small amount in less popular projects can be highly beneficial in the future.