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Top 10 Popular NFT Collections

Top 10 Popular NFT Collections

The Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry can be traced back to the early days of the internet. The first NFTs were digital collectibles created on forums and message boards. These tokens were simply images or text used to represent a unique asset.

However, it wasn't until the development of blockchain technology that NFTs really began to take off. Blockchain provided a way to securely and permanently store data on a decentralized ledger. This made NFTs much more secure and trustworthy than traditional digital collectibles.

Since then, the NFT industry has exploded in popularity. Millions of dollars worth of NFTs have been sold, and the market is only getting bigger. With the help of blockchain, the NFT industry is revolutionizing the way we think about digital ownership.

This article discusses NFTs, including where they came from, important milestones, and what to expect in the future.

The Origin of NFTs

The first-ever known non-fungible token (NFT) was created in 2014 by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash. It was called Quantum and consisted of a video clip of digital art created by McCoy’s wife, Jennifer. Originally, the technology was called “monetized graphics,” and Quantum was registered on the Namecoin blockchain and sold to Dash for $4. Today, it’s on sale for $7M.

In October of 2015, three months after the launch of the Ethereum blockchain, the first NFT project, Ehteria, was launched and demonstrated at DEVCON 1 in London. Most of the 457 NFTs went unsold for more than five years until March 13, 2021, as interest in NFTs was renewed. These remaining pieces sold out in 24 hours for a total of $1.4M. At the time of their launch in 2015, their cost was only $0.43 each.

Increased public awareness began in 2017 when an online game CryptoKitties monetized cat NFTs. During 2020, the value of the NFT market exploded, tripling to $250M. During the first quarter of 2021, more than $200M was spent on NFTs.

Or Was the Origin in 2012?

There is another origin story out there on NFTs worth discussing, known as Colored Coins. Colored Coins, created in 2012-2013, are made of small bitcoin denominations–known as a single satoshi–which can be used to represent a multitude of assets and have multiple uses, including:

  • Coupons
  • Property
  • Issue shares of a company
  • Ability to issue your own cryptocurrency
  • Digital collectibles
  • Access tokens

Unfortunately, the whole Colored Coin system carries several flaws. But, they played a significant role in laying the groundwork for NFTs. You can learn more about them here in the “Overview of Colored Coins.” 

Counterpoint: “Counterparty”

Another early consideration for the creation of NFTs is Counterparty. Counterparty is a peer-to-peer financial platform and distributed, open-source Internet protocol built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. It allowed asset creation and even included a trading card game and meme trading, where Rare Pepes originated.

Rare Pepes

In October 2016, “rare pepes” were issued along the Counterparty platform. A rare pepe is a meme featuring a frog character that has developed an intense fanbase. Besides being incredibly quirky, the uniqueness of these images makes them such desirable NFTs. 

How the NFT space has evolved

In simple terms, an NFT is a unit of data stored on a variety of digital ledgers called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. But, what started as a simple video clip has evolved into many use cases across various industries. But, perhaps none is more compelling than the art industry.

The History of NFT Art

Art is perhaps the most common way to use NFTs, as auctions from high-profile NFTs have made the biggest splash in public attention. Currently, the most expensive NFT ever sold was at an auction price of $91.8M–work by artist Pak, entitled The Merge.

The merge

The Merge is both a single piece of artwork and a series of artworks. When it launched, buyers could purchase an NFT, called a mass, for a set amount of money ($575). However, for buyers who purchased more than one mass, instead of receiving another NFT, their current mass actually increased in size. The price of a mass NFT grew throughout the sale, and buyers who bought a lot of mass were rewarded with free mass. 

It sounds a little confusing, but if you can picture a tiny ball of mercury as one mass, then add other tiny balls of mercury to it, you can see how each comes together to get bigger and bigger. That’s what The Merge is and was before the sale was brought to a close. Now, even though the launch is over, buyers and traders can still sell or trade their NFTs to grow their mass bigger, making their NFT more valuable. 

In the end, more than 28,000 buyers spent over $91M on what has been one of the most compelling NFT art concepts to date.

Everydays: The first 5000 days

The second most expensive (at $69M) was a piece of artwork by Michael Winkelmann–known as Beeple–called Everydays: the First 5000 Days.

Beeple is a graphic designer and motion artist from South Carolina who is well-renowned in the digital art world. However, his rise to fame reached a new height with his NFT collage created from 5,000 images created daily for 13 years. The images were put together and formed one NFT unit that sold for almost $70M making it the third-most-expensive piece of art ever sold.

CryptoPunks

Perhaps, the most well-known NFT digital art pieces are the collection of CryptoPunks, which is credited with starting the NFT craze of 2021.  

CryptoPunks is a series of 10,000 unique collectible characters stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Each character is created using an algorithm and no two are identical. The images are 24x24 pixels and feature some combination of guys, girls, apes, zombies, and aliens. While some of the images share attributes, the rarest ones feature the fewest attributes. For example, on the current marketplace, CryptoPunk 5822 is on sale by the owner for $34.89M. It features one attribute–a bandana–which is only shared by 481 punks. 

Perhaps the wildest part of CryptoPunks is that initially, they were all free. One simply had to claim them. Now they sell for hundreds of thousands to multi-millions of dollars.

CryptoKitties

In the 90s, we had Tomagotchi–a handheld digital pet that you could feed, love, and–if neglected–kill. In the 2020s, we have CryptoKitties! CryptoKitties are digitally created breedable and collectible cats. Each is one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed.

It turns out that breeding digital pets is big business for at least a short period of time. While CryptoKitties was the first widely recognized blockchain game and featured astronomical growth, the popularity was short-lived. In fact, it reached its peak on December 10th, 2017. But, by the beginning of 2018, the game’s popularity fell by 90% of users. However, for those that were fortunate during that short time. One CryptoKitty fetched $1.3M, another $566,000, and the third most expensive CryptoKitty was sold for $107,000.

Bored Ape Yatch Club

Similar to CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a collection of 10,000 unique, algorithm-created images. Except instead of aliens, zombies, and humans, BAYC features images of–you guessed it–apes. In March of 2022, sales of BAYC made up more than a third of total NFT sales. In January of 2022, BAYC surpassed $1B in total sales.

Who Can Create & Purchase NFTs?

The easy answer is that anyone can create or purchase NFTs. Some companies help guide you through the process of creation, connecting your content through blockchain, and getting the proper paperwork done to develop your own NFTs. Purchasing is also as easy as connecting with an online marketplace and working with vendors to purchase or acquire the NFTs you want.

You can launch your NFT collection in seconds with Mantial. We assist everyone, from entrepreneurs to celebrities and large companies throughout the whole process of conception, sales, and management of NFT collections.

In Conclusion

The future is wide-open for the NFT industry. As it becomes more and more popular, creators and even NFT experts are still exploring the possibilities of this technology and how it collides with our everyday lives. While the exact future of NFTs is uncertain, the market is expected to continue growing, and NFTs worth millions of dollars today could be worth billions in the future. 

And, when money like that is involved, everyone will want a piece of the action.

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Rick’s NFT

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Michonne’s NFT

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In this blog post, we'll look at some of the most popular NFT collections in the market today.

1. CryptoPunks

Years after their initial release, the original 10,000 CryptoPunks are still some of the most popular and sought-after NFTs in the market. Each punk is a 24x24 pixel image of a distinct character with different hairstyles, clothing, and accessories.

The CryptoPunks were among the first digital assets ever minted on the Ethereum blockchain and were distributed for free to anyone who wanted one. They were quickly claimed and skyrocketed in popularity. Today, the lowest-priced punk is worth a staggering $86,601.82, according to Larva Labs.

CryptoPunks NFT

The punks themselves are pixelated and fairly basic in terms of graphics. However, it's their scarcity and unique historical position as one of the first NFTs that make them so valuable.

2. Decentraland

'Metaverse' is a term coined to describe virtual worlds created and owned by their users. While metaverse doesn't necessarily equal crypto or NFTs, the two concepts are often linked. After all, what better way to show ownership of a virtual world than with an NFT?

Decentraland is one of the most popular metaverses out there, and its in-game currency, MANA, allows you to buy neat NFTs for your in-game experience. These include virtual plots of land, buildings, and even character upgrades.

What makes Decentraland unique is that it's not just a game or a digital world- it's also a platform for developers to create their own experiences. They even apply the concept of decentralization to their governance, allowing anyone to submit and vote on proposals that shape the future of Decentraland.

Decentraland NFT

This makes Decentraland one of the most popular NFT collections, as it offers a unique mix of gaming, world-building, and investing all in one.

3. NBA Top Shot

In June 2020, only months after the pandemic started, Dapper Labs struck gold once again with NBA Top Shot. With their Cryptokitties project losing steam, Dapper Labs needed a new hit, and NBA Top Shot was it.

NBA Top Shot is a digital collectible game that allows you to buy, trade, and own highlight moments from NBA games. These highlights are officially licensed by the NBA and are minted on the blockchain as NFTs.

What makes NBA Top Shot so popular is that it's not just a game- it's also an investment. As more and more people buy into the game, the price of moments (i.e., NFTs) increases. One particular dunk from Lebron James, also called 'The Cosmic Dunk,' sold for $208,000!

NBA Top Shot NFT

With a price tag like that, it's no wonder NBA Top Shot is one of the fastest-growing NFT collections out there. For reference, Top Shot surpassed $1 billion in total sales less than two years after launching.

4. Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained is a digital trading card game that allows you to collect, trade, and play with magical cards. What makes Gods Unchained special is that it's one of the first games to be built on Ethereum, and all of its in-game items are stored on the blockchain as NFTs.

This allows for true ownership of digital assets- something that was impossible before the advent of blockchain technology. Gods Unchained cards can be bought, sold, or traded like any other NFT, and players can even use them in other games or applications.

Gods Unchained NFT

Gods Unchained made headlines when it became a Play to Earn (P2E) game. This means that players can earn reak-life money (fiat) by playing the game instead of spending money on in-game items.

We'll have an in-depth guide on P2E games uploaded shortly for those interested.

5. Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)

The project that recently took everyone by surprise is the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). Founded in January 2021, BAYC is a decentralized application (dApp) built on the Ethereum blockchain that allows you to trade virtual club memberships.

The project quickly went viral, and BAYC's native token, ApeCoin, became one of the hottest commodities in the crypto world. APE was on Coinbase and other major exchanges in just a few short months, and its price had exploded.

Bored Apes are utility NFTs, meaning they have actual use cases within the BAYC ecosystem. Notably, every NFT holder becomes a member of the secret apes-only club. This gives them access to exclusive events, discounts, and other perks.

If you enjoyed NBA Top Shot, you'd be pleased to know that Golden States Warriors' star point guard Steph Curry is a part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on an ape, consider yourself part of an elite group!

Stephen Curry Bored Ape

6. Axie Infinity

With interest in Cryptokitties dwindling, one project stepped up to fill the void: Axie Infinity.

Axie Infinity is a digital pet game that allows you to collect, train, and battle with cute creatures called Axies. What sets it apart from other games is its expansive world and rich lore. Players can explore the world of Genesis City, take part in daily quests, and even participate in PvP battles.

Users are required to buy three NFTs to create a team of Axies. These NFTs are called Body Parts, and they determine the creature's appearance and stats. From the horns on their head to the tail on their butt, each Body Part is a separate NFT that can be bought, sold, or traded on the open market.

The coolest part of this project? Players can trade their Axies on the marketplace at any time for real money! This play-to-earn game has become extremely popular in recent months, and its native token, AXS, has a market cap of $1,212,190,858.

Axie Infinity NFT

7. The Sandbox

Next, on our list of popular NFT collections, is The Sandbox. Sandbox isn't as 'fresh' or new as some of the other projects on this list, but it's certainly one of the most popular.

The Sandbox is a user-generated content platform that allows players to create, share, and play games. What makes The Sandbox special is its virtual world, which is made up of voxels (3D pixels). These voxels can be bought, sold, or traded as NFTs.

Players can use The Sandbox's in-game currency, SAND, to buy voxels or other in-game items. SAND is an ERC20 token, meaning it can be traded on exchanges and used in other Ethereum-based applications.

The Sandbox NFT

The Sandbox has over 40 million registered users and 1 million monthly active users, making it one of the most popular games in the world, period. It's also one of the only games that allow you to earn cryptocurrency by playing or creating!

8. Meebits

Meebits NFT

Created by Larva Labs in May 2021, Meebits are a collection of 20,000 unique 3d avatars that can be bought, sold, or traded on the Ethereum blockchain. Each Meebit is a non-fungible token (NFT) representing a 3D avatar. These avatars are fully customizable, and you can use them in any Ethereum-based application.

That means you'll be able to bring the same avatar you use in Meebits into other games, social media platforms, or even real-world applications! What's more, Larva Labs plans to mint more Meebits over time. So, if you don't find one you like right away, don't worry – there will be more to choose from in the future.

Meebits are still fairly new, but they're already gaining traction due to the developer's past success. If you're looking for a unique and fully customizable avatar, Meebits are definitely worth checking out!

9. Sorare

Sorare is a fantasy football(soccer) game that allows users to buy, sell or trade players as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). For example, you might create a team of world-famous players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar Jr.

Each player is represented by an NFT, which can be bought, sold, or traded on the Sorare marketplace. You can also use these NFTs in other games that support the Sorare protocol.

If you're a fan of soccer or fantasy games, Sorare is definitely worth checking out. It is a lot of fun, but you can also earn money by playing or trading player cards! The owners are also planning on creating an MLB version in the near future, so stay tuned for that!

Sorare NFT

10. Remarkable Women

Are you a feminist at heart? If so, you'll love the Remarkable Women Collection! Created by Canadian artist Rachel Winter, Remarkable Women is a collection of 1,000 NFTs artistically representing the culture of womanhood.

Remarkable Women

Every NFT in the collection is an original work of art, and each one tells the story of a different persona of a woman. On some of the portrayed women's shirts, empowering quotes or mantras are written. The vibrant colors and beautiful designs make these NFTs truly unique and one-of-a-kind.

Remarkable Women is worth checking out if you're looking for an NFT collection that celebrates female empowerment! You can even buy a physical print of the artwork if you want to support the artist and hang it in your home.

Conclusion

After a rough start to the year, NFTs are slowly but surely gaining traction. These ten popular NFT collections are proof of that! What's even more exciting is that many more NFT projects are in the works. So, if you're looking to get involved in NFTs, now is a perfect time!

Do you have a favorite NFT project? Let us know in the comments below! 

If you're interested in launching your own collection to hit the big time, Mantial makes it easy with our no-code tools. Contact us today for more information.