Collectibles traded as NFTs—essentially, tokens that serve as proof of ownership for a digital item on a blockchain—exploded earlier this year, with a total trading volume of $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021. But, as new data reveals, some collectors have turned that NFT surge into some real cash.
Nansen, a blockchain analytics startup, released its first NFT Leaderboard today, displaying the so-called whales (heavy users with hefty bags) that have made the most money by buying and selling NFTs to date. Nansen’s technique focuses on overall profit—the amount made from selling NFTs minus the amount spent on NFTs—across the more than 90 million tagged crypto wallets it monitors across Ethereum and Polygon.
With 1,573 ETH ($3.64 million) in earnings so far, the prolific NFT collector known as Pranksy currently sits atop the list. Pranksy has spent 1,860 ETH ($4.3 million) buying NFTs so far, covering over 9,300 total individual NFT pieces and owning NFTs from a greater number of collections (86) than anybody else in Nansen’s top ten rankings.
Pranksy has sold 2,350 of their bought NFTs for a total of 3,433 ETH ($7.94 million), putting them at the top of the profits list. Pranksy also tops the Bored Ape Yacht Club list, a collection of artwork that debuted in April and has seen its worth skyrocket since then. The collector also won the winning $177,777 bid on the single-edition NFT based on Andy Murray that led Wenew’s inaugural drop.
In terms of total profitability, Pranksy is first, but atblank is second. eth has the highest profit margin at 5,020 percent, with sales of 481 ETH ($1.11 million) but spending only 9.4 ETH ($21,700) in Nansen-tracked wallets. The wallet has made the most money through selling Autoglyphs, which are generative art NFTs. Meanwhile, the highest spender on Nansen’s list is a labeled OpenSea wallet ascribed to “Danny,” with 2,570 ($5.95 million) spent on NFTs to date, with a heavy emphasis on Hashmasks.
Asked what defines the top NFT whales that his firm is tracking, Nansen CEO Alex Svanevik said it comes down to “specialization in their buying habits/strategy.”
“Each of the best buyers has a specialty,” he explained. They also have “a thorough understanding of the NFT markets and a well-planned execution of their purchase.” They frequently release NFTs or collaborate with artists who do so, with some of them serving as contract deployers.”
“They don’t mind taking risks on new ventures and don’t always make successful moves, [and] they frequently reinvest a big amount of revenues in the ecosystem,” Svanevik continued.
Nansen’s list is illustrative of some of the most significant players in the NFT area, but it is not exhaustive. Sellers have ranked ahead of long-term collectors who may have more valuable overall NFT holdings. The firm exclusively analyzes standard ERC-721 Ethereum-based NFTs—and only those in labeled wallets across Ethereum and Polygon—in terms of profitability. Other blockchains have major NFT projects, such as NBA Top Shot on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, which has witnessed over $700 million in trading activity to date.
Notably, some notable figures in the NFT world do not appear on this list, such as Vignesh “MetaKovan” Sundaresan, the collector who paid $69.3 million for artist Beeple’s work, Christie’s auction in March. There’s also the anonymous WhaleShark, which is said to control 210,000 NFTs as of March and runs the $WHALE social currency, which is based on a vault of 13,200 NFTs worth $45.9 million.
According to Svanevik, the whales’ connected addresses “have not sold any NFTs, albeit they may have moved them.” Instead, Svanevik claimed that MetaKovan and the Beeple artwork purchase “appears to have been bought without proof of a clear on-chain transaction,” either due to the auction house’s escrow system or the usage of an NFT standard other than Ethereum’s ERC-721.
Instagram Issues A Warning To A Colombian NFT Artist For Selling Cocaine NFTs
NFTs have increased in popularity to the point where they are now one of the most well-known selling methods online. Due to the ease with which these NFTs may be minted, people are now selling photos of everything. People have sold everything from terrible rock photographs to NFTs. To a $250k Instagram influencer who is selling her love as an NFT. The NFT craze has even reached children. For example, 12-year-old Benjamin Ahmed made six figures selling an NFT series called Weird Whales that he designed.
There appears to be no limit to what can be marketed as NFTs on the Internet at this time. Camilo Restrepo, a Colombian artist, has now demonstrated no limit to what can be coined and sold as NFTs.
Cocaine NFT For Sale
Medellin-based On June 17th, Restrepo began minting and selling cocaine NFTs. The NFTs were 3D images of white rectangles offered as part of the NFTa series, dubbed “a ToN oF coke” by the artist. The white rectangles represented one-kilogram cocaine bundles, which are commonly used to sell hard drugs. Buyers also get to keep the cocaine packs’ NFTs. About 1,000 of these NFTs were produced by Restrepo and were intended to be sold as part of the same series.
Every “bag” of NFT cocaine that the artist sold was supposed to be documented on social media. Restrepo, on the other hand, quickly discovered that his main issue would be marketing. Specifically, he is using social media sites to advertise his art.
Every time the artist posted a sale of an NFT on platforms like Twitter, Restrepo would find that the post was soon after taken down or his account shut down. This happened after the artist had his account reported after posting the sale of cocaine NFT. Moving to Instagram, the artist ran into pretty much the same problem with the image-dominated social media platform.
Restrepo has already had two of his cocaine NFT posts removed. With a warning that if he made the third post, his account would be removed forever if it was taken down. As a result, the artiste’s social media promotion is practically impossible. “I guess the algorithm doesn’t get the difference between crypto cocaine and the actual thing,” the artist told Input Mag of the Instagram warning.
It has long been assumed that the widespread acceptance of NFTs is due to their use as a means of money laundering. In addition, cryptocurrencies have been linked to the illegal drug trade. As a result, Colombian banks have made it challenging to purchase cryptocurrency in the country. Although the artist devised a workaround by having the Ethereum used to pay for his NFTs returned to his buyers, who would then send Colombian pesos to his bank account in exchange for the cryptocurrencies.
Mr. Whale, a well-known crypto expert, brought attention to the usage of NFTs for money laundering last month. According to the analyst, wealthy people were merely utilizing these NFTs to shift their ill-gotten money through a channel that cleaned it up and made it look legal. Mr. Whale likened the approach to how money is laundered through the use of physical art. And it’s easy to see where the analyst is coming from, given the high quality of the art being sold for millions of dollars as NFTs.
A YouTuber has Exchanged his Tesla Roadster for an NFT
“Looking back in a year, two years, or three years, this could be a monumentally idiotic decision, but it could also be a fantastic decision,” Dan Markham said.
Dan Markham, the creator of the What’s Inside YouTube channel with seven million subscribers, has swapped his Tesla Roadster for a single nonfungible token.
Markham traded a blue Tesla Roadster — which he claimed may be worth “a quarter-million dollars pretty soon” — for a nonfungible token of a “positive porcupine” in a video posted to his What’s Inside Family channel on Sept. 15. The NFT was created as part of the VeeFriends project and is owned by Eli Burton, the creator of the graphic novel The Adventures of Starman.
“Looking back in a year, two years, three years, it may be a monumentally idiotic decision, but it could also be a fantastic decision. I feel these automobiles will hold their worth for a long time, and I am a firm believer in NFTs.”
“It’s a picture for a car — clearly he’s getting the better end of this deal.”
Before learning of Markham’s offer, Burton said he had planned to sell the digital painting for more than $100,000. But, according to the graphic novelist, trading the NFT for the car was “as simple as supply and demand,” as there were 10,000 tokens available at a starting price of $60,000 apiece. VeeFriends has a list of 40 porcupines that seem alike in a range of settings.
“Having it makes practically no difference in terms of money – whether it’s in a collector automobile or a collectible NFT — it’s still collectible,” Markham said.
Even though the two collectors exchanged NFTs on the blockchain, the transaction was primarily conducted in the real world, with Markham physically handing Burton the Tesla’s paper title and key. The porcupine is presently listed on OpenSea with a top bid of 16.339 Wrapped Ether (WETH) — around $56,445 at the time of publication — but Markham stated that he intends to keep the NFT in order to obtain access to a VeeFriends token holders-only conference.
NFTs have also been linked to physical collectibles by certain cryptocurrency users. For example, in July, an entrepreneur held simultaneous auctions for an Apple co-founder Steve Jobs job application and an NFT. The actual paper sold for $343,000, while the NFT received a final bid of 12 Ether (ETH), or $27,460 at the moment.
NFTs Inspired by Freddie Mercury is Being Released to Benefit an AIDS Charity
On the 75th anniversary of his birth, the renowned musician is honored with a special NFT collection.
Four digital collectible artworks inspired by the late Freddie Mercury will be auctioned soon. On what would have been the singer’s 75th birthday, the auction will take place.
Blake Kathryn, Chad Knight, Mat Maitland, and MBSJQ contributed artwork to the collectibles. SuperRare, a digital art marketplace, will host the timed auction. It will go live on September 20th and will last 75 hours, according to the organizers.
Furthermore, the auction earnings will benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity. The nonprofit was formed in remembrance of the singer by Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor and band manager Jim Beach.
Three of the NFTs in the collection feature images of the performer himself. The fourth image depicts a white grand piano with a crown on the seat and a goldfish pond in the background.
Both SupreRare and the charity linked the effort to Mercury’s inventiveness in a joint statement. “When Freddie Mercury died, he left the world an obvious artistic brief. ‘You can do whatever you want with my work as long as you don’t bore me.’“
The popularity and activity of the NFT market has exploded in the recent year. These digital collectibles took over key mainstream industries, resulting in the emergence of a digital metaverse. Some, such as Tether’s co-founder, predict that in the future, “every consumer product will have an NFT.”
Like the Freddie Mercury NFT, various examples of this technology have been deployed in space for commemorative and charitable objectives.
Beeple, a well-known digital artist, sold an NFT for $6 million and donated the earnings to the OpenEarth Foundation. Pele, a Brazilian footballer, also sold NFTs as digital trading cards and donated the proceeds to his charity.
NFTs also allow for the creation of a digital capsule or a remembrance of something or someone. For example, Russel Simmons and Snoop Dogg just released an NFT anthology honoring hip-hop music pioneers. Never-before-seen artwork and music from industry giants were featured in The Masterminds of Hip Hop.
Commemorative NFTs are popular outside of the music industry as well. Unreleased images of Kobe Bryant were put up for auction as NFTs in August. Bryant was photographed while he was an 18-year-old basketball player.
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