Over the last several years, the Ethereum blockchain has experienced astronomical growth; from humble beginnings below $0.50 cents to an all-time high reaching just over $4,500 in the span of about 7 years, Ethereum has made waves that have touched every corner of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. With this, it’s not surprising that a lot of people are eager to learn blockchain and how to get around with it.
Ethereum introduced the concept of “smart contracts” to the blockchain ecosystem. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with terms of agreement between both parties written directly into the code. This allows virtually trustless exchanges like Bitcoin Evolution of value between anonymous users while eliminating a large portion of the risk, as well as other innovative applications.
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The NFT that started it all
Although there is some debate, the first NFT’s minted on the Ethereum Bitcoin SV Blockchain is presumed to be Terra Nullius back in 2015. This collection of 22 NFT’s was described as allowing users to “stake their claim” on the blockchain, each consisting of a string of user-generated text – a long way from the metaverse crypto tokens in development today. Surprisingly, these NFT’s aren’t worth all that much at the moment, with the floor price (or the lowest asking price) sitting at .06 ETH, or about ~$150 USD.
CryptoPunks, a project released by Larva Labs in 2017, is widely regarded as the first notable NFT project released on the Ethereum blockchain. Inspired by the London punk scene, CryptoPunks are a collection of 10,000 uniquely generated characters in an 8-bit fashion. Many users have taken to using their CryptoPunks as profile pictures in online communities such as Twitter.
Originally, CryptoPunks were practically given away for free; users would pay a small transaction fee, or gas, in order to mint the project. Back in 2017, gas prices were much lower than today, with the average CryptoPunks mint costing users approximately $0.10. These days, CryptoPunks are consistently selling for prices in excess of $10,000.
These days, NFT’s feel like they’ve become mainstream; major celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Post Malone, and Stephen Curry have publicly announced purchases of major blue-chip NFT projects ranging from Bored Ape Yacht Club to CryptoPunks. Even Joe Rogan, a podcaster with over 11 million average viewers, has recently hosted NFT artist Beeple, driving NFT’s even further into the mainstream.
NFT’s have also evolved over the years beyond their original use case as a simple profile picture – these days, holding specific NFT’s can grant you access to exclusive communities, venues, content, merchandise, ecosystems, and much more.
CryptoKitties, launched in 2017, was an incredibly popular early blockchain game on the Ethereum network. Players could buy, sell, breed and collect unique CryptoKitties stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Each CryptoKitty would be randomly given several unique traits, with the rarest traits making a CryptoKitty worth exponentially more than one with more common traits.
Most notably, one CryptoKitty named Dragon apparently sold back in 2018 for 600 ETH, which would make it the most expensive kitty to be sold in the game. There is some speculation that the purpose of the sale was to launder money, however we’ll never know for sure.
Unfortunately, the game’s popularity would lead to its downfall; there were so many CryptoKitties being transacted on-chain that it ended up clogging the Ethereum network and prevented other Ethereum applications from transacting properly. This ultimately led to the developers looking for an alternative network to host their furry friends.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
Bored Ape Yacht Club, or BAYC for short, is generally considered one of the “blue-chip” investments of NFT’s. Originally launched on April 30, 2021, this project quickly exploded into the mainstream; Bored Apes started appearing in profile pictures across Twitter at a breakneck pace, with the average transaction price of an Ape in January 2022 reaching 90 ETH, or around $218,000 USD.
Holders of any Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT are given lifetime access to, as their website describes, “a swamp club for apes”, and often receive generous perks for being a member. So far, these perks have been incredibly lucrative for Ape holders – each holder received a free “Mutant Serum” NFT that have sold on the secondary market, OpenSea, for upwards of $10,000 a piece, amongst other profitable rewards.
Another unique concept implemented in BAYC is “the bathroom wall”, where each Ape holder is able to draw a single pixel on a canvas every 15 minutes. Eventually, a secret puzzle called the Mysterious Note will appear – the first to solve the puzzle will win 5 ETH and one Bored Ape. This is the first of many community-driven events hosted by the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which will make it an interesting project to watch over the long term.
VeeFriends, an NFT project by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, has seen wild growth since its inception in May of 2021. The project is a collection of just over 10,000 unique NFTs drawn by Gary himself, each of which gives the holder a unique set of special perks.
For example, “Gift Goat” is set to distribute 18 gifts to each one of the project’s holders. These gifts range from physical artwork to NFTs, as well as much more that has yet to be announced. Recently, holders of the Gift Goat NFT received a physical print by Danny Cole, signed by both the artist as well as Gary.
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