Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 17, 2022]

Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 17, 2022]

Created 2yr ago, last updated 2yr ago

CoinMarketCap and Nansen looks at some of the most exciting events in the NFT space— from Solana's largest NFT marketplace, Magic Eden raising $27M, to Warner Bros launching DC Comics NFTs.

Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 17, 2022]

Table of Contents

Investors have continued to bet big on non-fungible token (NFT) startups. While Solana’s largest NFT marketplace Magic Eden has raised $27 million in a Series A funding round, a $30 million crypto fund has been created to invest exclusively in NFTs. Meanwhile, owners of CryptoPunks will now be able to enjoy full IP rights following a takeover by Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Yuga Labs.

Here’s some of the hottest NFT stories over the past week.

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NFTs May Be Coming to Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg Reveals

In January, the Financial Times reported that Meta and Instagram would soon enable support for NFTs. It appears the rumors are true as the CEO of Instagram’s parent company Meta confirmed on Tuesday that digital collectibles will be coming to the photo and video sharing app.

Mark Zuckerberg made the disclosure at the SXSW conference, even though he didn’t reveal any specific details on when the feature would be enabled on Instagram.

“We’re working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term,” Zuckerberg reportedly said during his appearance at the conference. He hopes that users will be able to mint the clothes of their digital avatars as NFTs.

Mila Kunis’ Studio Launches New NFT Animated Series, The Gimmicks

The digital arm of actress Mila Kunis’ Orchard Farm Productions, Sixth Wall, has teamed up with Web3 animation studio Toonstar to launch a Solana-based NFT animated series.

Dubbed “The Gimmicks,” the animated series is about a group of retired professional wrestlers who are trying to reclaim their glory days in the ring. Interestingly, the new series features a “choose your own adventure” mode, which will allow NFT holders to vote on the storyline, plots and characters in each episode.

Speaking to reporters, the CEO of Toonstar John Attanasio described the series as “South Park meets WWE, but interactive and greasier.” Notably, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars like Rocky Romero, Karl “Machine Gun,” and Luke “Doc” Gallows voice some of the characters.

According to Attanasio, the idea for the show came about after the WWE fired pro wrestlers Luke and Karl during the heat of the COVID-19 outbreak. He explained:

“They reached out about collaborating on some animated shorts for social media so that they could get their stories out and keep their creative juices flowing, and preserve their sanity.”

It was at this point that Toonstar began working on the concept for the NFT animated series. The script for the show is being written by Dave Ihlenfeld and David Wright, who previously worked on the popular animated hits Family Guy and The Simpsons.

As for the NFTs, they are free to mint and will go live on March 18 on the show’s website. Each wallet is allowed to mint 3 NFTs.
“Each Gimmicks NFT will be a distinct character with unique characteristics and personalities. Gimmicks will come with commercial rights so you can create your own narrative and have it included in The Gimmicks Wiki and perhaps even in the show!”

Commenting on the upcoming series, Kunis said:

“I see the tech and community that comes with NFTs and Web3 allowing for the audience to directly communicate with and inform creators of what they like and what they don't,” Kunis told CoinDesk in a statement […] The Gimmicks allows us to experiment with what it looks like to create in and around a community, taking the tech seriously but keeping the content fun.”

Solana NFT Marketplace Magic Eden Raises $27M

On Monday, Magic Eden announced a $27 million Series A round led by Paradigm. Other participants in the round include Sequoia, Solana Ventures, Electric Capital, Greylock Partners, Kindred Capital and Variant Fund.

The new capital will be used to expand Magic Eden’s workforce, secure future partnerships, as well as channeled towards product development. Co-founder and CEO Jack Lu said:

“Magic Eden will be much more than a place for users to purchase NFTs. Our goal is to make a clear distinction between Web2 and Web3, allowing creators, collectors, and supporters to engage with each other and lead the direction of their online interactions.”
Magic Eden is currently Solana’s largest NFT marketplace, recording a total trading volume of over $736 million since its launch last year.
Meanwhile, the NFT platform might soon have to contend with OpenSea as a direct competitor. Back in January, CoinMarketCap reported that OpenSea would soon roll out support for Solana NFTs.

Ukraine to Use NFTs to Tell Russian Invasion Story

From an NFT of the Ukrainian flag selling for $6.75 million to multi-million donations from NFT collections, Ukraine has been a major beneficiary of the crypto industry.

Having received over $100 million in crypto donations since Russia began its invasion, the country is looking to tap on NFTs to raise more funds, as well as tell a story of the Russian invasion.

According to the minister of digital transformation Alex Bornyakov, the upcoming NFTs will depict the Russia-Ukraine war, with each token featuring a piece of art representing a story from a trusted source.

Proceeds from the sales will be used to fund media activities and buy military equipment. The minister said:

“We don’t use this fund to buy weapons at this point. We’re buying night vision goggles, optics, helmets, bulletproof vests.”

Warner Bros. Launches DC Comics Trading Cards With Redeemable NFTs

Warner Bros. is set to release 6 million DC Comics-inspired trading cards packaged with redeemable NFTs.

Priced from $5 to $120, this is the world’s first “hybrid” collection of DC cards. Buyers will have to download a mobile app called Hro to redeem the NFT components of their physical cards or to trade other NFTs from the collections. According to Pam Lifford, President, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences, “trading cards have been a favorite of fans for decades. Combining that enthusiasm for collecting with a custom NFT is just brilliant, and this program brings the DC brand to fans in a way that’s never been done before.” He added:

“This platform will provide fans a whole new way to engage with their favorite characters from across the DC Multiverse and even expand their ability to interact with other collectors.”

Each physical trading card will have a unique QR code that can be used to access the digital “twin” on the Hro app.

The collection, which will be available later this month, is being designed by card and board game company Cartamundi. There will be 155 different superheroes, with plans to release a few limited-edition cards based on the latest DC Comics film, “The Batman.”

Marc Andreessen Backs $30M Crypto Fund Exclusively Investing in NFTs

Two years back, anyone investing in digital collectibles would probably have been called a lunatic. However, a lot has changed in the NFT scene since Beeple sold his First 5,000 Days collection for $69 million in March 2021.

Now, institutional investors are looking to delve deeper into the NFT frenzy. Backed by some of the biggest names in the crypto and Web3 space, a new investment fund has been launched to invest exclusively in NFTs.

The $30 million fund called Curated is backed by a sizable chunk of a16z’s investing team (Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon, Andrew Chen, Arianna Simpson and Jon Lai), as well as Electric Capital’s Avichal Garg and Curtis Spencer, Reddit and Seven Seven Six Ventures founder Alexis Ohanian, Justin Kan and a host of other investors and in the space. It was co-founded by Todd Goldberg and Andrew Jiang.

Curated plans to invest about 50 percent of the funds in so-called “blue-chip” NFTs like Bored Apes, CryptoPunks and Art Blocks. The other half of the funds will be channeled toward “high potential collections” from creators with smaller markets.

The fund plans to invest about half of the fund in so-called “blue-chip NFTs,” including popular projects like CryptoPunks, Art Blocks and Bored Apes, as well as works from popular artists selling singular NFT works. The other half of the fund is going into what Jiang and Goldberg deem as “high potential collections” from artists with smaller existing markets.

Speaking to reporters, Goldberg said:

“We want to become a very high-signal collector that acquires the top assets and is also helpful to creators and builders […] The market has been frothy, however, we’re kind of entering a bear market, which is actually great for the fund as we are very patient capital. We’ll wait for the best opportunities to enter these positions and then we’ll just hold these things long-term.”

Yuga Labs Buys CryptoPunks IP from Larva Labs

Yuga Labs, the company behind the famed Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), has purchased the intellectual property rights of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. Could this be the breath of fresh air that CryptoPunks needs to thrive?

While the BAYC NFTs have had an impressive run since the beginning of the year, CryptoPunks has had a relatively silent year. For one, the creators of CryptoPunks have been very silent about IP rights, and this has fueled a lot of discontent in its community. As a result, a well-known collector was forced to sell his CryptoPunk for around $10 million in January. The pseudonym collector named Punk4156 said:
“Over that time, it became clear to me that there was probably no chance that I would ever own the rights to the thing that I was building,” he said. “It's just kind of an illogical position to continue building your brand around something over which you don't have the strongest claim.”
It appears things are about to change for CryptoPunk holders as Yuga Labs is set to grant a full commercial license to owners. The company said in a statement:
"With this acquisition Yuga Labs will own the CryptoPunks and Meebit brands and logos, and as they’ve done with their own BAYC collection, Yuga Labs will transfer IP, commercial, and exclusive licensing rights to individual NFT holders."

For some perspective, Yuga Labs granted full license to BAYC NFT holders to use their avatars for whatever commercial activity they choose. This has given birth to several Bored Ape-branded businesses like the Gorillaz-inspired “metaverse band” from Universal Music Group and the Arizona Iced Tea ad campaign.

Yuga Labs was, however, quick to stress that its main focus is still on the Apes, at least for now. The company tweeted:

"To be clear: the BAYC ecosystem will remain the center of our universe. We believe that what's good for Punks is good for Apes and the rest of the space. Likewise, what's good for Apes is good for Punks. We want to grow the pie, not fight over slices."
Meanwhile, the trading volume of CryptoPunks surged by over 1,000 percent following the announcement.  Data from Nansen revealed that secondary market sales of the Ethereum NFT collection spiked to 4,026 ETH ($10.7M) in volume on the day of the announcement, a 1,053% increase from the previous day. Volume remained high the day after, ending the day off with 3,520 ETH ($9.3M) in volume.
Meebits saw a similar uptick in interest after the announcement, having its own rise of over 1,200 percent on the day itself. Total volume for the collection peaked at 4,876 ETH ($12.9M), surpassing that of CryptoPunks. The collection has been known for being wash traded on LooksRare. However, Nansen has a wash trading filter on its NFT analytics dashboards, allowing users to remove the noise and get a more accurate view on the true trading volume of the collection.

Nansen’s NFT-500 Index Down 21% in the Past Month

Nansen’s NFT-500 index is a broad index that tracks market activity of ETH based collections. The index consists of the top 500 collections weighted by market capitalization and represents an average of 85% of daily trading volumes since 1 Jan 2022. Think of the index as the NFT equivalent of the S&P 500 index. The index currently sits at 1,795 index points, having peaked at 2,192 on Feb. 18, 2022, and hit a low of 1,676 on March 10, 2022. Index points represent what $1,000 invested on Jan. 1, 2022, would be worth today.
While most collections are still down from their all time highs, many have had nice bounces over the last 7 days. Check out Nansen’s NFT indexes if you’re keen on doing your own investigation!
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