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Up, up, up to Goblintown

by Khor Win Win

It seems that the decoupling is real after all, but perhaps it didn’t go down the way most crypto natives expected it to. While the legacy markets maintained their strength throughout the week, the same cannot be said for the wider crypto market. As Bitcoin, along with other major cryptocurrencies, took quite the tumble, one can only wonder how the NFT market is holding up, while just barely recovering from a few weeks earlier. Read on as we check back in on how the NFT markets are faring. 

 

BNBack Again?

blockchains nft volume cryptoslamSource: CryptoSlam

While most networks recorded much lower cumulative sales over the past seven days, there were a couple of surprise winners. Flow, which has taken over Polygon in the top 3 based on trading volume, was the biggest loser of the week, with sales reduced by nearly a quarter. As the home of NBA TopShot, a marketplace where users can trade NFTs featuring clips of various basketball players, the Flow blockchain saw a lot of activity at the beginning of the NFT boom in early 2021. The current resurgence has coincided with the NBA Conference Finals (and soon the NBA Finals) which are currently in full swing.

Trading volumes on BNB Chain, previously known as Binance Smart Chain, have risen exponentially by nearly 50%. A large portion of this rise in activity is probably due to STEPN, a Move-to-Earn app that rewards players for walking or running. The project recently launched a separate version of the game on BNB Chain, with its own independent ecosystem of sneakers and GST tokens. As the network that managed to pull in the retail crowd with hundreds of dog and meme-related coins, it would be no surprise if we see a short-term revival of ‘BSC season’, as STEPN continues to gain traction there. However, with the recent ban on players from mainland China, it is more likely that the surge in trading volume is coming from these users that are now forced to liquidate their sneakers as they are unable to generate further revenue from the game.

opensea dappradar statistics

magic eden dappradar statisticsMagic Eden and OpenSea on-chain statistics (Source: DappRadar)

On the other side of things, it seems that the Solana NFT season has definitely proven itself to be more than just a trend. In a shocking turn of events, Magic Eden finally managed to surge past OpenSea in daily volume on 24 and 25 May, logging $48M and $23M in sales respectively. This coincided with a slumping OpenSea that has been pulling in the lowest daily volumes since August 2021, which meant the stage was basically set for Magic Eden and Solana NFTs to perform the “flippening”. But alas, the magic was short-lived, and OpenSea quickly regained its seat on the throne in the subsequent days once interest in the Trippin Ape Tribe cooled down (more on this later). Even though the weekly trading volume on Magic Eden was less than half of OpenSea’s just a couple of weeks ago, both marketplaces are now close to reaching parity. Granted, NFT volumes on Solana only decreased by 5% in the past week, but if things continue as they are, the flippening might really just become a weekly reality.

Just like last week, Magic Eden managed to accumulate more transactions compared to OpenSea again, swelling past the 2.5M mark which is 4 times more than the entirety of OpenSea’s. Bear in mind Magic Eden has managed to accomplish this feat through Solana NFTs alone, against the multichain presence of OpenSea across Ethereum, Polygon and Solana. Although the user count for Magic Eden has diminished a little in the last week, it’s still hot on the heels of OpenSea.   

top solana nft marketplace dappradarTop Solana NFT Marketplaces (Source: DappRadar)

The prospect of OpenSea being dethroned doesn’t sound too far-fetched as compared to last year, but this feat is even more impressive when you consider the massive gap between Magic Eden and other native marketplaces on Solana. The third most popular exchange, Solanart, barely accounts for 0.2% of the weekly trading volume on Magic Eden. Even on OpenSea, Solana NFTs currently account for less than 5% of the platform’s trading activity. 

While OpenSea’s foray into the Solana ecosystem has been less than fruitful, it has opened the floodgates for more users to discover Solana NFTs. But rather than achieving its goal of attracting the native NFT enthusiasts on Solana to OpenSea, it seems the inverse has occurred, where instead, Magic Eden is pulling the Ethereum NFT crowds onto Solana. However, we believe that this increased exposure to Solana NFTs is not the sole contributing factor to Magic Eden’s incredible growth, and is in part, thanks to a better user interface and user experience.

jpegd lending vaultsJPEG’d Lending Vaults (Source: JPEG’d)

In the wake of diminishing volumes, we have seen a Cambrian explosion of various lending platforms, specifically tailored for NFT owners to obtain an on-chain loan by using their beloved JPEGS as collateral. Pine, JPEG’d and NFTfi are just some of these protocols that support a wide range of whitelisted assets which meet each platform’s criteria to be accepted as collateral, particularly blue chips such as CryptoPunks, Cool Cats, and Moonbirds. While waiting for NFT prices to recover, holders may want to explore some of these options by using their NFTs as collateral to gain leveraged exposure on other assets in the meantime.

 

Top Collections of the Week

opensea top nft collectionsSource: OpenSea; Snapshot taken 27 May 2022

Goblintown might be (deliberately) ugly, but that didn’t stop it from going up, up, up on the charts. The words “No roadmap. No Discord. No utility.” are plastered on their website but Goblintown’s floor price still skyrocketed to 2.3 ETH, just 4 days after its free mint. It briefly dipped to ~1.4 ETH after but has since recovered with vengeance to just below 3 ETH at the time of writing.

Many expressed incredulity at the rise in prominence of such a hideous PFP collection with no utility, but while Goblintown’s ascent was unexpected, it was hardly surprising. Cryptoverse has always been a space heavily driven by narratives and memes (case in point: all the Shiba/Floki tokens that cropped up after Elon Musk’s Tweet). Goblintown’s self-aware, seasonal theme (or meme) in a market mired with bearish sentiments and sliding prices struck a chord with the cryptoverse. Advocates could argue that Goblintown is more than just a PFP project. Sure, it might not have any roadmap or utility and its aesthetics might be off putting to some, but the artstyle, the crass languages, the Goblin mumble jumble - all of these are storytelling tools that are part of a performance art (debatable). The question comes - is this worth $6000? That’s for you and the market to decide but at least for now, the answer seems to be yes

It’s important to understand however that Goblintown, just like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, just like Ghozali Everyday, is fueled by a powerful force that has always dominated the space - memes. And just like all the memes that blew up in the past, copycats and derivatives of Goblintown such as Elftown also started popping up. Will this last through the ages or fade like so many fads have in the past? That remains to be seen. Regardless, Goblintown isn’t a harbinger of the NFT space heading in the wrong direction, it’s always been like this. Whether or not this should be the case is an entirely different discussion.

While Goblintown was stealing the spotlight on Ethereum, Trippin’ Ape Tribe overtook Okay Bears as the poster child of Solana NFTs. Within 48 hours of its launch on 24 May, Magic Eden usurped OpenSea’s throne to become the leading NFT marketplace in volume traded. Solana NFTs also yielded more trading volume than Ethereum within the same period of time, according to CryptoSlam. As of now, there are two Solana NFTs sitting within the Top 10 spots, namely Trippin’ Ape Tribe and Okay Bears. Many more Solana NFT collections are slated to drop soon and if one or more of these performs as well, we might just get to witness the “flippening” again.

Another emerging trend is that more and more new projects (e.g. Goblintown, Chimpers, AINightBirds, Moonbirds Oddities) are breaking into the Top Collections ranks. In the past weeks, blue chip projects such as BAYC, MAYC, and Cryptopunks dominated the ranks but their floor prices and trading volume have since slid close to 50% in the past month. New projects, especially in their early phases, generally have a lower floor price vs. more established collections, which also means there is a higher (potential) upside for traders to capitalize on. All of this alludes to a shift in the risk preference of NFT traders, favoring new, up-and-coming collections that offer high-risk, high-reward at a relatively more affordable cost. Such a phenomenon is reminiscent of yesteryear’s NFT Summer where users fervently hunted down new mints for quick profits.

In other news, unlike Azuki which saw a swift revival after its supposed seppuku, Milady Maker failed to carry off a miraculous return. At the time of writing, the floor price is still sitting at ~0.4 ETH, a 73% decrease from 1.5 ETH before the crash. The cryptoverse may have exhibited an appetite for ugly aesthetics but as it turns out, there are levels of ugliness after all and the shocking allegations against Milady Maker might have been the final nail to its coffin.

 

What else are we paying attention to

1. SudoAMM Sneak Peek

Just last week, SudoSwap launched the front-end of their NFT marketplace for holders of the 0xmons NFT holders. We had a chance to take a closer look at the SudoAMM, where users can trade their ETH for NFTs and vice versa, and even pool NFT and tokens into a liquidity pool to earn fees. Think of it as providing dual-sided liquidity as you normally would on Uniswap, but using NFTs and another fungible token instead.

The interface is clear and simple, allowing you to create different NFT trading pools to suit your needs. For buying and selling pools, you can set limit orders and set the change in price as you purchase or sell increasing amounts of a specific NFT. In other words, adjusting the pool’s parameters allow traders to get much better prices for purchasing NFTs in bulk. For the liquidity pools, you can adjust the fees and even determine the range of liquidity that you are willing to support, ala Uniswap V3. While this is just an early preview from the SudoSwap team, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the official launch.

2. The Rise of Phygital Goods

It seems that RTFKT is keeping the hype train going by releasing its latest collection of NFTs, featuring the infamous Nike Air Force 1’s. The NFTs can be redeemed for a pair of real-world physical shoes, designed by 19 distinguished creators. Currently sitting at a floor price of just over 4.6 ETH (~$9,000), RTFKT has once again proven their demand for their NFTs, even with the market as it is.

prada timecapsule nft 

In a similar vein, Prada puts a Web 3.0 twist to its upcoming Timecapsule drop, a monthly online event that takes place on the first Thursday of every month, featuring a lineup of ultra-exclusive limited edition items. The 100 gender-neutral shirts to be released on 2 June were designed in collaboration with the son of Damien Hirst (renowned artist of The Currency), Cassius Hirst, with each shirt being paired with an NFT gift. Furthermore, all of the owners of previous Prada Timecapsule pieces would also be able to claim a corresponding NFT eventually. While this isn’t Prada’s first foray into Web 3.0, its revamp of Timecapsule to release a new NFT every month signifies the luxury brand’s gravitation towards blockchain technology. NFT and Prada enthusiasts can also join Prada Crypted, Prada’s new Discord channel to stay updated on the latest news and drops.

3. LooksBare

top ethereum nft marketplaces dapparadarTop Ethereum Marketplaces (source: DappRadar)

What was once touted as OpenSea’s greatest challenger just months ago has now faded from the leaderboard, overshadowed by stronger competitors such as X2Y2 and Gem. It certainly didn’t help that LooksRare recently cut down their reward emissions by more than half again. While it was no secret that LooksRare’s explosive start was propped up by wash trades intended to farm LOOKS rewards, the platform and community were banging on a large portion of these activities ultimately translating into organic growth overtime. So far, that has not seemed to be the case judging from its slumping metrics. The price of its governance token, LOOKS, has also reflected similar sentiments, plummeting by as much as 60% within the last 30 days. 

LooksRare’s model as a community-centric marketplace was designed to challenge and topple the more centralized nature of OpenSea. It was meant to champion the ethos of crypto and while all these sounded good in theory, the reality paints a different picture - at least for now.

 

This article was produced in collaboration with Dillon Yap. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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Khor Win Win
Khor Win Win

Win Win is an avid gamer, interested in navigating the vast world of NFTs and the cryptoverse. Follow the author on Twitter @0x5uff3r

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