- Cartoon animal NFTs have been rampant in the NFT market.
- Celebrities are participating in the NFT surge and supporting projects on Twitter.
- NFT projects use meme marketing strategies to overhaul Twitter posts and gain market recognition.
NFTs are transforming user trading behavior. The 2021 NFT summer designed a new form of interacting and trading blockchain products. Digital ownership lies at the foundation of the new surge as it developed into a 2021 trend. The appeal of NFTs matches the gimmicky traits of meme coins or early 2020 DeFi projects, as it adds gamification to the entire trading experience. At the forefront of the emerging trends are creature cartoons.
The Kingdom of NFTs
Data from OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, depicts cartoonish animals as preferred exchangeable digital assets. Five of the top 10 NFTs by trading volume feature Bored Apes, Lazy Lions, Cupcats, and Sup Ducks. Moreover, DailyCoin reported a similar trend in August, where apes or penguins were driving most of the transactional volume.
CryptoKitties were the first NFTs that clogged the Ethereum network in 2017. Fast forward to 2021, and the NFT kingdom has expanded to include Sappy Seals, Woodies, Dapper Dinos, or Pudgy Penguins. Moreover, dissemination and the consumption of culture take place on Discord and Twitter. Bloomberg notes that NFTs are embedded into every aspect of our digital experience, from Twitter avatars to decentralized gaming.
Although NFTs are digital images whose value resides in their proof of ownership, the novel internet culture is financially incentivized to invest in digital assets that could ultimately surge. Interestingly, cartoonish traits are observed in DeFi platforms, such as Uniswap or Pancakeswap, which ultimately surged to gain market dominance.
One can argue that individuals interacting with the Animal NFT kingdom showcase traits of fandom. However, Mark Duffett, author of Understanding Fandom, argues that “an individual’s personal fandom does not always last,” illustrating that NFT investors enter the digital culture seeking only financial gains rather than belonging.
However, in a Twitter space discussion, Gary Vaynerchuk, social entrepreneur, said that he invests in NFTs to show support for artists. To that end, trading and investor behavior change based on one’s social and financial capital.
On The Flipside
- NFTs are highly speculative, and individuals invest similarly with meme stocks and other blockchain products.
- Celebrity involvement over inflates the value of an NFT project, creating a false sense of value.
- Traders are susceptible to financial loss due to the lack of liquidity and demand in the market.
Value through Network
Twitter user and NFT investor, G.money, told DailyCoin that NFTs are the “ultimate flex,” conveying a new status for NFT participants. NFTs such as Bored Ape Yacht club, whose market value averages 37.5 ETH at the time of writing, are a symbol of NFT affiliation. In addition, several celebrities have changed their avatars to show status. However, DappRadar notes that NFT collections do not “flash any immediate tangible utility,” suggesting users are only investing in the what-if.
Owning and showcasing one’s NFT through a different medium is a socially constructed mechanism of relating to the NFT culture. Although not all avatars reflect the person who purchased them, they do help propagate the notion of belonging and exclusivity. However, NFTs are purely speculative. According to Andrés Guadamuz, a professor at the University of Sussex, changing one’s profile picture to an NFT lion or a seal is intended to create awareness and ultimately generate market FOMO.
Thus, cartoon NFTs are circumventing the complex underlying technologies by showcasing a familiar and straightforward facade, allowing financial decisions to flow easier through the network. Single creature NFTs, or the NFT kingdom, have become ever popular in the crypto space, with The Verge stating that if it’s “cute enough, people might still be willing to spend a fortune to get one.”
Why You Should Care?
The success of an NFT is not guaranteed by the quality or the value it adds to the market. Instead, NFTs become popular because they fit a specific culture, and creators can foster that community to help excite other participants in investing in a specific NFT.