The world of digital art and collectibles has exploded in recent years, with the emergence of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) allowing artists and creators to monetize their work in new and exciting ways.
Nevertheless, the rise of NFTs has also given way to a new phenomenon: the meme economy. One of the most notable meme projects in the NFT space is Nakamigos. With the success of Nakamigos has come a flood of copycats, including Magamigos and Nakamigas.
NFT Traders Defy Market Conditions
Despite the current NFT market conditions being less favorable compared to previous times, NFT traders continue investing heavily in the ecosystem. Leading projects like Azuki and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) are keeping up trading momentum by releasing new products, while lesser-known creators are utilizing mechanics like open edition mints and dynamic NFTs to generate interest.
However, there has been a decrease in leading brand deals and high-value NFT sales, and new projects that gain widespread appeal have been rare in 2023. Recently, there has been an increase in NFT projects referencing meme culture and current events.
Notable examples include Mason Rothschild’s This Artwork is Subject to Change and Jack Butcher’s Checks VV. However, other popular meme projects like Goblintown and Art Gobblers have seen a decline in trading activity.
Some analysts and traders are left perplexed by the seemingly sudden huge success of Nakamigos. It is worth noting that this project has released 20,000 NFTs about pixelated avatars.
The project, launched in March 2022, takes inspiration from Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, and adds “amigo,” the Spanish word for friend, to create Nakamigos. The artwork for the collection pays homage to CryptoPunks’ pixelated profile picture compilation.
Despite being relatively new to the market, Nakamigos gained immense acceptance and surpassed the Bored Ape Yacht Club in lifetime trades within days. The project has generated 21,035 ETH in trading, equivalent to about $39 million, with a floor price of 0.5 ETH, or about $930.
Following Nakamigos’ successful debut, numerous derivative ventures linked to Nakamigos appeared. Two such derivatives are Nakamigas, a collection of pixelated avatars depicting females, and Magamigos, a set of 5,000 pixelated avatars representing ex-President Donald Trump following his latest indictment.
These ventures help market participants to understand NFT trends in real time. Even though the NFT market enjoys a surge in trade volume generated by novel, buzz-worthy ventures, the effect typically remains short-lived.
It adheres to a familiar pattern of imitative experiences clinging to a development.
Internet Memes And The Cryptocurrency Culture
Often, internet memes go viral for a short period, resulting in brief yet impressive outcomes. This transience may be a contributing factor that motivates individuals to create more memes, ensuring online culture’s continued growth and vitality.
This culture has led to the rise of meme coins, including Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coins, and the promotion of cryptocurrency terms such as HODL and DYOR. Additionally, the popularity of Bitcoin has prompted celebrities to incorporate “laser eyes” into their Twitter profile pictures to display their support for the digital currency.
Meanwhile, not all memes have negative connotations. For instance, the infamous Pepe the Frog character has been repurposed from a symbol of racism to an emblem of crypto strength, appearing in many NFT projects.
A top-level executive at Fireblocks, a cryptocurrency custody firm, and creator of the meme-inspired NFT collection Seize the Meebs, Sergio Silva, said, “to grasp the connection between memes and crypto fully, it is crucial to revisit the concept of what constitutes a meme.” Silva explained that a meme is a concept that gains social acceptance through its viral nature, representing something in the process.
Within NFT communities, which primarily focus on visual objects, memes take on a new meaning as they illustrate various concepts constantly repeated and used to propagate culture, consciously or subconsciously.
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