Summary: NFTs are a specialized niche of crypto; they’re only appropriate if you really love collecting. Even then, they should not compose more than 1% of your portfolio. For those who want to invest, here are the top NFT projects.
With the NFT market down 97% from its highs, it can feel like the fad is over. But if you really believe in these digital collectibles as a long-term investment, it can be a great time to buy.
As we said in our Investor’s Guide to NFTs, think of them like collecting any other exotic investment: rare wines, classic cars, or even vintage baseball cards.
To help you discover the NFT collections with the most traction, we’ve compiled some of the top NFT projects of 2022. Read on.
|Network||Number of NFTs||Total Sales ($)||Total Transactions||Floor Price ($)||Members Only (Y/N)|
|Okay Bears||Solana||10K||$139M||31.6K||59.8 SOL/
|Bored Ape Yacht Club||Ethereum||10K||$2.5B||33.7K||70 ETH/$85,400||No|
|Mutant Ape Yacht Club||Ethereum||19.4K||$1.7B||54.3K||13.7 ETH/
|Crypto Punks||Ethereum||10K||$2.4B||22.6K||Not available||No|
|Otherdeed for Otherside||Ethereum||100K||$1.2B||76.8K||1.3 ETH/
|Primates||Solana||10K||Not available||Not available||17.35 SOL/
|Sandbox LANDs||Ethereum||166K||$373M||68K||1 ETH/
Most people with a passing knowledge of NFTs are familiar with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs built on Ethereum. Each Bored Ape contains different characteristics, with some being rarer than others. For example, only 3% of Bored Apes have biker vests, and only 5% have red fur.
The rarer the trait, the more expensive the Bored Ape will likely be. All the Bored Ape NFTs were initially available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and they sold out quickly. Now, they are available on OpenSea, a secondary market that acts as an eBay for NFTs.
As the name suggests, the Bored Ape Yacht Club brands itself as an exclusive social organization. NFT holders get access to an exclusive Discord channel, where fellow members (including some high-profile celebrities) hang out and chat. Additionally, owning a Bored Ape NFT grants you access to more NFT collectibles, which can be resold at a higher value.
CryptoPunks was one of the earliest NFT projects based on the Ethereum blockchain. CryptoPunks has 10,000 algorithmically generated NFT avatars that each contain unique attributes. The avatars were inspired by the 70s British punk scene, which reflected the blockchain community’s anti-establishment, rebellious nature.
While every avatar is unique, some contain rarer traits than others. For example, over 9,000 of the NFTs are human men and women, but a select few are designs of zombies, aliens, and apes. Therefore, the NFTs with unique attributes may be more valuable than the others.
CryptoPunks was created by John Watkinson and Matt Hall, the founders of Larva Labs, a New York-based software company. Originally, Watkinson and Hall created the characters as an experiment and thought they might turn them into a smartphone app or game. Instead, they ended up with a successful NFT collection with a market cap of over $5 billion as of November 2022. (There is currently no floor price for CryptoPunks, because they’re not for sale.)
Launched in August 2021, the Mutant Ape Yacht Club is an offshoot of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The Mutant Ape NFT collection was created to reward Bored Ape NFT holders with secondary NFTs that spawned or “mutated” from their original Bored Apes. While the Mutant Ape NFTs differ from the Bored Ape NFTs, they hold similar characteristics.
The Mutant Ape Yacht Club was also created to expand access and allow new members to join the Bored Ape Yacht Club. To become a member of Bored Ape, you need to own a Bored Ape NFT, Mutant Ape NFT, or another related NFT.
There are 20,000 Mutant Ape NFTs, half of which were auctioned off for ETH, Ethereum’s native token. Through the auction, users were allowed to mint a Mutant Ape NFT after making a successful bid. The remaining 10,000 NFTs were allocated to Bored Ape holders. Mutant Ape NFTs were auctioned off for around $10,000 and sold out in about an hour.
Otherdeed for Otherside is an NFT collection of metaverse land plots created by Yuga Labs, creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club. Otherdeed NFTs allow owners to claim Otherside land plots once the Otherside officially launches.
Each Otherdeed represents different sediments and environments within the Otherside universe. Each Otherdeed also contains different artifacts and resources that users can trade within Otherside by using Yuga Labs’ Apecoin. Bored and Mutant Ape Yacht Club Holders had the chance to claim one Otherdeed NFT for each BAYC or MAYC NFT they held.
Otherside plans to be an interoperable metaverse, where users can move between different metaverses. The metaverse intends to serve as an open-world game where NFT holders can own land and interact with different ecosystems and the unique beings that inhabit them.
Moonbirds is a collection of 10,000 owl NFTs launched on April 16, 2022. American entrepreneur Kevin Rose created the NFTs as a part of the Proof Collective, Rose’s members-only NFT club.
Proof Collective members got access to the first 2,000 NFTs, and another 7,875 NFTs were released to the public through a whitelist, which refers to a group of users who are given early access to NFT collections. The remaining 125 Moonbirds remain with Proof Collective admins and plan to be used for future collaborations and marketing campaigns.
Moonbirds offers various incentives to its NFT holders. Perhaps the most significant incentive is that users can stake (or “nest”) their NFTs by locking them up. Staking will allow your Moonbirds to accrue additional benefits, such as achieving more tier levels and upgrading nests to make them more profitable.
Meebits are an NFT collection of 20,000 3D voxel characters created by Larva Labs with the help of a custom generative algorithm. The Ethereum-based NFTs represent 3D characters that can be traded, animated, or used as avatars in the Metaverse.
Almost 19,000 of the Meebits are humans, with others represented as pigs, elephants, robots, skeletons, and “dissected,” which is the rarest with only five units. Each character comes with a variety of attributes, such as tattoos, earrings, beards, etc.
Launched in May 2021, Meebits are regarded as the successor to CryptoPunks, the OG NFT collection mentioned above. CryptoPunks are ideal for profile pictures on Web2 social media accounts, and Meebits are their Web3 equivalent.
The Meebits use the ERC-721 standard, which allows them to be compatible with all popular NFT marketplaces. Still, they have a built-in marketplace as well, enabling users to buy and sell new Meebits for ETH.
In March 2022, the intellectual property (IP) rights for Meebits and CryptoPunks were purchased by Yuga Labs. Today, the Meebits ecosystem is under ongoing development based on the governance proposals raised and voted on within the MeebitsDAO.
The Sandbox LAND collection consists of virtual real estate assets in The Sandbox, one of the most popular metaverse gaming ecosystems.
Each LAND is a unique digital piece of real estate. Much like developing real estate, LAND is developed by game designers to create digital experiences such as virtual buildings, games, or dioramas.
There will be a total of 166,464 LAND tokens. The NFT collection is minted on Ethereum using the ERC-721 standard. In The Sandbox, users can merge multiple LANDs to form ESTATEs. A special type of ESTATE is called a DISTRICT.
LANDs can be traded, rented to game creators, and leveraged to build assets in the Metaverse. Holders also participate in the ecosystems’ governance process.
VeeFriends is a transmedia and entertainment company led by Gary Vaynerchuk, known as Gary Vee. He created 283 unique characters for this Web3 ecosystem, originally his own doodles which have since been professionally redrawn.
Gary developed the VeeFriends NFT collection to materialize his ambitions of building an active Web3 community around his creative business passions. VeeFriend NFT holders become part of the VeeFriends community and get exclusive access to VeeCon, a multi-day event.
Vaynerchuk is a wine critic turned entrepreneur and social media mogul. A four-time New York Times bestselling author, Gary is the founder and CEO of New York-based communications VaynerX, as well as VaynerMedia and VaynerSports.
With a net worth of about $200 million, Gary Vee’s priority is to build a Web3 community, and VeeFriends plays a key role.
VeeFriend NFTs are minted on Ethereum and offer great opportunities for utility, collectibility, and community building. The inaugural collection (Series 1) was launched in May 2021. It comprises 10,255 VeeFriends tokens depicting Gary’s unique characters that were drawn manually. Every token gives admission to VeeCon 2022, 2023, and 2024. The Series 1 also includes 1,242 so-called G.O.O. tokens (Gary Originally Owned), a limited collection that goes with the G.O.O. badge.
The Series 2 collection was launched in April 2022 and features 55,555 NFTs depicting 236 characters from Series 1 and 15 new characters created specifically for the second series.
Okay Bears is an algorithmically-generated NFT collection released on the Solana blockchain in April 2022. Initially, 10,000 bears were released, each priced at 1.5 SOL.
The team behind the Okay Bears tokens wanted to cultivate a relaxed and vibrant community focused on acceptance, good vibes, and progress. An algorithm created each Okay Bears NFT character, and each NFT comes with utility, meaning it can be used for a variety of practical applications, such as exclusive access to events and experiences.
The Okay Bears NFTs sold out in one day, helping the Solana blockchain reach over $2 billion in total sales. Okay Bears has been able to separate itself from other NFT competitors by creating a unique hype around its brand. For example, some people were able to earn membership into the community by simply following a set of instructions, such as creating a poem, changing their social media profile picture, or sharing posts with a specific hashtag.
Additionally, Okay Bears strongly emphasizes creating a culture of kindness for its community members. Members can gather at The Park, an exclusive Discord channel where everyone is equal and encouraged to spread positivity.
KPR (Keeper) is a relatively new NFT ecosystem that gained attention at the end of 2022. It represents a storytelling project that plans to grow into a metaverse built around a collective narrative inspired by NFT holders.
The upcoming ‘KPRVerse’ doesn’t have a roadmap. Instead, it will gradually reveal its genesis collection, multi-player gameplay, and deconstructed role-play game (RPG), among others.
The KPR NFTs will give access to the upcoming KPRVerse, unlocking digital and physical experiences.
The NFTs represent unique characters painted in 2D by hand. The genesis collection consists of 10,000 NFTs that derive from 400 unique characters.
Even though we don’t know where KPR is going, many in the crypto community tout this as a top project.
Azuki is an anime-themed NFT collection that had one of the most successful drops in the history of NFTs. The collection of 10,000 NFTs, which was released on January 12, 2022, sold out within three minutes for over $30 million in total.
In the following weeks, as word began to spread about the successful launch, the Azuki collection reached almost $300 million in transaction volume across the market. Azuki NFTs can now mostly be found on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible.
The popularity of Azuki NFTs is partially due to their characteristics, as the artwork attracted many anime enthusiasts. The brand has also employed several clever marketing tactics, including collaborating with the Korean hip-hop trio Epik High.
Purchasing an Azuki NFT grants you access to The Garden, an exclusive online club that will include NFT drops, live events, streetwear collabs, and more.
Primates is a collection of 10,000 ape avatar NFTs: it’s a Bored Apes knockoff for Solana. The collection was minted on June 14, 2022, with a starting price of 4 SOL.
Primates focuses its brand on community and streetwear fashion. It wants its NFT space to be primarily for those interested in collecting and reselling streetwear. Primate NFT holders will have exclusive access to streetwear pieces from the Primates collection, as well as early access to drops. It also plans to integrate Solana Pay into its digital storefront, so users can connect their wallets and directly purchase items from drops with SOL.
How do I choose an NFT project? If you believe that collecting NFTs is like collecting art, then first do your research on How to Collect Art.
Remember that uniqueness is critical for collecting art, perhaps even more so in collecting NFTs, since thousands can be generated from a single algorithm. The “first of something” is generally more valuable (e.g., CryptoPunks, the first NFT collection; the first in an NFT series; the first series from an artist).
Second, look at the NFT’s mission statement to understand the advantages of owning a specific NFT. Many NFTs now have utility beyond bragging rights, so examine what exclusive rights you’ll get by being an NFT holder (i.e., exclusive access to Discord channels or IRL events).
Third, become a Premium member to get access to our complete library of NFT scorecards, already rated and reviewed by our analysts. (Or use our blank NFT Investor Scorecard to rate and review an NFT collection yourself.)
What NFTs should I invest in? Any of the above NFTs could potentially make profitable long-term investments, but exercise caution. Before buying, be sure to look into the NFT’s liquidity, market volume, and long-term price performance. As is always true when investing in volatile assets (but especially NFTs), don’t invest more than you’re willing to lose.
Why are NFTs so expensive? They’re scarce (even if the scarcity is artificial). Each collection contains a limited number of NFTs, and this perceived scarcity alone can drive up prices.
Many NFT collections also have utility, giving owners exclusive access to events, merch drops, and even licensing rights. NFTs are inherently unique and non-interchangeable, meaning no one else has rights to the NFTs you own unless you sell them.
Finally, NFTs may be expensive due to a hype-fueled bubble. If you’re uncertain about investing in NFTs, it’s probably best to sit them out.
The NFT collections presented here have been great investment opportunities. Many also give additional benefits like access to exclusive events, or voting rights on the project itself – benefits which could grow over time.
Other collections can be developed to grow in value. For example, you can buy Sandbox LAND in a great location, and rent it to game developers or big brands looking to build assets in the Metaverse.
Nevertheless, investing in NFTs carries many risks, especially since they’re so new. Therefore, do your due diligence before investing in NFTs – or become a Premium member to get access to our complete library of NFT scorecards, rated and reviewed by our analysts.
Don’t fall behind as the cryptoverse expands. Subscribe to Bitcoin Market Journal and keep up to date with NFTs, DeFi, blockchain developments, and more!