NFT collectors focus on generative art and historical significance amid market rout

A handful of subsectors are managing to outperform amid a brutal NFT market pullback


Jimmy Tudeschi/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


The NFT market is in shambles as key metrics such as users, volumes, and liquidity velocity plummet and several key collections suffer pullbacks of 90% or more. 

However, there are a few perhaps-surprising subsectors showing relative strength as collectors and traders bet on generative art and historically significant collections to outperform in the long run. 

According to analytics platform Nansen, total NFT trading volume is down 49% on the month to 223,000 ether, or roughly $367 million. Total daily sales and daily active wallets have both been drifting downwards over the past 90 days. 

While the macro backdrop is bleak, the carnage is especially pronounced among certain individual collections. 

Azuki, a bullrun darling that allowed creator Chiru Labs to earn a $300 million valuation, has fallen from a floor price of 33 ether (ETH) to 3.9. Likewise, the Kevin Rose-backed Moonbirds collection has fallen steadily from April 2022 highs of 36 ETH to just 1.29 ETH today. 

Amid the wreckage, traders and collectors are beginning to coalesce around small sectors of strength. According to Nansen’s NFT indexes, the best performing sector of the year is art, where the Nansen Art-20 index is down merely 40% relative to other sectors down 50% or more.

Looking at the Art-20 component collections, generative art is especially strong. Chromie Squiggles, one of the first collections released by generative art hub Artblocks, are down just 1.7% on a 30-day basis, while Terraforms, created by generative artist Mathcastles, are down 5%. 

Historical collections are likewise beginning to outstripe younger and once-brighter offerings. In December 2021 the floor price of Bored Ape Yacht Club “flipped,” or exceeded that of the Cryptopunks collection – a move that some at the time viewed as a passing of the torch to an upstart collection that had managed to dominate the bull market. This perception was solidified in March 2022 when Yuga Labs, the creators of BAYC, bought the intellectual property rights to CryptoPunks in March 2022. 

As the bear market grinds on, however, CryptoPunks appear to have once again reclaimed their position as the preeminent NFT collection. 

Punks currently sit at a floor price of 47 ETH compared to BAYC at 27 ETH. Additionally, the higher tier rarity prices of the CryptoPunks bolsters the collection’s 772,000 ETH estimated market capitalization relative to BAYC, which sits at 291,00 ETH per Nansen data

In the past month, as the NFT price crash has intensified, the BAYC price floor has fallen by 24% while CryptoPunks are down merely 3.8%. 

The Nansen NFT-500 index is down 56% so far on the year with no immediate bottom in sight.

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