Last week, the NFT market crossed a milestone, but not a good one. Remember the fantastic NFT sales that have been reported from Meebits and Loot? Well, although sound projects by themselves, the sales figures were overwhelmingly fake, accounting for over $8 billion.
This market manipulation is called wash trading, where buyers pretend to be sellers to create illusionary market liquidity. Creating such an illusion is particularly important for illiquid assets like NFTs, because high market liquidity translates to a better shot at getting those resale bucks.
Although prohibited in the stock market world, wash trading is technically legal in the blockchain space. Therefore, one has to rely on market self-governance for the time being. Overall, 2021 turned out to be a fantastic year for NFTs, generating $44.2 billion, a 416x jump from 2020.
From the latest round of big-name NFT adoption, the trend is clearly heading upwards, with or without wash sales.
Japanese StreetWear To Launch NFT (B)Apetaverse
How fortunate that bored and mutant apes have already become one of the best-selling NFT brands. A Japanese fashion company had long ago tapped into ape power by naming itself A Bathing Ape in 1993, before even the Internet took off.
A Bathing Ape (BAPE) covers the entire gamut of clothing, from shoes to jackets, all oriented toward younger people who seek a more eclectic and casual approach to fashing.
In short, BAPE’s design philosophy and long-standing ape theme lend itself perfectly to a generative NFT collection. The official launch site, bapetaverse.com, is still teasing us with the company’s brand logo. However, given the -verse ambitious approach, it will be interesting how BAPE will integrate NFTs into their business?
Perhaps, they will buy virtual land parcels for NFT wearables and shops, mirroring physical items to NFTs in the virtual space of blockchain gaming. Or, will they just settle for a good old-fashioned NFT collection to promote a 2020 spring collection? Nobody yet has a clue.
Hello Kitty Metaverse
Japan is hitting us with another contribution to the NFT space. This time, from the iconic Hello Kitty, an anthropomorphized female cat, few in facial features but cute nonetheless. It is fair to say that what Mickey Mouse is to the West, Hello Kitty is to Japan. Hailing all the way back from 1975, Hello Kitty has spawned an immense ecosystem of products on a global scale.
From notebooks and pencils to dolls and bags, Hello Kitty graced 50,000 types of goodies covering 130 countries.
Of course, this also includes dozens of cartoons and video games, all under the supervision of Japanese Sanrio corp. One of the most popular ones was Hello Kitty Online (HKO), a wholesome, pink-infused MMORPG featuring the adventures of the 48-year-old cat. Unfortunately, it shut down in 2017, which leads us to the NFT party Sanrio is preparing for us.
Although the continuation of HKO would have been a perfect integration for Hello Kitty NFTs, Sanrio has big plans for an entire NFT metaverse revolving around the brand. Keep in mind that Sanrio holds its own festivals, called Hello Kitty Land Tokyo, also known as Sanrio Puroland. Some of them are even virtual ones. Meaning, all the ingredients are there for epic Hello Kitty tokenization.
Sanrio CEO Tomokuni Tsuji forecasts that players could spend 300 billion hours in the HK metaverse by 2030. This could certainly turn out true. The Hello Kitty brand is extremely valuable at $84.5b, sandwiched between the top earner Pokémon ($105b) and Disney’s Mickey ($80.3b).
You can keep abreast of HK NFT developments by following them on Twitter. The launch should happen during Q1 or Q2 2022 on Ethereum blockchain or its layer 2 scalability networks.
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair Enters Blockchain Play-To-Earn Arena
It is always disappointing when celebrities and companies merely settle for static NFT collections, but not this time. The 16-time World Wrestling champion, aka Nature Boy, is using his iconic persona to launch 100 NFTs in March, ahead of the play-to-earn (P2E) game that should launch during Q2 2022.
Both will be hosted on an exceedingly cheap and gaming-specialized blockchain WAX, standing for Worldwide Asset eXchange. Although less decentralized than Ethereum, WAX is all about performance and affordability. Because of its high network throughput, WAX is poised to become a significant player in the video gaming space.
In numbers, this translates to 500-millisecond block time and zero-fee transactions. In contrast, Ethereum’s current block time is vastly longer at 14 seconds, and let’s not even talk about ETH gas fees. Ric Flair’s NFTs will join Blockchain Brawlers as playable characters, similar to blobby Axies in Axie Infinity.
‘Nature Boy’ Rick Flair will be tokenized in a number of variations across 100 packs. Official Blockchain Brawlers Discord channel is the way to get whitelisted before the launch in early March.
Of course, there is some rarity and lottery involved as well. Some packs, limited to 100 lucky players, will contain Ric Flair’s Legendary drop and Ring NFT across four editions: Standard, Hard Core, Cage Match, and Death Match. Lastly, all prospective buyers will have an ultra chance to score NFTs wearing three ultra-rare belts: National Champion, Metaverse Champion, and World Champion.
Coachella Tokenizes Its Festival Passes
Tickets have always been an ideal target for NFT transformation. They bind two functions — identity verification (even anonymous) and tradeable memorabilia. Ticketmaster had already partnered with the National Football League (NFL) last November to launch NFTs to commemorate Super Bowls.
Now, it’s time for festivals. Annually held in Indio, California, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is known to attract celebrities. Some of them have made appearances recently, with Justin Bieber and Jared Leto being the more notable ones.
Catering to urbanized, young and hip audiences, Coachella partnered with FTX US crypto exchange to build its NFT marketplace. The first three collections were launched on February 4, with dozens more piling up.
As you can tell by the size of bids, Coachella NFT collections are suitable for a more elitist, celebrity-grade crowd, although there are many NFTs under $500 as well. When it comes to the Coachella Keys Collection, it consists of ten NFTs, giving buyers lifetime passes for the festival.
This includes permanent access to the upcoming “access to Coachella-produced virtual experiences.” Presently, the lowest bid is at $26k.
Mysterious Artist Pak Launches NFT Support for Julian Assange
Julian Assange proved in no uncertain terms that real journalism is as dangerous in the West as it is in North Korea. Founder of Wiki Leaks, he was subjected to years-long embassy exile, following the now admitted rape hoax from Sweden. In other words, there was hardly a dirty trick left that wasn’t employed against him for doing journalism.
With his future in peril, an anonymous but well-known artist is tokenizing their support for Assange. Going by the name Murat Pak, or just Pak, they have made a name for themselves with minimalistic, abstract art. Even his Twitter bio says, “The Nothing,” while their website is just a thick white circle.
During last April on Sotheby’s auction, it is estimated that Pak accrued $23 million from NFT sales. Even more impressively, Pak’s novel The Merge collection generated $91.8 million on Nifty Gateway.
Pak’s support for Assange will arrive under the title Censored, consisting of two parts, a dynamic 1/1 and an open edition for bids.
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