Moonbirds recently flew into the top ten highest-grossing NFT collections. The owl-based project, a generative, large-scale avatar NFT endeavor, made a splashy debut, reminding everyone that NFTs can still have massive potential.
The collection appears to be well on its way to becoming a major competitor in the Bored Ape-dominated profile picture NFT market. So, what exactly is this new collection, and how did it become so large in such a short period of time? Let’s take a closer look at Moonbirds.
What are Moonbirds?
Moonbirds is a collection of 10,000 NFTs released this past April. It was created as part of the recently established Proof Collective — a members-only NFT collective — by prominent American internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose.
Rose had already established himself as an investor, podcaster, and founder of news aggregator Digg, prior to Moonbirds and becoming a prominent name in the NFT realm.
Despite the fact that the collection contains a total of 10,000 NFTs, the entire supply was distributed in three major chunks. Prior to the general sale, 2,000 NFTs were reserved for Proof Collective members to mint.
Because the Proof Collective ecosystem consists of 1,000 member passes, each token ultimately yielded two free NFTs to its owner. If you were one of the few Collective members who owned more than one Proof membership pass NFT, this was a great deal.
A total of 7,875 NFTs were made available to the general public via a whitelist. This list includes the lucky winners of Proof’s widespread raffle, which required potential collectors to have 2.5 ETH (the cost of one Moonbirds NFT) in their registered wallet at the time of entry.
Reserves and the raffles notwithstanding, the Proof Collective team held the final 125 Moonbirds NFTs for future collaborations, marketing, and more.
So, who invented Moonbirds?
Moonbirds was created by Kevin Rose, but there were undoubtedly many other developers and Proof members who contributed to the final product. Justin Mezzell, co-founder and CPO of the Proof platform and the artist behind the Moonbirds’ distinct pixel-art style, is one such member.
Because the collection’s thousands of NFTs have a wide range of attributes, Mezzell and the rest of the art team created hundreds of unique randomized visual traits to produce a set of generative NFTs. These eventually follow in the footsteps of pixel-art forefathers like CryptoPunks and CryptoSkulls, as well as PFP powerhouses like Bored Apes.
Moonbirds: Popular and pricey
We’ve only seen a few collections (Azuki and Okay Bears) cause significant ripple effects throughout the NFT ecosystem in the last few months. With its unprecedented rise to prominence, Moonbirds has blown nearly every other established PFP collection out of the water.
Moonbirds had already achieved upwards of 100,000 ETH (approximately $300 million at the time) in secondary sales volume just a few days after its launch. This comes after the project earned approximately 19,687 ETH (approximately $60 million) from the public sale of the aforementioned 7,875 raffle NFTs.
Moonbirds take flight
Moonbirds’ journey to breaking NFT weekly volume records has helped to demonstrate the market dominance of both PFP NFTs and prominent NFT influencers. It is a simple collection of pixel-art owls at its core, but it’s the project’s association with the success of Proof Collective that are truly driving the Moonbirds market.
To demonstrate this significance, consider the meteoric rise of Proof Collective membership NFTs, which essentially marked the start of Proof NFT endeavors.
Proof Collective Passes was minted on December 11, 2021, with the first 1,000 NFTs selling for 1 ETH each. Collective Passes were marketed as a membership pass to everything Proof, with holders getting access to a private Discord, early access to Proof podcast episodes, in-person events, and other projects (including Moonbirds).
The floor price for Collective Passes fluctuated slightly throughout the rest of 2021, then gradually increased into the double digits, reaching a minimum price of 30 ETH (approximately $85,000 at the time) by February. A week after Moonbirds’ launch, the price skyrocketed to around 120 ETH (approximately $350,000).
If there is one thing that has become clear in the NFT space over the last year, it is that success breeds success. Anecdotally, once a project (Bored Apes) or an artist/influencer — such as Beeple or GaryVee (both members of the Proof Collective) — becomes well-known, the value of their projects and collections is likely to rise accordingly.
Similarly, once a project begins to gain traction, a combination of influencer endorsements and FOMO (fear of missing out) serves as a rallying cry for NFT enthusiasts to buy tokens from that project and stake their claim as a member of that now expensive and seemingly prestigious community. This is the NFT market’s hype cycle.
Why collect Moonbirds?
However, it isn’t just the association with success that has aided the Moonbirds collection in taking flight. Aside from the standard PFP NFT roadmap promises, the Moonbirds collection provides a variety of incentives to collectors.
One of the most interesting and notable “utilities” available to Moonbirds collectors is the ability to stake, or “Nest” as the project developers call it, an NFT. Nesting a Moonbirds NFT entails locking it (making it untradeable) without transferring it to a vault for safekeeping.
But why would you lock up your Moonbird? Because doing so will start a process in which your Moonbird NFT will gain additional benefits, reach new tier levels, and even upgrade their nest to become more profitable, resulting in even more enhanced drops and rewards.
In addition to Nesting benefits, Moonbirds owners have priority access to future Proof NFT projects, including the upcoming Proof Metaverse. And this is on top of the fact that Moonbirds NFT holders own the full commercial rights to the NFT’s IP (intellectual property).
This means that Moonbirds NFT owners can create an entire brand around the art associated with their owned NFTs, reproducing and profiting financially from its use as they see fit. As IP ownership has been a major source of contention in the NFT space in the past, the Moonbirds team appears to have well-positioned themselves for any future copyright disputes that may deter collectors from joining the Moonbirds community.
Where to buy Moonbirds
Moonbirds can currently be traded on major Ethereum NFT marketplaces, including OpenSea, LooksRare, and Rarible. These birds aren’t cheap; as of April 28, the lowest price for any Moonbirds available is a whopping 30 ETH (roughly $88,000).
Moonbirds will undoubtedly experience a similar ebb and flow in popularity as Bored Apes and CryptoPunks, and the team appears committed to building out the project for the long term.
The project is currently well funded, with all primary sales proceeds going directly to Proof’s holdings, with plans to expand the project’s team and launch new products. With 5% of all secondary sales set aside for project development and the involvement of Reddit’s founder, things appear to be looking up for this collection of coveted pixel-art owls.
Moonbirds may experience popularity and rapid adoption similar to Bored Apes and CryptoPunks, and the team appears committed to building out the project for the long term.
I write about blockchain, crypto, NFTs and other disruptive technologies and innovations.