Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & collectibles
Dear Bankless Nation,
The goblintown.wtf project surged onto the scene last spring.
When it arrived, it ushered in a bona fide “Ugliness” meta for a time, during which aesthetically and intentionally ugly NFTs were all the rage and trading like hot commodities.
Lately, though, the NFT space’s meta pendulum has swung decidedly back in the other direction, with more than a few collections considered to be in the “Cute NFT” category having experienced considerable buy pressure over the past few months.
Interesting right? Let’s analyze what’s up with this cuteness boom for today’s post!
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Cute NFTs are so hot right now 🔥
Since October 2022, a potent buying wave has swept across many projects that PFP NFT aficionados consider to be cute.
Cuteness is subjective, to be sure. Yet the projects in question do share a few fundamental qualities, like generally adorable artistry, bright color schemes, lighthearted names, and cheery communities.
So what exactly should you be watching right now?
If you search around the phrase “Cute NFT” on social media, e.g. Twitter, you can see how references to a cuteness meta really began to surge in Dec. 2022, a period during which the Pudgy Penguins collection notably experienced a historic trading frenzy, and its floor price reached over 7Ξ for the first time ever.
However, while there’s no question the recent success of Pudgy Penguins has driven gusts of attention to other similarly cute projects, this success is just part of the ongoing boom.
The truth is there is no singular reason behind the recent uptrend of the cuteness meta, since all the collections involved have different and unique things going for themselves right now. In other words, multiple cute projects’ respective strides have coincided with each other lately, leading to this PFP niche gaining momentum.
As for which projects should be actually considered part of and tracked within this niche? That’s where things get interesting subjectively, since there’s no definitive answer. No authoritative “Cute NFT Index” exists right now, as we’ve only just come across the need for one. That said, though, what could such an index look like?
For example, Nansen’s got indexes like the ART20 and the GAME50, and recently I’ve seen a lot of analysts sharing charts of the cute NFT projects they’re personally tracking. In combining these two inspirations, I think a compelling “CUTE15” of relevant collections worth tracking, at least as things stand, should feature the following projects:
Cool Pets — OpenSea | Floor: 0.16Ξ | 90D floor action: 📉 -27%
Cool Cats — OpenSea | Floor: 2.95Ξ | 90D floor action: 📉 -23%
Doodles — OpenSea | Floor: 7.42Ξ | 90D floor action: 📉 -19%
Dooplicators — OpenSea | Floor: 1.3Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +3%
Coolman’s Universe — OpenSea | Floor: 0.123Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +4%
Tubby Cats — OpenSea | Floor: 0.15Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +28%
BEANZ — OpenSea | Floor: 1.98Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +69%
Finiliar — OpenSea | Floor: 0.35Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +107%
Sappy Seals — OpenSea | Floor: 1.65Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +119%
Pudgy Penguins — OpenSea | Floor: 7.1Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +138%
Froyo Kittens — OpenSea | Floor: 0.09Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +157%
Froggy Friends — OpenSea | Floor: 0.33Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +263%
Chubbiverse Frens — OpenSea | Floor: 0.3Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +264%
Kanpai Pandas — OpenSea | Floor: 1.77Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +285%
Lil Pudgys — OpenSea | Floor: 0.79Ξ | 90D floor action: 📈 +313%
Again, these picks are just my subjective takes on what the top 15 projects are in the cuteness meta right now. Whether you’re looking at market cap or trading volume, these collections are all currently in the top 300 NFT projects, so tracking them can give you broad insight into how this cute category of PFPs is faring.
Zooming in some, the biggest cute-cap gainers over the past three months have been Lil Pudgys, Kainpai Pandas, Chubbiverse Friends, and Froggy Friends, all of which have seen their floor prices climb by more than 260% in that span.
Lil Pudgys, the companion collection to Pudgy Penguins, naturally has more runway to grow than its parent project and has been exploding with interest upon the Penguin ecosystem’s recent “what bear market?” advances.
For its part, Kanpai Pandas, the most successful omnichain NFT project to date, has rallied a passionate community from across 8 different blockchain deployments since Spring 2022 thanks to its capable and charismatic team. With the recent uptrend in cuteness, then, it’s no surprise this collection’s gotten wind in its sails.
As for other big 90D climbers, Chubbiverse Friends (+264%) and Froggy Friends (+263%) have also seen their floors ramp up, yet not too far behind these collections have been other cuteness heavy hitters like Froyo Kittens (+157%), Pudgy Penguins (+138%), Sappy Seals (+119%), and Finiliar (+107%).
Of course, “Cute NFTs” and the idea of a CUTE15 index might sound silly at first, but again, make no mistake that the action here is indeed very real right now. For example, these are the 90D volume stats for the proposed CUTE15 collections:
These stats are up and to the right for these projects right now. So as chatter continues to pick up about crypto potentially turning bullish again, just keep in mind that to a certain extent, Cute NFTs are currently near the tip of the spear, so to speak!
Update 1/5/2023: The CUTE20?
I posted about my CUTE15 proposal on Twitter and got a lot of great feedback there about projects that would also be fits for the list. Going off that feedback, I think you could definitely expand to a “CUTE20” grouping by tracking five additional collections that are relevant to the category: Axolittles, Chubbicorns, Cozy Penguins, CryptoMories, and Cupcats. I’m putting this expansion possibility on your radar too for good measure 📡
Keep an eye on the CUTE15 (or CUTE20) collections — track how they fare in 2023 📆
What’s your take on the Cute NFT rally — Let me know in the comments ⬇️
Check out my previous post if you haven’t yet — The 2023 NFT Gaming Wishlist 🎮
William M. Peaster is a professional writer and creator of Metaversal—a Bankless newsletter focused on the emergence of NFTs in the cryptoeconomy. He’s also recently been contributing content to Bankless, JPG, and beyond!
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
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Cute NFTs > S&P500 🐧
Still pains me I had to sell my pudgy back months ago, I will be reunited with that Santa hat pink sweater wearing legend