M6 Labs NFT Weekly

ETFs and NFTs, Ronin Is Back, XAI Makes It Rain

The crypto market has entered a new era following the approval of multiple spot Bitcoin ETFs. This development is set to expose large-cap coins, starting with BTC, to an entirely new market segment that might have previously been apprehensive about investing in crypto. 

As for NFTs, they are likely to find themselves in an advantageous position. It's anticipated that NFTs will develop new use cases that were previously unimagined. We are living in an exciting time where the future of finance and crypto is just beginning to unfold, and it's probable that NFTs will play a significant role in this new paradigm. The focus over the last few weeks has primarily been on the ETF, but that doesn't mean NFT projects and games haven't seen movement. Let's dive in and see how things are looking!

Project Updates

  • Futureverse, a metaverse and AI company, has partnered with the creators of "Ready Player One" to develop The Readyverse, an interoperable metaverse inspired by the novel and film. The project, set to launch in 2024, has secured rights from Warner Bros. 

  • Gateway Miami exhibition, in partnership with Christie's, has significantly impacted the world of digital art. The event showcased diverse artworks in Christie's "Next Wave: The Miami Edit" auction, realizing over 104 ETH ($231,357) in sales. 

  • The digital art market, particularly on the Ethereum blockchain, showed signs of recovery in 2023, closing the year with a market value of $5B, according to a report by Grail Capital. This figure marks a significant rebound from its low point in August 2023, despite still being lower than its peak in spring 2022. The influx of institutional capital, with investments from private banks, venture capitalists, and family offices, has been a key driver of this growth. 

  • Mickey Mouse Tokens gained popularity as “Steamboat Willie” becomes part of the public domain.

  • X to phase out support for NFTs.

  • Logan Paul announces he will buy back NFTs from CryptoZoo.

  • Xai, a layer-3 gaming network on Arbitrum, launched its initial airdrop, distributing around $70M worth of XAI tokens to eligible users who own certain Xai NFTs and operate Sentry Nodes.

  • An artificial tweet that caused a drop in Bitcoin's value has been forever memorialized in the form of digital art by Degens, commemorating the SEC chair's reaction to the incident.

Blue Chip and Market Overview

Blur continues to rank as the number one NFT marketplace. Opensea has been overtaken by rising giants Magic Eden and OKX NFT Market Place. Many believe OpenSea will drop a token this coming cycle in order to encourage user activity in an attempt to gain back market share from its competitors. OpenSea seems to have lost its first-mover advantage which made it the centre of NFTs last cycle.

Top 7 marketplaces over the last 30 days. Source: DappRadar.

Traditional blue-chip NFT collections continue to dominate volume with newer collections such as Mad Lads and others rotating in and out of the top 10. Azuki has seen an impressive performance over the last 30 days, seeing an increase of nearly 250%. Pudgy Penguins has solidified itself as a mainstay of the top five through clever marketing and continuous project developments.

Top collections by volume over the last 30 days. Source: DappRadar. 

Checking in on Solana’s most popular NFT marketplace reveals that the Solana NFT ecosystem has pulled back since its highs towards the end of last year. Magic Eden’s pivot into the Bitcoin ecosystem has started to yield positive results with some of its most important collections being from the Bitcoin ecosystem. Take note that NodeMokes currently holds the top spot for most volume, overtaking native Solana collections on the platform. 

Trading volume over the last 30 days on Magic Eden. Source: Magic Eden.

Checking in on Metaverse-related projects. Volume is low and most projects continue to see a continuous decline despite the change in market conditions. It will be interesting to see how metaverse projects make a comeback and at which point in the cycle this will happen.

Source: Nansen.

Interesting developments on the gaming front. Ronin has secured itself the number one spot for most popular crypto games, following the recent migration of Pixels. A few weeks ago, Polygon-based games dominated the top 10, but this has dramatically changed. Other chains such as Near, Wax, and Flow are becoming increasingly popular options for the launch of new games.

Top crypto games. Source: Footprint Analytics.

Users are encouraged to keep tabs on Ronin. After overcoming challenges, including a huge exploit, Ronin has made a remarkable comeback, driven by significant advancements in the Axie Infinity gameplay experience and its role as a destination for non-Axie games. 

With a surge in daily active users, total value locked, token value, daily transactions, and monthly active users, Ronin's growth in 2023 has been impressive. Some core features and notes worthy of mention include:

  • The Pixels Web3 game migrated from Polygon to Ronin in late October 2023, marking a resurgence for Ronin after a hacking incident in March 2022.

  • Ronin is a blockchain designed specifically for gaming, aiming to provide a fast and cost-efficient platform for gaming transactions.

  • Ronin has successfully scaled Axie Infinity, gaining valuable experience in blockchain game development.

  • Ronin's strategic partnership with ACT Games is set to bring additional gaming titles into its ecosystem, diversifying its offerings.

Unique users on the Ronin Chain. Source: Footprint Analytics.

The market cap of RON continues to climb. Source: Footprint Analytics.

Checking in on the Bitcoin ecosystem, it seems the solid blue chip collections have started emerging for both NFTS and BRC-20 inscriptions. These ecosystems are still in their infancy and if this interests users, they should investigate the lesser-known collections building traction on twitter for when the market narrative once again swings back to Bitcoin ecosystem projects.

Top Bitcoin NFT collections by volume over the last 30 days. Source: OKX NFT Market Place.

Top BRC-20 collections by volume over the last 30 days. Source: OKX NFT Market Place.

Degen Corner

  • Xai: Following the much-hyped airdrop, the value of $XAI dropped from $0.77 to $0.56. However, there is still considerable buzz around the project. 

  • Axie Infinity: $AXS has jumped recently by >10% as the GameFi continues to shine. AXS is looking to break past the $9 resistance and reach $10.

  • Pixels, a popular game on Axie Infinity's Ronin sidechain, announced its airdrop plans. Players who complete challenging tasks or contribute to the ecosystem may earn tokens. The top 7,000 players on the leaderboard and 1,000 random players qualify for tokens.

  • Portal, a multi-chain gaming token, plans to bridge Web3 games across blockchains. Users can earn credits for the airdrop by interacting with Twitter content. 

  • Saga, designed for gaming, initiated a "play-to-airdrop" campaign, rewarding top leaderboard finishers in games running on testnet with SAGA tokens. Some players may receive double airdrops as games may launch their own tokens.

  • Mojo Melee is commencing a fresh season of their imaginative and tactical auto-battler game. Alongside this, they're rolling out new functionalities that empower players to personalize their Mojo's look and create NFTs using in-game Champions. 

  • Solana gaming platform Mixmob intends to airdrop its MXM token following the release of Racer 1, a mobile racing game. Tokens will be distributed to active community members, players, and MixBot NFT owners.

  • Notcoin, a gaming project on Telegram, has gained over 5M users in a short time. Users have been "mining" Notcoin, accumulating over 1T tokens. While it's not a real crypto yet, the TON Foundation suggests a token launch and a potential airdrop for early users in the future.

  • Bitcoin developers have introduced a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) emulator into the Bitcoin blockchain through a project called Pizza Ninja, which utilizes Ordinals for its implementation. The Pizza Ninja project's motivation stems from the concern of preserving classic video games, as an estimated 87% of classic games are no longer in active, licensed circulation. The SNES emulator is integrated into each Ninja Profile Picture, enabling users to play games using an Ordinals explorer or marketplace within their browsers. Check out the gameplay here.

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