With this context in mind, the overnight success of Nakamigos, a 20,000-edition NFT project featuring pixelated avatars, has bewildered some analysts and traders. Launched last month, the project taps into the name of Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and added the Spanish word for friend “amigo” to create Nakamigos, and leveraged art for the collection that nods at the pixelated profile picture (PFP) collection CryptoPunks. Nakamigos quickly gained popularity and reportedly outpaced Bored Ape Yacht Club in the number of lifetime trades within days of its mint. At the time of writing, the project has done 21,035 ether (ETH) in trading, or about $39 million, and has a floor price of 0.5 ETH, or about $930.
These projects offer onlookers a lesson in understanding NFT trends in real time. And while the NFT market welcomes a boost in trading volume brought about by new, hyped-up projects, the impact usually remains short term and follows a familiar playbook of copycat projects glomming onto a trend.
The project’s enormous growth in such a short span of time is likely tied to clever marketing and its connection to Sartoshi. In a public stunt, the Nakamigos team gifted 24 NFTs to major crypto influencers including Art Blocks creator Erick Calderon, NFT trader DJ Seedphrase and artist XCOPY that were created in their likeness, going as far as to amplify the act via a paid exposure campaign.
Notably, NFT artist Beeple, who has a history of parodying projects and pop culture in his own work, pledged to create “chapter 2” for Nakamigos if its floor price hit 1 ETH. As of writing, it hasn’t.
It’s unclear if Nakamigos will offer greater utility or long-term value for holders that swept up these NFTs in a frenzy. In any case, it provides a glimpse into how new NFT projects can seduce traders and cement their projects into memedome.
“The rise of Nakamigos is a prime example of how marketing can have a significant impact on the value of these digital assets,” writes DappRadar. “Nakamigos’ successful marketing strategy leveraging Twitter influencers has driven demand and sales despite the project not having any concrete plans at the moment.”
The proliferation of meme projects can be good for the NFT ecosystem – we’ve seen sporadic spikes in trading volume and sales over the last few months, according to Nansen. But as our proclivity for hype takes hold, opportunistic sellers will often clutter the space with low-brow derivative projects that are often devoid of long-term value, or worse, end up being a rug pull.
But other projects have used their resemblance to legitimate projects to scam unsuspecting collectors. In January 2022, after the success of NFT giant Yuga Labs’ Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) collection, NFT creator Aurelian Michel created the Mutant Ape Planet collection, featuring a familiar name and monkey-themed PFPs. But shortly after, Michel was arrested by French authorities for facilitating a $2.9 million rug pull after he failed to deliver on any of the many promises made about the collection.
The nature of internet memes is that they have a short lifespan of going viral that produces brief but meteoric results. In some ways, the fleeting nature is partially what drives people to continue producing memes, keeping internet culture thriving.
“A meme is this idea that through its virality, it becomes socially accepted that it represents something,” said Silva. “In the world that we live in with NFT communities mostly congregating around visual objects or JPEGs, memes in crypto become different illustrations of different things that we are constantly repeating to ourselves, which we are using whether we do it consciously or subconsciously to propagate the culture.”
In the end, as much as the meme economy might drive money into NFT markets, it’s important to scrutinize collections that appear to rip off elements of other projects and fail to provide long-term solutions for building a more robust NFT marketplace. As much as “hype” can help bolster the market, it’s not enough to drive innovation and encourage folks to stick around for the long term.
This content was originally published here.