Calling 2022 a “long year” is a big understatement. From the Ethereum merge to the FTX scandal to the depths of the bear market, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the gray. But now that we’ve reached the final leg, it’s worthwhile to take a look back at some of the most interesting NFT sales from the last twelve months. We’re not talking about the most expensive NFT sales, nor are we pointing to the cheapest, the best, or the worst.
Today we’re into the most interesting and unforgettable ones. The NFT sales that, even months after their respective launches, left unforgettable impressions that haunt your mind with glorious dreams of the future of Web3.
May 2022 was a tough time for the NFT community. The NFT and crypto markets were cascading, eventually settling into the bear market conditions Web3 has had to contend with since. In hopes of giving the NFT community a much-needed shot of positive morale during this trying time, Truth Labs unceremoniously dropped the Goblintown collection.
Within a few short days, these ugly little Goblins were all over Twitter, and legal derivatives of the project, thanks to its CC0 rights conventions, flooded OpenSea mere weeks after its initial launch. During Goblintown’s initial wave of hype, members of the NFT community got to enjoy Twitter spaces consisting of little more than several hours of goblin noises and the constant threat of being forced to drink goblin piss.
Since its launch, the collection has amassed a trading volume of more than 50,000 ETH on OpenSea, as of writing. Clearly, the Goblintown formula struck a chord with the NFT community at large. Who knew that the best way to face the swift onset of a bear market would be to embrace absurdity?
Let me check with the wife
For their contribution to the ICONS X SuperTrans exhibition, art duo Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti felt like creating a work of art that was uniquely domestic. The resulting piece from the commission, Let me check with the wife, is the couple’s marriage certificate minted as an NFT.
So what utility could the purchase of a couple’s marriage certificate possibly unlock? In the artists’ words, reverse utility. The marriage certificate itself provides nothing, but the NFT tied to it is also attached to a second smart contract entitled “Marital Obligations.” Inside this second smart contract is an on-chain transcript of the couple’s marriage certificate written in plain text, which the couple is free to update whenever they please.
As of the project’s initial release, the couple currently has Marital Obligations set to update on July 19 every year, the day of their anniversary. On that day, the NFT’s holder may then be given instructions that may not conform to their idea of romance. “You can do something for us because you have our work,” said Catherine in a prior interview with nft now, as she explained the piece’s subversive reverse utility.
Buzz Aldrin’s pen
July 2022 saw something as innocuous as a pen sell for well more than $2 million at a Sothebys auction. That’s because it wasn’t just the broken felt-tip pen it looked like on the surface. Legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin used this pen during the landmark Apollo 11 mission to fix the spacecraft’s broken fusebox.
So what does this have to do with NFTs? Considering the incredibly high price it fetched at the auction’s end, this pen, among other items owned by Aldrin sold during the auction, needed to come packaged with a way to provide all future owners of these items with an undisputable certificate of provenance and authenticity. Of course, that meant an NFT. Web3 platform MIRA handled the digitization of this pen, effectively creating a one-to-one virtual replica to be used for its NFT. That gives the pen’s future owners one less thing to worry about. Without a certificate to lose in the traditional sense, the physical pen would have to be vaporized beyond recognition for the million-dollar investment to be truly threatened.
The NFT house
2022 was an exciting year for Web3 real estate — and no, that doesn’t just mean all the virtual land sales that took place during the year. In October 2022, Web3 real estate solution RoofStock successfully facilitated its first-ever sale of a house as an NFT.
Hoping to save a bit on fees and the time usually required to process such a transaction, the buyer worked with RoofStock to purchase a two-story South Carolina home for $175,000. “Instead of waiting months for underwriting, appraisals, title searches and preparing deeds, I was able to buy a fully title-insured, rent-ready property with one click,” said buyer Adam Slipakoff in a press release previously shared with nft now.
Will these one-click real estate transactions one day be the norm? Hopefully. Despite the success of this sale, it would probably help a bit more if houses were also affordable to buy for most people in the first place.
Poisonous pixelated political cakes
2022 wasn’t just difficult for Web3. The world outside this growing bubble on the internet faced tremendous hardship during this calendar year, with events like the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict inflicting untold suffering on all those caught in the crossfire.
For artist Walid Raad, at the center of these massive humanitarian crises are what he calls “toxic leaders.” To satirically celebrate the dark legacies of leaders like Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, and more, the artist created a collection of virtual NFT cakes laced with poison. Together, these cakes made up the Festival of Gratitude collection, which donated a significant cut of its proceeds to charities like Endaoment’s Support Ukrainian Sovereignty Fund.