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A Guide to Moonbirds: What Are These PFP Owl NFTs?

BY Langston Thomas

April 29, 2022

In less than a week, Moonbirds catapulted itself smack dab onto the list of the top 10 highest-grossing NFT collections of all time. A generative, large-scale avatar NFT endeavor, the now larger-than-life project shocked the NFT ecosystem, reminding all that NFTs can still be a “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of game.

A feat of monumental proportions, Moonbirds seems well on its way to becoming a major competitor in the Bored Ape-run PFP NFT market. So just what is this new collection and how has it possibly grown so large in such a short amount of time? Let’s take a deep dive into Moonbirds.

What are Moonbirds NFTs?

Moonbirds is a collection of 10,000 NFTs launched on April 16, 2022. It was created by prominent American internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose as part of his recently established Proof Collective — a private members-only collective of NFT collectors and artists. Prior to Moonbirds and becoming a prominent name in Web3/NFTs, Rose had already solidified himself as an internet celebrity, investor, podcaster, and founder of news aggregator Digg, among other ventures.

Although the collection features a total of 10,000 NFTs, the full supply was disseminated in three major chunks. First, 2,000 NFTs were reserved for Proof Collective members to mint prior to the general sale. As there are a total of 1,000 member passes that make up the Proof Collective ecosystem, each token ultimately yielded two free NFTs for its owner. This was a sweet deal if you were one of the few Collective members that owned more than one Proof membership pass NFT.

A supply of 7,875 NFTs was released to the general public via a whitelist. This list was comprised of the lucky winners of a widespread raffle held by Proof that required potential collectors to have 2.5 ETH (the price of one Moonbirds NFT) in their registered wallet at the time of entry. Apart from the reserves and the raffle, the final 125 Moonbirds NFTs were held by the Proof Collective admins for use in future collaborations, marketing, and more.

So, who created Moonbirds?

Moonbirds was the brainchild of Kevin Rose, although there were surely a great number of developers and general Proof members that contributed to the final product. One such member is Justin Mezzell, the co-founder and CPO of the Proof platform who is also the artist behind the Moonbirds’ distinctive pixel-art style.

As the thousands of NFTs within the collection feature a wide variety of attributes, hundreds of unique randomized visual traits were created by Mezzell and the rest of the art team to yield a set of generative NFTs. These ultimately follow in the footsteps of pixel-art predecessors like CryptoPunks and CryptoSkulls, as well as PFP powerhouses such as Bored Apes.

Over the past few months, we’ve only seen a few collections (i.e. Azuki and Doodles) cause significant ripple effects throughout the NFT ecosystem. Yet Moonbirds has served to blow nearly every other established PFP collection straight out of the water with its unprecedented rise to prominence.

Only a few days after its launch, Moonbirds had already achieved upwards of 100,000 ETH (approximately $300 million at the time) in secondary sales volume. This is of course after the project raked in around 19,687 ETH (around $60 million) from the public sale of the aforementioned 7,875 raffle NFTs.

On its journey to breaking NFT weekly volume records, Moonbirds has helped illustrate the dominance that both PFP NFTs and prominent NFT influencers have on the market. At its core, Moonbirds is a simple collection of pixel-art owls, but it’s the project’s affiliation with Kevin Rose and Proof Collective’s success that are truly driving the Moonbirds market.

To illustrate this importance, we need look no further than the explosive rise of Proof Collective membership NFTs — which more or less marked the beginning of Proof NFT endeavors.

A synopsis of utilities provided by Proof Collective Passes. Credit: Proof Collective

Proof Collective Passes minted on Dec. 11, 2021, with each of the 1,000 NFTs initially selling for 1 ETH each. Billed as a membership pass to all things Proof, Collective Passes were marketed as offering holders 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 saw minor fluctuations throughout the rest of 2021, then began a slow rise into the double digits, hitting a minimum price of 30 ETH (around $85,000 at the time) by February. before skyrocketing to around 120 ETH (approximately $350,000) a week after Moonbirds launch day.

If there’s one thing that has become apparent within the NFT space over the past year, it is that success is proven to breed more success. Anecdotally, once a project (Bored Apes) or an artist/influencer — like Beeple or GaryVee (both members of the Proof Collective) — gains notoriety, it’s likely that the value of their projects and collections from there on out will be valued accordingly.

Similarly, once a project begins to take off, a combination of influencer cosigns and FOMO (fear of missing out) serves as a call to action for NFT enthusiasts to purchase tokens from said project and to stake their claim as a member of that now expensive and seemingly prestigious community. Such is the hype cycle of the NFT market.

Utility 101: What does Moonbirds offer collectors

Yet, it isn’t only the affiliation with success that has helped the Moonbirds collection take flight. Aside from the typical PFP NFT roadmap promises, the Moonbirds collection offers a wide range of incentives to its collectors.

Possibly one of the most unique and notable of the “utilities” offered to Moonbirds collectors is the ability to stake, or “Nest” as the project devs call it, an NFT. Nesting a Moonbirds NFT entails locking the NFT (making it untradeable) without the need to transfer it to a vault for safekeeping.

But why would you want to lock your Moonbird up? Because doing so will begin a process of your Moonbird NFT accruing additional benefits, achieving new tier levels, and even upgrading their nest to become more profitable which will in turn yield even more enhanced drops and rewards.

An example of a Moonbirds Nest. Credit: Moonbirds

In addition to Nesting perks, Moonbirds owners are also granted priority access to future Proof NFT projects, the forthcoming Proof Metaverse. And this all comes after the fact of Moonbirds NFT holders actually own the full commercial rights to the IP (intellectual property) of the NFT that they own.

This means that Moonbirds owners can take the art associated with their owned NFTs and create an entire brand around it; reproducing and benefiting financially from its use as they please. As IP ownership has been a major point of contention throughout the NFT space in the past, the Moonbirds crew seems to have positioned themselves well for any future copyright disputes that may dissuade collectors from becoming a part of the Moonbirds community.

Where to buy and sell Moonbirds

Currently, Moonbirds can be traded on most major Ethereum NFT marketplaces including OpenSea, LooksRare, Rarible, and so on. Moonbirds aren’t cheap though, and as of April 28, the minimum price of any Moonbirds available is a whopping 30 ETH (around $88,000).

Yet, it’s possible the investment could pay off in the end. Just as we’ve seen Bored Apes and CryptoPunks continue to rise in popularity, Moonbirds are sure to witness a similar ebb and flow, and the Moonbirds crew seems dedicated to building out the project for the long term.

Currently, Moonbirds is well funded, as 100 percent of proceeds of the project’s primary sales have been set to go directly to Proof’s holdings with plans to expand the project’s team and launch new products. With five percent of all secondary sales to be set aside for project development, and the fact that the founder of Reddit is now involved, it seems things are only looking up for this collection of coveted pixel-art owls.

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