2022 Innovative NFTs Wrapped!

Devina Aurelia . December 30, 2022


Techspace - NFTs grew even more common in 2022 as artists, brands, and celebs embraced Web3, following the market's meteoric growth in 2021. However, despite the sometimes overwhelming number of projects, only a small number stood out as having a genuine influence and being notable for reasons other than their headline-grabbing financial success.


Which NFT projects were by far the most creative and which made the most innovative, extraordinary use of the technology? Here are our selections for the top 2022 projects.


Goblintown


Who enjoys wailing incoherently and drinking urine while pretending to do so? A Goblintown NFT holder, that is. Shortly after the Terra blockchain collapsed at the end of May, these Ethereum NFTs were quite popular.


"NFT degenerates" became obsessed with these NFTs that celebrated stupidity, feces, and craziness as they started to lose hope.


Despite the art being undoubtedly hideous, the Goblintown NFTs were a huge success thanks to their intelligent and deliberate marketing. According to the initiative, the NFTs were introduced with "No strategy. No Discord. No purpose," and since then, secondary market trading has generated almost $96 million. The irreverent humor gave the desperate crypto community much-needed lightness and gave rise to one of the craziest NFT trends of 2022.

QQL


The QQL collection of generative art NFTs for Ethereum was developed by Tyler Hobbs and Dandelion Wist. Hobbs' next step was keenly anticipated because he is best known as the developer of the Art Blocks project Fidenza, which amassed multiple seven-figure (USD) sales in 2021. Sure enough, despite the continuing crypto bear market, it sold $17 million worth of NFT mint passes at launch.


Similar to Fidenza, QQL imagery is created using a carefully honed algorithm that is uploaded to the blockchain, producing captivating waves of vibrant, huge and little circles. However, there is a catch: owners of the mint pass get to design the final piece of art that becomes an NFT. However, only mint pass holders are permitted to add the NFT to the official archive. Anyone can experiment with the QQL method and produce potentially stunning results.


By gamifying the minting process and interacting with collectors, this engagement and interaction created a new narrative for NFT creation and ownership, allowing holders to take on the role of artists. It's also important to note that when the artwork is sold again, the individual who created the seed for it (usually the NFT minter) receives a modest royalty payment.


Nouns


The Nouns NFT project and associated DAO were introduced in 2021 and carried on the concepts of community management and open-source IP generation. As of the time of writing, the collection, which sells one pixelated Noun profile photo (PFP) NFT per day, had 29,150 ETH in its treasury, or around $37.8 million, building up a sizable war chest of money.


Owners of Nouns cast votes on proposed projects and have invested their pooled cash in a range of projects, including advertising Nouns at crypto conferences, assisting with Web3 learning in Brazil, and bringing Nouns to New York Fashion Week. Additional initiatives include charitable work, tangible memorabilia, and even a pro esports team.


Even well-known brands are participating; Bud Light, for example, featured its rectangular "Noun glasses" in a Super Bowl ad after receiving a Noun early this year. Nouns was one of the first well-known NFT collections to make use of a Creative Commons CC0 license, allowing anyone to utilize Nouns IP to produce and sell whatever they choose. The concept is that value will eventually return towards the NFT holders.


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Proof of Merge

One of this year's most eagerly awaited cryptocurrency breakthroughs was the Ethereum merge. To commemorate the occasion, Andreessen Horowitz employees Mason Hall and Michael Blau developed "Proof of Merge" dynamic Ethereum NFTs as a side project. Each NFT serves as a form of "proof of attendance" that the person who minted it took part in Web3 before the merge proceeded.



The smart contract for the collection, which contains the code that runs autonomous decentralized apps (dapps), allowed Hall and Blau's NFTs to automatically modify their metadata, developing the NFT's appearance to reflect the status of the merge process in real time.


Hall and Blau's NFTs were able to autonomously adjust their information thanks to the smart contract for the collection, which houses the program that runs autonomous decentralized apps (dapps). As a result, the NFT's appearance was developed to represent the state of the merge process in real time.


Every NFT was initially only a static picture of a unique black and white circle. The NFTs were changed to be partially-merged circles when the merge process started. After being finished, the NFTs underwent another update to reach their ultimate state, which is a Yin-Yang sign that is a parody of the Ethereum panda bear meme, in which the blockchain's execution layer (the black bear) and consensus layer (the white bear) merge to make the cuddly animal.


Shibuya

In order to finance her revolutionary concept for the future of cinema, artist Emily "pplpleasr" Yang is using NFTs. By using NFTs as a kind of voting chip, Shibuya hopes to become the "A24 of Web3" by creating a community that jointly determines how storylines progress and funds new initiatives in the process.



To pursue its purpose, Shibuya collected $6.9 million in seed funding in December, which was jointly led by a16z and Variant Fund. The anime series "White Rabbit," which portrays a young teenager discovering a mysterious crypto world, is its first undertaking. Pplpleasr tells Decrypt that "Content on Web3 right now is plain awful" in an effort to assist Web3 get some traction. There is a large amount of funds available to create content on Web3, but there are few tastemakers.”


DeGods


Solana NFTs are making headlines and gaining traction because of popular NFT collections like DeGods, even though Ethereum NFTs continue to command the market in terms of overall volume traded. DeGods is a compilation of profile image NFTs on Solana that provides holders a variety of advantages. It was developed by the recently doxxed businessman going by "Frank".


After a botched launch in late 2021, Frank and his team ramped up the "social experimentation," as he prefers to refer to it, by distributing upgraded artwork to owners, providing long-term holders with daily-accruing DUST tokens, and even using DAO treasury funds to buy a majority stake in a team in Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league.


These actions, along with others, helped DeGods rise to the position of most valued Solana NFT project this summer, placing it close to Ethereum heavyweights in terminology of USD worth. They then capitalized on this enthusiasm by launching the even more popular y00ts project this fall. An allied tech firm called Dust Labs also secured $7 million to support the development of an ecosystem for the projects.


Frank hinted at a major development for 2023: DeGods will be connected to Ethereum and y00ts will be bridged to Polygon, freeing them from the constraints of their own ecology. These two projects elevated the Solana NFT space in 2022. Once again, Frank is beating the odds in the NFT sector, but it will take time to see whether his actions harm or benefit the businesses (and Solana).


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Pudgy Penguins

Many NFT projects struggle to keep up and eventually fizzle out—especially if a founder's reputation is called into question. However, the Ethereum Pudgy Penguins did not suffer from this fate. It debuted in July 2021 but lost popularity after a few months. However, after the collection was acquired by young businessman Luca Netz for $2.5 million in April and the project's original founder left, it saw a significant resurgence this year.



At the time of this article, the value of Penguins has skyrocketed to almost a 7 ETH floor price (i.e., the cheapest-listed NFT), which is nearly $8,000 per unit and a significant rise from earlier this year. The collection planned for merchandising, a children's book, and more under Netz's leadership, and held a Sotheby's auction. In order to help the project further develop its comeback story, The Penguins also attracted an advisory board made up of Web3 and retail experts, with leaders from Nansen, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hasbro, and Meta joining.


The NFT market saw a boom in trading volume that reached $25 billion in 2021 and maintained that frenzied pace until the beginning of 2022. However, despite the ongoing downfall of the crypto market, recent months have seen dropping prices and sales volume.


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