Why Snoop Dogg & The Weeknd Still Buy NFTs During Crypto Downturn – Billboard
One look at the crypto market and you might think NFTs were dead. Volume on OpenSea – the largest NFT marketplace – is at its lowest in 12 months, and many once-popular projects such as Doodles, Moonbirds and Nike’s CloneX have dropped in value by over 80% in dollar terms. Even Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) – the largest NFT project in the space – is down more than 70% in US dollars.
While the crypto winter has cooled the market, according to collectors, musicians and executives in the space, it has also iced out overhyped projects and brought unrealistic expectations back to reality. Meanwhile, projects that collectors in the space consider high art and culturally significant take on more shine.
Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd, Steve Aoki and Diplo have all been active NFT buyers in the bear market, but what are they spending ETH on? Who else is still buying NFTs? And how has the market changed since the crypto crash?
Over the past two months, the NFT market has seen a return to high-end 1/1 artwork – unique, one-of-a-kind digital art that often sells for extremely high price points. Sales volume on leading artwork platform SuperRare reached $7.6 million in August, the highest in five months. So who’s buying? “Crypto-natives, overwhelming,” says a prominent art collector known as BΞN. “To be clear, net volumes are still very much down [but] successful artists get a strong bid in many cases, and in some cases they break records.”
In late July, a 1/1 of leading artist XCOPY was sold for 256 ETH ($443,000) – one of the artist’s largest ever sales in ETH terms. Collectors of these 1/1s are playing a long game, says BΞN. They are patient individuals, relatively flush with crypto, who take advantage of the lower price of ETH to buy artwork they intend to hold for years.
Snoop Dogg’s art collector alter ego, Cozomo de’ Medici, is one of those buyers. He bought several 1/1s on SuperRare in the last two months, including a piece of riven ribbon for 42 ETH ($71,655) before announcing a hiatus from NFTs.
The Weeknd also acquired a 1/1 of renowned NFT artist Fvckrender for 25 ETH ($44,287) in August. The same wallet also bought almost 50 additional NFTs from other Fvckrender projects. Although the wallet hasn’t been verified yet, The Weeknd did retweet a confirmation of the SuperRare purchase.
A number of “generative crypto-art” projects – where the artist uses an algorithm to create and imprint their work onto a blockchain in real time – have also outpaced the market. The Fidenza and Ringers projects from leading generative art platform Art Blocks have both grown in value, with floor prices increasing from 42 ETH in April to a high of 92 ETH in August and from 32 ETH in May to as high as 80 ETH respectively . That more than covered the 50% drop in Ethereum value over that time frame. Converted to dollars, the Fidenza floor price increased from $126,000 to $145,000 and the Ringers’ increased from $86,400 to as high as $128,000 from May to August.
Snoop Dogg was a major buyer of ArtBlocks in July, through the Cozomo de’ Medici alias. Cozomo bought a piece from the Ringers collection for 99.69 ETH ($171,500).
Legacy generative art NFT project CryptoPunks also remained strong during the broader selloff. These 10,000 pixelated punk characters were the first of their kind to ever be minted onto the Ethereum blockchain. For that reason, they are considered culturally important and enormously valuable. While the rest of the market crashed, the floor price of a CryptoPunk nearly doubled between May and August, from 45 ETH to a peak of 83 ETH before settling at 66 ETH in September. Throughout the volatility, the dollar price remained fairly stable, between $106,000 and $120,000. Steve Aoki bought two CryptoPunks in July and of course Cozomo de’ Medici waited at the bottom of the crypto sale to catch a CryptoPunk for 50 ETH.
“I expect things like Punks to be a little less sensitive to market downturns,” says BΞN. That’s partly because of their cultural significance and long-term, crypto-native collector base, but also because holders can feel connected to NFTs on an aesthetic and identity level.”
Leading artists use ETH to support other musicians as well. Diplo bought an NFT from emerging star Daniel Allan’s latest collection, which was one of the top-selling music NFTs in July. Allan is one of Web3’s breakout artists, having built his early career on the back of NFTs.