Having just sold a column as a nonfungible token, or NFT, for half a million dollars, The New York Times is now wondering if the whole scene is in a bit of a bubble.
In a Tuesday article, "Art’s NFT Question: Next Frontier in Trading, or a New Form of Tulip?," author Scott Reyburn questions the sustainability of the current NFT bubble and draws comparisons to the Dutch “tulip mania” of the 1630s.
Tulip mania, for anyone who doesn’t hodl flowers, was a market bubble in the Netherlands that saw prices for a single tulip bulb rocket up to a high of 6,700 guilders in February 1637 — enough to purchase a luxury house at the time.
Reyburn suggests that perhaps history was repeating, given the similarity between the COVID-19-adjacent NFT bubble and the bubonic plague-driven tulip bubble:
“It should also be pointed out that febrile speculation in assets that have no physical existence has flourished during epidemics, when people spend a lot of time indoors. Tulip mania coincided with an outbreak of bubonic plague in the Netherlands that killed a fifth of Amsterdam’s population between 1635 and 1636.”
The response from financial authorities to the pandemic has, of course, also inflated asset prices across the board, so maybe NFTs have also benefited from people having too much money and time on their hands.
The article concludes with an apt quote from 1637 tulip mania satire The Rise and Decline of Flora:
“It has been a madness.”
SuperRare raises $9 million
NFT marketplace SuperRare has has raised $9 million from its series A financing round.
The platform announced on Wednesday that the round had been led by Velvet Sea Ventures and saw investment from popular figures such as Mark Cuban, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Ashton Kutcher. SuperRare noted:
“In just three years, the crypto art market has already grown to be a global phenomenon over $400M in size. This investment will allow SuperRare to accelerate growth, serving significantly more artists and collectors as digital collecting nears more mainstream adoption”
The platform intends to use the funding to expand “the core features of SuperRare into more scalable, social elements like chat and personalized feeds.” It also intends to improve market mechanics and auction functionality, extend “supported artwork formats further into VR and programmable media” and hopes to implement layer-two scaling.
Polkamon Eggs, the latest NFT craze
Decentralized exchange Polkastarter has joined the NFT mania with the launch of “Polkamon” animated digital monster collectibles.
Early adopters of the project were offered the chance to participate in the “Claim Your Egg” contest, which saw 125,000 users claim a tokenized egg that had a chance of hatching into a Polkamon NFT.
“In gas fees alone, we estimate Polkamon fans have spent more than $1 million claiming eggs for their chance to participate in our upcoming IDO on Polkastarter,” an official Polkamon blog post noted.
The project is now verified on OpenSea, and the highest sale at the time of writing is for a silver “Moonrock x Morningstar Babydragon” at 22 ETH, worth around $39,000.
Another OpenSea user appears confident in the project. After buying a “Polkastarter Babydragon” for 14.94 ETH, they currently have it listed for 54.99 ETH (worth roughly $100,000).
NFT house sale comes up short
Property investor Ivan Malpica has sold a 50% share in a St. Louis, MO house that he put up for sale as an NFT on Mintable in early March. Unfortunately, he told Cointelegraph, he sold it offline to a “new partner who did not have crypto or ETH” and instead sold it for cash.
He recently listed a 50% share in another St. Louis property as an NFT on Mintable for 29.7 ETH.
“I received a lot of interest in the first real estate NFT, but the new buyers wanted to partner traditionally,” he said. “Since there was a lot of interest, I decided to create a second NFT to try again on a new property.”
From NFL to NFT
Former NFL star turned actor Vernon Davis has followed Rob Gronkowski and Patrick Mahomes into the world of tokenized collectibles with an NFT drop on Rarible today.
Davis played in the NFL for 14 seasons and won the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2016. The drop consists of five open editions and a one of one that depict highlights from Davis’s career, including a render of Davis’s shoes, digital trading cards depicting action shots and even a tokenized “rookie season” action figure of the star.
The auction is due to close on April 4.