The popularity of non-fungible tokens or NFTs is driven by many factors, including individuals that influence the popularity of the overall market as well as new drops.
Like almost all things in today’s digital ecosystem, social channels play an important role. So, in addition to the survey of 971 NFT enthusiasts, we’ve also considered the social media channels of these influencers in the report.
For billionaire investor Mark Cuban, there was one defining moment that led him to go all-in on cryptocurrency.
“I always paid attention to bitcoin, the pricing, the tokens, and the crypto,” Cuban told Miami Mayor Francis Suarez at The North American Bitcoin Conference on Monday. “But what really got me into it was, about a year ago, when I minted my first NFT.”
For Cuban, the opportunity to also earn royalties on secondary sales of his NFTs was huge.
“The fact that you could take a digital file — audio, video, picture, whatever — and not only mint it to sell it but also attach royalties to it, I’m like, ‘How can you do that?’ Because you can’t do that with anything physical,” the “Shark Tank” investor and Dallas Mavericks owner said.
Closely behind Cuban among the overall most influential people in the digital collectible space is former T-Mobile boss John Legere, who famously bought an NFT from DJ Steve Aoki for a whopping meme-number value of $888,888.88.
Legere is one of the world’s top NFT buyers. The ex-telecom bigwig plunked down more than $2 million on psychedelic music videos by DJs 3LAU and Steve Aoki. In March, he teased that he might buy an NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet. (Someone else beat him at auction, spending nearly $3 million.)
In less than a year, VeeFriends has become one of the most influential and unique NFT collections on the market. Tied to the personal and professional brand of Gary Vaynerchuk, VeeFriends launched at a time when similar PFP (profile picture) NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club were just beginning to take off.
Due to the state of the still budding NFT market, Vaynerchuk (professionally known as GaryVee) took a unique approach to his large-scale endeavor that has continued to influence the greater NFT ecosystem. Created as a way to bring to life his ambitions of building a community around his creative and business passions via NFTs, GaryVee’s VeeFriends has continued to prosper, providing one of the most successful NFT membership use-cases in existence.
Grimes is the latest artist to get in on the NFT gold rush, selling around $6 million worth of digital artworks after putting them up for auction yesterday. The artist and her brother Mac Boucher raised close to seven and a half million dollars in just twenty minutes on the online sales platform Nifty Gateway.
How and why are drawings and short videos of the musician (which anyone can easily download from the web) worth as much as some paintings by VanGogh, Fragonard, Edouard Manet, Andy Warhol, Claude Monet?
Those who chose to pay for Grimes’ work got a higher quality version of the drawings, short videos, but most importantly proof of ownership, which is housed in the Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies. This process makes it possible to ensure that one is indeed the holder, the happy owner of digital work and the traceability of the object is assured (sales history).
Hailing from America, Michael Joseph Winkelmann is a digital artist, graphic designer, and animator. Beeple grabbed the limelight for his eye-catching digital artworks, which have a deep hidden meaning related to political or ongoing issues. Mike Winkelmann uses pop culture figures as references. And this is what attracts the viewers. He uses various mediums to create his art pieces that often comprise comical and delusional multimedia works.
As of now, Beeple’s contribution in writing the next chapter in art history has helped him to enjoy a huge Net Worth of $50 Million. Christie’s British auction house has once termed Mike Winkelmann as a visionary digital artist who is at the forefront of NFTs! The first time when he got familiar with the term NFT was in the October of 2020. Additionally, Mike acknowledges Pak (creator) for providing the first “primer” on selling NFTs.
Anthony Pompliano (POMP)
That cohort’s top NFT influencer is Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, a bitcoin bull and YouTube personality whose daily market newsletter reaches more than 210,000 people. He invests in early-stage companies and is heavily invested in bitcoin — once saying half of his net worth is invested in the cryptocurrency.
Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar — now known as Bobby and Ben Hundreds — founded The Hundreds back in 2003. The company made its mark through shirts stamped with their bold font and booming logo. Ironically, they’ve maintained relevancy by doing everything but screenprinting.
From editorial interviews with legendary Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield to food festivals, The Hundreds is very much a lifestyle label beyond the clothes. Since its start almost 20 years ago, streetwear has effectively grown to encompass all elements of pop culture — and most importantly, the space to keep evolving and exploring.
Doing their part to appease each movement, they’re making their mark in the metaverse by dropping NFTs that don’t create factory waste. Just the same, the NFT collection provides the same social badges The Hundreds’ expressive streetwear has always offered.
“The reality is [that] we don’t need more clothing,” Bobby Hundreds told Boardroom. “I think Web3 and NFTs can resolve a lot of this. If it’s just for utility, we have that clothing. So why are we still buying fashion? For social reasons, to speak for values, and speak to your personality. All of those things can be acknowledged through NFTs.”
Larva Labs Founders
Three years ago, two software developers created a quirky art project called CryptoPunks that posed a serious and provocative question: Could a few lines of code translate to a feeling of meaningful ownership? It was a crazy idea that would require, in their words, ‘a conceptual leap.’ Three years later, that project is rightly regarded as the beginning of today’s CryptoArt movement.
Now, for the first time, a special sample of that groundbreaking work will be offered at a traditional auction house. A single lot of nine Punks, courtesy of Larva Labs — the project’s creators and pioneers — kickstarted in Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale on 11 May in New York.
‘The CryptoPunks are the alpha and omega of the CyptoArt movement,’ explains Noah Davis, a specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s, New York.
Kode Abdo, aka BossLogic, is a graphic designer and digital concept artist based in Australia who has stolen the internet’s heart with his creative fan art mashups and remixes. With 3.6 million artwork sales in February alone, BossLogic is considered one of the most prolific artists in the NFT space.
Bosslogic made his NFT art debut earlier last year (2021) which, unsurprisingly, made waves throughout the crypto art/NFT community. Some notable examples from his first NFT drop include the Forever Mamba open edition, 429 sold at a primary sales price of $824 and average resale price of $5,172 (+528%); multiple editioned artworks all of which consisted of 63 editions with a primary sales price of $300 and average resale prices ranging from $1,189 – $2,231 (+296% – 644%); and two 1/1s, The Last Shawarma which sold for $35,000 and Snapped which sold for $33,383.
Blau, who’s better known as the electronic dance music star 3LAU, was selling off 33 non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, for various prices, marking the three-year anniversary of his Ultraviolet album. Most simply, an NFT is a digital collectible traded on the blockchain. The most expensive NFT in Blau’s sale, for instance, included a custom song, access to never-before-heard music on his website, custom art based on his music, and new versions of Ultraviolet’s 11 original songs. (In a somewhat unusual decision, the token’s buyer would also receive a physical object, a vinyl edition of the album.)
By the final evening, it seemed destined to stall out at around a total of $1 million at the bidding. But Blau had gamified the auction’s conclusion. After reaching the final three minutes, anyone increasing a bid restarted the clock at T-minus three minutes. The reset occurred over 40 times, prolonging the auction by several hours, a surprise to Blau and his entire family.
The key takeaways from the Time2Play report say Mark Cuban is the most influential person and most common go-to source for NFTs.
The second-most influential figure was John Legere, former T-Mobile CEO and one of the world’s top NFT buyers. In March 2021, he bought an NFT from world-famous DJ Steve Aoki for the cool price of $888,888.88.
Taking home bronze was Gary Vaynerchuck, better known as Gary Vee, who’s a prolific investor with a sharp understanding of how to use the internet to your financial advantage. Gary Vee follows with the largest social media following of major NFT influencers, but he is not the go-to person for news, advice, and updates.
Although the top three NFT personalities are all entrepreneurs and investors, the rest of our influencer list contains artists, content creators, and tech innovators who’ve carved out names for themselves in the space. Beeple, the fourth-place finisher, is a digital artist renowned for his Everydays project, in which he creates a new digital art piece every day.
When it comes to the most recognizable name among NFT creators/influencers Beeple and Larva Labs, are on top. And the Binance NFT Marketplace was the favorite place to shop for NFTs among enthusiasts, according to the Time2Play survey.
The report clearly differentiates popularity and trust, which are two very different criteria. And being the most popular doesn’t necessarily mean the person is the most trusted. A case in point is Gary Vee. He is the most followed NFT influencer on social media. However, when it comes to NFT influencers that enthusiasts followed most closely for advice and news he ranked 20th.
Most Trusted Influencer
The NFT market is populated with millions of collections. Finding the ones that will become the next CryptoPunks or Bored Ape Yacht Club is no easy task. So, the survey also asked which one of the influencers do they trust more for news, advice, and updates? And by the way, the report says social media following doesn’t necessarily translate to trust in the NFT space.