The most popular way to display NFT ownership is through social media profile photos.
When you first read or saw the term PFP NFTs, you could have assumed that a cat had accidentally stepped across the keyboard. But no, that alphabet soup has a purpose—it refers to profile picture (PFP) non-fungible tokens(NFT).
The abbreviation indicates how frequently these NFTs are used as literal profile pictures on social media platforms like Twitter. Perhaps you’ve seen celebrities using their Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT as their profile picture. However, social media profile pictures are only a small component of a wider ecosystem built on NFTs that use digital images.
How PFP NFTs Were Created
The thought of using NFTs to represent digital avatars was stimulated by the CryptoPunks project, which was started in 2017 by the team of Matt Hall and John Watkinson. Their firm, Larva Labs, developed tens of thousands of pixel art images of styled people (Punks) at random and sold special crypto tokens to signify ownership.
The owners could relate to the Punks’ entertaining personalities. The supply and the styles of the Punks are set for all time; some styles are duplicates while others are found frequently throughout the collection. The rarest and most expensive are truly one of a kind.
To indicate ownership of the CryptoPunks, Hall and Watkinson produced Ethereum tokens. These were the original NFT models. At first, they simply modified versions of normal ERC-20 tokens. For instance, the designers prohibited the trading of token fractions.
Since then, projects like CryptoPunks and others have opened the door for a standardized NFT coin termed ERC-721, which is suited to the features that set NFTs apart from other crypto tokens.
The popularity of CryptoPunks led to a number of initiatives that were inspired by it. After that, Meebits was developed by Hall and Watkinson. These 3D characters, like the CryptoPunks, varied in uniqueness and could be traded.
According to CoinGecko, the floor price of the CryptoPunks in April 2022 was approximately 62 ETH, or more than $180,000. As a result, that price is the lowest at which you may purchase any particular NFT from the collection. The cost of a Meebit is negligible in contrast, yet you still cannot purchase one for less than 6 ETH, or about $18,000 as of this writing.
Verification of PFP NFTs on Twitter
When Twitter (TWTR) started offering to authenticate if users held the NFTs linked with their profile pictures, the connection between digital image NFTs and social media profile photos became more evident.
As of January 2022, you can also set the Twitter profile picture to your CryptoPunk or other NFT and receive a unique hexagonal border to confirm its authenticity. Even if another person wants to copy and paste the image, they would end up losing the border. This is still only available to Twitter Blue subscribers as of this writing and is powered by OpenSea.
The Bored Apes’ Arrival
In April 2021, the most successful PFP NFTs to date were introduced. It belonged to Yuga Labs‘ Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection. Projects like CryptoPunks were a big inspiration for BAYC. There are 10,000 digital images in total, each of which has unique features and rare elements. The pictures show human-like apes that have funny personalities.
By including a number of benefits with ownership of the NFTs, BAYC introduced an innovative approach. For instance, owners may receive more NFTs for free as a gift. At one point, each person received a dog from the Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC).
After that, they received a “serum” that they could use to create their own Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFT with customized traits. Additionally, ownership of BAYC grants accesses to a private Discord server. This idea is referred to as “the club model” by Yuga. The benefits go further than simply owning a token. They represent being a member of a community.
The commercial rights to their photos are one of the greatest benefits BAYC owners receive. They can use them to create their own content and generate income from that content or commerce, among other things.
By transferring commercial rights in this manner, venture capital firm and Yuga investor Samsung Next claims that Yuga has “disrupted traditional media content models.”
Conventional media companies have made a concerted effort to prevent their audience from using their content for their own selfish commercial purposes. In order to increase the excitement and appeal of their own brand, Yuga has taken a risk by eliminating all those limitations.
The least expensive BAYC NFT could be yours for no less than 139 ether (ETH) at the time of writing, about a year after the project’s debut. That amounts to $410,000. Celebrity association is one of the factors contributing to the exorbitant costs. To mention a few, Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, and Madonna hold BAYC NFTs.
The newcomers haven’t forgotten their roots. Yuga Labs acquired the trademarks of CryptoPunks and Meebits in March 2022 and declared that it will hand over the commercial rights to the holders of the tokens. That would more closely align the earlier collections with the new club model. We’re excited to see how they use intellectual property rights, Yuga remarked.
If you’re interested in finding the ideal profile picture to express yourself online, there are now hundreds of PFP NFT projects to select from, including female-driven projects like World of Women and utility-driven PFPs like Moonbirds.