Pudgy Penguins NFTs Top $50K—Will They Flip Bored Apes?

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Ascen­dant Ethereum NFT project Pudgy Pen­guins now boasts a floor price with­in strik­ing dis­tance of once-dom­i­nant col­lec­tion Bored Ape Yacht Club—set­ting the stage for a poten­tial flip that would upend long stand­ing pow­er hier­ar­chies in the NFT industry.

At one point on Sun­day after­noon, the low­est price one could pay for a Pudgy Pen­guins NFT rose to 21.5 ETH, or just over $54,850 at writ­ing, accord­ing to data from NFT Price Floor. At that same moment, Bored Ape NFTs sold for a min­i­mum price of 22.8 ETH—a sum worth just north of $58,000 at cur­rent prices.

The gap in floor price between both col­lec­tions has widened ever so slight­ly since yes­ter­day: at writ­ing, Pudgy Pen­guins—Decrypt’s pick for the 2023 NFT project of the year—boasts a floor of 20.7 ETH, while Bored Ape Yacht Club has remained steady at 22.9 ETH. 

Nonethe­less, the fact that both col­lec­tions are cur­rent­ly so close in price is a remark­able occur­rence, that even months ago would have been unthinkable.

Pudgy Pen­guins, an Ethereum-based pro­file pic­ture (PFP) col­lec­tion, caught some momen­tum after launch­ing in 2021, only to be rat­tled by the dev­as­tat­ing cryp­to win­ter that unrav­eled the NFT indus­try the fol­low­ing spring. A new own­er then dou­bled down on enhanc­ing the brand’s IP val­ue, first on social media, then through phys­i­cal merch drops launched in col­lab­o­ra­tion with major part­ners like Wal­mart.

The strat­e­gy paid off remark­ably. After dip­ping below 1 ETH in floor price in mid-2022, Pudgy Pen­guins climbed to 5 ETH by last year; fueled by flashy brand part­ner­ships and increased indus­try buzz, the col­lec­tion then began surg­ing last fall, qua­dru­pling in val­ue dur­ing an oth­er­wise pal­try peri­od for the broad­er NFT market.

Bored Apes, mean­while, have seen an inverse tra­jec­to­ry. The brand defined both the inno­va­tion and excess of the 2021 NFT boom; back then, BAYC PFPs rou­tine­ly sold to celebri­ties for prices north of $1 mil­lion a piece. 

Since the onset of cryp­to win­ter in May of 2022, how­ev­er, the col­lec­tion has bled sub­stan­tial­ly, mir­ror­ing macro indus­try trends. After reach­ing a peak floor price of 152 ETH in April 2022 (worth about $429,000 at the time), BAYC has since shed over 82% of its ETH val­ue, accord­ing to NFT Price Floor. Since 2022, the col­lec­tion has failed to mean­ing­ful­ly reverse its steady depre­ci­a­tion for any peri­od of time.

The note­wor­thi­ness of the now near-equal val­ue of both brands can per­haps best be high­light­ed by their respec­tive fundrais­ing his­to­ries. Last year, after an IP reboot, Pudgy Pen­guins man­aged to pull togeth­er $9 mil­lion in seed fund­ing to launch its next chapter. 

Bored Ape cre­ator Yuga Labs, in con­trast, raised an astound­ing $450 mil­lion in 2022 to fuel the then-untouch­able car­toon mon­key brand, putting the company’s val­ue at $4 billion.

Both Pudgy Pen­guins and the Bored Ape Yacht Club still sit below Cryp­toP­unks, the influ­en­tial titan of the NFT space, in terms of floor price. As of this writ­ing, a Cryp­toP­unks NFT starts at about 58.7 ETH, or about $146,000 worth.

Yuga Labs owns the Cryp­toP­unks project IP after acquir­ing it from cre­ator Lar­va Labs in 2022 for an undis­closed sum. Back in 2021 and 2022, the Bored Apes and Cryp­toP­unks often trad­ed places in terms of NFT val­ue, but the old­er Cryp­toP­unks project from 2018 has done a bet­ter job of main­tain­ing val­ue over the last year-plus.

Edit­ed by Andrew Hay­ward

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