Sorting the wheat from the chaff in the blazing-hot non-fungible token (NFT) market calls for expertise.
NFTs existed before 2021, but this year they went mainstream. Even as astonishing price tags of individual NFT sales often got the headlines, overall trading volume surged, hitting $10.67 billion in the third quarter of the year—an astonishing 38,000% increase on the previous year.
Amid the trading frenzy, new trends such as generative artwork and collective world-building have emerged, while big brands like Adidas and Visa aped in. What's hot and what's not changes on a daily basis as PFP series explode onto the scene, vanish into obscurity and jockey for position.
All of which means that influencers have an outsized impact on the NFT space. Equally as important as the artists and creators themselves are the celebrities, curators, marketplace owners, and tastemakers who promote NFT projects on YouTube, Instagram, Discord, and, of course, Twitter—their primary platform of choice.
We've rounded up the year's biggest NFT influencers on Twitter, taking into account their impact, the size of their following, and the diversity of their voices. Here are Decrypt's (unranked) picks.
Make sure to also see our separate list of the year's most innovative NFT artists, where you'll find names like Pplpleasr, Seneca, and Beeple.
Twitter itself used Artchick’s tweet to publicize its NFT drop in June.
wait what? pic.twitter.com/yXwIDgpQf5
— artchick.eth 🔥👠 (@digitalartchick) June 30, 2021
The pseudonymous account has become a powerful voice in NFT collecting, favoring female innovators and creators such as World of Women. Still, in a sad turn of events that showed even the influencers can make mistakes, Artchick recently claimed to have been scammed to the tune of $3 million, when she was offered free tokens—a warning to everyone in the crypto space.
8.5 million followers
The billionaire Shark Tank investor and Dallas Mavericks owner is a backer of NFT marketplaces Mintable and SuperRare, NFT tracker CryptoSlam, and has considered turning game tickets into NFTs.
His massive personal NFT collection includes Stoner Cats, Hashmasks, and Bored Apes, as well as NBA Top Shots' Luka Dončić. He’s also building out a gallery for digital art and collectibles called lazy.com. Back in March amid the beginning of the year's NFT frenzy, Cuban told Decrypt how he explains NFTs to newcomers: "Get over that perception that I have to physically be able to touch it."
Described by some as the NFT whisperer, EllioTrades is the Twitter persona of Elliot, an expert on play-to-earn games, down-to-earth advice, and NFT-trading strategy, who has introduced many NFT aficionados to games such as Axie Infinity.
He fronts a daily live show on YouTube and is part of SuperFarm, a DAO at the intersection of DeFi and NFTs. The collective was among the pyro-anarchist investors who burned a Banksy artwork back in March, and then sold its associated NFT for almost five times its prior value.
Already a noted luxury goods Instagram influencer before the NFT market boom, Farokh Sarmad Tehrani pivoted into the space in early 2021 and quickly made a name for himself by hosting Clubhouse chats with celebrities and creators around their drops.
On Twitter, he’s grown further as the host of Rug Radio, a frequent and popular NFT-centric discussion show on Spaces that has its own membership pass—an NFT, of course. Farokh pours out positivity through his tweets, and engages in discussion across various communities and projects in the NFT space.
Puerto Rico-based Gmoney has partnered with investment firm Delphi Digital for Delphi INFINFT, a fund dedicated to investing in NFT projects.
The influencer is a big fan of CryptoPunks, picking one up in January 2021 for a then-record 140 ETH (over $150,000, which seems a relative bargain these days) and selling one to Visa. Gmoney argues that NFTs such as CryptoPunks represent a “flex” and points out that many luxury items, like Rolex watches, don’t have any special utility that justifies their price either. He's a big supporter of generative art project Art Blocks, and an investor in the futuristic $10 million project Alethea.AI, which is working to create “intelligent NFTs” that will reside in the future metaverse. Earlier this month, the Adidas Originals NFTs that were designed in partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney, and Pixel Vault took in $23 million in their first 24 hours.
4.4 million followers
Steve Harvey went crypto this year. The comedian and TV host got involved in the NFT space in May when he launched a line of NFTs to raise money for the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. At the time, Harvey told Decrypt that he sees NFTs as the next iteration of his tech investments.
In September, he changed his Twitter profile picture to a Solana Monkey Business NFT avatar (though he's since changed it back), one of a set of 5,000 randomly generated images of cartoonish, pixelated monkeys. The price of Solana’s cryptocurrency SOL surged.
Dom Hofmann used to be best known as the co-creator of video-sharing app Vine—now shuttered. These days, he’s shifted focus to NFT projects, most notably creating the "adventurer's gear" series Loot, which was a runaway success earlier in the year.
It’s gone on to inspire Bloot, or Based Loot, which replaces the medieval treasure of Loot NFTs with memes lifted from crypto speculators on 4chan, Reddit and Crypto Twitter. Hofmann's also hard at work on another project, Supdrive, with NFTs that are playable video games.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is a huge supporter of the crypto industry, personally backing the leading NFT game Axie Infinity while his Seven Seven Six VC firm has partnered with Polygon and is investing in more and more Web3 startups going forward.
But he’s not just putting his money where his mouth is. Ohanian also uses his platform—including tweets, TV appearances, and a podcast—to advocate for his vision of positively impactful NFT and Web3 initiatives, from Axie’s career-creating play-to-earn rewards model to the ability for NFTs to create community.
You may have missed me telling you about @coinbase on TV in 2014 but don't miss me telling you about @AxieInfinity in 2021! https://t.co/7wbxpSuXpF
— Alexis Ohanian 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) August 18, 2021
Pransky is an O.G. NFT fan and investor who won the status of top NFT earner on the blockchain analytics firm Nansen’s leaderboard in August. Data showed that the collector had made 1,573 ETH ($3.64 million) in profit. In total, they spent roughly $4.3 million on more than 9,300 NFTs from 86 different collections—and later sold 2,350 of them for $7.94 million combined.
The pseudonymous account has a huge collection, including a number of NBA Top Shots, and told Forbes that Josie Bellinni, a crypto artist with a finance background, is one of their favorite creators.
The pseudonymous Punk4156 emerged early in 2021 after purchasing his titular CryptoPunk for a record-breaking $1.25 million worth of ETH, and was soon immortalized in artwork by Beeple. By the end of the year, he had sold off the NFT for over $10 million and exited the leading NFT profile picture project over frustrations about IP and commercialization rights.
As a co-creator of the Nouns NFT project and a proponent of open-source intellectual property, he’s working to change perceptions around what NFTs are and how they should be overseen by communities. And while his CryptoPunks are gone, he told Decrypt he may keep using the 4156 brand he’s built up online.
Looking to read epic threads about the potential of NFTs and the metaverse? Follow the pseudonymous punk6529, a deep-pocketed collector and frequent pontificator who reliably shares thoughtful, viral threads about what he sees ahead in the space.
One prominent example about NFTs in the year 2030 begins, “However bullish you are on NFTs, you are wrong. You are insufficiently bullish. 6529 has gone to the mountaintop and there is almost nothing in life that 6529 is as sure of as this.”
1/ On NFTs 2030
However bullish you are on NFTs, you are wrong.
You are insufficiently bullish.
6529 has gone to the mountaintop and there is almost nothing in life that 6529 is as sure of as this
— 6529 (@punk6529) October 1, 2021
It’s almost enough to make a skeptic believe. Punk6529 does more than just tweet, however, as a holder of scads of valuable NFTs from projects like CryptoPunks (his namesake), Art Blocks, Rare Pepes, Autoglyphs, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and many more.
Like Reddit’s Ohanian, Digg co-founder Kevin Rose is another old-school Web2 stalwart that has gone all-in on Web3. He’s invested in crypto startups both personally and as a partner at True Ventures, but more visibly, he’s one of the most-followed NFT collectors on Twitter.
Rose is big on the work of XCOPY and generative art platform Art Blocks, and even sold one of his Art Blocks Fidenza NFTs for $2.5 million worth of ETH in August 2021. He has parlayed his NFT and crypto enthusiasm into a pair of popular podcasts—PROOF and Modern Finance—and even launched a PROOF Collective community via NFT access passes.
19.4 million followers
Hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg dived into NFTs with abandon in 2021, outing himself as NFT collector Cozomo de' Medici and building up a glamorous collection of artwork that includes Bored Apes, CryptoPunks and a $3.9 million artwork by XCOPY.
Not content with simply amassing a pile of digital art, he's also become one of the loudest voices advocating for NFTs, mentoring fellow celebrities as they embark on their NFT journeys. He's also walked the walk, launching his own series of Decentral Eyes Dogg NFTs, a Nyan Dogg NFT with the Nyan Cat meme creator and BeetsDAO, and building his own 'Snoopverse' in metaverse platform The Sandbox. Naturally, there was a party, with NFT tickets. Small wonder, then, that someone paid $450,000 to become his neighbor in the metaverse. That price tag, if you ask Snoop himself, was "a bargain."
Matty, the creator of the @DCLBlogger Twitter account, is an Australia-based NFT guru with a laser-eyed focus on the sector, claiming to be the number one blog to learn about crypto-collectible trading.
The first NFT-Real World Piece sold at Christie's.
Guess how much it went for?
😱😱😱#crypto is crazy, and the real world is starting to find out. https://t.co/4ryWGSLh1F
— Matty (@DCLBlogger) October 7, 2020
Soudagar claims to have made millions of dollars from cryptocurrencies and NFTs, after he “stumbled on” virtual universe Decentraland in 2019, and realized he could profit from reselling NFT items and virtual land. To date, Decentraland has grossed over $140 million in sales of land, avatars, usernames, and wearables.
2.7 million followers
Vaynerchuk, known online as Gary Vee, is a marketing mad genius who recently turned his talents to NFTs. He’s launched his own series "VeeFriends,” a series of over 10,000 drawings that come with perks including gift boxes, mentorship sessions, and conference tickets. Critics may look at the art and just see amateurish animal doodles, but some of those doodles sold at Christie's for more money than Pollock and Warhol works in the same auction.
And Vaynerchuk has been reaching deeper into the crypto space. He is an investor in Twitter and crypto exchange Coinbase. He’s also helped to fund NFT platforms Candy Digital, which has signed a long-term licensing deal with Major League Baseball, and Mythical Games, which is building a platform for other game developers to add crypto and NFT elements, as well as NFT-driven fantasy soccer game Sorare.
His consultancy, VaynerNFT, also recently partnered with the U.S. Open for a series of NFTs. Pride of place in his own collection goes to a CryptoPunk bought for $3.76 million (though notably, he doesn’t use it as his Twitter avatar). Even though he's a full-on NFT believer, he also warns that he expects an "NFT winter" to come very soon.