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Kevin Rose’s Moonbirds Ethereum NFT Launch Generates $280M in Two Days

The PROOF Collective’s NFT drop puts up head-turning numbers as the profile picture project finds a ravenous audience.

4 min read
Moonbirds is a surging new Ethereum NFT project. Image: PROOF Collective

In brief

  • Moonbirds, a new Ethereum NFT project from Kevin Rose’s PROOF Collective, launched on Saturday.
  • Already, the project has yielded $280 million worth of total sales volume, including the initial mint.

The holiday weekend wasn’t a quiet one in the NFT space: The much-anticipated Moonbirds project from tech entrepreneur and VC Kevin Rose’s PROOF Collective launched on Saturday, and already the Ethereum NFT collection has generated $280 million in sales.

That figure comes from data analytics provider CryptoSlam, which confirmed to Decrypt that it includes both the original mint (primary sale) and secondary trading across marketplaces—the latter of which has exploded since Saturday.

Moonbirds is an Ethereum profile picture collection that spans 10,000 total images, each with randomly distributed features akin to projects like CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

PROOF Collective ultimately released 7,875 of the NFTs for sale via an allowlist, which was formed via a raffle process. Each Moonbirds NFT offered via that process was sold for 2.5 ETH (about $7,600) at the time of Saturday's sale.

Another 2,000 of the images were granted as free mints to holders of the PROOF Collective NFT membership pass, which starts at a price of above 97 ETH (about $283,000) on secondary markets. Just 1,000 of the passes are available, and each holder could mint two Moonbirds.

Moonbirds sales on secondary markets skyrocketed over the weekend. Leading NFT marketplace OpenSea notched its largest day of trading volume in more than two months on Saturday, topping $177 million worth of Ethereum trading, per Dune Analytics data.

As of this writing, the cheapest-available Moonbirds NFTs are listed for at 19.8 ETH, or nearly $59,000. A single NFT in the collection, Moonbirds #7963, sold for 135 ETH (over $403,000) on Sunday, while a pair of other NFTs have sold for 130 ETH apiece.

Moonbirds has dominated the NFT market since the Saturday mint, with CryptoSlam showing about eight times the trading volume of any other collection over the past seven days. The Mutant Ape Yacht Club is listed second with about $34.6 million worth of trading over the past week, for example, while Moonbirds has clocked $280 million in two days.

PROOF Collective is an NFT-driven membership club created by Rose, a partner at True Ventures and longtime tech entrepreneur best known as a co-founder of Digg and Revision3. He’s also an NFT enthusiast whose PROOF podcast spawned the brand that later led to the NFT club, which minted its 1,000 membership pass NFTs in December.

An NFT serves as a proof of ownership for an item, including digital goods like profile pictures, artwork, and collectibles. The NFT market generated $25 billion worth of trading volume in 2021, and has already topped $12 billion in the first quarter of 2022, per data from DappRadar.

Beyond the current speculative frenzy around Moonbirds, the pixelated bird avatars also hold utility within the PROOF ecosystem. The NFT holders gain access to channels in the PROOF Discord server and an upcoming metaverse initiative, plus a “nesting” feature—a riff on staking—that will reward owners with additional perks for holding the NFTs long-term.

All mint funds and secondary sale royalties from the Moonbirds drop will go into the PROOF Collective treasury and fund future initiatives, such as content, exclusive experiences, and an NFT conference planned for 2023.

Interestingly, the weekend’s Moonbirds hype has benefitted a previous NFT collection created by the same artist, Justin Mezzell, a co-founder and chief product officer at PROOF.

His earlier Solana NFT collection Grim Syndicate has recently surged in value, jumping from a floor price of about 2 SOL ($200)—the cheapest available listed NFT—to a current floor price of 13 SOL (about $1,300) as of this writing.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Moonbird's $280 million in sales includes both the initial mint and secondary market trading volume per data from CryptoSlam.

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