September 14, 2021 - 9 min read
This article breaks down (with data) the impact of Gary V announcing that his original artwork for VeeFriends will be auctioned at Christie's on October 1st. The auctioning of the original artwork from an NFT project creator is a big deal. An even bigger deal is that Gary V knows how to create demand and build for the long-term, which bodes well for people who understand the expanding NFT market and the likely consolidation into blue-chip assets in the future.
In the few days leading up to the announcement, the VeeFriends NFT project saw an impressive jump in floor price to 22.5 ETH ($76,500) but has dropped back down to 18.35 ETH ($62,390) after the announcement. This represents an 18.4% dip in the floor price.
Despite the fact that the floor is up 85% in two weeks (it was 9.9 ETH just over two weeks ago), some are concerned about the decrease in value.
Because I have been studying the market effects of Christie’s Auctions for other NFT projects I felt compelled to do some analysis and offer insight as to why the floor is dropping and how to adjust your NFT mindset.
Please remember, this is not financial advice. You should never spend money you cannot afford to lose on an NFT. If you do, you will evaluate the market in short cycles (24 hour periods or less), which is at the root of the change needed that I hope to inspire with this article.
Short expansions and contractions of an NFT project’s market likely don’t bother you if you’ve taken my advice and haven’t spent money you can’t afford to lose, but these events are important to analyze to help us understand the market.
After spending 3 months going deep on NFTs by analyzing projects and their data, it has become clear to me that every NFT project has micro cycles correlated with major events/announcements.
For example, when it was announced that Curio Cards would be headed to auction on October 1st, the first card in the set (the Apple) ran up to a record high 22.5 ETH. It has since come down in value, settling at 8–9 ETH.
I predicted the floor coming down on Curio Cards after the announcement after witnessing two similar cycles for the set. Each time the record prices went higher, and the lows after those records moved up in value.
There are typically three ways people react to these micro-cycles:
(1) Use it to your advantage to flip projects — this always carries a risk, but the patterns become predictable enough. You may try to sell projects at the top during a pump and buy back in after it settles at a lower price.
(2) You don’t notice the micro-cycles because you're a long-term holder who isn’t worried about your invested money — if you have a conviction for a project and spent money you can afford to lose if it goes to zero, you likely aren’t bothered by these cycles.
(3) You panic sell for a loss — this is more than likely to occur if you spent money you couldn’t afford to lose. NFTs aren’t always liquid assets. Even if you spent .5 ETH on an NFT, you may want to quickly move it to a new project if the price starts sinking. This is likely a case for people who didn’t have a high conviction for a project in the first place.
Generally, if you find projects that you have a high conviction on and spend money you can afford to lose, you’ll do better long-term with your investments. I saw a lot of people panicking in the VeeFriends Discord, but it’s because they’re very focused on the micro-cycle.
Let’s look at some longer-term data to help pick our heads out of the cycle and see what’s on the horizon.
CryptoPunks was the first NFT project auctioned at Christie’s (Beeple’s $69 million sale was for 1 piece of artwork from an artist, not quite an NFT project with multiple assets) and the floor dropped 33% two months after the auction was completed:
In US dollars, this was an 88% drop.
However, by August, the price rocketed back up to 71.5 ETH, 343% growth from the June lows:
We don’t have robust data on floor price performance after a Christie’s auction because there’s only been one to date that’s been completed, but CryptoPunks is currently regarded as the blue-chip NFT and is a good case study.
6 of the top 25 CryptoPunk sales of all time occurred in August whereas there was just 1 record sale in June. Frankly, for those who understood cycles, June was the absolute best time to buy a CryptoPunk (besides minting them for free in 2017). The floor is now over 4x higher than it was in June (in USD).
While I can’t prove this, I’ve seen it in other collectible markets: when everyone sees a big announcement or event, they hold their asset (reducing supply) to sell during or after the big event (supply increases).
Potential buyers may have thought “well, it’s already been auctioned at Christie’s, what will make it pump again?”
This was before NFTs started to boom and owning a CryptoPunk became a symbol of status and access to an exclusive social club. In June, when there wasn’t as much NFT action, those with less conviction would have felt the need to let go of their assets at lower prices.
The VeeFriends floor has shown strong resistance and an 18% drop is far off from the CryptoPunks 33% drop after their Christie’s Auction, but I would predict the floor continues to drop until the few days leading up to October 1st.
Remember, VeeFriends is the #1 project I want to flip into — a prediction on the floor dropping speaks to micro-market cycles, not the quality of the project or its creator. I do believe VeeFriends will take off more than it has as more people come to properly estimate Gary Vaynerchuk and decide to sneak into category 2 from my list earlier: find projects you have high conviction on, don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose and check in on it every once in a while.
It’s clear that a Christie’s auction lends significant social proof and validation to NFT projects, but there are certain market dynamics we will never escape. As more and more category 2 holders buy assets, the more and more resistant a project becomes to lower floor prices.
There will never be a project whose assets are held 100% by long-term holders. Everybody has a price. However, I also believe that NFTs will become more volatile as supply increases, and people will start to place more value consolidating to assets they truly believe in.
I don’t know how long it will take for it to happen, but I think VeeFriends will be one of the top projects for many NFT collectors to consolidate into and hold for the long term.
From August 1st — August 30th, there were over 412,000 active buyers across the top 4 Ethereum NFT marketplaces. That’s .005% of the population. That means if you put 1,000 people into a room, only 5 of them purchased an NFT in August.
Put another way, 99.995% of people were not active in the NFT space in August. This does not factor in age, income, or access to the internet, but it’s pretty clear that the vast majority of people who could be in the NFT space are not.
The current opportunity is not in a Christie’s announcement, it’s buying into projects that will still be relevant in 5 years when 5% of the population is involved in NFTs and in 10 years when 25% of the population is involved in NFTs.
There isn’t science behind those numbers, it’s just a guess and a bet on the NFT market expanding. Gary V has repeatedly said that VeeFriends is a 40+ year project.
However, being chosen for a Christie’s Auction as an artist is a key step on that path. In 5 years, many will still be looking for projects that have Christie’s stamp of approval. Christie’s entire existence is based on their ability to curate and sell art to a premium audience.
This auction matters more in 5 years than it does today (even though the micro-cycles reacted strongly). There will be a finite number of NFT projects that enter a large auction house, and Gary V just got that social proof from his original artwork.
As he builds the project and the brand over the next four decades, this is a major stepping stone in establishing the validity of the project and putting VeeFriends on the same level as other selected projects like Curio Cards and CryptoPunks.
Future buyers need as much validation from 3rd parties as they can get. Remember, CryptoPunks and Curio Cards were released in 2017 and have the historical element going for them. VeeFriends launched in May and joins only Meebits and Bored Ape Yacht Club as “new” NFT projects to get the Christie’s distinction.
The auctioning of the original artwork from an NFT project creator is a big deal. An even bigger deal is that Gary V knows how to create demand and build for the long-term, which bodes well for people who understand the expanding NFT market and the likely consolidation into blue-chip assets in the future.
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